Monday, May 31, 2010

Indian Arrival Day...

"Indian Arrival Day is a day for reflection rather than of celebration. It is a day to remember the struggle and sacrifices of our ancestors who had braved the ten thousand odd mile journey across the seas to reach the shores of Trinidad and Tobago. It is also a day to remember and appreciate the tremendous hardships and strife they as well as succeeding generations have undertaken to bring about prosperity and progress in this twin island Republic and furthermore contribute substantially to the development of this pluri-cultural society. Today, the culture and heritage of India is a proud component of Trinidad and Tobago's multi-cultural mosaic. For this, we need to appreciate the tremendous efforts in preserving the ancestral cultures and traditions, which our fore-bearers had brought along from their motherland and which has made T&T a beacon in the region today." 
~Malay Mishra - T&T High Commissioner of India on the occasion of the 165th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day on 30th May 2010.

T&T's got a holiday today.. as we do when public holidays fall on a Sunday. May 30th commemorates the arrival of the first Indian Indentured labourers from India to Trinidad, in May 1845, on the ship the Fatel Razack. Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonians form one of the largest ethnic groups and have contributed much to the development of T&T. Our first female Prime Minister (Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar) is of East Indian descent. Prominent East Indians have included: current President George Maxwell Richards, Winston Dookeran (economist and politician), Dr. Rudranath Capildeo (politician and mathematician), Sir V.S. Naipaul (novelist and nobel prize winner), cricketers: Darren and Sherwin Ganga, Dave Mohammed, Denesh Ramdhin and Ravi Rampaul, musicians: Mungal Patasar, Jit Samaroo and Sundar Popo.  

I'm of mostly Indian descent myself.. and one must of course remember and celebrate what brings one here to this present moment. It makes me wonder though if people take it too far sometimes... if in celebrating we are separating. At the end of the day.. we can't (or shouldn't in my mind) say that we are 'Indian' ... we are 'Trinis'  - Trinbagonians.. with all the drama that brings with it. We are the sum of our parts and our history is not only made up of the original inhabitants of these isles but also Europeans, Africans, Indians, Asians and so many others. 

As T&T's High Commissioner to India says 'it is a day for reflection rather than of celebration'... I wonder what other Trinis think about it... people of my parents' generation.. people of my generation.. I guess it does make me reflective.

Apart from that though... it's a holiday... I'm glad for the time away from work :) 

Sita Ram, Namaskar, Namaste... 

Om Shanti,

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