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­Indian Caribbean Museum at Trinidad and Tobago needs State’s Help

The museum in Waterloo is dedicated to the preservation of artifacts on the material history of indentured immigrants in the Caribbean.

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The Indian Caribbean Museum. Image source: Wikipedia
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Last Wednesday, a lecture was given by the Anthropologist Dr Kumar Mahabir at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce in Westmoorings where he urged the state to assist the continuous existence of the Indian Caribbean museum via government grants. Trinidad and Tobago is known for having the only Indian Caribbean museum in the world.

92-year-old San Juan resident Andrew Richardson, Chairman of the National Trust Valerie Taylor was present along with Sunday Express columnist Lennox Grant and conservationist James Telfer.

Dr Kumar said, “The largest number of arrivals (at the museum) took place in May. It gets 65 per cent domestic tourists and 35 per cent foreigners. We need to ensure it is preserved for posterity.”

“The Indian Caribbean museum was the only one of its kind in the world. There is an Indian diaspora museum in Belize, Central America, but that is opened only for private viewing and strictly by appointment. This museum in Waterloo is dedicated to the preservation of artifacts on the material history of indentured immigrants in the Caribbean. It is open to the public free of charge from Wednesdays to Sundays,” Mahabir said.

While addressing people present in the conference room, Mahabir shared vignettes on the historical archives, with kitchen utensils such as tawah (flat, round cast-iron griddle), a bilnah (rolling pin) as well as mortar and pestle. There were also rare documents, thematic paintings and documentary films on indentureship. Through this, it was found that the process by which East Indians travelled to the Caribbean from India and worked on sugar cane plantations on a contractual basis.

Dedicated to preserving artefacts: Veteran journalist Lennox Grant, right, chats with anthropologist Dr Kumar ­Mahabir, who spoke on the Indian Caribbean Museum during a lecture at the Chamber of Commerce, Westmoorings, last ­Wednesday. The function was hosted by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE
Dedicated to preserving artifacts: Veteran journalist Lennox Grant, right, chats with anthropologist Dr Kumar ­Mahabir, who spoke on the Indian Caribbean Museum during a lecture at the Chamber of Commerce, Westmoorings, last ­Wednesday. The function was hosted by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

This museum is present in Waterloo as it falls under a group of tourist attractions such as the 84-foot Hanuman Murti, ­Temple in the Sea that is 84 feet in height, was built by ­Siewdass Sadhu and in the vici­nity of the traditional clay potters (deyas).

Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, a National Geographic publication has featured this museum.

Related Article: St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art: Demonstrating Hindu Deities in Scotland

  • Need for State funding

It is unfortunate that the museum operates through donations from visitors and doesn’t receive any annual subvention or a monthly stipend from the governments- both People’s National Movement (PNM) and People’s Partnership. The state needs to intervene in the matter and show accountability as tourism has the potential to branch out the economy.

“It is even more important since there is an economic slowdown. We need to adopt a more serious attitude like countries like the United Kingdom (referring to the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare town) and France (Mona Lisa),” he said.

Dr Kumar informed that they were about to conduct interviews with people over 90 years old to document their life experiences.

“Again the State could intervene and assist historians and researchers financially. These elderly folk are valuable sources of oral history. They would have lived through two World Wars… They have witnessed significant milestones in Trinidad and Tobago’s history, such as Independence and the (Tubal Uriah) Butler riots,” he added.

Last year, in 2015, the India Caribbean museum at Waterloo, Carapichaima has attracted about 5,500 domestic as well as international visitors and has been operating for a decade now.

(Inputs from Daily Express)

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Big reforms made India fastest growing major economies globally: Garg

It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries

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The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain

The major reforms undertaken by the Indian government for raising economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability have made the country one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

Garg was addressing the Special Event hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum on ‘Indian Economy: Prospect and Challenges’ in Washington D.C on Friday.

Indian economy needs big reform.

He said the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) represented an “historic economic and political achievement, unprecedented in Indian tax and economic reforms, which has rekindled optimism on structural reforms.” He further emphasized that India carried-out such major reforms when the global economy was slow.

“With the cyclical recovery in global growth amid supportive monetary conditions and the transient impact of the major structural reforms over, India will continue to perform robustly,” Garg said.

During his meetings, Garg highlighted that the digital age technologies have profound implications for policies concerning every aspects of the economy. It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

He expressed that the response to such a transformation will have to shift from ‘catch up’ growth to adoption/adaption of digital technologies for development and growth.

Garg also informed that India has started adopting policies and programmes for transforming systems of delivery of services using digital technologies and connecting every Indian with digital technologies and access through Aadhaar and other such means.

Indian economy should be on rise. www.mapsofindia.com

While citing the example of expanding mobile data access, he mentioned that India is now the largest consumer of mobile data in the world with 11 gigabytes mobile data consumption per month. He informed that India is investing in digital technologies, encouraging private sector to adapt these technologies and also addressing the taxation related issues by introducing equalisation levy.

Garg is currently on an official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and other senior officials. IANS