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Gandhi of Guadeloupe: Henry Sidambaram

The revolutionist who helped Indians acquire a french citizenship in Guadeloupe, Henry Sidambarom.

a picture of the beauty of the island.

By Megha Sharma

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Guadeloupe, a French colony, lies in the south of Caribbean islands and is a group of Islands. The cause of freedom accelerated in the beginning of 20th century. All the colonies understood the need of an identity for them. Where Mahatma Gandhi became the catalyst of a successful freedom struggle in India, the widespread migration caused a lot of chaos.

The migrations initially were to earn a livelihood, which was becoming difficult in their own land. The primary occupation of being a farmer had no hope for their future survival because of the recurring draughts and even some colonial impositions on the lands. Thus, rather than owning a land they felt migration to be a better choice. However, the reality was too hard to gather. They not only had to undergo an identity-crisis, but they were asked not to even perform any religious or cultural activities of their land.

A similar story seems to inhabit this Island of Guadeloupe. A decline in the plantation productivity was seen after the abolition of slavery in 1848. Thus after 6 years, about 40,000 people were migrated to this land after a positive response of the work of Indian labours in the south-western Indian Ocean areas. A large number of these were from the South- Indian region and were bonded in a 5 year contract, after which either they could return to their origins or undertake another assignment.

Sir Henry Sidambarom
Sir Henry Sidambarom

The scenario was such that the first generation of these refugees saw themselves being devoid of any cultural background. One of these first generations is Henry Sidambaram. He was born in Capesterre-Belle-Eau of Guadeloupe and was denied the status of being the Mayor by his own party who considered his Indian origins to be a threat. It was an absurd thought for him as they were neither Indians nor did they receive any concrete French identity.

This made him later take an initiative to restore the long lost individuality. He wanted to demolish the refugees’ being in a no man’s land, devoid of a background, culture and selfhood. He triggered a lawsuit in this light to attain a French citizenship to all Indians there. He volunteered himself as a lawyer. A long battle of around 19 years (1904-1923) took him to victory. Later, in 1946 France declared the Island as a part of it, though not a Schengen entity.

He is considered a pioneer in the socio-cultural history of Guadeloupian Indians. So much so that today he is considered equivalent to Gandhi for them. In 2013, his 150th anniversary was celebrated, commemorating his significant role in establishing this movement of acquiring a citizenship and was also rewared with the Félix Eboué Prize.

an image of the ceremony that took place in 2013
an image of the ceremony that took place in 2013

This is what his granddaughter said about his contribution:

“On the death anniversary of my grandfather, Henry SIDAMBAROM whom I knew well, (I remember like it was yesterday) that day a huge crowd had gathered in the Rue de la Liberté outside his house.His body was greeted by a eulogy delivered by Mr. Auguste SAINTE-LUCE deputy mayor of Capesterre Belle Eau. Today I have an affectionate thought for my grandfather, and I am very touched by your loyalty to his memory…….The creation of the Committee Henry SIDAMBAROM whose brother is President JACQUES SIDAMBAROM helped perpetuate the memory of this great man. I hope that in the future, his ideas survive and continue on their way just as a grain thrown to the ground winds, seed, shoot, and generates harvests.

Thank you!

Camille SIDAMBAROM” (translated text)

Without him, Indians would have long forlorn in the alien cultural baggage given to them and of which they couldn’t be a part.

Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her Masters in English and has also done her studies in the German Language.) Email: Twitter @meghash06510344

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    Henry Sidambarom has fought for the rights for Indians in Guadeloupe.without him Indians in Guadeloupe would have suffered a lot

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CPR training for all must to save lives: Experts

Nearly 98 per cent Indians are not trained in basic life-saving technique of CPR during sudden cardiac arrest

Participants practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an important life skill to know. VOA

Imagine walking on the road and suddenly seeing a passerby suffering from chest pain and collapsing. Would you be able to give a lifesaving Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)? Most likely, no.

A recent survey conducted by Lybrate — a domestic online doctor consultation platform — showed that nearly 98 per cent Indians are not trained in basic life-saving technique of CPR during sudden cardiac arrest.

In India, sudden cardiac arrest is a major cause of death due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and shockingly 60 per cent of the people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest succumb to it even before they reach hospital, the survey, conducted in 2016, showed.

It is important to be trained in CPR. Flickr

The need of the hour is to make CPR training a must in schools and colleges and even at community level, as it can triple a patient’s chance of survival, if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, health experts said. CPR consists of using chest compressions and artificial ventilation to maintain circulatory flow and oxygenation during cardiac arrests and is the cost effective way to improve survival.

“In case of sudden cardiac arrest, the mortality is very high — almost 90 per cent or more if not resuscitated within 10 minutes,” Neeraj Bhalla, Director and Senior Consultant Cardiology at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS.

The American Heart Association (AHA) defines CPR as an emergency procedure to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a patient and, especially, if performed immediately, it can double or triple a cardiac arrest patient’s chance of survival.

“Any process to bring back the heart beats in the first minute is very important and CPR is one very effective and time-tested process. There should be a concerted effort to make CPR training a must,” added Piyusha Majumdar, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) University, Jaipur.

The basic technique of CPR illustrated. Pixabay

The AHA recommends uninterrupted chest compression (100 chest compressions in a minute) to the patient until para-medical support is given, which helps in supplying oxygenated blood to the brain and preventing death. Bystander CPR, and AED (automated defibrillators), are very useful in saving lives,” Bhalla said.

“The use of AED — used to diagnose life-threatening arrhythmias or irregularity of heart rhythm — can also be used to treat a dying heart by using electric shock to revive the heart’s rhythm,” Vanita Arora of Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, told IANS.

The device is easy to use, and with some basic training, it can easily be operated by a layman. However, “it is not available at most places, unfortunately. An AED machine should be there at every place where there’s a fire extinguisher. That’s how important a role it can play in saving lives,” Arora noted.

Also Read: CPR Survival Rates Lower Than Most People Think

“The government can also come out with campaigns and such training should be given to all and sundry. Government and private hospitals should also be roped in to provide training, apart from making it compulsory in schools and colleges. Besides, NGOs can also be of great help in such an initiative,” Majumdar added.

The experts also noted that most people fail to identify when a person is suffering cardiac arrest. “A person suffering cardiac arrest will show the following symptoms: pain in the chest, palpitations or shortness of breath, collapse due to loss of consciousness and, most critical, no detectable pulse. The last two are very easy to detect and are almost clear signs of cardiac arrest,” Arora emphasised.

“When you see a person faint or become unconscious gasping for breath, the first thing is to check the pulse or beating of the heart. A person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest will not have detectable pulse, which means he has only seconds to survive. The next step is to call emergency medical service immediately. Almost simultaneously, the person should begin performing CPR,” she noted.

CPR is being administered while a second rescuer prepares for defibrillation. Wikipedia

At the same time, proper heart examination should be made part of routine health check up among the people in the country. People get heart check-ups like ECG and angiographies done only when they face problems like chest pain or any other symptom of heart attack or cardiac arrest.

One should never ignore unexplained weakness, tiredness, first onset chest burning or first onset breathlessness after the age of 40. Those with strong family history of heart disease should get themselves screened, the doctors said.

Leading a healthy lifestyle — including a daily exercise routine, eating healthy food and avoiding stress, adequate sleep — is good for maintaining a healthy heart. It must be made mandatory to teach CPR to all students, office-goers, security personal and almost every citizen of the country, the experts said. IANS