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Gandhi of Guadeloupe: Henry Sidambaram

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

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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: loveme2010@gmail.com. Twitter @meghash06510344

  • sudheer naik

    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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Around 56% Indians Fall Victim to Discount Scams During Online Holiday Shopping, Reveals McAfee

"As threat actors continue to enhance their techniques and explore new creative means of theft, it is crucial that users are mindful of potential risks and undertake necessary measures to protect themselves this holiday season," advised Krishnapur

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The survey revealed a staggering number (52.6 per cent) between the age of 18 to 24 years faced the brunt of romance scams, and 60 per cent millennials agree to being scammed by e-greetings. Pixabay

With Christmas around the corner, cybersecurity firm McAfee on Tuesday revealed that 56.1 per cent Indians have fallen victim to discount scams by clicking on malicious links during holiday shopping online.

The year-end festivities present a variety of threats to consumers shopping online, with more than half (53.6 per cent) Indians falling victim to scams resulting from deceiving apps, said McAfee’s ‘Christmas Scams Survey’.

At least one in four (28.6 per cent) Indians have lost between Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 as a result of fake online retail sites, while 78.6 per cent experienced seasonal travel scams through unsolicited and malicious links.

While cybercriminal activity continues to grow in sophistication, popular scams like email phishing (25.3 per cent) and text phishing (21.1 per cent) still result in close to a quarter of Indians being duped throughout the season, said the survey.

“With the sheer volume of people shopping online, they tend to get careless, carried away with discounts, and open themselves to phishing attacks, frauds, malicious websites, and viruses that aim to steal money and personal information,” said Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India.

Throughout the festivities, 60.2 per cent people have fallen victim to robocalling and 57.1 per cent through SIM-jacking.

McAfee, Inc. is an American global computer security software company.
McAfee, Inc. is an American global computer security software company. Wikimedia Commons

A robocall is a phone call that uses a computerized autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message, as if from a robot.

A new trend that hit unsavvy consumers hard this festive season was through phony gift cards.

Nearly 39.3 per cent Indians were directed to a site, were they were asked to input personal information such as name, telephone number or credit card information, with 40 per cent losing between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000.

Leveraging the emotional aspects of philanthropy and generosity, 60.7 per cent were victims of fake charities, with scammers impersonating genuine trusts to ask for donations.

Also Read: US Government Begins Probe into Google Over its Labour Practices

The survey revealed a staggering number (52.6 per cent) between the age of 18 to 24 years faced the brunt of romance scams, and 60 per cent millennials agree to being scammed by e-greetings.

“As threat actors continue to enhance their techniques and explore new creative means of theft, it is crucial that users are mindful of potential risks and undertake necessary measures to protect themselves this holiday season,” advised Krishnapur. (IANS)