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Indian diaspora in Martinique

314 labourers landed for the first time at Saint Pierre in Martinique.

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Martinique map, Wikimedia commons

  Nearly 3% of the current population of Martinique comprises of Indians. Recently mayor of Saint Pierre, Christina Raffa, called a 3-day festival to commemorate the historical event and to thank the Indian indentured labourers who participated in the development of Martinique. It was the 163rd anniversary of their first arrival in Martinique on May 6th.

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  • Martinique is one of the 18 regions of France located in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea and is an integral part of French Republic. It has an approximate population of 400,000 inhabitants and the official language is French.
  • In the 19th-century, contract labourers were brought to French colonies from India. It was the time when there was a lack of labour force during 1848. More than 200,000 Indians were even brought to West Indies.
  • 314 labourers landed for the first time at Saint Pierre in Martinique. Those indentured labourers were mainly from French occupied territories in south Asia such as Pondicherry, Chandnagore, Mahe and Karaikal. Some of them were even from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Most of the labourers were in the age group of 15 to 30. Sex ratio was 40:100 (i.e. 40 women per 100 men). Children were also transported as a part of family transportation. Indians were brought in the region to work on plantations with the promise that they will be back in India after their 5-year contract. However, that promise was never fulfilled. Some managed to return to their homelands while others stayed and became French citizens.

Related articleRemembering the hardships of Indians who were brought as Indentured labourers

  • Presently 3rd and 4th generations of these Indians are living in Saint PierreThe place where the first 314 Indians landed back in 1848 was renamed as Place de I’Aurelie.
  • Dhiraj Mukhia, First Secretary Affairs at the Indian Embassy of France, was also invited to that event. He mentioned that “it’s an extremely happy moment for all people of Indian origins here, that their history of their forefathers has been recognised. The biggest part of the Indian community lived in Saint Pierre.
  • Showing a keen interest in Yoga, the President of GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), Martinique told that International Yoga day will be celebrated in June 2016 in Saint Pierre. It was also stated that a Yoga teacher from India will be called to help people of Martinique learn yoga.

Martinique culture, Wikimedia commons
Martinique culture, Wikimedia commons

  • There was also a proposal suggested by GOPIO president of France, Mehen Poinooswamy, and Europe GOPIO International coordinator, De Pradip Sewoke, the representative of Indian embassy and Mayor of Saint Pierre for building an Indian Cultural centre in Martinique.
  • The whole event ended with an Indian cultural dance show and with a lot of lively stands in markets selling Indian goods and products.

Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself. Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

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These 10 Weird Museums around the World will Certainly Amuse You!

List of 10 Weirdest Museums in the World

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Museums
These 10 Weird Museums around the World will Certainly Amuse You. Pixabay

August 5, 2017: Not every museum is about art, science, culture, and history, some of them show different sides of the world. A side which has a niche audience as not everyone will be interested to see them. We are talking about the weird museums around the world, which have its own peculiarity, oddities and sometimes downright weird. Some of these can even leave you confused, who would think of creating a museum on this idea or notion? But it can also drive you to dig deeper, to gain more knowledge. As these are not the mundane artifacts.

Plastinarium, Germany

Plastinarium Museum
Plastinarium Museum. Wikimedia

It’s a home of the morbid art of corpse plastination, a technique by which human or animal bodies are preserved. They use this scientific technique and present them in creative positions like an archer. It makes one wonder how intricate the human form is. Gunther Von Hagens perfected plastination (using polymers to preserve human tissue) after many years of studying medicine, dissection, and chemistry.  Visitors of this museum not only learn about the history of anatomy but also witness’s the graphic process of it.  The center also supplies traveling Body Worlds, which they call an original exhibition of real human bodies.

The Mummy Museum, Guanajuato, Mexico

The Mummy Museum
The Mummy Museum. Wikimedia

A popular tourist attraction, this museum has a mystical aura to it and has mummified bodies. The mummies have generated a lot of interest since the time this museum opened as people were already inquisitive about mummies and visiting it will give them a chance to see the mystery unfold in front of their eyes.

Hundreds of bodies were once buried in the Santa Paula Pantheon’s crypts around the mid-19th century. If families were unable to pay a burial tax imposed by the town, the bodies were exhumed.  Later they discovered the bodies had been mummified through a natural process, likely due to the region’s unique climatic factors.  The museum houses more than hundred mummies and a mummy of an infant as well. On June 9, 1865, the mummified body of a French doctor, Remigio Leroy, was exhumed from Niche 214 of the Pantheon’s first series. This is the first and therefore the most ancient of the Guanajuato Mummy Museum’s collection. Going to this museum will calm your curious soul. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The exhibition has an introductory video about the meaning of death for Mexicans and their way of accepting it.

ALSO READ: “The Museum Within” : Art Exhibition in Delhi dwells on Position and Function of Museums in India
Museum of Torture, Zagreb, Croatia

Museum of Torture
Museum of Torture. Wikimedia

The sinister museum has over 70 historical instruments of torture. Visitors can see, touch and even try out the 1792 guillotine replica, pendulum- a swinging blade that descends lower and lower with each sweep, rack- one of the oldest instruments of torture or iron maiden- the most brutal medieval instrument of torture, scold’s bridle, an instrument used to punish women accused of scolding and gossiping, as well as many other instruments that were used to humiliate, torture, cause injury or execute the victim. This weird museum gives a take on historical means and ways of violence.

It’s a one of its kind experience; there are multi sensory rooms, such as the semi-dark Cabinet of Wonders or the Dungeon. In the Cabinet of Wonders, there is semi-darkness in which the exhibits are bathing in a discomforting sound environment. It will prompt questions about sick human minds, which would let humans suffer such torture. It can make you vulnerable and can also bring back to mind issues of today’s hidden forms of torture, such as bullying or domestic violence. The Dungeon is a miniature cool room in which the visitor can spend a minute of his life in pitch blackness, anticipating the uncertain future…

Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum, Kentucky, USA

Ventriloquist Doll
Ventriloquist Doll. Pixabay

The Museum houses smiling ventriloquist dolls. William Shakespeare Berger bought his first dummy in 1910- Tommy Baloney. By 1947, his collection had grown so large he renovated his garage to house the figures, and in 1962, he had to construct a second building. Vent Haven Museum was officially opened to the public on June 30, 1973, , with the dedication of the W.S. Berger Memorial Building.  Ventriloquist legends Edgar Bergen and Jimmy Nelson performed for all who attended the ceremony.

Vent Haven Museum houses more than 800 dummies, playbills, photos and historical books from Berger’s personal collection. In addition to this, the museum also hosts the annual convention- a ventriloquist meeting attracting many professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world.

Avanos Hair Museum, Avanos, Turkey

Avanos Hair Museum
Avanos Hair Museum. Wikimedia

The museum was created by a potter by profession, Chez Galip and is located in the rural Turkish town of Avanos. The story behind the origin of it is that the local potter Chez Galip was bidding farewell to a dear friend of his when he asked for something to remember her by. She cut off a piece of her hair to leave as a reminder. He put it up in his shop and told the story to the visitors and tourists who passed through. Other women who enjoyed the story left a piece of their hair as well and from there started the collection of hair. The museum started in 1979 when a selection was put up for display.

It now features a gigantic collection of hair gathered from more than 16,000 women, and if that isn’t creepy enough. It lies in a small, dark cave. Locks of women’s hair adorn the walls of this weird museum. The museum fills up a section of the shop where the earthen wares are stored. Visitors roam in the cave-like room with hair attached to every available surface. Pencils, paper, pins, and scissors are offered to those wanting to add their own piece to the collection.

 International Cryptozoology Museum, Maine, USA

Skunk Ape
Skunk Ape. Pixabay

Cryptozoology means- the study of hidden animals and involves the search for animals whose existence has not been verified, like the Yeti or Bigfoot (skunk ape). This museum’s collection has specimens and artifacts allegedly related to these kinds of mythical, unverified creatures. It includes everything from the hair samples, fecal matter, and native art. A rather odd collection to be incorporated and maybe it just might turn you into a Bigfoot believer.

The museum was started in 2003.  Loren Coleman who wanted to share the items he collected with researchers, scholars, colleagues, and the general public. He went on to interview eyewitnesses, chronicle the reports, and gather material evidence and cultural artifacts related to cryptozoology. It modestly began with sculptures and paintings created just for it, hundreds of cryptozoology toys and souvenirs from around the world, and one of a kind artifacts. The museum has a life-size, 8 feet tall Bigfoot representation, a full-scale, six-foot-long thousand dollar coelacanth model, 100 Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, and other foot casts, fakes like jackalopes, Fiji Mermaid & furred trout.

ALSO READ: Virtual museums to be opened at 50 places in India to accentuate “significant” role of Tribals in Freedom struggle: PM Narendra Modi

 Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 world's longest tapeworm
World’s longest tapeworm. Wikimedia

 Do you know everything about the parasite world? If you’ve ever wanted to know about tapeworms, head lice and plenty of other parasites you’ve probably never heard of. You can see it all at this museum. The collection boasts of around 300 specimens, including a 29-foot tapeworm. Not recommended for anyone with a weak stomach.

On the first floor of the museum, the ‘Diversity of Parasites’ displaying various types of parasitic specimens and accompanying it is educational movies, if you are interested to know more. The second-floor exhibits are ‘Human and Zoonotic Parasites’ showcasing parasite life cycles and the symptoms they cause during human infection. In addition to research, the museum also performs other activities such as education and provides special publications as well. The man behind the museum is Satoru Kamegai.

 The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, Kansas, USA

Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire. Pixabay

Yes, it’s true. There is a museum dedicated to barbed wires out there in the world. It features more than 2,400 varieties and explores the role barbed wire played in the settlement of the United States. Well, don’t touch any of the displays. The museum was established in 1970. There is an international organization, Antique Barbed Wire Society, committed to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting the historical heritage of barb wire and barbed wire related item. There is Dioramas of early barbed wire use, a theatre featuring educational films, the Barbed Wire Hall of Fame, the museum archives room, and a research library for visitors.

 The Dog Collar Museum, England

Red Cross dog collar
Red Cross dog collar. Wikimedia

Dog collars are the little piece of accessory that transforms dogs from wild animals to man’s best friend. There is dog paraphernalia that dates back more than 100 years in this museum and inside you can see the history of canine accessories. This place is perfect for people who always wondered what a medieval dog collar may have looked like. In today’s time, dog collars are simple pieces of sturdy, flexible nylon in assorted colors and designs. However, in this Museum, you are treated to some of the fanciest dog collars there are.

This unique collection consists of nearly 100 collars that were collected by Irish medieval scholar John Hunt and his wife, Gertrude. Extended by the Leeds Castle Foundation, the collection has pieces that span history that is from medieval to Victorian times. The royal pet’s had baroque leather embellished dog collars with metalwork and velvet. This unusual place is visited by more than 500,000 dog lovers a year, both local and from overseas.

Le Musée des Vampires, France

Vampire
Vampire. Pixabay

The Le Musée des Vampires is a study of vampires’ place in France’s culture throughout history and today, a small private museum dedicated to vampires and the study of their place in folklore and modern culture. This weird museum has autographs of every actor who’s ever starred as Dracula, a mummified cat from Paris’ famous Père Lachaise Cemetery, and a vampire painting by famous French murderer Nicolas Claux. This is a cool place to be at if vampires fascinate you.

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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French Education Ministry selects 79 Indian students for English Language Assistants program

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French Education Ministry's English Language Assistants programme
French Education Ministry's English Language Assistants programme that will see participation of 60 countries. VOA
  • French Education Ministry’s English Language Assistants program will see participation of 60 countries
  • The program will start in October 2017 and end in May 2018, according to a statement from the French Embassy and the Institut Français India (IFI)
  • The 79 students have been selected on the basis of their expertise in both French and English

New Delhi, June 18, 2017: A total of 79 Indian students have been selected for the French Education Ministry’s English Language Assistants programme that will see participation of 60 countries.

The programme will start in October 2017 and end in May 2018, according to a statement from the French Embassy and the Institute Français India (IFI) here on Thursday.

“In the framework of their bilateral cooperation in education, France and India have agreed to support the mobility of students, encouraging the internationalisation of their higher education training courses,” it said.

Students taking part in this 20-year-old teaching programme will be assisting English language teachers in primary, secondary and higher secondary schools by offering them an understanding of the language throughout the whole academic year.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

The 79 students have been selected on the basis of their expertise in both French and English.

“The programme provides a unique opportunity to Indian students who have already acquired a high level of French language competence and to have a first professional experience in the French academic milieu,” IFI Attache for Cooperation in Education Marie Doublier told IANS.

“They shall not only work in French schools but also live with French families to get a complete familiarity of the French lifestyle. They will also help develop links between French and Indian schools, teachers and students,” she said.

She added that most participants become French language teachers in Indian schools, colleges and universities when they return. (IANS)

 

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Australia to abolish 457 existing Visa programmes, Changes won’t affect Indians much: Harinder Sidhu

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Harinder Sidhu said that the number of India-born Australians has tripled in the last one decade providing relief by ousting fears over the new visa regime

New Delhi, May 9, 2017: After Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced last month that he will be abolishing the existing 457 Visa programme, currently used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment, the country’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said on Tuesday that she did not expect the move to affect Indians much.

Speaking at a media interaction organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, Sidhu said the move to abolish the 457 Visa programme was aimed to ensure that people who come to Australia should be properly qualified.

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The 457 Visa programme is used mainly to hire foreign workers in the restaurant, IT and medical industries and the majority of such visa holders came from India, Britain and China. Turnbull’s statement, coming days after he visited New Delhi, caused a lot of consternation in India.

According to government statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia under 457 Visa programme last year, with the highest proportion coming from India (24.6 per cent), followed by Britain (19.5 per cent) and China (5.8 per cent).

Sidhu said that most of the Indian 457 Visa holders work in the IT sector and, given the “great shortage” of IT workers in her country, “we expect Indians to continue to qualify” for Australian visas.

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“This (457 Visa) is just a temporary visa that allowed people to come and work for a week to four years,” she said.

She said that the number of student visas issued to Indians has also continued to rise over the last three years.

From 46,000 student visas issued in 2014, the number rose to 53,000 in 2015 and to over 60,000 in 2017, the High Commissioner said.

As for incidents of racism in Australia, Sidhu, who is a person of Indian origin, said that Australia was “one of the most successful multicultural societies” with people from 120 countries.

“There is a policy of zero tolerance at all levels of government (on racism),” she said.

In this connection, she also pointed out that 48 per cent of Australia’s total population of 24 million are first and second generation migrants.

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As for India-Australia ties, the High Commissioner said that both countries shared “a fairly strong bilateral relationship”.

She said that during Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to India last month, he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed to “add fresh momentum” to the bilateral ties.

Stating that both countries shared common strategic and security interests, Sidhu said that military ties were growing in numbers, “notably bilateral naval exercises”.

She also said that both countries shared a “strong economic relationship” while mentioning that Modi and Turnbull have agreed to “move forward” on the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Later this year, the largest ever Australian trade delegation will visit India for the Australia Trade Week.

According to the High Commissioner, the personal relationship between Modi and Turbull is very important for growth of businesses in both countries. (IANS)

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