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Indo-Caribbean history: An analysis of the lost Indians in St. Kitts

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By Megha Sharma

This video, published on August 18 in 2015, is an extensive study of the eminent anthropologist and assistant professor at the university of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Kumar Mahabir on the migrated Indian population and their later vanish from the West Indies Island, St. Kitts.

Watch it here:

The islet is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the vast Atlantic Ocean with an approximate distance of about 2100 km from Florida. The land is the first British colony in the Caribbean Sea, becoming the richest of them by 1776. It is a well-established place with a national park, famous medical universities, and even the smallest nation throughout the world to host the cricket world cup 2007.

kitts-map
map of the island near the Caribbean Sea

The data provided examines the number of Indian immigrants to the Caribbean Sea, where this land comes under the ones received the least by these people. From around 250000 individuals, only 337 opted for it. The researcher also observes how even the literary fields are devoid of any exploration of Indians’ presence in this space.

A personal visit to the place too didn’t fetch him a substantial amount of record to scrutinize into the matter as he just received a few documents of National Archives to satiate this search. Further, the St Christopher Advertiser, a newspaper maintained by a free-coloured family ran from 1782 to 1915. He has otherwise not found any digitised information on the same from the English National Archives.

361 immigrants of different Indian places retreated from Calcutta on February 26, 1861, on the ship Dartmouth, with 337 setting foot on the Island and 2 dying during the voyage. The immigrants included 209 males and 128 females and children who were distributed to work in 25 estates.

These people converted to Christianity, some even changing the names of their children to Christian ones. The scenario totally turned with only 10 Indians on the Island absorbing in the local population after seven years with 21% moving to their origins and a great mass settling in Trinidad.

st-kitts
A beautiful view of the island of St. Kitts

It is seen how the whole population of Indian outsiders scattered throughout the Islands was too small in numbers to form settled communities wherein Dr Kumar studied the case of a Trinidadian novelist Merle Hodge.

These studies analyse how these Anglican Indians lost the essence of their lands and are immersed in the cultural discourses of their alternative identities. The recent people who have put their roots in the land are Sindhis establishing retail stores and supermarkets. Archibald, a Kittitian author, observes how political actions were taken to hold the increasing immigration to these lands.

(Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her Masters in English and has also done her studies in German language.) Gmail- loveme2010.ms@gmail.com

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‘Trinidad Express’ Editor Accused of Discriminating Against Indian Writers for their Weekly Columns

A letter, written by Kumar Mahabir who is an Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad & Tobago, explains the accusation in detail

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Kumar Mahabir
Trinidad & Tobago flag. Wikimedia

Trinidad, August 28, 2017: The Editor of a Trinidad & Tobago based newspaper called ‘Trinidad Express’ is accused of discriminating against Indian writers for their weekly columns.

A letter, written by Kumar Mahabir who is an Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad & Tobago, explains the accusation in detail.

As of now, there has been no response from Trinidad Express Editor Ms. Omatie Lyder. Kumar Mahabir’s letter can be read below-

The Secretary, Board of Directors
One Caribbean Media (OCM) Limited
Express House
35 Independence Square
Port of Spain
August 25, 2017
Dear Sir/Madam,
Bias against Indians by Express Editor, Ms Omatie Lyder
In keeping with its “national” mandate, the Express editor should be fair, balanced, diverse and objective.
Editor Ms Omatie Lutchman Lyder has been giving space to three Afro-centric columnists: Professor Selwyn Cudjoe, Keith Subero and Raffique Shah – the same three (3) Afro-centric columnists every single week.
She often provides space to a fourth Afro-centric writer, this time as a guest columnist – Professor Theodore Lewis. Ms. Omatie published Part 1 and Part 2 of his articles entitled “Kamal Persad trivialising history.” She published his two guest columns four days apart on August 11th 2017 and on August 15th 2017.
Ms. Omatie often publishes long letters by another Afro-centric writer, NJAC Chairman, Aiyegoro Ome.
Indo-oriented writers like myself (Dr. Kumar Mahabir), Kamal Persad, Dool Hanomansingh, et al. are not assured of a weekly space in the Express.
Is it time that we call for Indians to boycott sales and advertising in the Express?
If we are not given a complementary weekly space in the Express, a delegation of us plan to meet the Board of Directors of OCM to provide empirical evidence of the bias by Ms. Omatie against Indian writers with Indian perspectives.
Sincerely,
Dr Kumar Mahabir, Assistant Professor
University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)
2011 National Award (Silver) recipient for education
Chairman, Chakra Publishing House Ltd (CPH)
Chairman, Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre Co. Ltd (ICC)
Vice-Chairman, Indian Caribbean Museum
10 Swami Avenue, Don Miguel Road
San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 674-6008
Tel/fax: (868) 675-7707
Mobile (868) 756-4961
E-mail: dmahabir@gmail.com

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