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Suriname in South America celebrates June 5 as Indian Arrival Day

Indian workers were brought to Suriname as indentured labor under the false pretext of visiting a holy place, 'Sri Ram' for piligrimmage

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Indian Labors. Image source: Wikipedia
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  • Indian Arrival Day is celebrated in various countries to mark the arrival of Indians as indentured labour
  • Indians form 27% of Suriname’s population, largest among all communities
  • Speeches and parades are performed to celebrate Indian Arrival Day in the country

A huge number of the Indian population was shipped to various parts of the world as indentured labor by powerful European authorities. As a result, various countries have a sizable chunk of their population attributed to Indians even to this day.

To celebrate and respect the Indian Diaspora, many countries celebrate Indian Arrival Day, which, as mentioned in previous articles published by NewsGram, is “a national holiday celebrated in various countries of the Caribbean, the island nation of Mauritius and Suriname, on different days to acknowledge the first wave of arrival of laborers from the Indian subcontinent by British colonial authorities.”

Indian Arrival Day in Suriname, South America is celebrated on June 5. The country is nestled between Guyana to its west, Brazil to its south and French Guiana to its east. Originally inhabited by local tribes, Suriname was discovered by the Europeans and became a Dutch colony in the 17th century, before finally gaining sovereign status in 1975.

Map of Suriname. Image source: Wikipedia
Map of Suriname. Image source: Wikipedia

On 5 June 1873, Lala Rookh, the sailing ship carrying 452 laborers arrived in Paramaribo, the modern capital of Suriname, after three long months of voyage from Calcutta. This was the first of around 64 vessels which brought over 34,000 Indian laborers through the years of 1873 to 1916, most of them originating from the modern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Dutch people tricked these Indians into believing they were being taken for pilgrimage to the holy land of ‘Sri Ram’, which turned out to be the colony of Suriname.

After their contractual period of labor, which was 5 years for most workers, the Dutch government lured the laborers to settle permanently in their colonial lands. A lot of incentives were provided, like free settlement rights and the provision of a 100 Dutch guilders. These incentives seemed to be evidently popular, as 23,000 ‘Hindustanis’ resolved to stay back and start a life in Suriname. With the acquisition of small plots of rice land, which later spread to larger areas, the Indian diaspora found a source of revenue.

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With the onset of the 20th century, more and more Hindustanis began to explore the sectors of trade and transport. They realized the importance of Western Education to acquire high income jobs, and ensures their children received proper education. The settlement of Hindustanis was helped by the fact that the Dutch Government gave out immediate Dutch Citizenship status to everyone born on Surinamese land. With the progression of time, the Indian diaspora ventured into the field of politics and governance, and eventually made their mark in Suriname.

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The sudden rise of the Indian community was resented by a few local populations and tribes. In 1975, when Suriname was granted independence by the Netherlands, as many as 50% of the then 300,000 strong Indian Diaspora opted to migrate to Netherlands owing to racial tensions and the liberal dutch citizenship.

Today, nearly 27% of Suriname’s population is comprised of East Indians, the largest ethnicity in the country, which mostly originated from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. As a result, 22.3% of the population also practices Hinduism, second largest chunk after Christianity, which is followed by 48% of the population.

June 5 is considered a national holiday in Suriname, and important speeches by prominent political figures, like the Indian Ambassador to Suriname are delivered. Wreaths and flowers are often laid at the ‘Baba and Mai’ statue, which represents the first Indian to set foot on Surinamese soil. Parades and coaches along streets attract thousands of spectators, and showcases the unique culture of immigrants and the diaspora.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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Former US President Says, A Peaceful World Requires More Women Politicians Than Men

Former President encourages the existence of more women politicians for a peaceful world

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Jimmy Carter with his wife at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Former President Jimmy Carter, right, and his wife Rosalynn arrive for a ribbon cutting ceremony for a solar panel project on farmland he owns in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. VOA

Discrimination against women and girls is a more pressing global challenge than disparities in income between the rich and the poor, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday.

The 93-year-old, who established the Carter Center in 1982 to prevent and resolve conflicts and push for human rights, also backed women to bring about a more politically stable world.

The Former President Of US, Jimmy Carter.
Jimmy Carter.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that a woman is more inclined to peace than a man is, so I think we can move towards peace if women get more and more positions in parliament and more and more positions as president,” he said.

Carter was speaking at the annual Skoll World Forum, a gathering of 1,200 social entrepreneurs. He previously cited disparity in income as the world’s greatest challenge when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Also Read: Melania Trump Presents International ‘Women Of Courage’ Awards

Carter also pointed to unequal numbers of women and men in parts of India and China, suggesting that prejudice against females meant they had been killed by their families.

Experts have said previously that a strong preference for sons is the root cause behind the uneven ratios, with some parents taking illegal gender tests to abort female fetuses.

The Skoll Foundation was bestowing on Carter its Global Treasure Award. Sally Osberg, president of the foundation, said there were no formal criteria for the award.

“We just know that there is someone in our midst whose integrity is inspiring and whose record of achievement in addressing the world’s pressing problems is nothing less than stunning,” said Osberg.

Female politicians are no less than men, they are even better.
        Female politicians have always been making headlines all            over town.

Previous winners have included fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Dalai Lama and Irish rock star Bono.

Carter served as president between 1977 and 1981. He was succeeded by Ronald Reagan.

Carter was followed on to the stage at Skoll by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of the United Nations’ agency on women, who reminded the audience that it was Equal Pay Day in the United States.

The awareness-raising day has been observed for two decades to mark how many more days women must work in a subsequent year simply to catch up with what men earned in the previous year.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the average global gender pay gap was 23 percent, adding that this could be worse for women of color, indigenous women, those who are disabled, or for reasons of sexual orientation.  VOA