Trinidad conference: ‘Indian diaspora must move beyond culture and heritage’


By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Indian High Commission organized a four day international conference to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of East Indians in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the opening ceremony of the International Indian Diaspora Conference, Clement Sankat, principal of the St. Augustine  Campus, University of West Indies, said on Tuesday, “The Indian diaspora must move beyond culture, heritage and traditions into present day areas of sustainable development.”

“We must build a new impetus towards a direction for sustainable development that is mutually beneficial to India and its global diaspora,” he added.

The first voyage of East Indians started in the year 1844. Around 238 people, mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, boarded the steam ship “Fatal Razack” from Calcutta Port on August 27, 1844. They reached the Port of Trinidad and Tobago on May 30, 1845. The British government brought these people here to enhance the decaying agricultural capacity in cocoa, coffee and sugarcane.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago declared May 30th as a public holiday in the year 1992.

“Through scholarship and conferences, the Caribbean could develop a Caribbean civilization, and this must enrich a global civilization,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran.

Dookeran said that the approach to search the pathway for Indian diaspora in the country started from the 1975 conference.

Indian High Commissioner, Gauri Shankar Gupta, praised the Indian diaspora for their strength and resilience in the global community. He added that the names of the people of this extraction are found at all levels of society, politics, culture, religion, academic and sports.

The four day conference ends on Friday. The delegates from several countries such as Fiji, Suriname, USA, UK, the Netherlands and, of course, India are taking part in this program.

The conference mainly focuses on Indians in the Caribbean, literary representations of the Indian diaspora, religion and spirituality in the Indian diaspora, historiography of the Indian diaspora, cross cultural exchanges, art, music and aesthetics.