- By Munish Kumar Raizada
Ever heard of this name- Belize? and its Indian connection?
This is a small country in Central America, near Mexico. It has a population of 350 thousand (3.5 Lakh).
Interestingly, Belize is the only officially English speaking country in Latin America.
Many may not even know that Belize too has a albeit small percentage of population that derives its roots from India (East India).
I came across this 7 minute interesting documentary film directed by Dr Kumar Mahabir, an anthropologist and an academician at University of Trinidad and Tobago.
According to this documentary titled: “Artifacts of East Indians in Belize”
” East Indians in Belize comprise four percent (7,000 persons) of the population. Understandably, they have lost almost all of their traditional Indian culture. Interestingly, Indians in Belize are longing to rediscover and re-claim their Indian history, heritage and culture. They are looking towards Trinidad for inspiration, interaction, support and sustenance.
Formally known as British Honduras, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Bordered by Mexico in the North and Guatemala in the West and South, it lies at the heart of the Caribbean Basin. Belize has giant Mayan pyramids and the world’s second largest barrier reef. It has a mélange of over ten different cultures which are concentrated in the six districts.
Unlike any other Caribbean country, Belize experienced three waves of Indian migration, commencing in 1858. The first wave of migrants consisted of 1000 deported ex-soldiers (and their families) who had rebelled against the British Government in India’s First War of Independence/Sepoy Rebellion. The second wave of Indians, ex-indentured workers from Jamaica, went to Belize in 1872. The third wave of Indian migrants to Belize came from Guatemala, from where they had gone to work in the coffee plantations in Cafe Mountains.”
To read more and listen to the video, here is the You Tube link: Enjoy and expand your horizon!
This facebook page of a nonprofit working in Belize may also be of interest to you: Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritage (COEICH)