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Evidences of Recruitment and Abolition show the plight of Indentured immigrants from India

Authors and researchers bring out history of certain origins and the dynamics of Indian Indentured Labourers

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Indian labour transportation to West Indies, Wikimedia

This article is completely based on the research work and opinion of Dr Kwame Nantambu. Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago marks an important event in the Indian History as well as World History. If one browses through the article, they will come across details about the origins that include the Asian-Chinese Dynasty, “Ganges” river, Indian originality and the label “Indentured Servants.” Dr Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies has highlighted certain origins and the historical dynamics of Indian Arrival.

Asian-Chinese Dynasty

Pieces of evidence and studies have revealed that Africans had ruled all of Asia in the B.C. era. It is quite strange to know that China’s first two and most important dynasties- the Xia (2205-1766 B.C.) and Shang/Chang were ruled by Africans.

Understanding facial dynamics also add an interesting angle in knowing the origin of several communities. If one takes a closer look at the Asian facial type of eyes, one will notice it is slanted. This is one of the common characteristics of people in West Africa, the Sahara and in South Africa among the Kong-San Bushmen. Therefore, as one can already figure it out that these ancient Africans brought numerous facial dynamics when they ruled Asia for centuries and mingled with the indigenous population; just as the African-Moors did in Euro-Spain from 711-1492 A.D.

History bears proof that the earliest occupants or inhabitants of Asia are Africans, from ancient Kemet or Egypt. They were the ones who built pyramids in China, which is located near Siang Fu city in the Shensi province.

Need more proofs? The 1st Chinese emperor, Fu-Hsi (“Son of Heaven”) 2953-2838 B.C. was a woolly-haired Black-African man who invented the oracle of “I Ching” or “The Book of Change.”

In addition to that “martial arts,” a form of sports and the therapy called “acupuncture” today were the gift of the ancient Africans from Kemet/Egypt to China. One can go in person and see the evidence of all these historical truisms painted on the walls of Temple of Ptah. In ancient Kemet or Egypt B.C., the ‘opening of the mouth’ ceremony was believed to have been devised by him.”

“Ganges” River

“Ganges” is considered one of the most sacred of rivers in India, as there is a spiritual significance attached to it. But, only a few of them is aware of the fact that is named in the honour of the most famous and powerful African or Ethiopian King, namely Pharaoh/King Ganges, who invaded, conquered as well as ruled Asia as far as this river in India circa 1,500 B.C.

Indian Originality

History bears witness that Indian “indentured servants” came to Trinidad from India in May 1845. They did not come from Indo. Put another way, Indians were the people who came from India; they were not the Indoes who came from Indo.

Ergo, the descendants of these original Indians are now proud Indian-Trinbagonians in May 2011. They are not Indo-Trinbagonians- this label is totally ahistorical and must not only be immediately relegated to the ash heap of T&T’s cultural or ethnic history but must also be expunged from T&T’s societal lexicon.

Capitalism and Slavery, a book by Eric Williams. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Capitalism and Slavery, a book by Eric Williams. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

“Indentured Servants”: Afri-centric Background

In his magnum opus titled Capitalism and Slavery (1938), Dr. Eric Williams asserts:

“The immediate successor of the Amerindians was not the African but ‘poor whites.’ They were regarded as ‘indentured servants’ because before leaving England, they had to sign a contract binding them to service for a stipulated period in return for their passage. Others were criminals/convicts who were sent by the British government to serve for a specific time on plantations in the Caribbean.” (p.9).

Dynamics of Indian Arrival

Image source: www.goodreads.com
A Post Emancipation History of the West Indies. Image source: www.goodreads.com

Prof. Isaac Dookhan in his book titled A Post Emancipation History of the West Indies (1975), suggests that immigration of Indians to the Caribbean was very attractive due to following reasons:

  • During the Colonial rule, the establishment of the British factory system in India destroyed Indian domestic industries, like the spinning of cloth and as a result about tens of thousands were thrown out of work and this resulted in the high unemployment rate.
  • Due to the failing of crops and high food prices, parts of India got affected by famine.
  • Lands were taken away forcefully or by illegal methods in India and Indians were promised of land for themselves in Carribean
  • Indians saw Trinidad and Guyana as a better future for themselves as the Indians were promised higher wages. Labourers were paid between 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pence a day in India but in Trinidad, they could earn 2 shillings a day and in Guyana, 1 shilling and 9 pence a day, that was enough to lure them.
  • Criminals who escaped from the police and were afraid of returning to the village, as well as loafers, could go to the colonies.
  • As small scale industries were shut down, displaced workers in cottage industries and agriculture and labourers experienced seasonal unemployment and financial crisis became common. Due to lack of job opportunities, they were ready to listen to the Euro-British recruiters’ propaganda.
  • Some Indians were brought to Carribean by giving a false hope that they could find non-agricultural work as policemen, teachers, clerks, and much more in the Caribbean colonies.
  • Contacts and communications with returning relatives and friends from Carribean, who came back home with a decent sum of money encouraged Indians to emigrate. (pp.51-52)

The religious breakdown of the Indians who came to Trinidad: 85.3% Hindus, 14% Muslims and .07% Christians.

The result clearly states that majority of them were Hindus as the last Euro-British ship to bring Indians from India was called the “Ganges.” It took about five months to reach Carribean from India as it was via Cape of Good Hope (Africa).

225 Indians arrived at Nelson Island, Trinidad, on the Muslim-owned vessel “Fath Al Razak,” on 30 May 1845. Six Indians died during that journey via the “Kala Paani” or Middle Passage.

Indian Arrival Day—Guyana

18 Indians died in the journey, when two small sailing ships, the “Whitby” and “Hesperus” arrived with 396 immigrants from India on 5 May 1847.

Indian Arrival Day—Jamaica

In Jamaica, it was on 10 May 1845 when 261 Indians arrived on the ship “Blundell Hunter.”

Indians who came to Trinidad consisted of men and women between the age group of 10-30 years and they were from the lower caste people Shudras, and not the Brahmins, who came to Trinidad. Others were agricultural workers and 40 women to 100 men were selected from this section.

The Indians came to Trinidad from the following towns in India: Calcutta, Madras, Pondicherry, Punjab, Lahore, Karachi, Bihar, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Mardan and Kashmir. As of this writing (29 May 2011), the umbilical, ancestral cord of this historic, unforgettable journey is still etched in the names of streets in St. James — location, location, location.

An Indenture certificate. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
An Indenture certificate. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

An offer of 5 pounds and five acres of land were made to the Indian “indentured labourers” to stay in the colonies after their contract ended. The offer was different for men and women. While men received a five-year contract, women got only a three-year contract. The stark historical reality is that the Indian “indentured labourers” received the same treatment from the Euro-British government that was afforded to the Euro-British “poor whites” or “indentured servants.” The contract said that 10 years after the contract ended, immigrants could return to India and a free passage will be provided.

In the colonies, the work schedule was such that the Indian “indentured migrants” were required to work only 280 days a year; while women who are pregnant worked part-time on the plantations. In case a woman has children, older women used to look after them.

In 1869, the Euro-Trinidad–colonial government opened up Crown Lands for sale and thousands of ex-indentured Indians acquired ten–acre estates. In 1884, the Euro-colonial-British government established the Peasant Development Programme to assist in the economic development of Indians in Trinidad.

Dispersal of Indians in Diaspora

Research by Prof. Isaac Dookhan reveals the count of Caribbean indenture dispersal of Indians: Trinidad, 143,939 (1845-1917); Jamaica, 36, 412 (1845-1885); Guyana, 238,909 (1847-1917); St. Lucia 4,354; Grenada, 3,200; St. Vincent, 2,472 and St. Kitts, 337 (p.51). Apart from that, Indian “Indentured labourers” also went to Fiji, Belize, Mauritius, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. If one counts the total, it sums up to 1.5 million Indians, who left India in this labour-intensive exercise.

It was on 21 March 1916, when the Euro-colonial–British government went ahead and abolished the Indian indentureship system and it came into effect on 21 March 1917.

– prepared by NewsGram team

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Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here

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Hinduism. Pixabay

Oct 06, 2017: Have you ever wondered what being a Hindu means? Or who is actually fit to be called a Hindu? Over centuries, Hindus and Indians alike have asked this question to themselves or their elders at least once in their lifetime.

In the 1995 ruling of the case, “Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Versus State of West Bengal” the court identified seven defining characteristics of Hinduism but people are still confused to what exactly defines being a Hindu in the 21st century. It’s staggering how uninformed individuals can be about their own religion; according to a speech by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya there are various common notions we carry about who a Hindu is:

  • Anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu
  • If your parents are Hindu, you’re are also inevitably a Hindu
  • If you believe in reincarnation, you’re a Hindu
  • If you follow any religion practiced in India, you’re a Hindu
  • And lastly, if you are born in a certain caste, you’re a Hindu

After answering these statements some fail to remove their doubts on who a Hindu is. The question arises when someone is unsure on how to portray themselves in the society, many people follow a set of notions which might/might not be the essence of Hinduism and upon asked why they perform a particular ritual they are clueless. The problem is that the teachings are passed on for generations and the source has been long forgotten, for the source is exactly where the answer lies.

Religion corresponds to scriptural texts

The world is home to many religions and each religion has its own uniqueness portrayed out of the scriptures and teachings which are universally accepted. So to simplify the dilemma one can say that determining whether someone belongs to a particular religion is directly related to whether he/she follows the religious scriptures of the particular religion, and also whether they abide to live by the authority of the scriptural texts.

Christianity emerges from the guidance of the Gospels and Islam from the Quran where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet. Similarly, Hinduism emerges from a set of scriptures known as the Vedas and a Hindu is one who lives according to Dharma which is implicated in the divine laws in the Vedic scriptures.By default, the person who follows these set of religious texts is a Hindu.

Also Read: Christianity and Islam don’t have room for a discourse. Hindus must Stop Pleasing their former Christian or Muslim masters, says Maria Wirth 

Vedas distinguishes Hindu from a Non-Hindu

Keeping this definition in mind, all the Hindu thinkers of the traditional schools of Hindu philosophy accept and also insist on accepting the Vedas as a scriptural authority for distinguishing Hindus from Non-Hindus. Further implying the acceptance of the following of Bhagwat Gita, Ramayana, Puranas etc as a determining factor by extension principle as well.

Bottom Line

So, concluding the debate on who is a Hindu we can say that a person who believes in the authority of the Vedas and lives by the Dharmic principles of the Vedas is a Hindu. Also implying that anyone regardless of their nationality i.e. American, French or even Indian can be called a Hindu if they accept the Vedas.

– Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram                                                                

(the article was originally written by Shubhamoy Das and published by thoughtco)

One response to “Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here”

  1. Hindu is a historical name for people living “behind the river Indus”. So, everyone living in India is a Hindu, eventhough he might have a different faith.

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Donald Trump to Revisit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) if Congress Stumbles

DACA did not promise participants citizenship or permanent U.S. residency, instead promising a reprieve from deportation

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Jennifer Hernandez (L) and Paola Rodriguez, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients, participate in a candle vigil at the San Jacinto Plaza in El Paso, Texas, Sept. 5, 2017. VOA

Sep 06, 2017: President Donald Trump says he will revisit the decision to end a program that shielded nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants from deportation if Congress doesn’t act on the issue.

Hours after administration officials said new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, will no longer be accepted, Trump tweeted late Tuesday that “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

Action by Congress is not certain. Lawmakers have been unsuccessful for years in their efforts to revise substantially U.S. immigration policies. During Obama’s eight years as president, the Senate – controlled by members of his Democratic Party for most of that time — approved major policy changes only to see the legislation fail in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

President Trump approved the decision to end DACA but sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions before news cameras Tuesday to announce the controversial policy change.

“DACA is being rescinded,” Sessions announced. The action revoked an executive order former President Barack Obama issued five years ago after the U.S. Congress repeatedly failed to agree on an immigration reform bill.

WATCH: Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Sessions argued that Obama’s “open-ended circumvention of immigration laws” was in violation of the U.S. constitution and unlikely to survive a legal challenge brought by several Republican-controlled states.

Former President Barack Obama, who has refrained from commenting on most of the policy changes Trump has enacted this year, challenged Sessions’ legal argument in a strongly worded statement, saying the decision was “purely political” and that it targeted young people who “have done nothing wrong.”

Demonstrators opposed to the administration’s decision massed in Washington, Los Angeles, New York, Denver and other cities.

WATCH: ‘Dreamers’ Vow to Fight to Keep DACA Until the Bitter End

Activist Gustavo Torres told a crowd outside the White House: “This president lied to our community. … He told us, ‘I have a big heart for you dreamers.’ He’s a liar!”

Protesters react to the cancellation of DACA outside the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington, Sept. 5, 2017. (PVohra/VOA)
Protesters react to the cancellation of DACA outside the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington, Sept. 5, 2017. (PVohra/VOA)

The future status of the hundreds of thousands of young, foreign-born students and workers is unclear for now, since they are no longer protected from summary deportation by the DACA program. Congress will have six months to act if it wants to continue to allow them to remain in the United States.

The young immigrants, also colloquially known as “dreamers,” typically entered the United States as young children. Many trace their heritage to Mexico or Central American countries, but some arrived so young that they have grown up knowing nothing other than American society and customs.

DACA supporters march to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to protest shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), will be suspended with a six-month delay, Sept. 5, 2017.
DACA supporters march to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to protest shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), will be suspended with a six-month delay, Sept. 5, 2017. VOA

Anyone who joined the “deferred action” program for work and study was required to have and maintain a clean criminal record. DACA did not promise participants citizenship or permanent U.S. residency, instead promising a reprieve from deportation.

DACA Changes Explained

The program was initially intended as a stop-gap measure to protect aspiring young immigrants, while Congress was to come up with a more lasting solution to their problems.

“I have a love for these people,” Trump said at the White House late Tuesday, “and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.” Earlier he had issued only a written statement stating that federal immigration patrols would not make seeking out DACA recipients for detention and deportation a priority issue. (VOA)

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Increasing Number of Elderly Chinese-American Citizens Contemplate Suicide Because of Discrimination, Claims New Research

The research by University of Michigan traces the relationship between discrimination and suicidal thoughts, also understood as suicide ideation among aged Chinese-American

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Discrimination at public spaces and work, alike often prompts aged Chinese-Americans to feel like they are not ‘welcome’ in the area. Pixabay
  • A new research examined how racial bias prompts elderly Chinese-Americans to contemplate suicide 
  • Discrimination can impair an individual’s physical, emotional and mental well-being
  • The study revealed that individuals are twice as likely to think about taking their own life when subjected to discriminatory behavior 

Chicago, September 2, 2017 : According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 800,000 people end their lives every year, and there are countless more who attempt suicide. These deliberate deaths have long-lasting effects not just on the families of the people involved, but also on the larger society. According to a new research, people who experience discrimination of any form are twice as likely to contemplate taking their own life in comparison to those who didn’t experience similar thoughts.

The research by University of Michigan traced the relationship between discrimination and suicidal thoughts, also understood as suicide ideation among aged Chinese-American citizens.

Lydia Li, associate professor at the University Of Michigan School Of Social Work and a co-author of the study believes prejudicial treatment or racial bias is an extremely challenging experience for the elderly that can hamper not just emotional, but also mental and physical well being, according to a report by ANI.

“It’s a serious matter. It’s not something you can just forget” she said in an interview with HuffPost, further adding, “It cuts into peoples’ thoughts about their place on this planet.”

The Research

The research examined over 3,000 Chinese American seniors aged 60 years and above in the greater Chicago area, who had immigrated to the United States and have been living here for more than twenty years.

Further, 57 per cent of the study participants were women.

Professor Li along with the team obtained and analyzed the background information of all participants, including their age, education, and marital status through a detailed questionnaire. The participants were also asked to share specific experiences of discrimination, if faced any. Additionally, the questionnaire gauged their take on suicide and questioned if they had ever harbored suicidal thoughts.

Revelations Of The Study

The study revealed that about 4 per cent of the participants had debated suicide all within a period of 30 days. Furthermore, 21 per cent had reported experiencing discrimination in a variety of situations.

The participants in the research revealed experiencing prejudicial discrimination at public spaces and work, alike which often prompts them to feel like they are not ‘welcome’ in the area.

According to the study, participants who experienced discrimination were twice as likely to contemplate taking their own life in comparison to those who didn’t experience similar thoughts.

Chinese-American
The study asserts that the impact of racial bias on health shouldn’t be underestimated, or ignored. Wikimedia

According to Professor Li, apart from raising a sense of vulnerability and isolation, discrimination among older Chinese-Americans also impedes them from seeking help. In her opinion, “Assimilation difficulty, cultural beliefs and family pride may preclude them from seeking help. Consequently they may come to see suicide as a viable alternative”, as reported by ANI.

The participants of the research belonged to the ethnic minority of Chinese-American immigrants who did not face any such bias in their own country. Delving on this fact, Professor Li noted that it gets increasingly difficult for the aged people belonging to this group to cope with the indifferent behavior because “It’s not something they’ve been trained to deal with.”

Risk Factors And Remedial Mechanisms

The study revealed noteworthy risk factors that can potentially prompt the older population to contemplate deadly actions. These include,

  • Age
  • Depression
  • Seclusion
  • Pain

The research also noted that the treatment imparted to citizens can vary among people settled in the rural areas.

ALSO READ Suicide is Preventable: Alarming Effects of Self-harm on Families, Communities, Societies

However, the problem can be combated with sufficient support from the family. Professor Li also noted the positive contribution of clinicians, who must recognize the gravity of the situation and its impact on the ethnic minority in the old-age bracket.

The need of the hour is to make the larger public aware of the health hazard that discrimination of any kind poses to individuals. Efforts must also be taken to empower people who are at the receiving end of racial bias and bigotry treatment in a way that makes them feel an intrinsic part of the larger society. Professor Li suggests doing so by particularly helping new immigrants establish themselves in the mainstream society and assuring them that these vile instances are not their fault.

 


 

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