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Indentured Laborers taken from India. Wikimedia

Grenada, April 30, 2017: Grenada, an island nation with a popularity of 110,000 people, is located in the north-west of Trinidad and Tobago in the Eastern Caribbean. The Indo-Grenadian community to celebrate its Indian Arrival Day on May 1, this year. There is a small number of Indian expatriates in Grenada who are professionals or teach at the St George’s University. A group of Indians are residents there who are mostly traders or run small businesses for tourists.

There is a small number of Indian expatriates in Grenada who are professionals or teach at the St George’s University. A group of Indians are residents there who are mostly traders or run small businesses for tourists.

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The Indian Heritage celebrations started with a lecture presentation by Dr Beverly Steel on the Indian Heritage at the National Museum on May 18. It also included the screening of a Hindi movie and a fundraising luncheon at the Belmont Estate.

The Indian Government has sponsored Cultural troupes, who have been visiting Grenada for the past few years to perform at the Indian Arrival Day event and the festival of Holi or phagwa. They have successfully worked to generate interest and enthusiasm in Indian music and dance among the Indo-Grenadians. Remnants of Indian culture can be found in Grenada in the names of some Indo-Grenadians with the use of a few Hindi words, mainly words related to food and cooking – such as roti and dal.

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In 1957, making 100 years of Indian arrival in Grenada, the Indian Arrival Day was celebrated for the first time. In 2009, the next commemoration function of the Indian arrival was held more than five decades later when May 1 was declared as Indian Arrival Day in conjunction with Labour Day by the Government of Grenada. To commemorate the day, a plaque was installed at Irwin Bay in St. Patrick by the Indo-Grenada Heritage Foundation, which was instrumental in getting official recognition for Indian Arrival Day.

The road leading to the commemorative monument was named Maidstone Road after the first ship that brought Indians to Grenada. Since that time, Indian Arrival Day celebrations have become an annually enjoyed event. The celebrations have been gathering a larger participation from Indo-Grenadians and other communities every year.

Grenada, also known as the Spice Island as it is one of the world’s largest producers of the two spices, nutmeg and mace, was once a French colony. It was later taken over by the British.According to local stories, Nutmeg was brought to the islands when a few nutmeg plants had been left behind by a passing ship; the spice plant grew so well in the volcanic island soil that Grenada is now the second largest producer of the spice, after Indonesia. Other spices produced in Grenada include cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

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The Maidstone was the very first ship that brought Indian workers to the Eastern Caribbean island. It had started its journey with 307 passengers from Calcutta port. On May 1, 1857, the Maidstone anchored at Irwin Bay to disembark 287 Indian workers in Grenada; a number of passengers had died at sea during the long voyage. About 3200 men, women and children were brought here from India to work as indentured agricultural labourers between the years 1857 to 1890. These people were the ancestors of the 3000 strong Indo-Grenadian community, who have now formed the second largest ethnic minority in the island nation.

St. George’s University medical school, which is considered to be one of the best medical colleges in the Caribbean, has had about 300 students from India in the past few years, due to its tie-up with American medical schools. Cultural ties have been strengthened by the mix of Indo-Grenadians and the newer Indian arrivals.

– by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang


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