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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
Just as much as man has evolved from the time of the nomads, his practices and rituals have grown more and more sophisticated. With time, things that once were just formalities have acquired ritual significance and are observed in solemnity. Death was once something that marked the end, but now is an important life change event that is memorialized. Some people come alive only after death.
In nomadic times, men buried their dead companions or family along the route they traveled. They would place a stone or any heavy object over it, to prevent the soil from becoming loose around the body, or to keep it safe from scavengers. This practice is no longer followed as the animal kingdom and man's world have become distinct from each other.
Europe is dotted with Stonehenge clusters, which are historical pieces of evidence of human progress. It is a keen and detailed system that human ancestors devised for burying their dead. Carbon dating suggests the presence of decomposed remains, but its actual significance is speculated.
The Egyptians devised building pyramids in which they laid their dead. They are one of the earliest civilizations to propagate the idea of an afterlife. They filled the pyramids with earthly treasures, all of which they believed were required in the next life.
Traditional orthodox graves with elaborate gravestones Image credit: Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash
When devastating plagues hit countries, the dead were buried in masses. Walls were built around these sites to contain the dead bodies and to prevent them from spilling out. Later superstitions and folklore about the 'undead' forced people to place crosses and crucifixes on graves to keep their loved ones from turning into blood-sucking vampires. Sometimes, coffins were pierced in the centre with a large stake to prevent the deceased from waking up again. Gravestones were laid to make sure that the person did not escape. Sometimes, an intact gravestone was an indicator of a pure soul.
The Renaissance instilled a scientific spirit of inquiry, which caused brilliant advancements in every field, but this came at rather bizarre costs. Students of human anatomy needed a basis for their theories and were often found vandalizing property, digging up the dead to use for dissection. Laws were passed against this, but it was a practice that prevailed. Some of the most famous principles of medicine come from this era.
Burying the dead has changed so much with the times. Today's practice of laying gravestones has no preventive measures like those in the past. Instead, they serve to immortalize the dead. It is to fulfill the life of the person by laying them to rest in their final earthly abode and leaving behind a marker of their life either by a symbol, a quote, or a verse that best describes them. As the population of the world continues to grow, land space for burial is growing scarce, and gravestones are now becoming a rare privilege.
Keywords: Ritual Practice, Graves, Memorial tombs, plague disease, white plague
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A batsman swinging the ball Image credit: Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash
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The female roles were played by male actors in the movieWikimedia Commons