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Indian diaspora in Martinique

314 labourers landed for the first time at Saint Pierre in Martinique.

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Martinique map, Wikimedia commons

  Nearly 3% of the current population of Martinique comprises of Indians. Recently mayor of Saint Pierre, Christina Raffa, called a 3-day festival to commemorate the historical event and to thank the Indian indentured labourers who participated in the development of Martinique. It was the 163rd anniversary of their first arrival in Martinique on May 6th.

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  • Martinique is one of the 18 regions of France located in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea and is an integral part of French Republic. It has an approximate population of 400,000 inhabitants and the official language is French.
  • In the 19th-century, contract labourers were brought to French colonies from India. It was the time when there was a lack of labour force during 1848. More than 200,000 Indians were even brought to West Indies.
  • 314 labourers landed for the first time at Saint Pierre in Martinique. Those indentured labourers were mainly from French occupied territories in south Asia such as Pondicherry, Chandnagore, Mahe and Karaikal. Some of them were even from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Most of the labourers were in the age group of 15 to 30. Sex ratio was 40:100 (i.e. 40 women per 100 men). Children were also transported as a part of family transportation. Indians were brought in the region to work on plantations with the promise that they will be back in India after their 5-year contract. However, that promise was never fulfilled. Some managed to return to their homelands while others stayed and became French citizens.

Related articleRemembering the hardships of Indians who were brought as Indentured labourers

  • Presently 3rd and 4th generations of these Indians are living in Saint PierreThe place where the first 314 Indians landed back in 1848 was renamed as Place de I’Aurelie.
  • Dhiraj Mukhia, First Secretary Affairs at the Indian Embassy of France, was also invited to that event. He mentioned that “it’s an extremely happy moment for all people of Indian origins here, that their history of their forefathers has been recognised. The biggest part of the Indian community lived in Saint Pierre.
  • Showing a keen interest in Yoga, the President of GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), Martinique told that International Yoga day will be celebrated in June 2016 in Saint Pierre. It was also stated that a Yoga teacher from India will be called to help people of Martinique learn yoga.
Martinique culture, Wikimedia commons
Martinique culture, Wikimedia commons
  • There was also a proposal suggested by GOPIO president of France, Mehen Poinooswamy, and Europe GOPIO International coordinator, De Pradip Sewoke, the representative of Indian embassy and Mayor of Saint Pierre for building an Indian Cultural centre in Martinique.
  • The whole event ended with an Indian cultural dance show and with a lot of lively stands in markets selling Indian goods and products.

Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself. Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

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Chefs Gear Up For Pairing With Scientists To Promote Sustainable Eating

In Europe, research fellow Laura Wellesley of British think-tank Chatham House says governments must aid in a shift to so-called plant-based meat and, more controversially, meat grown in laboratories.

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Diners sample vegan dishes at a "Future 50 Foods" tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris. VOA

Spelt risotto was on the menu at a recent lunch in Paris. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat with a nutty flavor. It is rich in fiber and minerals, and counts among dozens of sometimes ancient and obscure foods scientists say benefit people and the planet.

A green cuisine effort is growing in France as scientists warn that meat consumption must be drastically cut to fight climate change and sustainably feed a global human population set to reach 10 billion by 2050.

Algae, which are nutrient-rich and can have a meat-like flavor, is seen at a "Future 50 Foods" tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Algae, which are nutrient-rich and can have a meat-like flavor, is seen at a “Future 50 Foods” tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris. VOA

“Seventy-five percent of our food comes from 12 crops and five animals. Sixty percent of all our calories come through three vegetables,” said David Edwards, director of food strategy at environmental group WWF, which jointly produced a report, “Future 50 Foods,” with the German food giant Knorr.

The message: Our current eating habits, which rely heavily on large-scale farming and livestock production, have got to change.

“We’ve had a 60 percent decline in the wildlife population since the 1970s — the last 50 years, within a lifetime,” Edwards added. “And … a precipitous decline in insect populations also … food has pushed wildlife into the extreme margins.”

A menu explains what is being served at a "Future 50 Foods" lunch at the Pompidou Center in Paris.
A menu explains what is being served at a “Future 50 Foods” lunch at the Pompidou Center in Paris. VOA

The Paris lunch featured many of the report’s so-called “future” foods. Vegetables are in. Meat is out. On the menu: walnuts, root vegetables, lentil flour, yams and soy milk.

Also, fonio — a drought-resistant grain that Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam now markets in the United States and serves at his New York City restaurant. He sources it from smallholder farmers in Africa.

“We’re still importing food like rice in Senegal. Yet we could have our own fonio, our own millet. We should be consuming it. But we still have this mentality that what comes from the West is best,” Thiam said.

Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam attends a "Future 50 Foods" tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris. Thiam cooks and markets fonio in the U.S., sourcing the grain from African farmers.
Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam attends a “Future 50 Foods” tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris. Thiam cooks and markets fonio in the U.S., sourcing the grain from African farmers. VOA

Former White House chef Sam Kass, who led Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, is now fighting for the environment.

“When we talk about these dramatic changes to overhaul everything, people are like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t know what to do.’ And here, it’s like, just pick 2 to 3 foods and eat them once a week. That would be a big start,” Kass said.

Drought-resistant okra is displayed at a "Future 50 Foods" tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Drought-resistant okra is displayed at a “Future 50 Foods” tasting at the Pompidou Center in Paris. VOA

In Europe, research fellow Laura Wellesley of British think-tank Chatham House says governments must aid in a shift to so-called plant-based meat and, more controversially, meat grown in laboratories.

“The EU has really invested quite heavily in this area … but it could do more,” Wellesley said. “It could invest more public finance in the research and development of culture and plant-based meat that are truly sustainable and are healthy options. And it could also support the commercialization of innovations.”

At the Paris lunch, diner Thomas Blomme gave his first course a thumbs-up.

Also Read: India Should Crack Down Upon The Terror Sympathizers Within The Country

“Some sort of soup, with a lot of spices and some new ingredients. Tasted really well with some lentils,” he said.

And for diners heading back to work but feeling a bit sleepy after the seven-course tasting menu: A green moringa after-party booster juice was offered. (VOA)