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‘Indian diaspora in the Caribbean most vibrant’

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Winston Dookeran

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Port-of-Spain: The Indian diaspora in the Caribbean is one of the most vibrant across the globe, says India’s Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, in a just published book titled, “India In The Caribbean”.

The book was initiated and coordinated by Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Gauri Shankar Gupta and edited by Atlury Murali.

“Though numbering less than two million across the Caribbean islands, they (Indians) occupy a position of considerable power and influence. They have produced some of the best artists, writers, spiritual leaders, political thinkers, doctors, lawyers, scientists and sportsmen. Indian festivities including Diwali, Holi, Maha Shiva(Rathri) and Ram Navami are celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety. Indian films and music are as popular as they are in India,” Sushma Swaraj said in a message in the book.

“I, therefore, take this opportunity to pay tribute to the sagacity, fortitude and courage of these valiant people far away from India.”

Former T&T Foreign Minister Winston Dookeran, in a message, said that as with other diasporas, the Indian community does have an affinity with the home country.

“That affinity was kept alive by films, letters and the ties of kinship. The earlier generations understandably were nostalgic. Globalization today, however, is triumphant. With growing convergence among nations and states, nostalgia will recede and some memories lost. While not losing their heritage, the Indian community is first and foremost part and parcel of the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago,” Dookeran noted.

He said that the journey was long, at times arduous and difficult but always inspiring, in discovering a new Caribbean identity.

Indian High Commissioner Gupta, in the foreword, noted that relations between India and Trinidad and Tobago are deeply rooted in history and culture, though their initial history has been painful and brutal.

“During the colonial era, after abolition of slavery in 1833, the British faced extreme shortage of labour for sugar plantation in their sugar producing colonies of the Caribbean. To overcome this problem, over half a million Indians were transported to the region as indentured workers (often called as Indian coolies) with false hopes and promises. Most of these workers came from (what is now) Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar, while a smaller number came from (what is now) Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Many of them even died on the way during the long voyage,” Gupta added.

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“India In The Caribbean” is a classic presentation, away from the routine issues such as cramped huts, and singles out some of the achievements of the Indian diaspora today which are both educational and forward-looking, thus ensuring a firm place in the overall scheme of challenges which they faced earlier on in their sojourn to Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the Caribbean.

In its 275 pages, the book, which was edited and published by India Empire Publications, India, carries articles like “Customs and Traditions of East Indians in Trinidad and Tobago”, “From Girmityas to Nation-builders: the Indo-Caribbean Experience”, “Role and Evolution of Broadcasting”, “Memory. Indian Films and the Creation of Indian Identity in Trinidad”, “Challenges to Tracing Roots in Trinidad”, and “Culture and Traditional Way of Life”, among the 24 on offer. Each one of the contributions is stimulating, refreshing and thought-provoking – enhanced by in-depth bibliographies and researches.

“India In The Caribbean” is worth reading by all, irrespective of religious, cultural, geographic or ethnic orientations as it gives an eventful insight of the Indian diaspora which has a few years short of 200 years on this side of the Atlantic.

(With inputs from IANS)

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“If Jinnah is secular than Laden is the world’s best democrat”, Ahmar Mustikhan

The recent emotional reunion between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife and mother has garnered enough global attention.

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Ahmar Mustikhan has come in for full support of Kulbhushan Yadav and his family
Ahmar Mustikhan has come in for full support of Kulbhushan Yadav and his family

NEW DELHI: In a recent Facebook video, Ahmar Mustikhan has communicated his views on the recent meeting of Kulbhushan Yadav with his wife Chetna and mother Avanti. Mustikhan is a renowned writer, analyst, and veteran Baloch journalist. He is also the founder of a non-profit organisation known as ’American Friends of Balochistan’. Through this organization, Mustikhan expresses his views on atrocities of Pakistani army been hammered on Baloch people.

Kulbhushan Jadav is an Indian national, who is been sentenced to death by the Pakistani Army court.. Wikileaks
Kulbhushan Jadav is an Indian national, who is been sentenced to death by the Pakistani Army court. Wikileaks

Kulbhushan Yadav is an Indian national, who is been sentenced to death by the Pakistani Army court. The recent emotional reunion between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife and mother has garnered enough global attention due to the mental torcher experienced by both the ladies at the Pakistani foreign office. The cold-shouldered response from Pakistan’s side was fiercely condemned by the Indian people and called it a violation of the human rights of the women. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj even called it a “propaganda weapon” used by Pakistan.

MustiKhan in his video referred Pakistan as “Chapal Chor Pakistan” (Slipper thief Pakistan) because Pakistan’s foreign office had confiscated the slippers of Kulbhushan’s wife on the pretext of security concern. The women were even asked to remove their mangalsutra, bindi, and bangles for the same reason. Later on, Pakistani media didn’t let any stone unturned by harassing both the women and calling them murderer’s wife and mother.

Also Read: Clerics help Pakistan pedophiles target minor Hindu, Christian girls

On this basis, Mustikhan viewed that a Hindu or an Indian can never get Justice from the hands of Pakistan. To support his views, he quoted a historic event of 1927 which is related to a Hindu Marwari merchant, Raj Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta. The merchant had built a very splendid mansion in the love of his ailing wife and named it ‘Mohatta Palace’ and was considered as the most beautiful residence of Karachi at that time. But Muhammad Ali Jinnah got his eyes on his house and forced him to vacate it. Soon, the house was taken over and turned into Pakistan’s first foreign office. After the capital was relocated to Islamabad from Karachi, the mansion was transferred to Jinnah’s sister, Fatima Jinnah. So, this was the case of the first foreign office of Pakistan, as stated by Ahmar Mustikhan.

According to MustiKhan, the Indian people who crib about Narendra Modi are directly supporting the views of Pakistani Generals and militants. These are the same army generals who have the blood of millions of innocent people on their hands.  When Modi was elected as the Prime Minister of India, some people called him as the “Butcher of Gujarat”. MustiKhan also denounces the view that Kulbhushan Yadav and Ajmal Kasab are similar offenders, as claimed by the Pakistani media. But he openly challenges the Pakistani government regarding any proof related to Yadav’s case, whereas Kasab’s heinous act was captured live on CCTV cameras. Here, MustiKhan openly exposes the double face strategy of Pakistan.

Also see: Ahmar Mustikhan views on Kulbhushan Yadav’s meeting with his mother and wife

MustiKhan even said, “If Jinnah is secular (as people says in Pakistan) than Laden is the best Democrat.” With his all these efforts, he is trying to make people aware of the war crimes against the people of Balochistan and has even requested the Indian people to support his cause of peace and harmony.