Monday April 22, 2019
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May 5 is Happy Indian Arrival Day for Guyana

Celebrating 178 years of Indo-Caribbean alliance

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Indians in Guyana Image: Pinterest

By Shabana B:

May 5, 1838: The first British ship of indenture sailed from Kolkata, India, across the seas and made its way to Guyana. The ship was filled with Indian indentured servants, most of whom were taken by deception, while others were hoping for a new life. Hardly either received what they were expecting.

Shabana B

Not a day goes by where the question of what being Indo-Caribbean means escapes me. It is something I’m always thinking about, and even become frustrated with myself for not having a straight answer. I feel the answers are written in the bones in my body that were forged by my foremothers who boarded those ships with uncertainty. I want so badly to know what they were thinking. How they were feeling. I wish I had words to describe how my ancestors live inside me but elude me at the same time.

I lament every day the vital information and pieces of self that my great-grandparents possessed but somehow became lost between generations and trauma. Forgotten in sweat that dripped down their backs as they labored under the hot Caribbean sun, producing the sweet crop they were not allowed to taste.

Today, I will celebrate them instead. I think about the pure bravery of my pregnant maternal great-great-grandmother, boarding a British ship with hundreds of strangers, having only the clothes on her back and her children. I inherited courage from her.

I think about her daughter, my great-grandmother, who filled her mother’s spot on the plantation when she was old enough. I imagine she must have felt obligated to put her mother’s hardened hands to rest after so many years. I inherited integrity from her.

Related article:Indo-Guyanese and their legacy

Guyana: Indo-guyanese and their legacy

I think about my paternal great-grandmother and great-grandfather who traded in their fluent Bhojpuri that flowed like a river when they spoke, for the worker’s patois enforced by belts and the watchful eyes/ears of their white overseer. I inherited humility from them.

These are legacies of strength. They sit in my core, fill me up, and make my muscles ache all at once. I carry the weight of indenture on me. 178 years ago, Indo-Caribbeans did not exist. 178 years ago, someone decided for me, who I would be.

Shabana B is originally from Guyana (The West Indies) and lives in New York. Twitter: @indoguyanese

  • Akanksha Sharma

    Happy Indian arrival day to Guyana 😀

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    The ancestors of Indo-Guyanese had really struggled alot in their initial days

  • Pragya Jha

    Guyana is a small country in the Northern part of Latin America, it has a significant presence of people of Indian origin.2016 witnesses 178 years of the arrival of East Indians to Guyana.

  • Sharon Singh

    It’s great to know their are others who feel the way I do, I can’t forget to mention that the British took a lot away ….God Bless Guyana

SHARE
  • Akanksha Sharma

    Happy Indian arrival day to Guyana 😀

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    The ancestors of Indo-Guyanese had really struggled alot in their initial days

  • Pragya Jha

    Guyana is a small country in the Northern part of Latin America, it has a significant presence of people of Indian origin.2016 witnesses 178 years of the arrival of East Indians to Guyana.

  • Sharon Singh

    It’s great to know their are others who feel the way I do, I can’t forget to mention that the British took a lot away ….God Bless Guyana

Next Story

US Officials Made ‘Fake’ Facebook Profiles to Nab Indians

The social network has also contacted the Department of Homeland Security about its policy on fake accounts

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Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook has said that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violated its guidelines by creating fake profiles on its platform tied to the University of Farmington — a sham institution that left over 600 students, 90 per cent of them Indians, in detention.

The Facebook profiles were allegedly created by the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

“Law enforcement authorities, like everyone else, are required to use their real names on Facebook and we make this policy clear on our public-facing aLaw Enforcement Guidelines’ page,” a Facebook representative told the daily.

“Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.”

The University of Farmington had a website as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts – but did not have a campus or faculty.

About 600 foreign students had enrolled with the fake university floated by the US authorities under a sting operation. More than 80 per cent of these students were from the two Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

“In a network of suspicious Facebook accounts linked to the University of Farmington, the college’s alleged president, Ali ‘AJ’ Milani, liked the Michigan Jaguars sports club and had a 51-person friend list that was mostly people from South Asia,” the report claimed.

“Carey Ferrante, who did not list any link to the school but had interactions with persons interested in it, posted three photos of herself that were actually stock photos and sent Facebook messages to at least one person,” it added.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Facebook has now removed the University of Farmington accounts.

Each student had paid $20,000 to $25,000 to get enrolled in the fake university, which recruited students in 26 states across the US.

Confirming that 172 students have been arrested for civil immigration violations in the case, ICE’s north-east regional communications director Khaalid Walls declined to comment on the Facebook accounts.

The social network has also contacted the Department of Homeland Security about its policy on fake accounts.

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The US immigration officials kept 129 Indian students in “administrative detention” and arrested eight recruiters involved with the university.

At least 30 students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana returned from the US in February. They were those who were not detained or served notices by the US authorities in the “pay-to-stay” fake university scam.

The External Affairs Ministry had issued a demarche to the US Embassy in New Delhi asserting that the students “have been duped into enrolling in the ‘university’ (and) should be treated differently from those recruiters who duped them”. (IANS)