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Swaraj unveils Suriname memorial honouring Indian indentured workers

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Sushma Swaraj
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Kolkata: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday unveiled the Suriname Memorial here, honouring the Indian indentured workers who migrated to the South American country as labourers for sugar plantations.

The memorial is a bust of ‘Baba and Mai’ – a depiction of male and female indentured workers known as father and mother. It is a replica of the Baba and Mai monument in Parimaribo, Suriname’s capital, which symbolises the first Indian man and woman to set foot in the Dutch speaking nation.

Baba_and_Mai_Statue

The memorial has been set up at the Suriname Jetty from where the indentured workers from India used to board the ship for the small country located on the northeast Atlantic coast of South America from 1873 to 1910.

From this jetty several people, in the prime of their youth, left Indian shores as indentured labourers to work in Suriname, to face an uncertain future. The migration spanned between 1870 and early 20th century,” reads the plaque below the memorial set up jointly by the governments of the two countries.

With their hard work and undying spirit they substantially contributed towards the development of Suriname.

“We respect and felicitate their spirit of courage, determination and endurance,” reads the plaque.

The first ship named Lalla Rookh, carrying Indian indentured labourers, had arrived in Suriname in June 1873.

(IANS)

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Coronavirus Outbreak Hits Footfall At Monuments in The Capital Of Delhi

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus affected in India has jumped to 31

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Qutub Minar
In Qutub Minar too, a minaret and "victory tower" that forms part of the Qutub complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area, saw no queues for the last one week. Pixabay

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) may have announced free entry for women visitors at its protected monuments on the occasion of International Women’s Day, but that may not help much in increasing the footfall, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

There are 174 monuments in Delhi and those which have ticket based entry have seen significant decrease in footfalls ever since the coronavirus came knocking up north. Even those monuments, which are free of cost to enter, have not been attracting any visitors.

Last year in the Rajya Sabha, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said, over 170 monuments and sites in the national capital have been declared as ‘monuments of national importance’.

These include the Qutub Minar, Muhammad Shah Sayyid tomb, Safdurjung tomb, India Gate among others.

One of the most popular, free of entry monuments for Delhiites has been the India Gate that remains choc a bloc during the weekend, particularly in this time of the year. However, last weekend it wore a relatively deserted look and the hawkers finding it tough to sell their items.

In Qutub Minar too, a minaret and “victory tower” that forms part of the Qutub complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area, saw no queues for the last one week.

People have been scared, especially, after the news about six visitors from Agra testing positive broke out. Agra is barely 230 km from the national capital. And adding to the scare is the fact that the person, who they got infected from, was living in the NCR and is under quarantine now.

Meanwhile, the ASI has said that they do not have the technology or the equipment to screen the estimated 30,000 people who visit the Taj Mahal every day. This too has sobered the footfalls in the Taj.

Moreover, the government has stalled visas from many countries affected by the virus. This has resulted in the monuments wearing a relatively deserted look.

Vice President of Tourism Guild, Agra, Rajiv Saxena, said, “The government’s decision to cancel the visas to the Italians, Koreans, Iranians and Japanese tourists is a knee jerk reaction”.

Knee jerk or not, but that certainly has forced many visitors to stay away from the monuments in Delhi.

 

India, Delhi, Temple, Mausoleum, Architecture, Building
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) may have announced free entry for women visitors at its protected monuments on the occasion of International Women’s Day, but that may not help much in increasing the footfall, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Pixabay

“Tourists travelling to India on valid visas are being unnecessarily harassed despite adhering to all the prerequisite terms and conditions of the government. Instead, we should restore confidence in them that India is safe,” Saxena added.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus affected in India has jumped to 31.

ASLO READ: Much Awaited “Dark Mode” Feature on WhatsApp Arrives in India

The first coronavirus case in Delhi was detected on Monday. Six suspected cases were also detected in Agra after they came in contact with the person from Delhi found to be infected.

So far, more than 3,000 people have died across the globe due to this highly contagious virus. (IANS)