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How Indians shaped Barbadian culture

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Photo: www.operationworld.org

By Romar Parris

FOR OVER 100 YEARS, Barbados has been home to immigrants from East India, specifically Bengal, Gujarat and Hyderabad Sindh. Over the years, they have played a significant role in shaping Barbadian culture and contributed to the advancement of the Barbados economy.

They still maintain this role today. Unlike our African ancestors, the Indians residing in Barbados today were not brought here through means of slavery or indentured labor,infact, they came of their free will.

In the early 1900s, the underprivileged of India (then a colony of Britain) were in a very bad state. Being poor and without land, they found it very difficult to acquire wealth and status. Many poor Indians lived in small villages owned by landlords while having to “work like slaves for about 50 cents per week” (Nakhuda 2013:11).

Diseases such as cholera, smallpox and leprosy were common among the impoverished. Seeking a better life, many Indians travelled to Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa and other countries. However, the West Indies saw its first movement of the East Indians prior to this 20th century migration. After slavery was abolished across the British colonies in the Caribbean around 1838, a call for indentured labourers was made, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent, Jamaica and Grenada.

The British brought East Indians to these islands to work the plantations since the newly freed slaves no longer wanted to be a part of the plantation system. None of these East Indian labourers was brought to Barbados, however. The British brought in “poor Whites” from Britain as indentured labourers to Barbados and unlike in the neighbouring islands, many slaves continued working the plantation. Therefore, there was no need for the East Indians on our shores. In Barbados most newly freed slaves stayed with the plantation because they had little option if they wanted to survive.

The plantation system dominated the sugar-based Barbados economy and its workers were in high demand. However, the island was considered to be overpopulated, thus access to workers was plentiful. The white overseers took advantage of this and mistreated their workers while paying them very little per week, knowing that if a worker chose to leave, another one could be easily hired. This continued until the 1937 Riots, which led eventually to labor reforms and better working conditions.

The arrival of the first East Indians was due to their personal decisions, not as a matter of national policy. According to Sabir Nakhuda, the first East Indian to reside in Barbados was a man called Bashart Ali Dewan. Nakhuda’s research showed that Dewan left India around 1910 heading for Trinidad after news of his father-in-law’s settlement there. He stayed in Trinidad for a while.

There he learnt the itinerant trading business from Bengalis based there at that time. Itinerant trading is the business of a door-to-door salesman trading on a credit basis. Hearing of a niche market in Barbados, he decided to go there for better financial profits. Dewan resided in various areas in Bridgetown, settling in Suttle Street and later Milk Market. He started his trade by purchasing products from the merchants in Bridgetown, and traveling to the countryside to sell them.

He eventually opened a store on Swan Street selling shoes, haberdashery and raw materials for ladies and gents. Dewan hired a “caller” to advertise for him. It is said that his voice could be heard from one end of Swan Street to the next.  By the laws of Islam, a man is permitted up to four wives. Not being able to afford to send for his wife in India, Dewan married his second wife by 1920, but within four years she left. He then married his third wife, Pauline Taylor, and had two daughters.

During the 1937 Riots Dewan fled Barbados and returned to India; sources said he was heavily in debt. Bashart Ali Dewan was the first East Indian merchant from Bengal on our shores and the pioneer of an aspect of Barbadian culture that is still a norm today. Stories of his venture ignited a trail of merchants to follow. Mentionable names are Mohammed Abdul Rohul Amin, Sheikh Nasrul Huque, Atar Ali, Arshad Ali and Babujan Dewan.

They all engaged in itinerant trade and built a close-knit network that served to support other Indians who later immigrated to the island. These merchants lived under one roof, sharing rooms and meals to save money for business use, and to send back to their families in India. Those already living in Barbados took the newcomers under their wings, giving them a place to stay and teaching them the ins and outs of the trade.

(The story first appeared in The Nation News)

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Jadav Molai Peyang: Forest Man of India

Jadav Molai Peyang, 'Forest Man of India' single-handedly plants 1360 acre of forest on a barren sandbar.

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Indian Forest Man
Jadav Peyang, Forest Man of India. Wikimedia Commons.

There are many international organizations that have been working to save our planet from many harms of deforestation but there is one Indian man who, single-handedly, gave rise to the forest in 1360 acre land and converted it into the man-made forest in India and that man is Jadav Molai Peyang.
Jadav Peyang’s story was first discovered by journalist Jitu Kalita when he was stalking the vultures on the other end of Arun Sapori, an over 1,000-hectare riverine island on the Brahmaputra when he saw the forested area and found Peyang’s story there.
The forest man has planted over 1500-saplings since 1980 which has grown into the famous, Molai Kathoni, the forest famously named after his maker. Peyang had started this initiative as a teenager who started planting bamboo in the woodland after he had witnessed deaths of several snakes at the shore when water had resided from the area after a flood. Following that horrifying scenario, he sought the advice from the village elders who asked him to grow a forest as only the forest can save the lives of birds and animals. Since then, Peyang’s Molai Forest has developed its own ecosystem as deer, rabbits, rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, birds, insects have inhabited the forest which consists of trees such as Bamboo, valcol, Arjun, Pride of India, silk trees, cotton trees, to name a few. But it was a herd of 100 elephants that brought the attention of Assam’s forest department on Peyang in 2008. The elephants pay a yearly visit to his forest and give birth to their calves in the comfort there.
But the journey of creating a barren sandbar in the middle of the river Brahmaputra of Assam into the thriving forest that it is today wasn’t easy.
In the initial stages, he found planting trees extremely difficult and time-consuming but now as he gets the seeds from the trees, the forest seems to live on itself.
The forest man was the first part of the 5-year project launched by the Assam Forestry Division in Aruna Chapori in 1980 with an aim to reforest two hundred hectares of land. Peyang enrolled for the job and started planting trees for the project though, the project was finished in five years, Peyang had stayed and spread his own project bigger than Central Park, NYC (842.6 acres). Since his first project, he has been invited to several environmental conferences, conferred many honors among which is Padam Shri, the highest civilian award and ‘Forest Man of India’ by JNU along with the recent honor bestowed on Jitu Kalita and Jadav Peyang by Taiwan Government for their efforts.
The forest man’s story is full of inspiration and compassion as he keeps providing shelter to various insects and animals while his family, which consists of two sons, a daughter, and his wife subsides on the income provided by their livestock, there is a lot to learn from him. He had braved several threats and all he has to say to them, ‘Kill me first, before you kill my forest,’ but his ideas for the world remains unknown among the several honors.

Samridhi Nain. Samridhi is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.

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5 Beautiful Indian Sportswomen you Want to Know About

These eight women with their talent and achievements have set a benchmark for the meaning of true beauty.

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Indian
Akanksha Singh. Instagram.
  • Indian sports personalities like Saina Nehwal and Smriti Mandhana have shown us the true meaning of being bold and beautiful.
  • There achievements have been an inspiration for women to rise.

Beauty and style have always corresponded with looks, but these Indian sportswomen have shunned such critics. With their style and achievements, they have told us that beauty is about the way you embody confidence and lead in life. Their accomplishments have inspired many Indian women to be like her.

1. Smriti Mandhana:

She is one the beautiful indian sportswomen

Smriti Mandhana is a 21-year-old Indian cricketer who currently plays for the Indian women’s cricket team. She made her Test debut in against England August 2014 and helped her team in winning the match by scoring 22 and 51 runs in her first and second innings, respectively. The sports personality came into the limelight after she scored a 90 against England in the group matches in World Cup 2017.

2. Babita Phogat

She is one the beautiful indian sportswomen

Babita Kumari Phogat, the younger sister of Geeta Phogat, is a 27-year-old Indian female wrestler and a gold medal recipient in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Haryana girl has won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, and a bronze medal at the 2012 World Wrestling Championships.

y to Academy Awards next year

3. Deepika Pallikal

Deepika Pallikal is an Indian squash player, and the first one to break into the top 10 WSA rankings. She was honored with Arjuna Award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2014. Her highest ranking has been World no. 10. Her current ranking is World no. 19. Apart from all her achievements, She is one the beautiful indian sportswomen.

 

4. Saina Nehwal

Indian
Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal is an Indian badminton singles player, who is currently the World No. 12. She became the World no. 1 in 2015. Nehwal has won over twenty-one international titles. She after, Prakash Padukone became the only Indian player to achieve this ranking. Nehwal has represented India three times in the Olympics and won a bronze medal in her second appearance.

5. Akanksha Singh

Indian
Akanksha Singh.                                                                                                                                            Instagram.

Akanksha Singh is a 28-year-old Indian Basketball player and the current captain of the country’s Women’s National Basketball Team. She has been a member of the national women team since 2004 to till date. She has been accoladed with the best player in many national and state championships. During her captaincy at Delhi University, she won a gold medal in All India University basketball championship at Nallor.

 

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. 


 

‘Newton’ Starring Rajkummar Rao Is India’s official entry to Academy Awards next year

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Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-kashmir
Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS
‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)