Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Image source: in.pinterest.com

By Shubhi Mangla

Suriname a small country, originally called Dutch Guiana, is located on the Atlantic side of South America, just above Brazil. This Dutch colony has a wide range of beautiful flora and fauna. Sugarcane, coffee,and chocolate are leading industries of this plantation-based country. The country owns a good amount of Alumina and Bauxite and also has majority of gold reserves and some crude oil as compared to any another country in Latin America.



Sugarcane plantations in SurinameImage: www.weblogtheworld.com

Initially, Suriname was settled by the British. The Dutch soon exchanged their colony of New Amsterdam with England and acquired Suriname in return. With prosperity in the plantation industry, the country surpassed the wealth of well-known places like Boston, New York and Philadelphia until a banking crisis emerged in Holland in 1773. This lead to a recession in Suriname from which it never recovered. However, the country managed to achieve independence from Holland in 1975.

Suriname today comprises of 37 percent of East Indian origin (Hindustani) population mostly from states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who traveled as indentured workers to South America in the 19th century.

Indian arrival in Suriname- The Indenture Period

During the 17th and 18th century, most of the plantation work was fueled by slaves from Africa. Throughout the 19th century, the process of abolition of slavery was gaining momentum in the European colonies of West Indies. The Dutch government worried that the slaves would refuse to work once given a choice like it was happening in other places. There worries did come true, slavery was finally abolished in Suriname in 1863. The Dutch government faced shortage of plantation workers and approximately 90 percent of plantations were closed. After much resentment, Britain finally agreed to provide recruitment rights for Indian laborers to Suriname in 1870. The Dutch government started importing large number of workers from India as contract laborers; they set up recruitment stations in India where workers were interviewed, underwent health checkups and signed the documentations that they were going as per their own will and will wait to be transported back. The workers were brought through ships; each ship had a doctor on board, to make sure that the immigrants look best upon their arrival. The doctors urged them to rub and massage themselves using mustard oil.


Indian indentured workers in Suriname Image: www.abc.net.au

There were some good reasons as to why laborers were recruited from as far as India

  • Firstly, British Indians (India was then a British colony) were increasingly replacing black slaves in Trinidad and Jamaica, as they held a good reputation of being hard-working and good farmers.
  • Secondly, India was a densely populated country comprising of large number of laborers but only little available land.
  • Native jobs were being eliminated due to rapid industrialization. Many people were eager to emigrate due to the prevalent caste system which was imposing restrictions on their activities.

Arrival of Indians in Suriname with the ship ‘Lala Rookh’Image: www.pinterest.com

On 5 June 1873, the first ship named ‘Lala Rookh’ arrived in Paramaribo, capital of Suriname carrying 452 Indians, most of whom came from eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Overall a total of 34,304 Indian contract laborers arrived in Suriname between 1873- 1916. According to indiandiaspora.nic.in, ­­at least some of them seem to had been misled into believing that they were being taken to a place of pilgrimage called “Sri Ram” which turned out to be Suriname!

Evolution of Indian Diaspora

About one third of the workers chose to return to India after they were done with their 5 year contracts. The Dutch government tried to persuade the Indians to stay back by offering settlement rights on state-run plantations and a hundred guilders to those who stay back. Around 23,000 Indians chose to give up their right to a return transition, taking benefit of this offer. After some time, the workers realized that the agricultural-based jobs were not worth continuing, they started switching over to other profitable areas. Some of them did not wish to end rice cultivation as it was their main occupation, so they started saving and bought small plots of land to cultivate rice. Even today, a number of Indians hold splendorous rice farms in Suriname.


Evolution of Indian immigrants Image source: www.atbc2008.org

In the beginning of 20th century, Indians locally known as Hindoestanen in Dutch, started exploring others areas of work, such as in the transport and trading industry. They began considering the importance of western education as a crucial tool to social upliftment through the proselytising practices of the Christian missionaries. They started sending their children to school, thus making the next generation eligible of taking up jobs in civil services. According to Dutch regulations, all people born in this colony as well as the children of Dutch parents were entitled to Dutch citizenship.

Education Minister of Suriname, Minister Ashwin Adhin says, “We have a lot of Hindi schools, the language is taught in the Hindi schools. The government supports the teaching of Hindi by allowing them to use school premises to hold Hindi language classes. Indians speak in Sarnami among themselves”.

Indians soon became visible in professional jobs like medical and law, judiciary, politics, banking, administration and diplomatic services.

Indo-Surinamese culture

By 1975, the younger generation of Hindustani people opted to migrate to Netherlands owing to Dutch citizenship laws and inter-racial tensions in Suriname. Those who stayed back were determined to preserve their Indian culture and traditions. Almost 80% of the Suriname community includes Hindus while Muslims make up 17.5% of the population. Both these communities succeeded in keeping their culture and language alive. They have set up foundations to run schools for their children and also socio-religious organisations such as the Arya Dewakar, Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and Islamitische Vereniging (Islamic club). Initially, both the Hindu and Muslim communities used Hindu and Urdu languages for socio-religious purposes. Even television and PIO (people of Indian origin) radio operated in these two languages. Sarnami eventually took a toll over Hindu and Urdu as the younger generations war less aware of these two languages whereas Sarnami was understood by all Indians. After the evolution of Indian immigration, indentured laborers spoke Bhojpuri language which is now largely spoken by all the immigrants. The modern day ‘Sarnami’ is a mixture of Bhojpuri and Awadi in addition to Dutch, English and Creole wordings.

Overall, the Indian immigrants have managed to integrate themselves in the Surinamese society. The people follow an ethnic lifestyle and have made visible contribution to the country’s trade, commerce, transport and other sectors.

Indians today

Minister Ashwin Adhin says, “We celebrate Diwali, Holi and Id ul Fitr. For the last three-four years Diwali is celebrated as a national day. We build the biggest earthen diya in the world. It is two-and-a-half meters across and is placed at the Independence Square in Parimariboo. People from across the whole nation participate in this festival. They bring ghee (clarified butter oil) from their homes and pour it into the diya. The diya is lighted on the Saturday before diwali and it continues to burn day and night till the last festivities of Diwali are over”, in an interview conducted by theindiandiaspora.com. There is also an official holiday on Holi Phagwa and Id-ul-Fitr.

Holi Phagwa 2016, Suriname

In Suriname there is a placed named Calcutta. A number of streets are named after Indian workers, their children or Indian politicians in Suriname. Monuments are also there to honor the British-Indian indentured workers.


Baba En Mai Image : ushamarhe.wordpress.com

On 5th June every year, Suriname commemorates the arrival of Indians. On this day, the Surinamese government and people of Indian origin pay tribute to statue of Indian ancestors ‘Baba en Mai’ (Father and mother). This statute in located at the place where Indians first arrived in Suriname called the “Coolie Depot”.


Coolie Depot– barababe.wordpress.com

Shubhi Mangla is a student of Journalism and Mass communication in New Delhi. She is currently working as an intern in Newsgram. Twitter @shubhi_mangla


Popular

Photo by Sirisvisual on Unsplash

This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.

The Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has started rolling out iOS 12.5.5 to older models of the iPhone and iPad. "This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users," Apple said in the release notes for iOS 12.5.5.

The update is available for the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3, as well as the 6th gen iPod touch, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. All of these devices were dropped from support with iOS 13. The iOS 12.5.5 update addresses issues related to maliciously crafted PDFs, web content, and apps.

ALSO READ: The September Event Of Apple Inc.

Apple had previously rolled out iOS 12.5.4 in June with security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities and other issues. Apple has also started seeded the first betas of iOS 15.1 as well as iPadOS 15.1. After removing SharePlay in iOS 15 beta 2, Apple has re-enabled the feature in the iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, and tvOS 15.1 betas. Apple decided to pull SharePlay from the iOS 15 launch because it was not properly functioning and was still riddled with issues.

It adds features to the Health app like support for storing health-related data for Covid-19 immunisations and test results. With the latest iOS 15.1 Beta, one can now add vaccination cards to the Apple Wallet application. (IANS/ MBI)

Keep Reading Show less
Flickr

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Lakme Fashion Week, announced a collaboration to celebrate "NBA 75"

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Lakme Fashion Week, announced a collaboration to celebrate "NBA 75" the leagues landmark 75th Anniversary Season in 2021-22. As part of the collaboration, the NBA and Lakme Fashion Week will offer fashion designers from across India the opportunity to submit designs for an "NBA 75" collection. Select designs will be evaluated by a panel comprised of fashion designers, industry experts and local influencers, with the winning designer announced at the upcoming October edition of Lakme Fashion Week.

The winner will then be mentored by a leading fashion expert and will work alongside the NBA on a capsule collection to commemorate NBA 75. The NBA 75 range, which will include jerseys, t-shirts, headwear, sweatpants, hoodies, jackets and other apparel, will be unveiled at Lakme Fashion Week in March 2022.

"We are excited to collaborate with Lakme Fashion Week and offer Indian designers the chance to express their vision in celebration of NBA 75," said NBA Asia Executive Vice President & Managing Director Scott Levy. "The NBA and its players are synonymous with fashion and culture, and this friendly competition will showcase the talent and passion that Indian designers have for basketball and the NBA during our landmark 75th Anniversary Season." The collection will be available for purchase after the event on the NBAStore.in and at select retail destinations. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
IANS

Beauty icons Kriti Sanon and Shanaya Kapoor believe in natural and clean beauty products.

Clean beauty products are making inroads and have gained a significant share of the beauty market, with more more people becoming aware of the their benefits. With each passing year thanks to technology, research and development natural ingredients have finally regained their place in the spotlight. Don't take our word for it, beauty icons Kriti Sanon and Shanaya Kapoor also believe in natural and clean beauty products, and associate with the 'Naturali' range launched by RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. The new age nature-inspired personal care brand aims to provide a one-of-a kind experience to their customer infused with trendy natural ingredients delivering quick visible results.

Hair care ambassador Kriti Sanon said, 'I am extremely thrilled to be associating with Naturali haircare range that is infused with modern, trendy natural ingredients which are free from harmful chemicals. I have always been an ardent supporter of the 'no nasties' proposition when it comes to my hair care needs, hence this association came very naturally to me. Everyone knows that natural products are supposed to be good for you, but they are often believed to be slow in giving results. Naturali changes this, as the range has a unique SuperBlend of complementary natural ingredients, that are optimized to give you quick visible results. As a woman myself, I strongly believe that no woman should ever have to compromise especially with respect to her beauty choices. So, it is extremely fulfilling to see a brand that is not only good for you being free from harmful chemicals but also makes you look good.'

sliced fruit on white surface Clean beauty products are making inroads and have gained a significant share of the beauty market, with more more people becoming aware of the their benefits. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less