Tag Archives: Hindus

How the 19th-century flow of indentured workers shapes the Caribbean | The Economist

Of carnivals and controversy: How the 19th-century flow of indentured workers shapes the Caribbean | The Economist

WHEN Anthony Carmona, the president of Trinidad and Tobago, showed up in a Carnival parade last month wearing a head cloth, white shorts and beads like those worn by Hindu pandits, he was not expecting trouble. Nothing seems more Trinidadian than a mixed-race president joining a festival that has African and European roots. But some Hindus were outraged. “[O]ur dress code has never been associated with this foolish and self-degrading season,” huffed a priest. Trinidad’s cultures blend easily most of the time; occasionally, they strike sparks.     Continue reading

The Hindus of the Caribbean: An Appreciation – by Murali Balaji

The Hindus of the Caribbean: An Appreciation

Posted: 02/13/2015 2:33 pm EST –  – Director of Education and Curriculum Reform, Hindu American Foundation – HuffingtonPost.com

Nataraja Hinduism symbolOn May 5, 1838, the Whitby, a British ship docked in British Guiana (now known as Guyana) with 249 human cargo after a nearly three-month voyage from the Port of Calcutta in India. Along the way, many of those on board were abused by the ship’s crew, and five died.

The Whitby was the first of many chartered ships that would bring Indians — mostly poor Hindus from rural northern India — to work on the sugar cane plantations in the British West Indies. Over the next 80 years, more than 500,000 Indians would make the trip to the Caribbean as indentured servants, primarily to places such as Guyana and Trinidad. Their story — shaped by the trauma of Transatlantic migration, struggles in a new environment, and eventually the triumph of forging a distinct identity — continues to be an overlooked part of colonial history.  Continue reading

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