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I will always be thankful to my ancestors who were forced to travel on a wretched ship to a far and strange land. They endured indescribable wrongs but persevered. We are twice removed: they to Guyana, then us to North America. Their family in India have remained in poverty, as if frozen in time, fighting for a lil piece of land; they are not achievers and go-getters like the indentured turned out to be


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PPP: Reflect on the valiant efforts of our ancestors

May 05, 2022 News -- Source - Kaieteur News Online -- https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...ts-of-our-ancestors/

Kaieteur News – The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to extend greetings to all Guyanese on the occasion of Arrival Day, observed today, May 5.

It is a day of much significance to our country and all of its people, as it brings into focus the invaluable contributions of our ancestors who came to these shores from various parts of the world. It is also a day to commemorate their arrival and monumental achievements.

Arrival Day also affords us the opportunity to be imbued with a tremendous sense of pride and reflect on the selfless and invaluable contributions our ancestors and their descendants made to the development of our nation. Their untold sacrifices and resoluteness, which must not be allowed to be forgotten, led to the building of a strong nation and improved standard of living for future generations.

The determined efforts of our ancestors, despite the hardships they faced, to remain steadfast and preserve their cultural traditions, have led to the creation of a rich and colourful mosaic, which is our multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural Guyana. This diversity has become our hallmark.

As we all observe this day, our Party urges reflection on the valiant efforts of our ancestors so that we can all continue to be inspired and be better able to contextualize the value of our gains. Inspired by the sacrifices and achievements of our ancestors, we must remain determined to build upon the gains that have been made to: ensure that our country remains a place for all of its sons and daughters; to safeguard our hard-won freedoms; to ensure that peace is not compromised, and to ensure that the safety of our people is paramount. Recognising the value of the gains we have made to date, we must continue to work together as one people to further advance the development of our nation for the betterment of all Guyanese.

Our Party would also like to commend all who have worked steadfastly over the years, as well as those who continue to do so, on the promotion of activities designed to foster greater awareness and preservation of our history, values, and cultural traditions.


PNCR backs calls for May 5th to be designated Indian Arrival Day

May 05, 2022 News -- Source - Kaieteur News Online -- https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-indian-arrival-day/

Kaieteur News – The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) in hailing the contributions of East Indians to Guyana’s development has joined calls for May 5th to be officially designated Indian Arrival Day rather than Arrival Day.

In recent weeks there have been renewed calls for the government to take steps to have May 5th be properly designated. β€œThe PNCR hereby joins the call for the May 5th observances to be officially recognized henceforth as INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY,” the party said in its Arrival Day message. It added: β€œDesignating May 5th as INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY also respects the historic fact that the date specifically marks the arrival of the first Indian Indentured labourers to these shores. May 5th therefore should be wholly devoted to celebrating the valuable contribution that our East Indian brothers and sisters have made to the development of our country and the shaping of its rich cultural tapestry. Separate Arrival Days for Guyanese of Indian, Portuguese, and Chinese descent; a Heritage Month for Guyanese of Amerindian descent; and Emancipation Day for Guyanese of African descent should all be seen as occasions to celebrate our distinct ethnic identities and cultural expressions, while at the same time embracing our unity in diversity, our mutual respect, our common understandings, and our shared destiny,” the party noted. In its message the PNCR used the theme, β€œSAFEGUARDING AND BUILDING ON OUR RICH HERITAGE.”

It said May 5th has been designated as the special occasion when β€œwe pay homage to the arrival of Indentured workers to these shores regardless of their origin. It also marks the anniversary of the arrival of our East Indian ancestors on this day in 1838. The arrival of these various Guyanese ancestors has added to the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural magnificence of Guyana. This rich diversity today is rooted and given unity in our shared experiences, shared goals, and shared destiny as One Nation.” According to the PNCR the untiring efforts and enormous sacrifices of these ancestors have helped to build a nation that today we are proud to call home, that we are ready to represent and defend, and that we are willing to keep building. β€œTrue, much more work remains to be done as we today undertake, in the words of the preamble of Guyana’s constitution, our collective quest for a perfect nation.” Arrival Day therefore should cause us to recommit to the charge in the very preamble to β€œsafeguard and build on the rich heritage, won through tireless struggle, bequeathed us by our forebears.”

The party said to strengthen national integration and social cohesion by according due respect and recognition to the various ethnic groups in our multicultural society, the former Leader of the PNCR and President of Guyana, David Granger, issued two public notices: (i) on February 27, 2017, he designated May 3rd each year as PORTUGUESE ARRIVAL DAY; and (ii) on January 6, 2017, he designated January 12th each year as CHINESE ARRIVAL DAY. Given these changed circumstances surrounding the original purpose of Arrival Day – coupled with the fact that Guyanese of African and Amerindian origin have designated days or months to celebrate their distinct heritages, the party said it was time the East Indians be accorded with the month of May to celebrate their heritage.

Last edited by Demerara_Guy

GAWU: Spare a moment to reflect on how far as a people we have come

May 05, 2022 News - Kaieteur News Online - https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...people-we-have-come/

Kaieteur News – Our rich cultural tapestry is one of the several features that set Guyana apart from many of its contemporaries. As a people we take great pride in our diversity and the coexistence of our several cultural groupings. It is against this background that the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) extends best wishes to all Guyanese both at home and further afield on the occasion of Arrival Day. This important observance is yet another reminder of what makes Guyana special and what plays a role in our renowned hospitality and welcoming spirit.

While Arrival Day – May 05 – though largely associated with the arrival of East Indians, the day reminds us of all indentured immigrants brought to our land. Our research advises us that outside of the East Indians, the Madeiran Portuguese came in May 1835, the Chinese in 1853, as well as a few other ethnicities during that phase of colonialism. We are aware that the colonialists brought also labourers from Malta, Ireland, Germany and England.
Arrival Day also reminds us of the reasons for the indentureship system. The then immigrants who replaced the emancipated slaves were made to toil in the fields of the sugar plantations to enrich the foreign owners of the plantations. Indentured labourers and their families were forced to exist in inhumane and atrocious conditions. And, like their compatriots, they were forced to engage in several struggles, which gave us several martyrs, in order to bring about small improvements and meagre benefits in their lives and work conditions.

As we observe Arrival Day, the GAWU is constrained to remind that our unique culture has a common thread in the sugar industry. It is that historical industry which bounds a great lot of our peoples. We remind as well that it is the very industry too on which modern Guyana is built through the labours of many of our peoples. As Arrival Day is once again commemorated, we remain saddened over the affairs of this important industry. At this time, a legacy of mismanagement has invoked severe setback and undue pains.

Though we recognise and appreciate efforts to breathe new life into the industry we remain concerned regarding over the seeming inability of the current managerial cadre to grasp the situation inherited. We harbour apprehension as we consider data which demonstrates not a welcome direction. Critically, given the linkages between Arrival Day and sugar, we urge the need to strengthen the current management with skilled and capable personnel. We believe this would be an appropriate tribute to those who toiled in the fields and factories and on whose contributions today we proudly stand. As we celebrate Arrival Day, the GAWU urges all Guyanese to spare a moment to reflect on how far as a people we have come, the challenges we overcame, and the successes we have recorded. At this time, when we ought to be looking to reach new and higher plateaus, we see concerted efforts that will very likely reverse much of the progress we have made, and rightly can take pride in. Let us resist such efforts and get back on the development track.

Last edited by Demerara_Guy

Arrival Day signifies mixture of all peoples who came to Guyana – Indian High Commissioner

By: Feona Morrison

Indian High Commissioner, Dr KJ Srinivasa

Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa has extended Arrival Day greetings to all of Guyana. He has noted that this day not only signifies the arrival of Indians to this land, but also is a symbol of the mixture of all the people who came to Guyana from Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Observed annually on May 5 as a national holiday, Arrival Day commemorates the arrival of all ethnic groups which came here as indentured labourers, and their stellar contributions to the overall development of Guyana. Today also marks the 184th anniversary of the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants.

During an interview on Wednesday with this publication, Dr Srinivasa highlighted that the cultural link between India and Guyana has been strong throughout the past 184 years. To develop and continue this relationship, and to promote Indian culture, music, dance, language and art, among other things, he said, the Government of India, through the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre in Georgetown, has been conducting various classes in this regard.

β€œβ€¦be it dance classes like Kathak, we have music classes for tabla, harmonium, and other instruments. We have the teaching of Hindi and Sanskrit languages. We also have Yoga classes,” the Indian High Commissioner shared.

When in-person classes were discontinued due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre had moved to online teaching.
But with the relaxation of most COVID-19 measures, that cultural centre is looking to resume face-to-face classes.

The Indian High Commissioner has said that these classes will commence soon, β€œand we hope to get more students involved”. He added that there will be outreach programmes in the three counties, where teachers will go and teach music, dance, languages, and yoga to the people in these regions.

Every year, the High Commission, under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), awards five scholarships to persons to study the various Indian art forms in India.

Dr Srinivasa disclosed that numerous persons have benefited from these two-to- three-year courses. India had stopped these scholarships for the past two years due to COVID, but with the easing of restrictions, applications have restarted.

β€œWe have already got applications for these courses, and selection is underway. The last date has been extended up to May 31, 2022 across the world. We want to encourage more persons to join,” he added.

He said India has also resumed its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.

Dr Srinivasa explained, β€œThe Government of India gives 50 ITEC scholarships. These are short-term scholarships, within four to 12 weeks, which are in various subjects. We have about 1,200 courses, and these are mainly being worked out online due to COVID. But now we have restarted those ITEC courses, we have got a great demand for them already. We have people from the Guyana Police Force applying, people from other ministries, and private people applying…”

He foresees there being a β€œgreat demand” for these scholarships this year, adding that β€œwe are going to have to increase the scholarships for Guyana”.
A qualified medical doctor, Dr Srinivasa assumed his assignment as High Commissioner of India to Guyana in August 2019.

In recognition of Arrival Day, the Indian High Commission in Guyana has collaborated with the Berbice Cultural Committee to have a cultural and commemorative event at Highbury village, East Bank Berbice (Region Six: East Berbice-Corentyne).

Such activities have become an integral part of the Indian High Commission and other bodies in ensuring that the rich history of this ethnic group is kept alive.

The first activity will get underway from 10:00h today. Then, at 16:00h, there will be another event at the Indian Arrival Monument at Palmyra Village, East Coast Berbice, Region Six. This event is being hosted in collaboration with the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha. The events will adopt a similar pattern, as Guyanese of East Indian descent will gather to reflect on the heritage of their ancestors. The activities would feature various aspects showcasing the Indian culture. Activities can also be streamed online.

Indentured labourers came to fill the void created by the exodus of ex-slaves from plantations following emancipation. Once known as Plantation Highbury, this estate was the first to receive East Indian Indentured servants on May 5, 1838, the same year the slavery system was abolished. On that day, two ships β€”Whitby and Hesperus – landed in the colony with some 396 East Indians. The Indian Arrival Monument was donated to Guyana by the Indian Government, and was unveiled in May 2019 to coincide with Arrival Day.

People of Portuguese descent were also introduced to Guyana as indentured labourers. The first groups arrived in 1835, and they continued coming until 1882, by which time approximately 32,000 Portuguese immigrants had arrived here.

The first batch of Chinese indentured labourers, mostly men, landed in Georgetown, British Guiana in 1853. By 1913, the British Colony was the recipient of over 15,000 Chinese indentured labourers.

By: Feona Morrison

Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha salutes the resilience and indomitable spirit of Immigrants

Head of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Dr Vindhya Persaud

See full statement from the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha:

As we celebrate the 184th Indian Arrival Day, it is important to pay tribute to the indefatigable and indomitable spirit of the Indian indentured Immigrants who came on the 5th of May 1838 and also to all those who came through the through the indentureship system.

Today, we reflect on the immense and incredible contributions of our ancestors who arrived as indentured immigrants to then British Guiana.  Arrival Day gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and salute the visible and tangible imprints of their presence and impact in multiple spheres in our country. From the earliest days of struggle and sacrifice, they demonstrated remarkable resilience and courage in the face of hardship, callous and inhumane living and working conditions. There are multiple stories of their resistance against colonialism and their struggle for an independent Guyana and their fight for better conditions. Our country has benefited tremendously from their invaluable contributions in diverse spheres. Their industriousness in the agricultural sector in the earliest years and thereafter have been impactful and benefited Guyana’s economy for decades.

We recognize the remarkable foundation they laid for their descendants and all Guyanese to build on. We are grateful for their dedication in preserving a rich culture filled with beautiful traditions creating a heritage that contributes to Guyana’s kaleidoscope of festivals, cultural practices, national cuisine and everyday life.

As a people we can learn from their courage, unity against undemocratic practices and colonialism, consistent and ceaseless work to develop their community and country and their respect and love for each other that endured beyond the indentureship time and biological ties.

They have left an enduring and rich heritage that is enjoyed today in the foods we eat, clothing we wear, the festivals that are part of the national tapestry of diverse cultures. We are fortunate as a country to enjoy the diversity of the peoples who came and to be able to look back with pride on all their contributions and to have a legacy that is uniquely beautiful and varied. We have enjoyed peaceful and religious harmony and we must always use this to bridge all other barriers that may exist, remembering our ancestors collective struggles and arduous journeys in those early days of our country’s history.

As descendants of those who came as indentured immigrants, we have much to be proud of and to be grateful for and build on. We continue to celebrate our culture our heritage and our traditions.

We invite you to join us for Sanskriti, a celebration of our culture, our heritage, our traditions, today , May 5th at 4:00pm at the Indian arrival Monument, Palmyra Berbice to enjoy a beautiful cultural program featuring songs, dance and drama by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s Praants and artises, the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, other groups, an exquisite exhibition and hot traditional meals on the spot. Admission is free and no alcohol is allowed.

Happy Arrival Day!


President Ali hails ancestral contributions to nation-building on Arrival Day

President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali has hailed ancestral contributions to nation building made by the first Indian immigrants to land on Guyana’s shores, as Guyana today celebrates Arrival Day.

In his message for today’s observances, the President extended Arrival Day greetings to all, and lauded the achievements of these immigrants who contributed to the collective effort to build Guyana and agitated for the country’s freedom.

β€œArrival Day celebrates Guyana’s multicultural heritage. The immigrants who arrived added to the country’s cultural diversity. Their cultural imprint is evident in their religions, festivals, folklores, dress, music, dance, food, values and traditions. Many countries have struggled with the challenges of multiculturalism.

β€œGuyana, however, stands as a proud example of how persons from diverse ethnic backgrounds can coexist in harmony, cooperate for the common good, and respect one another. We must work to preserve this legacy,” President Ali has said.

Referencing his β€œOne Guyana” initiative, the President noted that the initiative he launched is aimed at celebrating Guyana’s diversity. According to him, it affirms that Guyana is a multicultural society, and also aims to promote greater mutual respect and cooperation among Guyanese.

β€œThe 5th May each year is also observed nationally as Indian Arrival Day. This year marks the 184th anniversary of the arrival to our shores of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants. In the ensuing years, more 240,000 Indians made the long and arduous journey by ship to the colony of British Guiana.

β€œMost remained and planted roots in our land. Indian indentured immigrants transformed the human, physical, economic, social and cultural landscape of our country. Indian indentured immigrants helped to sustain the sugar industry, diversify economic activities, and contributed to the struggle for freedom and improved living and working conditions,” the President said.

He noted that, today, the descendants of these immigrants continue to make positive contributions in all facets of national development. Thus, he noted the historical and national importance of Indian Arrival Day.

β€œOn this Arrival Day, let us all move forward as a united country, mindful that each of our various peoples has a claim on national development and an entitlement to share in the great bounty which the future promises.

β€œLet us commit to living as brothers and sisters in peace, harmony and goodwill, knowing that in doing so we will be preserving and honouring the legacy of those who came and those who were here before them!” President Ali said.

Meanwhile, the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), in its statement on occasion of the day, issued a call for the day to be rebranded as Indian Arrival Day…a call that comes despite the fact that under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), no effort was made to change the day.

In fact, former President David Granger signed into law orders creating Chinese Arrival Day (January 12) and Portuguese Arrival Day (February 27), while studiously avoiding renaming Arrival Day as Indian Arrival Day.

In its statement, the PNC/R acknowledged the need for separate arrival days for people to celebrate their distinct cultural identities.

According to that party, it has chosen the theme β€œSafeguarding and Building on our rich heritage” for this year’s observances.

β€œDesignating May 5th as Indian Arrival Day also respects the historic fact that the date specifically marks the arrival of the first Indian Indentured labourers to these shores. May 5th therefore should be wholly devoted to celebrating the valuable contribution that our East Indian brothers and sisters have made to the development of our country and the shaping of its rich cultural tapestry.

β€œSeparate Arrival Days for Guyanese of Indian, Portuguese, and Chinese descent; a Heritage Month for Guyanese of Amerindian descent; and Emancipation Day for Guyanese of African descent should all be seen as occasions to celebrate our distinct ethnic identities and cultural expressions, while at the same time embracing our unity in diversity, our mutual respect, our common understandings, and our shared destiny,” the party also said.

According to the Opposition party, the untiring efforts and sacrifices of these ancestors must be saluted. And while more work remains to be done in the quest for a β€œperfect nation”, the PNC/R noted, Arrival Day presents an opportunity to recommit to that task.

The existence of β€œArrival Day” as a public holiday stems from a 2003 parliamentary process whereby a Special Select Parliamentary Committee was tasked with considering the date of May 5 to commemorate Indian Arrival Day. It has been speculated that naming the day β€œArrival Day” was originally done in the hopes of promoting inclusion of other groups of indentured servants.

Last edited by Demerara_Guy
@Irfon Ali posted:

Uncle Harr, beautiful Kashmir...Dal Lake and the houseboats, Mughal Gardens, Himalayas, etc. portrayed in so many Bollywood movies.

Shakira Baksh Caine tried to fool everyone that she was a Kashmiri princess 

Now, now now Irfon Ali ... careful there.

Shakira Baksh is my cousin.

Shakira Baksh and Michael Caine indeed went to Kashmir; among other things; to find/locate ancestral places.


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