Category Archives: Indian Arrival Day Magazine

Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2009

A pictorial survey of books on indentureship in the Caribbean

Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council (ICC) is proud to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2009) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad during indentureship (1845-1917) is “A pictorial survey of books on indentureship in the Caribbean.”

This glossy magazine in full colour highlights the first book on the subject that was written by Joseph Beaumont and published in 1871. It is entitled The New Slavery: An Account of the Indian and Chinese Immigrants in British Guiana. About 80 years later, the second non-fiction book was written by Dwarka Nath and published in 1950, entitled A History of Indians in British Guiana. Since then about 83 books have been published on the subject, mainly by Indians in the Diaspora, some of them being women. Eight of these are works of fiction.


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Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2008

Heritage Tourism: Indian heritage and sacred sites in Trinidad

Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council (ICC) is proud to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2008) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad during indentureship (1845-1917) is “Heritage Tourism: Indian heritage and sacred sites in Trinidad.”

This glossy magazine in full colour highlights significant places, built structures and land formations that Indians consider to be particularly historical or sacred to them in multi-ethnic Trinidad. These sites include three temples, three secular buildings, a mosque, a church, a cave, a rock, a volcano, a river, a beach, a massacre site, a cremation ground, and Nelson Island. Though these designated sites and architectural monuments bear special meaning to Indians, they exhibit outstanding values that are universal to all mankind. These sites have become popular destinations to local visitors and can be marketed to attract tourists.

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Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2007

Indian indentureship on cocoa, coconut and rubberin Trinidad

It is not well known today that South Asian/East Indian immigrants were indentured on estates other than sugarcane plantations. When the price of sugar in the world market fell in the mid-1880s, cocoa, coconut and rubber became alternative crops cultivated for export. Cocoa surpassed sugar as the most valuable export crop in Trinidad during, and just after Indentureship, and Indians were at the forefront of this agricultural enterprise. Indians worked in cocoa estates in Diego Martin, Lopinot, Sangre Grande, Grand Couva, Oropouche, Siparia, Fyzabad and Avocat. In 1920, cocoa beans made up about 43 percent of the British colony’s total export.

From World War 1 (1914-1918) until 1921, copra [from coconut] prices rose rapidly and production doubled with the additional labour of Indians. They worked on coconut estates in Cocal and Ortoire along the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road, and Cedros and Icacos in the south-west peninsula of the island. A few hundred Indians were also indentured on rubber estates in Trinidad, and perhaps Guyana. As early as 1910, about 3000 acres of land were grown with Castilloa rubber mainly in Rio Claro. Later, the Para [Hevea Brasiliensis] variety was cultivated in Talparo, Ecclesville, Phoenix, Guayabe, Vessigny, Biche, Matura and Sangre Grande.


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Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2006

Caribbean Indians in Cinema

Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council (ICC) is proud to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2005) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad during indentureship (1845-1917) is Caribbean Indian actors in cinematic movies

The magazine presents still pictures from cinematic movies in which Indian actors and actresses have starred. It highlights Indians in movies made in the Caribbean, England and Hollywood from 1964 to the present time. The magazine begins with the young Basdeo Panday in three British-produced movies: Nine Hours to Rama (1963), Man in the Middle (1964), and The Brigand of Kandahar (1965). It also captures shots of Ralph Maraj in The Right and the Wrong (1970), The Caribbean Fox (1970) and Bim (1974). It features Errol Sitahal in three Hollywood films: A Little Princess (1995), Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) and Tommy Boy (1995). And it takes snapshots of a host of other performers, most of whom have appeared in The Mystic Masseur (2001). It is important to celebrate these individuals because they have struggled against tremendous odds as ethnic minorities to achieve visibility and stardom on the sliver screen.

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Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2005

East Indian/South Asian Artifacts in the Caribbean

Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council (ICC) wishes to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2005) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad during indentureship (1845-1917) is Indian artifacts in the Caribbean.

Artifacts are old, broken or discarded objects such as musical instruments, cooking utensils, household items, ritual paraphernalia, old tools, etc. that have been used by past generations. The magazine carries photographs of these recovered material remains, and describes and analyses them in relation to their uses. The objective of selecting this theme is to illustrate how non-textual sources of information can also be used to re-construct the history of Indian immigrants in the Caribbean.

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Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2004

The massacre of Indians in the 1884 Hosay

On October 30, 1884, 22 Indians were killed and over 100 were injured in a hail of police bullets fired at a Hosay procession in San Fernando, Trinidad. The nation was stunned in disbelief. This tragedy is described by historian Dr. Kelvin Singh as the bloodiest event of British rule in colonial Trinidad. In the wake of industrial strikes in Trinidad in the 1880s, the colonial authorities had set about to prevent the continuance of Hosay/Muharram as a grand, island-wide multi-racial procession led by Indians. The latest petition restricting the staging of Hosay was met with dismay and indignation. Armed with courage and determination, indentured Indian celebrants ignored the ban and took to the streets in their annual religious procession. Their resistance was met with batons and bullets from British soldiers and marines.

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Indian Arrival Day commemorative magazine 2003

History, Culture and Agriculture.

Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council (ICC) wishes to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2003) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad during indentureship (1845-1917) is History, Culture and Agriculture.

On May 30th 1845, the Fatel Rozak docked in the Port of Spain harbour in Trinidad and Tobago with 225 adult passengers onboard. The passengers were immigrants from India who had come to the British colony to work in the sugarcane plantations after the abolition of African slavery. In many ways, they brought India to the Caribbean. They continued with their traditions of Hinduism and Islam, and eventually transformed Trinidad into a colourful cosmopolitan society. Descendants of these Indian immigrants, who now comprise about half of the multi-ethnic society of the island (1.3 million), commemorate the arrival of their ancestors to these shores annually.

Wherever the history of Indians in the Caribbean is written, the one constant factor of their daily lives that persists through time and space is their predisposition to agriculture. The reality is that agriculture, even in its smallest stage, has historically informed the lifestyle of Indians. Even to this day, there is hardly an Indian home that is without flora and fauna derived from the ancestral homeland. The imminent closure of Caroni (1975) Limited ends a long chapter in the cultural history of Indians in Trinidad and Tobago. By June 2003, Caroni is set to become a relic of the past. The agricultural bastion will crumble and give way to an industrial culture through a “voluntary” separation plan for all employees. This change is exceedingly traumatic for all whose navel strings are buried in the sugarcane soil. Such change entails serious social, economic and cultural concerns for the Indians as well as the wider community. Prominent among these concerns is the nation’s future food security. As it stands, the nation’s food import bill already reflects an alarming foreign dependence.

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