My Island Leguan Blog

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History of East Indians Presence in Guyana March 7, 2017

Filed under: history,Uncategorized — Leguanite @ 4:45 pm
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Brigadier David Granger

The Indian presence began with the arrival of indentured immigrants in British Guiana on May 5, 1838 primarily to work on the sugar plantations.

The ethnic origins, occupational diversity and large number of Indians were important determinants of their own destiny and the development of the country. Many were recruited from the heavily-populated, Bhojpuri-speaking area that came to be known as the United Provinces − roughly the present-day Uttar Pradesh − and embarked at emigration depot at Calcutta (now Kolkota).
…The majority of immigrants came from the lower agricultural caste (including chamar); artisan caste (kumhar); cultivator caste (kurmi); grazier caste (ahir); landholding caste (thakur), and priestly caste (brahmin). There were also significant numbers of Muslims and outcasts. Owing to the relative shortage of women immigrants in the early days, there was a degree of miscegenation; some men married or cohabited with African women producing children of mixed blood referred to as ‘douglas.’

Indian indentured labourers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries successfully transplanted their skills from their old homes onto their new. In so doing, they not only displayed a high occupational profile in a number of non-plantation economic activities but helped to diversify the economy of this country.

Others, through thrift, were able to buy freehold land on their own when they left the plantations. As most immigrants had come from agricultural castes, they were able to embark on rice and coconut cultivation and animal husbandry on small holdings as independent peasants. By the end of the 19th century, Indians dominated coconut and rice industries and cattle and dairy farming. The food shortage created by the First World War firmly established Indian-grown rice both as a domestic staple and a major export commodity. This was nothing less than the start of an agrarian revolution that transformed both the economy and society.

Religion has always been central to Indian society. According to Tota Mangar, approximately 83 per cent of the immigrants who came were Hindus, about 14 per cent were Muslims and 3 per cent were Christians. Plantation managers and the colonial administration encouraged Indian religion by permitting free time for the celebration of some festivals such as Holi, and by providing building materials for the construction of mandirs for the Hindus, and masjids for the Muslims.

Indians have left a rich legacy of art, dance, literature and music. Traditional cuisine – the perennially popular curry, puri, roti, bara, kheer – and other vegetable dishes, are widely consumed. Festivals, including the colourful Holi, Diwali, Youman Nabi and Eid-ul-Fitr are today national holidays. Traditional Indian wear – the shalwar, sari, kurta – though no longer everyday wear, have remained very popular especially at festivals, weddings and religious ceremonies. The contributions to sport, especially in the present day feats of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, have become national legends.

The descendants of indentured Indian immigrants and settlers who came to British Guiana between 1838 and 1928 constitute the largest group in the population. Today, they play essential roles in the economic, political and cultural life of the country.

A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT LEGUAN General Report of the Emigration Commissioner (1845) (Archival Record) February 5, 2017

Filed under: Leguan,Uncategorized — Leguanite @ 3:10 am
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In Leguan 11 estates have received Coolies, from 20 to 30 each; on two, in isolated. parts of the island, there was not the discipline or attention paid to them that existed on the other; determined drunkenness seemed to reign there. I have directed the stipendiary magistrate to remove the people to other estates, if he finds that they still continue unruly and ill behaved.
The long-continued drought has so arrested the labour of the estates, that in general there is little employment for hands On estates whose means are not embarrassed, labour is created in various ways; but where means are limited, the object of the attorneys and managers is to save useless expenditure; labour is there reduced to its minimum; amongst other causes of complaint, that of not being allowed to earn a double task was expressed.
In general where the Coolies are sober, they are remarkably free from sores; when the Coolies were mustered for my inspection, there always appeared with them an old negress, who seemed as anxious about their appearance as the manager; the care of keeping the feet clear of the infesting chigo, is made by both of first necessity.

Of the 11 estates supplied with emigrants, 1O received them in February, one on the ‘25tl1 instant. The attorney of two or three estates of the earlier location has already been entrusted with money earned by these people, to transmit to their friends in India.
Leguan lost more of its labouring population after emancipation in 1838 than many other districts, and its productiveness has therefore diminished greatly; parties now lament their want of foresight in not selling from the beginning, what is now general, lots of land on the estates, which would have prevented the constant withdrawal of the labourers, who purchased land in common either on the river Demerara or on the east coast
The whole island, as well as Wakenhaam, is now covered with hamlets, villages, and free settlements, and many of its former population are now returning; the location of the Coolies, added to a supply of Africans formerly distributed amongst the estates, would have increased the crops this year considerably but for the drought.

(Credit for this article and picture  goes to my friend Hans who lives on the Island)


How Portugues got to Guyana and the Caribbean April 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Leguanite @ 6:31 pm
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Portuguese [Madeira] Migration to Caribbean and Guyana

Happy day? Don’t know – What do you think? May 6, 2013

Filed under: education — Leguanite @ 12:47 pm
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Speech at the Guyana Convention Centre on the 175th anniversary of Indians in Guyana
Eric M. Phillips Jr.

Chairman Sase Sankar; Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport; Mr. Puran Mal Meena, High Commissioner of India; Dr. Yesu Persaud, Chairman of The Indian Commemoration Trust; Mr. Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO; Member of Parliament Kemraj Ramjattan; Members of the Head Table, Distinguished Guests and especially our Distinguished Visitors from Overseas; Ladies and Gentlemen, Students of the University of Guyana; Members of the Media, Guyanese All.

It is indeed a great privilege to speak here today, and to be associated with the remarkable undertaking of the Indian Commemoration Trust and GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, to celebrate 175 years of the arrival of Indians in Guyana.
I have been asked to speak as a Guyanese of African origin and that privilege carries a humbling responsibility. So I thank Dr. Yesu Persaud and his Team not only for inviting me here, but for the outstanding example of Leadership which they are supplying to a Nation that is suffering an epic famine in Leadership and Self-love.
This year, we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Guyana, the 175 anniversary of Emancipation of Captured Africans, the 169th anniversary of the Portuguese in Guyana, and the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Chinese in Guyana.
Anniversaries allow us to reflect on our Guyanese ness………… well as our ethnic and cultural ness.
I have been asked to speak about the suffering of Africans during slavery and their contributions thereof.
History has recorded how they contributed their lives, families, dignity, names, land, blood etc. etc. but history has hidden the larger sacrifices they made even before they even got here.
Although the horror of slavery is well documented, it is not taught in our schools. So Emancipation Day is seen as a holiday in Guyana not as sacred day of remembrance, and African Holocaust Day on 12 October is ignored although Guyanese wear poppies for a few hundred dead on November 11….but not for the millions who perished during slavery.
Slavery annihilated Africa, African culture, African family structures, African institutions, African commerce, African growth, African history, African Pride and African economic development.

Slavery stole Africa’s light and replaced it with darkness. Those whose inhumanity and moral degeneracy benefitted from this earthy purgatory called slavery, called Africa the “Dark Continent”. This perhaps as they tried to purge their guilty conscience which would have made them be known for what they were…. “Evil incarnate”.

The enslavement of Africans, beginning with the Arab Slave Trade which lasted for 11 centuries from 650 AD to 1900 AD, was the first “nuclear bomb” the World has ever experienced. Although much has been written about the European Slave Trade and the Middle Passage, quite amazingly, the Arab Slave Trade, although it began almost 1000 years before the European Slave Trade and continued for almost a century after the abolition of the European Slave Trade, is hidden from Public domain, especially in the West and definitely in the Middle East.
The main difference between the Arab Slave Trade and the European Slave Trade was in their intent.
The Arab Slave Trade centered on sexual pleasure and hence the majority of slaves were women and children. The European Slave Trade centered on labor and hence the majority was young men. The Arab Slave Trade took away African women, the source of African procreation.
There seems to be a great conspiratorial silence centered on how many Africans were taken in either the Arab Slave Trade or the European Slave Trade. Estimates of 8-25 million are used for the Arab Slave Trade and 10-16 million for the European Slave Trade.
The plain truth is that slavery was a 1200 year Arab criminal enterprise that occurred between 650 and 1900 AD and this holocaust was followed by another holocaust , the 400 year criminal European enterprise that occurred between 1441 and 1888 AD.
The numbers of this “greatest crime of mass murder and destruction” are incredible. So incredible is it that the World has used millions of words to hide this unique horror and evil.
Let us forget the intellectuals, racists and apologists who want to mask the truth about this” heinous crime for profit”. In his article “ The way I see it-“The Missing 100+ million”, Jack Crawford provided the following information from the World Almanac in the area of World population (1990 Edition page 539).


A brief snapshot of Leguan and Wakenaam September 21, 2011

Filed under: Leguan — Leguanite @ 4:15 am
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Easy-going, independent and
hospitable are only some of the words used by Leguan residents to describe

The MV Malali moored alongside the Leguan Ferry stelling during a
recent trip to the island. The ferry sails to the island on alternate

one of the few inhabited islands of the Essequibo, sits squarely in the mouth of
the river, a relatively short speedboat ride from Parika.

the population of the villages on the island has fallen in recent times, the
people who remain have been making the best of what life has to offer there

Read more…


Walter Rodney – You tube – Class analysis July 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Leguanite @ 1:16 pm
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This is an excellent source of history of Guyana.  It put things in perspective for me.  Very enlightening for those who seek enlightenment about our past.

Talking about YouTube – 1 – A Historical Class Analysis of Guyanese Society – Dr. Walter Rodney