India High Commission hosts commemorative dinner

Abolition of Indian indentureship

The High Commission of India on Thursday evening hosted the inaugural event of Guyana’s 100th anniversary of the Abolition of Indian Indentureship.

The month of March marks the suspension of the indentureship scheme, which brought an end to the importation of Indians to the slavery driven plantations of then British Guiana. On March 12, 1917, the Governor General of Indian stamped down on this act of dehumanising their nationals which at that time had already supplied the West Indies with a new workforce, after slavery was outlawed. One hundred years later, Guyana celebrates the landmark of not only the end of this callous system, but also the diversity which emerged and continued to develop as

 A section of the gathering at the inaugural dinner of Guyana’s 100th anniversary of the abolition of Indian indentureship
A section of the gathering at the inaugural dinner of Guyana’s 100th anniversary of the abolition of Indian indentureship

a result of the coming of the East Indians.

The dinner at the Aagman Indian Restaurant kick started the calendar of activities that are scheduled for the remainder of this month. In attendance were several members of the diplomatic corps, supporters as well as cultural curators of the Indo-Guyanese Society and several members of Parliament.

Addressing the gathering, High Commissioner of India, Venkatachalam Mahalingamin, expressed delight in the High Commission’s contributions to Guyana’s celebration. He noted that the events will rekindle memories and assist in the advancement of the Indian culture and traditions. The Commissioner also highlighted that they have made efforts to ensure the forthcoming events are meaningful. In addition to organising the dinner, he indicated that speakers and cultural groups from India will be participating in the events tabled for the commemoration of this historic occasion.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who also attended the event, recognised the Indian High Commission’s initiative and emphasised the significance of this milestone to Guyana. He mentioned his anticipation for the signature events in store for the celebrations and indicated that the previous Government had commenced preparations to honour of this landmark. Nagamootoo pointed out that former Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony planted the seeds of a monument to honour the Indian Indentured labourers and their contribution to the diversity of our country.

The foundation of this monument is set to be unveiled later this month. The Guyana Indian Indentureship Abolition Association (GIIAA) officially commenced its festivities to honour 100 years since the ending of Indian Indentureship on Friday evening at the National Cultural Centre.

The Social Cohesion Ministry and the High Commission of Indian collaborated to present a grand gala entitled “Garv Aur Izzat” (Pride and Dignity). Other cultural and commemorative activities are to follow throughout the month of March.