Celebrating Indian Arrival Day in Grenada
Why it is important to celebrate Indian Arrival Day in Grenada?
The first ship, the Maidstone, departed from Calcutta to Grenada on January 27, 1857 with 375 Indian immigrants. After 92 days, the ship landed at Irwin’s Bay in St. Patrick on May 1, 1857 with 289 passengers. Eighty-six died during the voyage.
Most of the immigrants on the Maidstone were bonded for five years to plantation estates in St. Patrick, St. Mark and other parishes. By 1885, a total of 3,200 Indians came to work as agricultural indenture labourers in Grenada. After completion of their contracts, they were promised a return passage to India, an extension of the bonded period or gifts of land.
Today, the descendants of these immigrants number 12,000 who form 11% of the population. All the Hindu and Muslim descendants of the immigrants have converted to Christianity.
The Indo-Grenadian Heritage Foundation has successfully lobbied the Government of Grenada to declare May 1st as Indian Arrival Day to be observed annually alongside the existing Labour Day.
The Government also announced that Boucherie Road, leading to the site of the arrival of the Maidstone, would be officially renamed Maidstone Road in honour of the arrival of Indians in Grenada in 1857.
Surnames such as Ramdanny, Bhola, Nyack, Budlall, Japal and Ganpat bare testimony of the legacy of Indian history in the Spice Island. Perhaps the name Dr. Davison Boodho is the most prominent among the Indian icons of the nation. He was a senior economist who worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for more than 12 years.
A prominent and proud Indo-Grenadian today is Shadel Nyack who was appointed as the first Honorary Consul of India to Grenada a few days ago. She is an attorney and Managing Director of Belmont Estate.
Indo-Grenadians continue to contribute to the country in almost every aspect of life in the island.
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