Indian Arrival in New York City will be celebrated on Sunday afternoon June 12 at the Smokey Park, 125th Street and 95th Ave., in Richmond Hill. This is supposed to be the 37th edition of the celebration that began in 1984. The live program was suspended in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid but virtual on line events were held to commemorate the presence of People of Indian Origin (PIO) in the Caribbean. Indians began arriving to British Guiana in 1838 and Trinidad in 1945. They also arrived in other British, French, and Dutch territories. From the Caribbean and South America, they began migrating to and settling in the US since the 1960s in New York and other parts of the country. Indo-Caribbeans are an integral part of America’s rich cultural diversity, and the community contributes to the economic, cultural and social life of the N.Y metro area as well as in several other cities in the US. There is an estimated 750K people of Indo-Caribbean descent or linkage.
Indian Arrival celebrations were started in 1984 in New York to recognize the presence of Indians and their contributions to the Caribbean and the Americas. The programs were initiated by Bhanu Dwarika, Rudra Nauth, Isherdat Ramdehal, Ravi Dev, Vishnu Bisram, and several others.
Indian Arrival is a day of reflection for Indians and the community at large. This year marks the 184th anniversary since the fore-parents of Indo-Caribbeans first landed in Guyana on the shores of Plantation Highbury. The festivities at Smokey Park will pay tribute to the rich culture and heritage that the Indian ancestors brought to the Caribbean many years ago and transplanted from there to the US, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere.
Scholars noted that the Indo-Caribbean indentured laborers to the region faced unimaginable hardships. They faced persecution and oppression, but they overcame adversity. Indo-Caribbean can take comfort in the fact that their ancestors held on to their ancient cultural practices and traditions; these have been imparted on their descendants.
President of ICF Ralph Tamesh, in an invited comment, says the ICF is celebrating the arrival our ancestors to the Caribbean and from there to America to remind the public of their suffering and to recognize the enormous sacrifices they have made to develop the region and to inculcate values in their children and other descendants”. He adds: “We celebrate their presence in the Caribbean and Americas and honor them for their triumph and for the imprint they have left behind”. he praises the executive team of the ICF for their work and credits them for the planning and organizing of the event on June 12.
The Indian Caribbean people hold their culture in high regard. The annual program usually feature Indian dance, singing, poetry, speeches, fashion show, and a pageant. The event is characterized by attendees wearing traditional Indian clothing. Prominent local artistes will display their talent at the cultural show. There will also be tassa. The celebration will begin at 1pm and conclude at 7 pm.
The public is urged to come out and cheer the artistes and show their appreciation for the performers.
The ICF will also put out a special publication for the event. Articles can be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Vishnu Bisram