THE COMING OF INDIANS TO TRINIDAD
Indians came to Trinidad to perform the most important job anybody can do for a country - save it from collapsing. They did that job, but received no thanks or recognition. Instead they were cheated and denied their rightful place in the country they helped to build. This situation still exists today. This is a brief idea of the story of those early Indians, the greatest story inTrinidad in modern times. Indians came after to work after the end of slavery, when the freed slaves left the estates and refused to work on the sugar estates. Without labour the sugar estates broke down, and since sugar was Trinidad this meant the end of the country. The planters were desperate. They tried everything, like blacks from the other islands, Portuguese from Madeira, Chinese, even white workers from England end Scotland. Nobody gave satisfaction until the Indians came. Those 219 who arrived on the Fatal Razack on May 30, 1845, the day we now celebrate as Indian Arrival Day, were the first of 143,000 who gave new hope to a dying Trinidad, FROM WHERE?
Indians came to work in Trinidad from 1845 to 1917, at an average of about 2,000 a year. Most came from North India and left from tine port of Calcutta, and about 5,000 came from South India, leaving from the port of Madras. Those from North India came mostly from the plains of the Ganges River, in what is now Uttar Pradesh, with some from Bihar and Bengal. The name Beharry in Trinidad comes from Bihari, meaning a person from Bihar. In 1871, to take a year at random, those who left from Calcutta to work overseas were 41 per cent from central India, Agra and Oudh, 29 per cent came from Bihar and 22 per cent from West Bengal. Those who came to Trinidad would have been in about the same proportion from those parts of India. An interesting point is that the very first India's up to the l850'|s many of the Indians who came were "hill coolies" or Dhangars from Chota Nagpur. But they were not satisfactory as agricultural workers and few were chosen later. A very few Christian Indians came from the Malabar Coast. RELIGION, LANGUAGE, CASTE
In those parts of North and Central India from which our ancestors came the division of Hindus to Moslems was around 85 per cent to 13 per cent. That is about the division of Hindus and Moslems who came to Trinidad. The main language was a dialect of Hindi called bhojpuri. This is what people in Trinidad still speak. Bhojpuri is a little different from pure Hindi, with some words and ways of saying things being different. If Trinidad English is a dialect of BBC English then bhojpuri is a dialect of Hindi. Some other languages from India were spoken such as Urdu Tamil (by the Madrasis) and Malayalam. It is not known for sure how much Bengali or Gujarati was spoken, as little or nothing of those languages survives. A few people could read and write in Hindi and Sanskrit. Most of the Indians were men, young men too, since strong labourers were what the planters wanted but some women came too. At first men outnumbered women by three to one, and later it was two to one. But they never came in equal amounts. This was to cause a lot of changes and problems. Because of the demand for them women became more independent than in India, with their ability to work and support themselves being another reason. In spite of the shortage of Indian women, however, Indian men refused to take Negro women as wives, unlike the Chinese and Portuguese. There was stiff competition for the Indian women, sometimes leading to fights and murder. India at the time had many castes and sub-castes. The four main castes of brahmins (priests and teachers), kshatriyas (warriors) vaishas (traders and service people), and sudras (farmers and labourers) being divided into 2,378 sub castes. In India in 1901 the brahmins were the biggest caste with 14 million members, chamars coming next with 11 million and rajputs (landowners)...
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