June 08, 2006
Indian Arrival Day Celebrations took place at the Divali Nagar Site in Chaguanas on Tuesday, 30th May, 2006. This celebration takes place annually to commemorate the arrival of the Indian grouping from India into the twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago from 1845 to 1917. The first group arrived on the Fath Al Razak, which translates in Arabic into, "Victory to Allah the Sustainer" or more commonly called, the Fatel Razack.
Approximately 140,000 Indians crossed the sea to work as indentured servants on the sugar cane estates and to run away from situations such as inescapable poverty and casteism in the Indian subcontinent. They were to serve a 5-7 year contract, after which they would either return to India or access land to encourage their stay. Although a substantial amount returned, most stayed behind to create a formidable Indian-Trinidadian community.
Indian Arrival Day celebrations was first celebrated in 1945 under the name Indian Emigration Day in recognition of the hundredth year of their coming. This holiday's first national observance took place on May 30th, 1979, and in 1994, under the People's National Movement's regime, it was declared a national holiday. In addition to this, the name given to the celebration in 1994, Arrival Day, was renamed Indian Arrival Day in 1995 to emphasize the historic arrival of this particular group into the country.
This year's celebration at the Divali Nagar Site began with a parade of the various bands, which brought to life many of the deities and characters in Hindu mythology. Many of the participants of the parade were led by the call of the mesmerizing tassa drums until they arrived at the site. Inside the building, guests and supporters of Indian cultural tradition came out in their numbers and were entertained by singers, dancers, instrumentalists of all sorts and participated in Hindu rituals to sanctify the occasion.
The official part of the programme began with the welcoming address by the President of the National Council of Indian Culture, Mr. Shri Deokinanan Sharma, followed by greetings of the Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Jagit Singh Sapra and the M.P for Chaguanas, the Honourable Manuhar Ramseran on behalf of the M.P for St. Augustine, the Honourable Mr. Winston Dookeran.
The feature address was given by the Honourable Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Christine Sahadeo who encouraged the country to preserve its myriad of cultures amidst global change and technological advancement. She also admonished greater trading links between Trinidad and Tobago and India to maintain a physical connection with the subcontinent and to strengthen political ties between the two nations.
Indian culture has a lot of support from the Indian community and by extension, the entire country of Trinidad and Tobago. They have survived as a group and have significantly contributed to the development of the country. The success of their arrival was certainly reflected in the Indian Arrival Day Celebration this year.
Indian Arrival Day Celebrations 2006 in Pictures
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