October 16, 2009
Keeping the Indian Heritage alive

In commemoration of Indian Heritage Day, on Sunday, October 11, the Indian Heritage Foundation held a march from the Court House to Heritage Square, and then at 3 pm, hosted a rally at Argyle.{{more}}

In 1882, the Indians who worked on the then Argyle Estate marched to Kingstown to protest poor working and living conditions, low wages, lack of medical treatment, and the failed promise of a return trip to India.

Eighty-two persons marched to Kingstown and this protest action gave recognition to the Indian community and plight. At the time of the protest march, it was illegal to walk 3 miles from the Estate; otherwise one would be declared a vagabond/vagrant. Seven of the ring leaders were arrested: Gunga Persad, Dhumar, Duhoolawl, Bhogroo, Rampersad, Kallidean and Saba Singh.

Dr. Junior Bacchus, President of the Indian Heritage Foundation, said that the ceremony was their effort to commemorate the lives and times of their ancestors. According to him, Argyle is where their ancestors worked and toiled to make them who they are today.

Dr. Arnold Thomas, Historian, gave the history and significance of Indian Heritage Day. He expressed gratitude to the Government for recognizing Indian Heritage Day, for which the group is very happy. Thomas also expressed gratitude to Minister of Culture, Rene Baptiste, for all her support over the years. He declared that they must never let the memory of their ancestors fade or die.

The Indian Heritage Foundation will next year host celebrations for the Indian Arrival Day on 1st June, 2010.