This national public holiday 30 May commemorates the arrival of the first indentured labourers from India on the Fatel Rozack in , following the Emancipation of African slaves in Waves of indentured immigrants arrived at Nelson Island, off the coast of Chaguaramas , before being sent to various estates where the living conditions were often deplorable. Today, communities re-enact the arrival of this first group on beaches around the country. The Divali Nagar site just outside Chaguanas hosts many of the key celebrations. After the Emancipation Proclamation that liberated African slaves in the British colonies in , plantation owners were left with a significant labour problem. What resulted was a new scheme to bring immigrant labour from parts of Asia and around the world — with labourers from India coming to comprise the vast majority of the new labour force. The first shipload of immigrants mostly men under 30 arrived on 10 May on the Fatel Rozack after a nearly four month journey. Nearly , in total came until from the British Indian provinces along the Ganges via Calcutta, and from the south via Madras. Most were Hindu in faith, and spoke Hindi or Bhojpuri. A significant number, however, were Muslim.
Indian indentureship in Trinidad
Support Scroll. In many ways my work makes me feel like a detective. A former school teacher, Shamshu Deen is a genealogist and researcher who has helped hundreds of Indian-origin families in the Caribbean trace their family roots in India. What started as a quest to find his own ancestors has now evolved into a meticulous process that requires both skill and passion. Indians came to Trinidad and Tobago as indentured labourers to work on the sugar plantations after the abolition of slavery in Famines, destruction of indigenous industries and unemployment under the colonial rule had left large chunks of the population in India without food and basic amenities. These men and women wanted to escape and the British offered them indentureship as a chance to flee to greener pastures. The Indian labourers were bonded under a contract for five or more years to work as short-term migrant labourers on plantations under the British and the French. The word girmitiya is a corruption of agreement. Their passage to the Caribbean was usually paid by the employers and on completion of the contract, they could return to India at the expense of their employer, or settle in their new homeland.
The Fatel Razack brought not only a new labour force to assist in the economic development of Trinidad, but also a new people with a new culture. While this momentous event has been celebrated among the East Indian community in Trinidad and Tobago for many years, it was not until that it was made an official public holiday. It was called Arrival Day. In , it was re-named Indian Arrival Day.
Indian Arrival Day is a holiday celebrated on various days in the nations of the Caribbean , Fiji , South Africa , and Mauritius , commemorating the arrival of people from the Indian subcontinent to their respective nations as indentured labours brought by European colonial authorities and their agents. In some countries it is an official public holiday. A resolution was passed in public discussion that every year on May 14 as to be Girmit Remembrance Day. May 14 is the day that the Leonidas the first ship of indentured Indians arrived in Fiji in