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Suriname celebrates June 5 as Indian Arrival Day

Suriname celebrates June 5 as Indian Arrival Day

Suriname, June 7 (UITV)- A huge number population was shipped to various parts of the world as indentured labor by powerful European authorities. To celebrate and respect the Indian diaspora, many countries celebrate Indian Arrival Day. India Arrival Day is a national holiday celebrated in various nations of the Caribbean on different day to acknowledge the first wave of arrival of laborers from the Indian subcontinent by British colonial authorities.

Indian Arrival Day in Suriname, South America is celebrated on June 5. On June 5, 1873, the first ship named ‘Lalla Rookh’ arrived in Paramaribo, capital of Suriname carrying 452 Indians and a history of Indian migration emerged in the small Dutch colony. The workers were basically contract laborers who had to work for 5 years and then they were suppose to sent back as per the contract.

After their contractual period of labor, the Dutch government lured the laborers to settle permanently in their colonial island. A lot of incentives were provided, as 23,000 Indians resolved to stay back and start a life in Suriname.

After some time, the workers realized that the agriculture based jobs were not worth continuing. They began considering the importance of western education as a crucial tool to social upliftment and started sending their children to school. With the progression of time, the Indian diasporas ventured into the field of politics and governance, and eventually made their mark in Suriname.

Today nearly 27 percent of Suriname’s population is comprised of East Indians, the largest ethnicity in the country, which mostly originated from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

June 5 is considered a national holiday in Suriname, and important speeches by prominent political figures, like the Indian Ambassador to Suriname are delivered. Flowers are often laid at the ‘Baba and Mai’ statue, which represents the first Indian to set foot on Surinamese soil.