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Indian Arrival Day - history and contributions of the Indian community in Grenada

Updated: May 14, 2023

The first Indian arrival Day began on May 01,1957. This was an initiative led by the Grenada East Indian Cultural Association. The intent was to commemorate the contribution of Indians to Grenada and to recognize the arrival of Indians in Grenada.


Indian Indentured labourers

Indians from the country of India was brought to Grenada to work as indentured servants upon the end of chattel slavery and enslavement of West Africans. They became the second largest community in Grenada. The first shipment of Indians arrived in Grenada on May 01, 1857 on a ship called "Maidstone". A total of 304 passengers from Calcutta arrived. At the time, both India and Grenada were British colonies. According to Ron Sookram, a total of 3,000 Indians were living in Grenada in the 1850s. Indian immigration was stopped in 1885.


Indians in Grenada

Source: Spice Island DigiContent


Post indentured labour

Once the Indians were no longer needed as indentured labourers, they entered into normal life in Grenada. Others left Grenada and migrated to Trinidad and Guyana. They brought land and settled mostly in the parishes of St. Patrick's and St. Andrew's. They became cocoa estate owners, owning between one to ten acres of land. Laws prevented them from owing more than ten acres of land. Examples of well-known Indians include Nobert Nyack who became the owner of Belmont Estate. Mr. Ramdhanny who later became a well-known name in business in Grenville, St. Andrew's was also a cocoa estate owner.


Communities

There were several communities where Indians or Grenadians of Indian descent can be found in large numbers. These include: Forde, St. James, Samaritan, Cuma, Grand Bacolet, Florida and Gouyave.


Contribution

Indian contribution can be seen in many aspects of Grenadian life including food, religion, dress, and to a limited extent music, song and dance. Food includes the introduction of roti, curry and dhal to the Grenadian diet. The Hindu religion remains the main religion of Indians living in Grenada. As part of the Hindu religion, the practices of Diwali, Phagwa and Hosay are done.


In terms of larger society, the Indian community contributed to the establishment of the MacDonald College in St. Patrick's. A bust of Mahatma Ghandi was installed at MacDonald College in 2013. Dr. Jennifer Isaac-Japal became the first female doctor of Indian descent to practice and contribute to health in Grenada. The Indian community is also well-known for their contribution to business in Grenada.

The Indo-Grenadian Heritage Foundation is responsible for coordinating activities of the Indian community in Grenada. Learn more here.


Source: Ron Sookram - Grenada on the eve of Indian Immigration

Source: Indians in Grenada - A Historical Study of Identity formation by Mukesh Kumar


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