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Guyana celebrating 178 years of Indian Workers Arrival Day

Guyana celebrating 178 years of Indian Workers Arrival Day

Abhijit (Bengaluru, India)

Guyana, May 6 (UITV)- Indian Arrival Day is a holiday celebrated in some Caribbean countries and island nation of Mauritius. All countries hold celebrations on various days, in Guyana the holiday is celebrated on May 5 commemorating the first arrival of indentured workers from the Indian subcontinent to the country by British colonial authorities and their agents.

On May 5, 1838, a small batch of 396 Indian immigrants popularly known as the ‘Gladstone Coolies’ landed at Highbury, Berbice in British Guiana from Calcutta, India aboard the Whitby and Hesperus. This was the beginning of the indenture system which was abolished in 1917, by which time a total some 240,000 indentured workers from India came to Guyana.

Such workers signed on for a certain number of years and worked for a poor payment. Many of them did not return to India when their contract was over and chose to stay in Guyana.

East Indians evolved over the years to become the single largest ethnic group in Guyana and branched out of sugar into all aspects of economic and political life in Guyana. Their descendants today comprise about 44 per cent of the country’s population.

In recognition of their contribution to the overall development of Guyana, the Indian organizations in Guyana host a range of activities to celebrate the rich history and culture of their ancestors from India.

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