Port-of-Spain: Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley will officially launch the Indian Diaspora Abolition Centenary of Indentureship three-day conference starting on Friday March 17 at the Divali Nagar, Chaguanas.

The theme of the event, “Centennial of Abolition of Indian Indentureship: Challenges, Progress, Achievements and Charting New Frontiers”.

A high-powered delegation from the Government of India will be attending as well.

According to Dr. Rampersad Parasram, chairman, of the Indian Diaspora Counci l(IDC) of Trinidad and Tobago, the objectives of the IDC, “to establish a network of relevant individuals and organizations, to identify and address issues impacting the Indian diaspora; and to work with co-ordinating partners, individuals and organizations to preserving the heritage and documenting the socio-economic gains, inclusive of the entrepreneurial spirit of the members of the Indian dDiaspora .”

March 20, 2017 marks the centennial of the official abolition of Indentureship, an era spanning the years 1834 to 1917, starting immediately after the formal emancipation of slaves in 1834. Indian Indentureship was an intense and harrowing period of Indian migration from several Indian states to far away lands of the then British colonies around the world.

The history and consequences of Indian Indentureship are deeply embedded with tremendous significance, meaningful history and reflections to millions of descendants living in many countries which were the recipients of Indian Indentured labourers seeking better livelihoods. These countries included Mauritius, Fiji, Malaysia, South Africa, East Africa, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, Jamaica, Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and other countries of the Caribbean, as well as former French colonies of Reunion Island, Seychelles, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Suriname, the Netherland and French Guiana.

The voice of Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya will resonate around the globe as he was the pivotal figure who piloted the motion in the Indian legislature in 1916 to end the abolition of indentureship.

Several of the major Indian organizations form part of the IDCTT, which include: National Council of Indian Culture(NCIC), Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha(SDMS), Anjuman Sunnaatul Jamaat Association(ASJA), Hindu Prachar Kendra, GOPIO International Trinidad and Tobago Chapter, and Antar-Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad of India.

Delegates of 15 countries, including from India, Canada, England, Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, Guyana, Jamaica and Belize will be attending and as many as 35 papers on all aspects of the Indian diaspora will be presented.

The conference will be held at Divali Nagar, the epiccenter of East Indian culture, and on Sunday at the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sahba(SDMS), the epiccenter of Hinduism in Trinidad & Tobago.

(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at paras_ramoutar@yahoo.com)

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