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Indian Heritage Foundation to mark 160th anniversary

Indian Heritage Foundation to mark 160th anniversary
INDIAN HERITAGE Foundation’s president Junior Bacchus (right) along with other members of the foundation doing a re-eneactment of Indian Arrival Day at the Indian Bay Beach

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THE SVG Indian Heritage Foundation will commemorate the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Indians to St Vincent (1861-1880) today, June 1.

The first ship, the TRAVANCORE, departed India with persons who made the journey to a country unknown, but which was to become their home. Between 1861 and 1880 eight (8) ships brought 2,474 Indians to SVG to work and live on 23 estates. Just over half of these Indians remained in SVG, while about 1,100 returned to India, a release from the Foundation’s president Junior Bacchus, stated.

The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation was formalised and launched in 2006, and in 2007, the Government of SVG, following the recommendation of then Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste, passed an Act of Parliament declaring 1st June Indian Arrival Day and 7th October Indian Heritage Day. Since then, the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation has celebrated IAD with re-enactments of the arrival of Indians on boats at Indian Bay, followed by rallies with cultural performances from India, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and SVG. Indian foods have been served and Indian wear displayed at these functions.

However, in 2020 and again in 2021, activities have, of necessity, been scaled down. On Sunday May 30, 2021 the Indo Caribbean Cultural Centre co-ordinated by Dr Kumar Mahabir of Trinidad and Tobago included an eight (8) minute video presentation “SVG INDIAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION- INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY IN RETROSPECT” on its weekly ZOOM meeting. SVG was one of eight (8) countries, which was featured on the occasion of Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago, May 30. The video comprises past re-enactments in SVG, cultural performances, other activities put on by the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation and an address by President Junior Bacchus, who is also the Honorary Counsel for India to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

For this year’s IAD, addresses will also be made by Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves; Dr Godwin Friday, Leader of the Opposition and Rene Baptiste, former Minister of Culture and an unwavering supporter of the Foundation since its inception.

The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation and the entire Indian community in SVG are grateful to all who have in any way contributed to the success of all its functions and projects in the past, and look forward to continue working with everyone towards the progress and development of all citizens.

We take this opportunity to encourage all residents to continue to observe the various protocols and remain safe and healthy during this difficult time in our history, our world, our country.

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