THE histories of all nations contain significant junctures which point to a reshaping and a transformation of society. In TT, the arrival of the Fatel Razack 173 years ago can be considered as one such juncture.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, in his Indian Arrival Day greetings to the East Indian community said men and women left the familiarity of their homes in India in the pursuit of the promise of a better future.
He said their arrival brought new traditions, a new language and new ways of thinking.
Rowley said the preservation of these customs enabled them to cope with the arduous journey across the seas and the daily rigours associated with the harsh realities of life on the estates. They were indentured labourers.
He said while the conditions were challenging, they were met with great persistence and a determination to succeed, a success that was evident in the fabric of what is now TT.
The PM said because of this, as families and communities came together today to celebrate in various ways, he encouraged all to value the bonds that united us as a nation.
“We share a history of having all been brought to this place one way or another. Our citizens of East Indian decent arrived 173 years ago and have indeed made, and continue to make, an indelible mark in our national development.
“This country has always benefitted from the rich heritage and the diversity of the experiences of its people. Those very experiences enable us to transcend societal and economic differences to foster a relationship with the country of India today,” he said.
Rowley said it was fascinating to note that so many years after the arrival of the last ship in 1917, the desire for the exchange of ideas and economic cooperation persisted. “It is my hope that the cultural ties that this nation shares with India will facilitate a deeper understanding and collaboration at the global level,” he said.