Swaraj unveils Suriname memorial honouring Indian indentured workers

Kolkata, Oct 7 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday unveiled the Suriname Memorial here, honouring the Indian indentured workers who migrated to the South American country as labourers for sugar plantations.

The memorial is a bust of ‘Baba and Mai’ – a depiction of male and female indentured workers known as father and mother. It is a replica of the Baba and Mai monument in Parimaribo, Suriname’s capital, which symbolises the first Indian man and woman to set foot in the Dutch speaking nation.

The memorial has been set up at the Suriname Jetty from where the indentured workers from India used to board the ship for the small country located on the northeast Atlantic coast of South America from 1873 to 1910.

“From this jetty several people, in the prime of their youth, left Indian shores as indentured labourers to work in Suriname, to face an uncertain future. The migration spanned between 1870 and early 20th century,” reads the plaque below the memorial set up jointly by the governments of the two countries.

With their hard work and undying spirit they substantially contributed towards the development of Suriname.

“We respect and felicitate their spirit of courage, determination and endurance,” reads the plaque.

The first ship named Lalla Rookh, carrying Indian indentured labourers, had arrived in Suriname in June 1873.

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