An academic conference, cultural presentations and speeches commemorating the 100th anniversary of the official abolition of Indian indentureship were highligts of the Indian Diaspora World Convention 2017 held in Trinidad & Tobago March 17 to 20.
Each of the series of events with capacity attendance, was historic and substantive on the centennial and its impact to complement the convention which was attended by delegates from various countries, as well as high ranking officials from various countries including India. The convention was conceptualized and initiated by the Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) President Ashook Ramsaran as a global event, and hosted by partners and affiliates including IDC Trinidad & Tobago headed by Dr. Rampersad Parasram; National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) headed by Dr. Deokinanan Sharma; Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) headed by Shri Sat Maharaj and Vijay Maharaj.
Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago was the chief guest at the opening ceremonies March 17 at NCIC. Rowley spoke of the contributions of Indian indentured laborers in the development of Trinidad & Tobago and other impacted countries. “T&T remains eternally grateful to the Indians who chose to remain in T&T and make this country their home when Indentureship ended on 1917,” he said.
The event included commemorative cultural presentations and was highlighted by remarks and centennial tributes others like Moses Nagamootoo, Prime Minister of Guyana; Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Secretary of Overseas Indian Affairs, India’s Ministry of External Affairs; Sir Anand Satyanand, former Governor General of New Zealand; Harish Dwivedi, Indian MP representing Uttar Pradesh; Rama Devi, Indian MP representing Bihar; Brenda Hood, Grenada’s Minister of Culture; Bishwadip Dey, India’s High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago.
The academic conference, with the theme “The Global Indian Diaspora – Challenges, Progress and Charting New Frontiers”, chaired by Dr. Primnath Gooptar, was held March 18 and 19.
The inaugural session of the academic conference featured Secretary Mulay as the keynote speaker, who talked about India’s engagement of the diaspora and the bonds connecting many generations around the world. Other speakers were Prime Minister Nagamootoo, Rama Devi, Parasram, Satyanand, Ramsaran and Sharma.
The celebrations ended with the inauguration of a monument to commemorate the centenary at Saith Park in Chaguanas, Trinidad & Tobago, March 20. The monument was unveiled by Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan; Beverly Reid-Samuel, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Commercial Development, Culture & Art; Ambassador Dey; Deo Gosine, chairman of Deo Gosine Foundation; Ena Maraj, chair of Centennial Commemoration Committee and Ramsaran.