Indian Diaspora Council Marks 180th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Guyana

Ashook Ramsaran

NEW YORK–The Indian Diaspora Council International joined with its global affiliates and membership in paying tribute and express its gratitude to those who made the first journeys as indentured laborers from India arriving in Highbury in Guyana on 5th May, 1838 aboard the Hesperus and Whitby.

“We are always reminded of their pioneering spirit, determination, persistence and endurance under extremely harsh conditions. While survival must have been the primary concern, they strived and persevered to maintain their sense of origin, traditions and culture,” IDC said in a statement. “Their children, grandchildren and following generations will always take pride in this unique accomplishment, recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices and achievements made on their behalf. We also recognize the invaluable contributions they have made to the diverse culture and economic development of Guyana.”

Ashook Ramsaran

IDC president Ashook Ramsaran, who was born in Guyana, said: “We pay homage and commemorate an historic event which took place 180 years ago, recognizing the journeys, hardships, travails and perseverance of a people – while looking at today and tomorrow which can take lessons from that unique history of journeys seemingly not so long ago. While acknowledging that past, we can triumph by taking bold, pioneering steps same as those who came to Guyana and other lands with just a promise, with lots of hope and determination, and built better futures for themselves and their descendants.

Mr. Ramsaran said that their ancestors came to Guyana partially by choice, many forced but resolved and persevered under very difficult and harrowing conditions.

“That shared experience, that saga of shared history, fostered an unusual kindred spirit of resolve, togetherness and kinship – a triumph over obstacles and difficulties with dreams and aspirations of a destiny intertwined by history and fate,” said Mr. Ramsaran. “We continue to encourage and support active promotion of the rich and enduring Indian culture and traditions which served their forefathers so well. We also wish to remind all the descendants of those early pioneers to recognize and reach out to others of Indian origin whose forebears also embarked on similar journeys.”

Mr. Ramsaran extended congratulations to the Government and people of Guyana on the commemoration of this 180th anniversary of that historic date.

“We also extend our continued best wishes to all the descendants of those early pioneers for continued peaceful and prosperous co-existence among other ethnic groups both in Guyana and other lands where they have subsequently settled,” said Mr. Ramsaran.


  1. Mr. RamSaran, Guyanese cousins, I salute you.

    I am from India, my parents and grand-parents and a great grand-mother were forced to flee from what is now called Pakistan.

    The “immigration” from India to Guyana, T&t, was not voluntary, in large part, as you must know better than I. Forced off their small-holdings, lands, in order to cultivate cash crops for the british colonists, they were herded onto ships where they could further cultivate cash crops. Only healthy young men were allowed. On top of that, they were required to pay-back the “steerage” which on average, took seven years of hard labor, no wages).

    And so on. I am so glad that we are recognizing our Guyanese cousins, and their enormous contributions. Especially the fortitude of their ancestors.


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