Saturday, January 14, 2012
The chief guest of the function was Hon.Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar who arrived India on the 5th January for a ten day visit with a Ministerial delegation. The cricketer Brian Lara was also accompanying her as sports ambassador. She met Prime Minister and called on the President.
During her stay she visited Bombay and Calcutta in addition to her own ancestral village in Bihar.
When slavery was abolished the world over and the slaves were freed the large plantations in the Carrebians became unmanned and the plantation owners in the Carrebian Islands brought down workers from countries like India, Portugal and China in the year 1845. About 1,50000 Indians were brought down to T&T in that period and among them one of the workers was Kamala Persad's great grand father from the State of Bihar in India.
Years later when the workers were released from the planters' indenture they were provided with small plots to settle there which they did and became citizens of those island Nations. As a result of it, nearly half of the population of Trinidad are of Indian origin including that of Prime Minister, Kamala Persad.
(In course of Time Trinidad's agricultural economy gave way to oil economy and it is now one of the prosperous nations with a per ca pita income of 20 thousand Dollars).
Although T&T is inhabited by people of different culture and religion they live in surprising harmony in a give and take spirit, even in matters of cultural and religious customs. Therefore Trinidad has now become a cocktail culture of china, Portuguese, India and Amerindians However they have not forgotten their origin and that is why Bissessar made an extensive research about her roots in India and said in her address in the Pravasi meet that India was her grand mother. She said that the Indians there used to lit up oil lamps during Diwali and people greeted saying'Sita Ram' similar toRam Ram in India She suggested to organize a pravasi meet in the Carrebians and to make it a combination of pilgrimage, tourism and business.
Later Bissessar did a pilgrimage to her roots .She visited Bhelupur in Bihar where the entire villagers were present. She with her entourage reached her ancestor's village, Itahri, by two I A F helicopters and went straight to her uncle Jagadish Mishra's house by foot and spent nearly 40 minutes in his house talking to the women and children there. She got very emotional and tears were streaming down from her eyes. Ms Bissessar expressed her gratitude and said " one who did not know one's roots would not know where one was headed for "
It was also the culmination of Kamala's long search for her ancestors, the extraordinary story of one's search backwards in time for the root.