The journey the Indians had to take into the Caribbean was not an easy one as it was filled with fear and uncertainty as to whether the promises of higher wages, free return passage, land and housing and health care would be given to them. The journey was known as the Kala Pani and on these ships the immigrants were separated into males and females. The ship was overcrowded and diseases were existent which included yaws, itch, small pox and dysentery. The Indians were also poorly fed and there was a high mortality rate as many tries to commit suicide as well. Although there were unfortunate circumstances which occur during this journey, the Indians on board developed a special relationship amongst each other and this is popularly known as jahaji bhai which means ship brother and there is even a popular calypso song written by Brother Marvin in remembrance of the Indentured Immigrants who came.
The Indian immigrants who came into Trinidad left a major impact on country as not only a new race came onto the island but these individuals brought with them new religion, dress, food, language, customs and beliefs. When they arrived in Port of Spain, Trinidad, May 30th 1845, 226 immigrants from Calcutta, Madras, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh came on the Fatel Rozack and they were now under one year contract. The Indians were provided with food, housing and health care as promised and they were send to work on the sugar plantations. When this one year contract ended, according to Dr. Kwame Nantambu, the indentured labourers were given 5 pounds and five acres of land to remain in the colonies and their contracts extended to five years for men and three years for women.
Copyright © 2014 Reshma Ganness