Indian Arrival Day Message

His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona delivered the following message on the occasion of Indian Arrival Day 2015.

Indian Arrival Day 2015, represents a defining milestone as we celebrate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the Fatel Razack, holding in its bowels the first group of East Indians to our shores, and in its wake, inestimable personal loss, suffering and displacement. The journey across the ‘Kala Pani’ to the West Indies was one fraught with danger and uncertainty but during that perilous journey, hope lived eternal.  With determined anticipation, those on the Fatel Razack, were resolute in creating a better life for themselves and generations to come. As much as today is one of remembrance, it is equally a day of thanksgiving that signifies unequivocally, the ascendancy and perseverance of the human spirit.

In this rapidly evolving world of globalization, indigenous culture has felt the brunt of erosive Western influence. The East Indian way of life, has not only survived but has soared over its 170 years of existence, entering mainstream culture without losing its quintessence. The mores of East Indian influence continue to maintain their vibrancy and rightful place in the heart of our Republic.  The eclectic music, spicy foods, colourful dress, ideals and values, endemic to East Indian culture, continue to buttress and support the international uniqueness of Trinidad and Tobago culture, easily recognizable throughout the world.

East Indian culture is characterized and driven by a deep sense of spirituality. The teachings of Indian holy texts have instilled and embedded in our citizens, positive social values such as humility, respect for elders, sacrifice, hard work and vision. These are essential tools for any nation on its path to meaningful progress. Through generational sacrifice and hard work, our East Indian brothers and sisters, have demonstrated that anything is possible and that ambitions can be realized from the humblest of backgrounds. One generational quality that has built this society of ours is the philosophy of thrift and sacrifice and the need to save for that proverbial ‘rainy day’. The prominence given to our nation as a rainbow country has its genesis and credence in our ‘Calaloo culture’ of which our East Indian brothers and sisters have played a principal part.

Today, each of us in Trinidad and Tobago, of every race, is a beneficiary of the sacrifice, work ethic and value system of the Indian indentured labourers who toiled this very land which we call ours. George Lamming, that great Barbadian author of the seminal book “In the Castle of My Skin” stated in an interview, “There can be no creative discovery of this civilisation without the central and informing influence of the Indian presence. There can be no history of Trinidad and Guyana that is not also a history of the humanisation of those landscapes by Indian labour.”

We are ever so blessed, to be a part of an ethnically diverse culture allowing us to be a nation of tolerance which is a blueprint to all nations of what harmonious diversity is all about. Let us all join the East Indian community in celebrating this momentous occasion. My wife, my children Christian and Anura and I wish this nation of ours a Happy Indian Arrival Day and may God bless this Republic.

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