Meeting

Suriname Plaque at Mai Baap Memorial

GP News
30 November 2017 - 09:30 AM
Meeting
On 25 November, 2017 the Minister of State for External Affairs Shri MJ Akbar, and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands HE Mr Alphonsus Stoelinga, unveiled the plaque in the Dutch language that was installed by the Netherlands government at the base of the Mai Baap Memorial at the Suriname Ghat at Garden Reach, Kolkata. The Dutch embassy paid homage to the large Indian-origin community in the Netherlands who had emigrated from Suriname after its independence.   The ceremony ran from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the occasion was graced by the Chairman of the Kolkata Port Trust Shri Vinit Kumar, the Joint Secretary of the Overseas Indian Affairs Division at the Ministry of External Affairs Shri Amrit Lugun, the Honorary Consul of Netherlands to Kolkata Shri Namit Shah, and the Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Mr Dave Chandalal Persad. Members of the Consular Corps in Kolkata were also invited along with scholars, media persons, and travel writers who have been writing on the significance of the legacy of the indentured system in Kolkata.   The Ambassador of Suriname HE Aashna Kanhai laid a wreath at the memorial to pay homage to the ancestors of the Indian diaspora in Suriname on what happened to be the national day of Suriname, marking its independence from Netherlands. Ms Kanhai recounted the memories of her grandparents who set sail from the same Suriname ghat in the 19th century.   Surinamese origin singer Raj Mohan’s recordings of a Bhojpuri song retelling the story of the Indians in Suriname, and a Bengali song that is very popular in Suriname : “Ami Chinigo Chini Tomare” were played at the event.   The memorial is a replica of Mai Baap memorial in Paramaribo that marks the spot where the first group of indentured labourers from India landed in Suriname in 1873. The Mai Baap memorial at Kolkata was first installed by the Surinam government inaugurated in 2015 by the Hon’ble External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj, the Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal Shri Kesari Nath Tripathi, and the Hon’ble Finance Minister to the Govt of West Bengal Shri Amit Mitra.