Indian indentureship exhibition at Guyana’s National Archives

exhibition runs until 3pm today (friday) and from 10am-2pm tomorrow (saturday)

HUMMING OF THE BIRD

“It took them about four months,” said Karen Budhram, Senior Assistant Archivist at the Walter Rodney Archives. She was standing in front of a row of amazingly well-preserved emigration forms of her relatives who had come from India to what was then British Guiana. One of the brown pages had no official seals and was otherwise blank apart from a few scribbled details. “She was born on the boat,” explained Karen. So a form had to be improvised.

20171102_154536.jpg Original emigration documents. Photos by Carinya Sharples, copyright Karen Budhram

At four months, the journey of indentured labourers from India was longer than that of slaves forcibly brought from Africa – with their ships actually going around Africa to get to British Guiana, explained Karen. And the wooden ‘logie’ houses they lived in had previously been inhabited by slaves. But this wasn’t said to compare their situations, just to join the dots…

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