From Bengal To Barbados
|Author, Mr. Sabir Nakuda|
We welcome the book: From Bengal to Barbados, written by Mr. Sabir Nakuda. He traces the history of the East Indian population , in Barbados. Having arrived just over one hundred years ago, the East Indian population has a lot to be proud of. They have established themselves in commerce and have been successful in the retail areas, once almost totally controlling the retail store market in Swan Street, located in the Capital city of Bridgetown. Many of their offspring have established themselves in all the professions. We have no doubt that the book will bring into focus their contribution and will provide a window into their world via historical reference and their experiences.
Many East Indians , first established themselves as itinerant traders ,selling clothes and some household items to the rural population, at a time when the rural agricultural workers, would have encountered great difficulty, in both travelling to Bridgetown, and securing credit, in the then white dominated Broad street. While much is written of the itinerant traders selling in rural Barbados, it is a well established fact that they also pedaled their wares throughout the island. Quite frankly, they could not have grown their economic base by exclusively catering to rural districts.
The book will also bury many of the myths surrounding the East Indian community. And we can say with certainty, that Barbados is slowly moving beyond black and white because there has also been an influx, of other Asian groups into the island in recent years. The demographics are changing and with a limited land size, attention should be paid, to what at this time may appear to be insignificant changes in the makeup of the population.
We must admire the fact that the East Indians never abandoned their culture in order to strive in what was then an adopted and strange land. Many of them could not speak English and surviving any cultural shocks would have taken great strength and courage. They built their early communities in close proximity to the capital itself and their mosques and other places of worship were established. Their children attended local schools but it was always noticed, that they never acted or behaved in any manner they considered outside of their cultural and religious norms.
As they grew financially, they remained essentially committed to being East Indian. They are proud Barbadians, and we have no doubt that they love their country as much as black and white Barbadians. It is a lesson in the strength of family and culture that Caribbean people in the Diaspora should note. Living and seeking opportunity in another country do not mean we should surrender who we truly are. While we congratulate our East Indian communities, we recognize that their success was and continues to be built on not where they are but who they know themselves to be.
We can predict with some certainty that our East Indian community will continue to become more highly visible in the socio- economic affairs of their country .East Indian or Indo- Barbadians, Afro Barbadians and White Barbadians along with other groups , who are now living there, all have a contribution to make to the country.
The book will no doubt assist and possible propel such heightened activity. Well done Mr. Nakuda!