‘Trinidad celebrates Ramleela, other fests with similar fervour’

Published on Oct 10, 2022 12:52 AM IST

Ramleela is celebrated in Trinidad just as it is celebrated in India. Other Indian festivals such as Phagwa (Holi), Diwali, Moharram and Shivratri are also celebrated by Trinidad people who are of Indian descent, says Trinidad writer and academician Satnarine Balkaransingh.

Trinidad writer Satnarine Balkaransingh’s book, published in Trinidad in 2021, will be launched in India on Monday at a ceremony hosted by the Lucknow University’s department of western history. (Sourced)
Trinidad writer Satnarine Balkaransingh’s book, published in Trinidad in 2021, will be launched in India on Monday at a ceremony hosted by the Lucknow University’s department of western history. (Sourced)

Lucknow “Culture and traditions survive longer than human life. Ramleela is celebrated in Trinidad just as it is celebrated in India. Other Indian festivals such as Phagwa (Holi), Diwali, Moharram and Shivratri are also celebrated by Trinidad people who are of Indian descent,” said Trinidad writer and an academician Satnarine Balkaransingh, 74, here on Sunday.

Balkaransingh has also mentioned this in his book titled ‘Ramleela in Trinidad- 100 years of the Felicity, Open Air, Folk Theatre Tradition.’ The book, published in Trinidad in 2021, will be launched in India on Monday at a ceremony hosted by the Lucknow University’s department of western history.

Speaking to HT, the author also compared Trinidad’s Ramleela festivities with those held in Ayodhya and Moharram with that held in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Lucknow. He also spoke about Varanasi’s Shivratri, Chitrakoot’s Holi celebration, Chennai’s Christmas and Goa’s Carnival.

“Today we have a strong Indian diasporic presence in the Caribbean. This Girmitiya diaspora has maintained close ties with their matribhoomi (motherland) India which can also be seen in cuisine, festivals, traditions, folk theatre, dance forms and folk songs etc,” the author added.

Indians were first taken to the Caribbean as indentured labourers. They worked on the plantations that had been abandoned in Trinidad after slavery was abolished. British Guyana received its first ship carrying Indians in 1838. Later, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Suriname, and other island nations adopted this system. The Girmitiya diaspora is spread out across the islands in the area, but despite this, they are homogeneous imagined communities with strong ties with India and have developed a distinct Indo Caribbean identity or Caribbean Hindustani, as per Balkaransingh.

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