New Delhi, February 8: Helping upgrade a much–needed mortuary, sending a Ramlila troupe to exchange ideas with the local troupes there or providing expertise in renewable energy – India is actively engaging with its large diaspora in the small and distant countries of Surime and Guya in meaningful ways. Surime, which has a 37 percent population comprising Hindustani people, descendants of the Indians, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who went to the South American tion as indentured labour in the 19th century, celebrates Dussehra and Diwali with gusto. Its over 27 percent Hindu population has kept alive the Ramlila tradition of ectment of the epic Ramaya that was prevalent in India over 150 years ago. Now as part of reengaging with the Indian diaspora, numbering over 250,000, India is planning to send a Ramlila team to Surime, off the North Atlantic Ocean, while a troupe from that country is to also come to India. The Ramlila tradition practised in Surime is believed to be the same that the Indians took with them over 150 years ago, and has not changed, an official source told IANS.
India is also helping the diaspora in Surime in its efforts to trace their Indian roots through exchange of archival material. The Indians – numbering around 38,000 – who left the Indian shores in batches in the late 19th and early 20th century to work in the fields of the former Dutch colony have their records of when they arrived, from where in then colonial India. But with the Indian states having undergone reorganization after Independence and the mes of many districts and areas changed, India is providing archival material about the country over the years to help the diaspora to trace where they came from. “This is an important part of reconnecting with the diaspora,” the source told IANS. India is also providing three Chetak helicopters to Surime, with the choppers being assembled by Hindustan Aeroutics Ltd in that country and the Surimese pilots trained in India. India, which has offered a $50 million Line of Credit to Surime, has also offered agricultural pumps. In another small but “high impact” measure of reaching out, India is upgrading the mortuary at the S’Lands Hospital, in Paramaribo. The Rs.2 crore project will help upgrade the existing cold storage capacity at the hospital, and also serve another hospital, the source added.
“This is the kind of high impact engagement that touches directly – provides the human touch,” another official added. India and Surime held the fifth Joint Commission Meeting in January this year. The meeting was co–chaired by Minister of State for Exterl Affairs V.K. Singh, and Surime’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston G. Lackin. Education Minister Ashwin Adhin was also present. The two sides discussed providing more scholarships to students from Surime.
In neighbouring Guya in the Caribbean, whose President Dold Ramotar was the chief guest at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Gandhigar, Gujarat, in January, India is providing expertise in the field of renewable energy. In Guya, the Indian origin populace, called East Indians, number over 43 percent of the population of over 700,000. India is to set up a rice husk gasification pilot project. (IANS)