History and Culture

UCOC7thDMinistries Communiqué!

 Symbol of InJewism -The Religion of the InJew Nation of Christ; with roots in Guyana, South America.

Symbol of InJewism -The Religion of the InJew Nation of Christ; with roots in Guyana, South America.


TOPIC: An understanding of the Indentured East Indians Journey on the plantations in British Guiana.

A brief Summary of Indentured East Indian Labourers to British Guiana: The abolition of slavery in 1838, and the absence of forced labour, resulted into a steep decline of 60% in the agriculture production in British Guiana, and numerous plantations were forced to shut down. Subsequently, a new form of slavery was commenced when the owners of the Plantations sought immigrants from Europe and the British West indies, for example England, Germany, Ireland, and W.I: and the Indentured System initiated. But these immigrants did not last long on the plantations due to tropical heat and laborious work conditions. So the British in Guiana, a super power then, had a British presence in Uttar Pradesh, a North Indian province since 1765, and through their Calcutta recruiting agency there, they employed thousands of poor, unemployed, and exploited Indians, (by the ruling class), between the ages of 10-30 years; including smaller batches who hailed from Bihr, Karachi, Lahore, Punjab, and Afghanistan, just to mention a few. And all these  according to the Indian Caste System, with their minds bent on escaping the poor, social, economic conditions, and political oppression, having been given a passage to Guiana and a place to stay, by their own choice, went on board the British ship, namely, the Whitby, and another ship, namely, the Hesperus, at the Calcutta’s Port, where they set sail on January 13, and 29, 1838, respectively, and were bound for British Guiana. On May 05, 1838, the former ship, with the first group of Indians numbered 249, arrived in Berbice with 244, five of which were women, and 5 died at sea: while the latter, the Hesperus, which set sail from Port Calcutta, on January 29, 1838, arrived in Berbice, British Guiana, with 165 more East Indians, six of that amount were women, and 13 died at sea.  East Indians, or the Jahan people (People of the Ship) worked very hard under given conditions, endure the heat, but it was “extremely hot” for those (the largest group), who came from and Punjab, so much so that their skin became red. Below shows the Origin and Dreakdown of Indian Immigrants to British Guiana (1838) East Indian Indentureship .

Origin and Dreakdown of Indian Immigrants to British Guiana (1838)

“Between 1838 and 1917 over 500 ship voyages with 238,909 Indentured Indian immigrants came to Guyana; while 75,898 of them or their children returned to India. The vast majority of the Indian Immigrants that came were from the Hindustani (or Hindi) speaking areas of North India. The most popular Hindustani dialect spoken among these immigrants was Bhojpuri (spoken in east Uttar Pradesh and west Bihar), followed by Awadhi (spoken in central Uttar Pradesh). 62% of the Indian Immigrants to Guyana came from districts that are now part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 21% from districts that are now part of Bihar state, 6% were from prepartioned Bengal, 3% from what are today Orissa and Jharkhand states, 3% from what is today Tamil Nadu state, 3% from Central India, 1% from prepartioned Punjab and the remaining 1% from the rest of India. (96.8% of all the Indian Immigrants to Guyana left from the port of Calcutta in North India, and 3.2% from the port of Madras in South India)

The religious breakdown of the Indian immigrants to Guyana were 85% Hindus and 15% Muslims.

“While no solidified caste groups survived the early colonial period, Indenture documents of the Indian immigrants to Guyana found that 11% were Hindus who were classified as Brahmin, Bhumihar, Chatri, Rajput and Thakur castes. 1% were Hindus of the merchant or writer castes, 30% were Hindus of the medium agricultural castes, 9% were Hindus of the artisan castes, 2% were Hindus of the petty trading castes, 2% were Hindus of fishermen and boatmen castes, 25% were Hindus who were from menial or dalit castes, 3% were Hindus who were Madrasis, 2% were Hill Coolies or Tribals, and the remaining 15% were Muslims regardless of their caste origins.

The only acknowledgment the colonial government and the plantation managers gave to caste differences was their distrust of the Brahims as potential leaders.East Indians workers were housed together and placed in work gangs without consideration of caste.”

How the East Indians and Indentured Servants, were treated on the Plantations


The Indians suffered tremendously because of the harsh living conditions on the plantations.

“Although slavery was abolished, plantation owners still had the mentality of slavery and mistreated the Indians. In 1838, when the Indians first arrive, and were forced to live under the harsh conditions, a number of Indians had escape across the rivers and into the woods. As they escaped, they were caught and flogged and some were found dead. There were no doctors to help them so they found their own medicine. They rubbed salted pickle on their backs to fight infectious diseases and to heal the wounds from the whips.”

“…Working conditions under this “new form of slavery” turned out to be not much better than under slavery. Soon after their arrival in British Guiana stories of severe ill treatment of the servants, at the hands of the planters” overseers, including flogging with the cat-o-nine tail were reported to Governor Henry Light. According to one eyewitness, Elizabeth Caesar, a former house-slave gave evidence that “The Coolies were locked up in the sick house, and next morning they were flogged with a cat-o’-nine-tails; the manager was in the house, and they flogged the people under his house; they were tied to the post of the gallery of the manager’s house; I cannot tell how many licks; he gave them enough. I saw blood. When they were flogged at manager’s house, they rubbed salt pickle on their backs.

On the 31st January 1839 Special Justice Coleman was sent by the British Crown to inspect conditions on the five plantations. He found evidence of extremely harsh treatment with many of the immigrants suffering from wounds inflicted by the overseers and drivers (some of whom were former slaves). Justice Coleman also mentioned the incident of the first two servants (Jumun and Pultun, both of them Muslims) indentured to Gladstone Plantation at Vreed-en-Hoop who were the first to rebel against the slave-like conditions under which they were forced to labor. A second convoy – Sir M. Mc Turk – was appointed by the British Court of Policy to report on the situation as well. When he visited the hospital on the Gladstone plantation he observed that – “the coolies in it were not suffering merely from sores; they had mortified ulcers, their flesh rotting on their bones, their toes dropping off and some of them were in a dangerous state from fever, and all were in the utmost despondency.”

When news of their slave-like treatment reached Hindustan, the British Government suspended East Indian immigration in 1841.” However it was resumed again in 1645 when conditions got better on the plantations in the Americas. 

170th anniversary of Indian arrival in Guyana by “BK”

When news of their slave-like treatment reached Hindustan, the British Government suspended East Indian immigration in 1841.” However it was resumed again in 1645 when conditions got better on the plantations in the Americas.

Comment and Conclusion

In as much as Indentureship System was a harsh one for the East Indians labourers on the Plantations, it cannot be compared to that of Slavery.  Unlike the Indentured East Indian laborers whose worst treatment would have lasted less than seven years, my ancestors endured the worst kind Slavery each day for about 400 years. Further, African slaves were stripped of everything, for example,  their names, langusge, culture: their wives and children were taken from them, and the African pride was hurt badly, just to mention a few. An interesting observation is that the Planters paid no interest in the Indian caste structure, and that went to the wind after a period of time. But the British kept their eyes on the Brahmins because of their leadership abilities. As a result, the the caste groups which included  the 25-30% untouchables” worked together, and vise versa, and all were flogged and treated badly alike. But one good thing that came out of that putting together of all the caste groups was, that they found out a way to tolerate the “untouchables,” and to communicate in a dialect that was common to all,e.g.Urdu: ‘for all did not speak the same languages.

Another remarkable act was that of the former house slave, Elizabeth Caesar, an eye witness to the severe flogging of Indians, who boldly told Governor Henry Light, about the harsh treatment the East Indians received at the hands of the planters. So there was always that goodwill  and solidarity between Africans and East Indians, ever since India was a part of Africa, and more so under African rule. Interestingly,  I grew up seeing this spirit of cooperation and  care among the two major races im my country, Guyana, until politics divided and polarized some. In spite of what may have happened in the past, the two leaders have died, may their souls rest in peace. Life must go on. Now, let us put death to racism within us, and move on with our lives, and let us come together as a people and work hard for the betterment and common good of our children, nation, and country, in Jesus’ name. Let us pray that Almighty God makes all Guyanese, individuals and groups,  a Channel of His peace.  This message in song is beautifully rendered by Success Elementary School  Choir (Guyana). Enjoy. Shalom.

   -by Pastor: Elder Wilfred A. Wilson

 Low caste boy killed by high caste man