More Than A Literary Festival

How we remember: reflections on the 175th anniversary of Indian Arrival

The arrival of 227 indentured Indian immigrants aboard the Fatal Razack on 30 May, 1845, was a defining event in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. To commemorate the 175th anniversary of Indian Arrival, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest brought together a panel of writers to reflect on how indentureship and the Indo-Caribbean experience have been documented and imagined in our contemporary literature. Writers Andre Bagoo, Gaiutra Bahadur, and Gabrielle Hosein, along with publisher Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press, shared their perspectives through readings and conversation, hosted by Shivanee Ramlochan and Nicholas Laughlin.

Supported by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture, and the Arts of Trinidad and Tobago.

How we remember: reflections on the 175th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago is a discussion hosted by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, premiering online on 6 June, 2020, and featuring writers Andre Bagoo, Gaiutra Bahadur, and Gabrielle Hosein alongside publisher Jeremy Poynting, with moderators Shivanee Ramlochan and Nicholas Laughlin.

During this wide-ranging conversation, the participants discuss a number of books and writers (as well as musicians and artists) whose work documents, imagines, and analyses the Indo-Caribbean experience.

Here is a select list of books by authors mentioned in this online event, as well as key books by the conversation participants, in alphabetical order by writer.

Pitch Lake, by Andre Bagoo (2017)

The Undiscovered Country: Essays, by Andre Bagoo (forthcoming, 2020)

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, by Gaiutra Bahadur (2013)

We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture, ed. David Dabydeen, Maria del Pilar Kaladeen, and Tina K. Ramnarine (2019)

Coolie Odyssey, by David Dabydeen (1988)

The Counting House, by David Dabydeen (2005)

Bones, by Mahadai Das (1989)

Indo-Caribbean Feminist Thought: Genealogies, Theories, Enactments, ed. Gabrielle Jamela Hosein and Lisa Outar (2016)

Far from Mecca: Globalising the Muslim Caribbean, by Aliyah Khan (2020)

Indian Centenary Review: One Hundred Years of Progress, 1845–1945, ed. Murli J. Kirpalani, Mitra G. Sinanan, S.M. Rameshwar, and L.F. Seukeran (1945)
[out of print]

No Pain Like This Body, by Harold Sonny Ladoo (1972)

Critical Perspectives on Indo-Caribbean Women’s Literature, ed. Joy Mahabir and Mariam Pirbhai (2015)

Jouvert, by Joy Mahabir (2006)

The Fire That Time: Transnational Black Radicalism and the Sir George Williams Occupation, ed. Nalini Mohabir and Ronald Cummings (forthcoming, 2020)

Jahajin, by Peggy Mohan (2008)

Backdam People, by Rooplall Monar (1985)

A House for Mr. Biswas, by V.S. Naipaul (1961)

Butterfly in the Wind, by Lakshmi Persaud (1990)

Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, by Shivanee Ramlochan (2017)

India and the Shaping of the Indo-Guyanese Imagination, by Clem Seecharan (1993)

Tiger in the Stars: The Anatomy of Indian Achievement in British Guiana 1919–1929, by Clem Seecharan (1997)
[out of print]

A Silent Life, by Ryhaan Shah (2005)

Maharani’s Misery: Narratives of a Passage from India to the Caribbean, by Verene A. Shepherd (2002)

Music, art, and film

“Jahaji Bhai”, song by Brother Marvin (1996)

Playlist by Drupatee Ramgoonai, chutney, soca, and calypso singer

Wendy Nanan, artist

Andil Gosine, artist and curator

Coolie Pink and Green, a short film by Patricia Mohammed (2009)

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