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Book source: Suriname, Land of Seven Peoples, Prof. Dr. F.E.M. Mitrasing, H.vd Boomen, Paramaribo, 1979.

Subject: Immigration to Suriname


In accordance with a Dutch-British Treaty of September 8, 1870 immigration to Suriname from British India became organized. From 1873 until 1916 some 64 ship transports were made. About 34304 generally unskilled people were shipped to Suriname. In that same period about 11000 contract workers returned when their 5 year contract was finished.

Upon arrival in Suriname the Indians were scattered all over the country where there were plantations. They worked on the plantations as laborers in agriculture and sugar cane fields. During the WWI years the Indians produced most of the vegetables, fruit, rice, bananas, fish, poultry, meat etc. During and after WWII most Indians migrated from the rural areas to Paramaribo. City living offered them better opportunities finding work, education and all the comforts of city living. In recent times some of the younger generation of Indians also took possession of agricultural land around Paramaribo, Nieuw Nickerie etc. Also a large number (50000) left for the Netherlands just before Independence in 1975.

Some Indian names in Suriname: Those with a higher caste ancestor are Srimansing, Mitrasing, Jodhabir, Bhagan, Partiman, Jarabirsing. From lower caste ancestors: Lachmon, Kirpalani, Juglall, Radhakishun, Sukul Misier etc More and more Indians graduated from the university and have degrees in medicine, law, engineering, economics, agriculture, accounting, architecture, theology, education etc. Many Indians are also attracted by politics and have worked themselves up to political prominence.

Both the Moravian (1735) and Roman Catholic church (1785) contributed much to the assimilation and education of the Indians. The Moravians had Hindi speaking Dutch, German and Swiss ministers and the Moravians run the children's homes, boarding schools. This all helped the indians in their upward mobility.

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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