UG to Host Virtual Symposium Commemorating 184 Years of the Arrival of East Indians in Guyana; Contributions of Lesser-Known Indo-Guyanese to be this year's focus

3rd May, 2022 0 comments

The University of Guyana will be hosting a three-hour-long symposium on May 4th 2022 to commemorate the 184th anniversary of the arrival of East Indians in Guyana. The symposium, which will be held virtually from 17:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs will focus on lesser-known and lesser-celebrated East Indians who have made significant contributions to the development of Guyana.

Among those scheduled to make remarks are; the High Commissioner of India to Guyana, H.E. Dr K.J. Srinivasa, University of Guyana’s Vice-Chancellor, IX, Prof Paloma Mohamed Martin, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Humanities (FEH), Dr Roslin Khan, Lecturer in the FEH Alim Hosein, Head of the Department of Language and Cultural Studies, FEH, Andrew Kendall among others.

Leading academics will make presentations on several of these lesser-known but outstanding Guyanese - Prof Baytoram Ramharack will present on Jung Bahadur Singh & Balram Singh Rai; Dr Seeta Shah Roath will present on Esther Mahadeo; Prof Somdat Mahabir will present on Nutan Bishun and Premsukh Poonai, while Cliff Rajkumar will present on Pam & Harry Harrack. The presentations will be followed by discussion sessions.

The symposium will also feature cultural presentations and readings from the works of Indo-Guyanese writers by present and past students of the University of Guyana, including award-winning poet Gabrielle Mohamed. Another feature of the symposium will be a spotlight on Guyanese poet Mahadai Das and her artistic focus on another group of undersung persons of Indian heritage: women.

In celebrating lesser-known historic and contemporary East Indians who helped to develop Guyana, and also looking forward to contemporary and future development of Indo-Guyanese culture and scholarship in Guyana, the symposium will widen the thinking on the Indo-Guyanese contributions and presence in Guyana.

The declaration of May 5th as Arrival Day followed the passage on April 14th, 2003, in the National Assembly, of Resolution No. 12 of 2003. It celebrates the contributions to the national development of our African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and European ancestors and their descendants.

Arrival Day challenges us to appreciate our diverse peoples and their cultures and encourages us to strive for a society in which the contributions of every ethnic group are recognised, respected and rewarded.

May 5th also marks Indian Arrival Day. The first set of East Indians arrived in Guyana on May 5, 1838, as part of a scheme of "indentureship” or contracted labour devised by the planters to obtain labour for the sugar estates after the end of slavery in 1834. Between 1838 and 1917, when indentureship ended, an estimated 240,000 Indians were brought to Guyana.

The University of Guyana Press will also host the virtual book launch of “Kiskadee Days” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra later in May to continue the month of commemoration of Indian arrival and their contributions to Guyana.

The University will also host similar events for Emancipation Day and Indigenous Peoples Month on these commemorative days later this year. 






The University of Guyana is the 59th year State University of Guyana. It offers 150 programmes in over 60 disciplines online and face-to-face on 8 campuses across Guyana. With a student population of now 10,000, UG has provided education, learning, and research for over 50,000 alumni. The mission of the University is to discover, generate, disseminate and apply knowledge of the highest standard for the service of the community, the nation, and of all mankind within an atmosphere of academic freedom that allows for free and critical inquiry. UG's forward-thinking Blueprint 2040 is currently setting the course for the University's future design and institutional response to the changing needs of Guyana.



Ms Krest Cummings

Public Relations Officer

Department of Events Conferences and Communications (DECC)



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