The recently formed Indian Heritage (Diaspora) of St Lucia is steadily gaining momentum as St Lucians of Indian descent gather regularly to discuss the Indians’ contribution to the development of the island, trace back their roots and generally get together and have a good time.
One of the Founders of the new organization, explains that the regular meetings of the group (they’ve had meetings in Bexon, Augier and Forestiere to date, all the predominantly Indian communities around the island) have helped reunite families and old friends.
“It has been a melting pot for reviving and revisiting the traditions of old,” he said.
The main attractions of these meetings have been Indian cuisine, meals cooked by Indo-St Lucians in the traditional ways they were taught, Hindu dancing and dance demonstrations and exhibitions of Indian fashion and art.
“154 years ago our Indian ancestors came here many of them looking for a better life just like a lot of people do when they are desperate in the situations they are in. Unfortunately, what was promised like three square meals, housing and medical care — what they found were some broken down shacks and a place where both Muslim and Hindu had to share living conditions, something that was unheard of to them. For the most part they led an unhappy existence here in Saint Lucia” coordinator of the movement Keith Compton explained.
“However,” he continued, “the resilience of the Indian outlook kept them steadfast because the dream was to come here, work, make money and return to India better off. At this juncture of our lives, many St Lucians of Indian descent are trying to find out the answers to two important questions: who and why. Who are they? Why did they get here? There is a general feeling that we can’t move forward until we revisit our Indian heritage and past.”
Compton who himself is of Indian descent, admits this has been an enlightening experience for him, meeting with nationals of Indian heritage and hearing their stories. He says it is hoped that “… through this venture, interested St Lucians of Indian descent will find their roots, find relatives back in India and find peace, because it is only when you know where you are going and more importantly where you came from, can you find the ultimate peace for you to move on and grow.”