Indians In Guyana

Book Review
Guyana Mirror
May 2, 1999

A concise history from their arrival to the present by Dr Basdeo Mangru

This book of 108 pages, and well illustrated with maps and rare pictures, is a gem for all Guyanese and those with an interest in their roots. Here is a book which caters for the first time for high school students and the general readership.

The book examines the history, culture and contributions of Indians in Guyana, the reasons for their ‘second migration’ to the United States and life in New York City, particularly Richmond Hill in Queens. Almost all aspects of the lives of Indians are briefly examined. It is written in clear, simple language and illustrated with pictures which very few have seen.

The book begins with a brief historical background of Guyana and then goes on to examine the reasons for Indians leaving their homeland, their life under the indenture system, the social and economic problems they faced, their attitude to education and politics, their resistance on the plantations, cultural traditions, the role of Indian women and the reasons for the ending of indentureship.

The book examines, furthermore, the political situation in Guyana under the Burnham regime, the reasons (economic, political, educational concerns) for their migration overseas, particularly to the United States, and problems of adjustment in New York City. It traces the economic progress of Indians in Richmond Hill and touches on the social problems as well - teenage pregnancies, a comparatively high divorce rate, alcoholism, school cutting, school drop outs and poor school placement. It alludes to the lack of honest, community-minded leaders with the will to unite the Caribbean Indian community and articulate their interests.

A study like this is long overdue. Apart from its contribution to the growing literature on the Indians in the Caribbean and the United States, this brief study will stimulate interest in these enterprising people. Their children now form a sizable proportion of the school population in certain parts of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, and their economic progress has been remarkable.

This book is highly informative and provides a bird’s eye view of various aspects of the lives of Indians. Readers will find it both stimulating and rewarding.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples