Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SIKHS AMONG JAHAJEES, SEARCH CONTINUES

Varuna has sent me another interesting story that helps my search for sikhs among indentured labourers.His naration is fascinating.As suggested to him, he has the quality of being a great writer in the calibre of Sir Vidia Naipaul from carribean . By the way , daispora has a talented bunch of writers. Just read this piece from varuna. This is really necessary for me to go ahead with the work .

This piece also emphasises the importance of the tradition of transfering the family history from generation to generation. Varuna needs to record it for the benefit of future generations. Jean and Cheddi's blogs are extrodinary in this respect.They do a great service to keep the history of indo carribeans alive for generations to live.If you like to read these facinating blogs, just log on to http://cqoj.typepad.com/ and http://www.geocities.com/youdhl1


Vijay,

My great grandfather , Jagjit Jeewan Singh , who hailed from northern Indian near the Afghan Borders, left India with one surviving 3 year old son , Burkurn Singh , in 1873 for Guyana . He was married to an Afghan Moslem woman and had many many kids . he also had many brothers . There is an oral family history passed down to generations that Jagjit used to supply horses to Sikh and Afghan Rebels who were fighting the british and that his brothers were all part of a " rebel " group which harrassed british supply lines . The story goes that his family as well as many members of his village, tribe and rebel groups were executed by the British between 1870 and 1873 . Jagjit's wife and kids with the exception of Burkurn , my grandfather ( aja) were all executed by the British and Jagjit shaved his head clean , changed his identity and took his only surviving 3 year old son to Calcutta where he signed up for Indentureship and was sent to Guyana .

My aja was brought to Guyana in 1873 at age 3 , by his father Jagjit , and was sent to Leonora Estate where Jagjit took several wives who bore him many kids because he was a lone man with a 3 year old son . My father , Harnandan , was not born until 1925 , when his father , Burkurn , was already 55 years old . My dad's eldest brother was 23 years old when he was born . The story has been passed down that many Sikhs who were wanted by the british for rebel activties saw Indentureship as an escape . I recall my nana , Dr. J.B.Singh , telling us about the Indian rebels of Northern India working with the Afghans and Nepalese to harrass and frustrate the British up north.

Having traversed Guyana as a lad and adult and meeting so many Indians I was latter convinced that Guyana was host to many of these Punjabi rebels .My mother . Rajkumari Singh's poetry and plays are rife with militant behavior from these sikhs who came to Guyana . I was told by Sir David Rose, whose family were very close with my grandmother , that many incidents on estates where Punjabis had beaten and killed White Overseers were hushed to avoid the spread of such militant behavior .

Varuna Singh


1 Comments:

Blogger cricket said...

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17 May, 2006 20:40  

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