COVER STORY : FROM KOLKATA, WITH LOVE

Finally

K.M.P. aka Kolkata Memorial Plaque, born 11.1.11

I took a while coming, but looks like Iím finally here.

This is for real. People are about to write their names all over me, and document me forever. That can only mean one thingóthat I mustíve arrived.

Let me tell you, the journey to Kolkata has been long, and arduous. I almost gave up, but some people didnít. A lady named Leela Gujadhur Sarup didnít, what a lady! Many winters ago she began researching her ancestors, and suddenly discovered their history in the archives of Kolkata. Most ladies would have gone back home content. But this lady was different.

Soaking in nostalgia, she insisted on having a memorial at the very place in Kolkata from where her ancestors set sail to Mauritius, long, long ago, sometime in the 19th century. And I dare think, there and then, an idea of me was conceived.

And then she moved all she could to get things done. She called up officer after officer in Delhi and Kolkata, Indiaís present and former capital cities. And knowing her, Iím sure they had no other way but to respond in double quick time. And so, she set hopeís boat sailing. She drove some crazy, and to some others she took kindlyóin fact one of them she drove to the port area and back in her own car, excitedly, of course, talking about her new found discovery. That was 2006.

And then things went into a deep freezer. Nothing moved, and you know moving the West Bengal Government is not the easiest task in the world. So my future lay in dark, no one quite knew whatíd happen to me.

Then one day, someone shook up a forgotten memorial file at a ministry in Delhi, flew down to Kolkata, and things were fine again. A man called Ashook (wonder why he spells it that way) Ramsaran flew down too, from far away New York in July 2010. His ancestors too had set sail, but they had gone beyond Mauritius, to a land they called Demerara. Remember the brown sugar that you put in your coffee? Now that was far, the Far West if you like. But he too was dripping nostalgia, and they joined forces. Relentlessly he took the message far and wide, and the diaspora rallied behind him.
There was now a new twist in this tale. I learnt that I was to be born, and that my fate would not be similar to that of millions of other noble ideas that are conceived in our country.

Well, it is all happening. Just listen to the stories people have to tell, read their tales, and know that Iím an idea whose time has come.

Long live those ancestors. Long live Garden Reach, my birth place.

óK.M.P. aka Kolkata Memorial Plaque, born 11.1.11

 

Finally
K.M.P. aka Kolkata Memorial Plaque, born 11.1.11
Footsteps in Kolkata: From Whence We Left
By Ashook Ramsaran
Relevance of Kolkata Memorial with Voluntary Indian Emigration
By Inder Singh
Touching base with Roots
By Leela Gujadhur Sarup
40 years of Narak
By Mahendra Chaudhry
I strongly support the Kolkata Memorial
By Yesu Persaud
Calcutta to Canefield: An Overview of Indian Indentureship in Guyana 1838-1917 
By Basdeo Mangru
The New Year begins with memories of the early Indian Diaspora
By Kumar Mahabir
From Kolkata to Canje, Berbice Remembering 176 Years of Indo-Caribbean Progress
By Clement Sankat
Honoring the Sacrifice - A personal perspective The significance of the Kolkata Memorial 
By Bhagwatie Bhanu Dwarika
From Whence They Left: Paying homage to Indentured Servants 1834-1920
By Andrea Seepersaud
Resistance, the vehicle for Indian political evolution
By Prem Misir
Garden Reach Depot: The Beginning of an Odyssey
By Peggy Mohan

January 2011


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