Ummid Assistant

Samsung sets up fund for poor kids' education

US varsity offers doctorate for education professionals

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Life & Style

From London to Sirdargarh, a Guyanese Indian's journey

Wednesday April 11, 2012 01:41:04 PM, Shubha Singh, IANS

New Delhi: Just about a hundred years after her father left India for Guyana, Enid Whitehouse made an emotional journey to a small village in Rajasthan's Ganganagar district to learn more about her father's life.

A London-based lawyer, Enid had known that her father had come to Guyana from India as an indentured worker in December 1911. But her interest in his life was sparked off by her young nephew when he discovered fascinating vignettes of his maternal grandfather's life while writing a research paper on his family history.

Enid came to know that her father had played a prominent role in the Lusignan riots which were a significant event in Guyanese Indian history. There were documents about the agitation and the court case in the India Records section of the British Library and also in the Library of Congress as well as newspaper clippings of the trial.

Guyana-born Enid went to London in 1960 to study law and returned home to practise for some time. But when her father, Krishna, died in 1970 she moved back to London.

"I became interested in my father's life. He never spoke about his past, but I wanted to know more about his earlier life. When I learnt about his deeds in Guyana, I became curious about his background in India and decided to visit India to see the small village from where he began his life's journey," Enid explained.

Enid's journey took her to Sirdargarh village in Ganganagar.

According to family history, the family had owned land and camels in Sirdargarh village. Enid remembers being told that her father used to relate that he had come to Delhi to see the king when he met a man who persuaded him to go to 'Demra' (Demerara in British Guiana).

Enid believes that her father may have been referring to the grand Delhi Durbar. He arrived in Guyana alone and later married a widow with a daughter. His wife died early and when the girl was 18 years old, he married again and had 10 children. He went into business and prospered.

Enid contacted a travel agent in London and gave her destination, according to Krishna's emigration pass (travel document), as Sirdargarh, Thana Anoopgarh, in Bikaner district. The travel agent made inquires in Bikaner district and finally located Sirdargarh village in the district of Ganganagar. Enid travelled down to the small village of 200 houses.

Enid could not locate any relatives in Sirdargarh but the villagers were happy to welcome Enid to their homes. "I was disappointed not to meet anyone who knew my father's family, but was deeply moved by the warmth of the welcome I received from the villagers."

"I remember that my father always wore a turban. When I showed my father's picture to the villagers, they told me that he was probably a Rajput because of the style of his turban. I was very surprised because his emigration pass showed his caste as Jat. But I read that Rajputs were not preferred as indentured recruits as they were not used to doing agricultural work."

Relating the story of her father's journey, Enid said: "My father was an adventurous man; he arrived alone in Demerara (Guyana) in 1911 and was assigned to the Lusignan Estate. Conditions were very difficult on the estate, the workers were overworked and the rising prices made it difficult to make ends meet."

Enid's father was one of the leaders when the workers rose in protest.

According to Enid, in September 1912, the sugarcane workers stopped work at the Lusignan Estate and went to manager Brassington's house to protest. Alarmed at the sight of the group of agitated workers, Brassington shot and killed one of the workers. Enid's father organised the workers in a united front and later led a group of 300 workers armed with shovels to Georgetown to place their grievances before the colonial authorities.

The workers' agitation rattled the British authorities, especially in the meticulous planning that went into the agitation. Enid's father advised the workers to cut off the telegraph lines. Later, he argued his own case in court and even refused the magistrate's direction to remove his turban, according to the newspaper clippings.

For Enid, visiting Sirdargarh was a moving experience, "I could imagine my father in those surroundings" when she saw the villagers in their colourful turbans.

(Shubha Singh can be contacted at






Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS






Top Stories

Modi gets clean chit in Gulberg massacre; Zakia vows to fight

A special panel probing the 2002 Gujarat riots has given a clean to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, absolving the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader of the accusation that he  »

Authorities in Gujarat protecting perpetrators of 2002 riots: HRW

Politics of hatred has triumphed in Gujarat: Harsh Mander


  Most Read

'Announcement on AFSPA after cabinet panel decides on amendments'

An announcement on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be made as  »

Amendments to AFSPA pending, says Chidambaram

Khwaja Yunus custody death: Mother gets Rs. 20 lakh relief

In an unprecedented ruling, the Bombay High Court Tuesday awarded Rs.20 lakh compensation to the mother of Khwaja Yunus, an accused in a bomb blast in 2002 in Maharashtra who died in police custody, a lawyer said. On Jan 3, 2003, Yunus, an engineer working in Dubai  »


  News Pick

Poll time love? Maulana Azad's photo on Shiv-Sena manifesto

How much Shiv-Sena (SS) - the rightwing party known for its anti-Muslim politics, and the Congress love and respect Muslim freedom fighters is well known. However, both the parties are using Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's name  »

'Hindus in Pakistan angry, helpless'

Hindus in Pakistan are feeling "angry and helpless" after being targeted in a spate of incidents, including abductions and forced conversion of girls, says a leading rights activist and a Hindu leader. "The Hindu community  »

Curfew in riot-hit old Hyderabad continues for third consecutive day

Curfew continued in the riot-hit areas of the old city of Hyderabad for the third consecutive day Tuesday, with the situation remaining tense but  »


Picture of the Day

Emir of the State of Qatar His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al –Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser being received by Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Corporate Affairs R.P.N. Singh, on their arrival, at Air Force Palam Airport, in New Delhi on April 08, 2012.



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us




    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.