Biography & True Story Books:

Immigrant #99840 and Canecutter #7074

The Story Of An East Indian Family In Guyana 1905-2005


Paperback / softback

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Immigrant #99840 and Canecutter #7074 by BALKARAN
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Immigrant # 99840 and Canecutter # 7074: The Story of an East Indian Family in Guyana is a most valuable document that fills a major gap in the writings which deal with the East Indian presence in Guyana. In focusing on an individual family's history and its network of relationships, Lal Balkaran throws light on those more inward experiences of the Indo-Guyanese absent from more general historical and social studies and which so far only fiction has hinted at. From the arrival of his foreparents as indentured immigrants from India in 1905, through to his family's departure to Canada in the 1980s, Lal Balkaran writes a personal and individual narrative, but one which will be full of resonances for other Guyanese. Balkaran's research into this "micro-level" aspect of history helps us to even better understand in general the historical evolution of the Guyanese nation, and that of Caribbean people of Indian ancestry in particular. Indeed, the author knows his subject well, and has made a more than useful contribution to the history of Indians in the Caribbean.This almost 230-page book contains a wealth of information organized around nine chapters with the issues and events categorized into sixty sub-headings. There are 41 photographs and copies of authentic immigration documents, a 141-word glossary, a 50-book bibliography, a profile of Guyana with unique statistics, and an 800-word index. Many Guyanese will reminisce over their own experiences which are so identifiable to those detailed in this wonderful book. It also provides a social history of the decades of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, and contains invaluable lessons on growing up and dealing with struggles, challenges, failures, and aspirations. With a setting on a sugar plantation, various aspects of village life, education, religion, culture, race, and Guyana's fierce politics are analyzed to show their impact on the family unit in a multiracial society amidst the scars of colonialism and also in an independent Guyana. Poverty, human misery, exploitation, discrimination, and social as well as moral degeneracy in all their nakedness are carefully documented from actual experience. Amidst it all there is resilience.The author also talks about his five years spent in Guyana's hinterland among the Wapishanas, one of the nine Amerindian tribes now living in Guyana. A whole chapter has been devoted to these years to bring to light such issues and events like life in the savannas, hunting, farming, fishing, cultural activities, and everyday routine of the Wapishanas. Finally, emigrating and living in a first world country is examined in a broader context to cover such issues as adjusting to a new life in a multicultural environment. Understanding the forces that are constantly changing and reshaping the way immigrants think and live, shifting demographics, globalization, and the conduciveness of the new society to immigrants' successes and failures are all examined. Lal Balkaran has authored seven books on business and four on his native Guyana including Dictionary of the Guyanese Amerindians and Other South American Native Terms, Bibliography of Guyana and Guyanese Writers, and The Rupununi Savannas of Guyana: A Visual Journey. See
Release date Australia
June 22nd, 2006
Country of Publication
United States
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