The arrival of some 551,000 Indians who, to use Mahadai Das's phrase, 'came in ships like cattle', to the Caribbean, constitutes an indisputable event in the historical and cultural development of the Caribbean region where East Indians nowadays make up more than half of the population in Trinidad and Guyana. This voyage played a crucial role in the collision between worlds and the encounter between what were mostly migrating cultures, all of them leaving behind the original! 'authentic'2 forms of the mother-country. From 1838 onwards, as the English needed more labour to keep their trade going and reassert their authority, Indian men and women were seduced, persuaded or bluntly stolen from their motherland to become slaves under another name: indentured labourers. As they were 'driven by desperate poverty in India to sell their souls for five years and risk all for a chance of a better life? they embarked upon ships that were forever to take them to a distant part of the Empire.



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