• 20 Jul, 2024

Searching for Indian elders in the Diaspora to interview

Searching for Indian elders in the Diaspora to interview

Searching for Indian elders in the Diaspora to interview

Do you have a relative of (East) Indian descent who is over the age of 80 years and willing to be interviewed on video before a live, international audience?  We would like to hear this person's life story in our  proposed ICC+AGI ZOOM Meeting to be held on Sunday, October 2nd 2022, (3.00 p.m. Trinidad/New York time). 

 The title of the proposed 122nd edition of our weekly Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC) and Ameena Gafoor Institute (AGI) ZOOM Public Meeting will be “LIVE Conversations with Indian elders in the Diaspora”. We are inviting older folks - supported by their children and grandchildren - to share personal stories about their life experiences in the 1940s, about 20 years after Indian indentureship officially ended in 1920.

Historically, the actual voices of living elders are often underrepresented, unheard and undocumented in many research collections in the Caribbean and the wider Indian Diaspora. In this respect, Noor Kumar Mahabir’s book (1985) entitled The Still Cry: Personal Accounts of East Indians in Trinidad and Tobago During Indentureship, 1845-1917  is a rare, and unique exception.

The value of these narratives was expressed in a statement in the Pan Caribbean Sankofa Oral History Project in this way: “The stories of the individuals who lived and worked [at that time] … are essential pieces of the historical puzzle – without these recorded stories, valuable insight into the past and many cultural memories will be lost. Oral history interviews help to enrich our understanding of life …, and they ensure that a variety of experiences and viewpoints are represented in the documented history. Our goal is to capture the broadest possible range of individual and collective experiences – everyone’s narrative is irreplaceable and important. We want to give everyone an opportunity to tell their own story in their own words.”

The ICC +AGI ZOOM public meeting will take the form of LIVE interviews with each of 4 or 5 elders, by the Moderator as well as members of the audience. The interview questions will be guided by specific aspects of that person's life in relation to historical events, artifacts, and life stages such as childhood, school days, marriage and parentage. Each informant should be responding to questions for no more than 20 minutes while simultaneously viewing PowerPoint slides with photos and/or short video clips, selected by family members, and shared beforehand with the directors of the program. The 2-hour ZOOM meeting will essentially take the form of a Q+A session, but in a light, informal and conversational style.

Our  live participants usually range from 50 to 500 in number with the majority being university educated. They are mainly Trinidadians and Guyanese of East Indian descent in the Indian Diaspora living mainly in New York, Ontario and England, as well as participants from South Africa. Our meetings are live-streamed to scores of viewers worldwide, and later edited and uploaded to YouTube for posterity. The purpose of our free, virtual discussions is public education.

  The program will be hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC)  and the Ameena Gafoor Institute (AGI) . SEE videos of previous meetings:  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=indo-caribbean+cultural+centre

If you are an Indian elder, or can assist, please provide us with a 60-word (approx.) biography of the potential speaker, and your WhatsApp number and/or email, or theirs if they prefer that we communicate with him or her directly.  In due course, please also send a high-resolution, digital portrait photo of the speaker for us to create a poster to advertise the event.

  Contact: Dr Kumar Mahabir, Coordinator & Co-Director,  Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC) 

Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean WhatsApp +1 868 756 4961 and/or +1 868 381 0386    

dmahabir@gmail.com and/or  shalimamd@gmail.com