Why I Will Never Celebrate Indian Arrival Day
Indentured labor in the Caribbean marked the beginning of disease, dependencies, prejudices, and ills that continue to plague Indo-Caribbean communities
“Why the hell should I celebrate colonization? To celebrate Indian Arrival Day is to celebrate the beginning of our slavery sentences. To celebrate Indian Arrival Day is to celebrate the damage wreaked upon brown bodies by white systems of colonial violence. To celebrate Indian Arrival Day is to celebrate the cause of each ill: diabetes, racism, alcoholism, homophobia, and domestic violence. To celebrate Indian Arrival Day is to celebrate death.
This past month I remembered my ancestor’s struggles, my parent’s struggles, and my own struggles that result from indentureship. I celebrated the end of indenture and human trafficking on this global scale. I celebrated survival. I celebrated that I am here today writing this essay, writing my poems, that white hands did not erase me. I will not allow my ancestors’ stories—my own stories—to be disfigured by the hands of the state. We have survived colonization, slavery, and dehumanization. But surviving does not equal healing. There is yet a long open swath of sea left to cross.” - Rajiv Mohabir