The day marks the arrival of the first immigrants from the Indian subcontinent on the ship Fatel Razack. The indentured labourers or 'coolies' as they were also called, were deemed unskilled and made to work on the plantations owned by the British colonialists after the abolition of African slavery. There were 225 adult passengers on board who spent 103 days at sea during the arduous journey that spanned 36,000 kms. The immigrants were contracted for five to ten years to work in the sugarcane estates in a system that ended in 1917.
During this period over 140,000 Indians were sent to the island. They were promised a free return passage but around 75% decided to stay back and settle down bringing with them their own native culture, religion and customs. Descendants of these Indian immigrants, who comprise about half of the multi-ethnic society of the island (1.3 million), celebrate the arrival of their ancestors to these shores annually. It takes place in the form of prayers, songs, music and dance, plus the reenactment of the landing of the first ship of pioneers who gave birth to the Indian community. The historic day has been proclaimed a national holiday since 1994.
V. Swaminarayan (Svāmīnārāyaṇa, 3rd April 1781 – 1st June 1830)
Born Ghanshyam Pande in Chhapaiya, UP, India, Swaminarayan as he was later called, is the founder of one of Hindusim's modern sects known as Swaminarayan Hinduism. Having left home at an early stage, he travelled across India on a seven year pilgrimage through the Himalayas. After having mastered Ashtanga yoga and being well versed in the Bhagavad Gita, he was taken into the Uddhav Sampraday by his Guru Swami Ramaanand who in time made him the leader at the age of 21.
His philosophy of Navya Vishishtadvaita (Neo-qualified non-dualism), upholds the existence of the five eternal realities, namely: Jiva, Ishwar, Maya, Brahman and Parabrahman. Brahman in this context refers to Akshar(indestructible) which is the highest eternal reality where Parabrahman resides i.e. Akshardham.
He was a great proponent of the upliftment of women, encouraging the masses to abolish the practice of Sati, female infanticide that had creeped into Indian society due to large scale invasions. His seminal work, Shikshapatri - The Code of Precepts, deals with dharma, bhakti, Ahimsa, self conduct, ecological awareness which his followers ardently emulate to this day.
VI. The Indian Independence Act 1947 (3rd June 1947) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan.
This was the ominous day when the British decided to issue the partition plan, worked out by Louis Mountbatten, that was accepted by both the Muslim League and Indian National Congress. Also known as the 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan, it was the last plan for independence.
Some of the salient features of the 3 June Plan were:
• Provices of Bengal and Punjab were to be divided.
• The Indians will form the constitution of India and it will only be applicable in the areas where people accept it.
• The province of Baluchistan shall adopt proper ways to decide its future.
• 562 Princely States shall be free to decide their own future.
• Referendum shall be held in N.W.F.P. and Assam.
• Military assets shall be divided between the two countries
• Radcliffe Mission was setup, to demarcate the boundaries of the two countries. India would become free on 15th August 1947. This was the most hasty decision taken by the British, having repercussions for countless people and their generations to come. Radcliffe justified the division by saying that no matter what he did, people would suffer. As recounted years later, he was heavily influenced by his lack of fitness to the Indian climate and his eagerness to depart India that he left on Independence Day, before even the boundary was properly distributed.