September 2020 \ Diaspora News \ DIPLOMATIC COLUMN—INDIAN DIASPORA

When the Prime Minister of India recently ...

By Aashna Kanhai
  • H E Ms Aashna Kanhai

When the Prime Minister of India recently mentioned to his countrymen the oath taking ceremony of the President of the Republic of Suriname, it is interesting to see how a quite natural and almost unnoticed detail of reciting a hymn from the Rig Veda, caught international attention. In Suriname, a country with a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population, almost 36% is of Indian Origin and official ceremonies usually are accompanied by expressed blessings. The official language of this country is Dutch.

After more than 300 years of colonization, Suriname gained independence in 1975 from The Netherlands. The Amerindians are the first inhabitants. Slaves from West Africa were brought as early as 1667. Fleeing the inhumane conditions of slavery, the community of maroons was established in the interiors and dense (Amazon Rainforest) jungles.