Wednesday, April 01, 2009

From India to Surinam to Holland

Some hundred years ago a tiny Indian man of only 19 years old left his village Kamanpur in the Indian state of Andra Pradesh. He was almost certainly recruited by the Dutch colonial government to work on one of the plantations in some far away country in South America.

Ramran Ali Mohamed Jousief boarded the SS Indus III in Calcutta on 27th October 1908, heading for a new future in a new country. On 5th December of that same year he set foot on Surinamese soil.

He started working on the plantation Meerzorg. Somehow Surinam did not work for him, even though he married and got one son. So, one morning on 5th March 1920 – he was in his early thirties by then - he called it quits and returned to the Motherland India, leaving behind his wife and child.

That’s where most of the information as found in the Historical Database Suriname, stops and where Ramran’s family left behind in Surinam, takes over. As said, Ramran had only one son: Rafiek Mohamedjoesoef, the very man who would later become my grandfather from my mum’s side of the family.

I was in Surinam recently when I decided to visit my mum’s birthplace. First, we drove through Pad van Wanica. Then we took a left entering the Tout Lui Fautweg. After about 15 minutes or so, we hit a sandy road full of potholes. We had finally arrived at Bergers Hoop, an out of the way place that was once the heartland of many British Indian immigrants. That’s where mum was born, nearly seventy years ago.

To be continued...