Tonight, the inaugural event kicking off a month-long series of activities to mark the “100th Anniversary of the End of Indian Indentureship” kicks off at the National Cultural Centre at 19:00h (7pm). A historic THIRTEEN groups from the Indian Guyanese Community have come together to host the joint event.It is reminiscent of the struggle in the Indian Parliament during 1916 to pass a resolution calling upon the British Parliament to end indentureship, when the sparring factions of the Indian National Congress – the “Radicals” and the “Moderates” together with the departed Muslim League – joined hands on the issue. On March 12, 1917, Governor General of India, Hardinge ordered the immediate cessation of all recruitment and shipping of Indian indentured labour. Except for a few hundred returnees over the next four years, when the official end of indentureship ended on January 1, 1920, with all contracts expiring then, that was it for indentured labourers.Congress had picked up the issue because over in Natal, South Africa, the whites – especially the Afrikaans section – insisted on treating ALL persons from India as second class – indentured and non-indentured – and not having rights accorded to whites. This infuriated professional Indians like Gandhi who had been hired as an attorney by some wealthy Gujarati merchants who had freely emigrated as “citizens” of the British Empire with all the rights and privileges of such status. Or so they thought.After being thrown off the first-class section of a train in favour of a white, Gandhi began to make common cause with the indentureds of Natal and brought their ill-treatment to the attention of the head of the Moderate faction of the INC – Gokhale. The status of indentured Indians in the colonies thus helped to awaken the Indian elite to the hypocrisy of British pretences of full citizenship for her colonial subjects, after a period of “tutelage”. The issue also helped to bring together not only the ideological factions of Congress but the regional blocks that were even more entrenched.In Guyana, on the other hand, by the turn of the century, that lesson had long been imbibed by the immigrants whose indenturship had expired and had decided to remain in Guyana: they were all defined as “Indians” and were treated uniformly with contempt by the authorities and others in the society. The divisions of regions (10 per cent were from Madras Presidency in the South and the remainder from United Provinces in the North); caste (the net cast by recruiters had brought a representative sample of North India) and religion (also representative of North India between Hindu and Muslim) had become attenuated.The hardships of the two-month long passage from India had combined with the “total institution” of the plantation to create a new identity which was affirmed by the census category of “East Indians. But it was not just an external designation – combined with profound “internal” changes” that served to solidify their “Indian” group identity ahead of an analogous process in India.Mandirs and Masjids had been built from as early as 1870, but especially with the Hindus who were less uniform and rigorous with their practices, there were many “adaptations” such as weekly “satsanghs” on their one day off on Sundays with a “Pandit” functioning much as Christian priests did. “Creole English”, learnt from the ex-slaves who remained on the plantations, had become the dominant lingua franca. Women had become more equal with men in the home than in India, since they earned wages like the former outside of the home.Christian proselytisation did not have much success by the end of Indentureship – but a beachhead had been formed that would widen rapidly with the increased exposure to western education which was conducted solely in Church-run schools. That education had produced the first medical doctor and lawyer and while the urban segment was a mere 7000 compared to more than one hundred thousand in the rural areas, at least half of the latter were living outside the “loges” surrounding the sugar factory.In 1916, members of their incipient elite launched the “British Guiana East Indian Association” to secure their interests. This was the beginning of the use of their new group identity to solidify their place in their new country.
But supporters said the ballot title is not misleading. “The ballot title is very, very clear we are changing the law on term limits,” Gastelum said. The petition also seeks to remove what opponents say is false information in the ballot argument filed by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters in support of Proposition R. For example, opponents are critical of a line that says Proposition R would mean “no more travel junkets.” Jacobberger said current city laws already prohibit elected officials from accepting more than $25 in gifts from lobbyists in a year. “Unless you’re really in the know about these things, you don’t know there’s a $25 limitation,” he said. “Reducing it from $25 to zero is worthy, but you shouldn’t mislead the voters into thinking council members can take golfing trips to Scotland (under current rules).” Opponents also take issue with statements that Proposition R would prohibit former elected officials, appointed commissioners, board members and high-level employees from lobbying the city for two years after leaving city service. In fact, the opponents say, the measure would bar only elected officials from lobbying for two years. City Clerk Frank Martinez said the city will ask the judge to rule quickly because the ballot title must get to the county clerk for printing by Aug. 31 and the city must begin printing its sample ballot by Sept. 8. email@example.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Opponents of Los Angeles’ term limits/ethics reform measure will ask a judge today to remove ballot language they say exaggerates the proposed lobbyist restrictions and obscures the extra term City Council members would receive if it passes. The Not PropR campaign filed the petition in Los Angeles Superior Court, arguing that the council rushed Proposition R onto the November ballot with no review by the public or the city’s Ethics Commission, and the title and ballot language reflect that obfuscation. “Together, they’re part of an effort to really mislead the voters about the scope of the reform,” said Jeffrey Jacobberger, an attorney and leader of the Not PropR campaign. “This soft-pedals and downplays what the measure really does, which is lengthen term limits.” But supporters defended the title and said they plan their own fight against opponents’ ballot language. “We will file our own petition challenging what we consider to be gross misstatements in their ballot opposition,” said Ron Gastelum with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesAnd David Gershwin, chief of staff for council President Eric Garcetti, said the ballot title has already passed review by the council’s legal advisers. Proposition R would allow council members to run for a third four-year term and would enact ethics policies, including limiting campaign contributions from lobbyists. But the petition filed by opponents charges that the ballot title is deliberately vague, asking voters to amend the city charter to “change” council member term limits to three terms. Council members can currently serve only two four-year terms. The Not PropR campaign wants the ballot title to say the measure would “lengthen” council member term limits to three terms. That’s the way City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s staff wrote up the first draft of the ballot measure. But the council voted to amend the ballot title, replacing “lengthening” with “change” – an alteration opponents contend was a conscious effort to confuse voters. “The City Council weakened the language to state merely that the measure would `change’ council member term limits without clearly informing voters whether the change would shorten or lengthen the limits,” according to the Not PropR court filing.