Tag Archives: Suriname

My thoughts today.

26 May


Today, May 25, 2015, the Surinamese people cast its vote. Me too.

I have experienced the the pre-election, and the election itself very consciously. Like  never  before.

I voted for change. I voted for a new person. Someone without a controversial past.

Now it is waiting for the results.

EDITVerkiezingen2015-3 EDITVerkiezingen2015-4

It’s been different this time. Very painful were the reactions of my fellow countrymen. If they didn’t agree with the opinion of somebody, the attacks were getting personal or racist. So, why would I be proud of the ethnic and cultural diversity if one can’t stand each other. You want to show the world the different colors of your country, but the mind is very monochromatic?
Why should I talk about patriotism or nationalism as it is history itself? It does not surprise me if one is not respectful if the Surinamese flag is hoisted or the national anthem is sung. Because everything is already  history.

A generation which ignores history has no past: and no future.


A tour to Suriname’s history

3 Feb

The Jewish diaspora began very early and it reached Suriname in the 17th century. Jews are also one of the first settlers who came to Suriname. Many Portuguese Jews went through Amsterdam to Brazil in 1654. When the Dutch were expelled from Pernambuco, the Jews came to Suriname. 


Jodensavanne in its glorious days.
The picture was adapted from http://bukubooks.wordpress.com/jews/

David Cohen Nassy, then a known Jew in Suriname, settled with a group in Cayenne in 1664, but  came later to Suriname. Nassy became a prominent person here. After the group reached Suriname, they founded a settlement on Jodensavanne (Jewish Savanna) and they had the freedom to practice their religion . The first (wooden) synagogue, ‘de Nieuwe Wereld’, of Suriname was built there. Nothing has left of this building now.                                                                                                                                                     The Portuguese Jews brought their knowledge and experience to Suriname and have built sugar plantations here. The Jews were owners of African enslaved people.

In the 18th century the Ashkenazi Jews settled in Suriname. This Ashkenazic Jewish emigrants were mainly from Germany and were relatively poor Jews. They settled in Paramaribo and mainly engaged in trade. Both Jewish population long remained separate. This group of Jews had their own synagogue. In 1723 the first Ashkenazi synagogue in the Keizerstraat was built. In 1833 a new, the current synagogue which was named “Ne Ve Shalom” was built. It was designed by architect J. F. Halfhide. 


Ne Ve Shalom synagogue at the Keizerstraat

In December I had the chance to visit Jodensavanne and Cassipora cemetery for the first time. Our guides of the Jodensavanne Foundation have been able to bring life the the history of Jodensavanne. I never had such an experience of an important part of the history of Suriname. We could visualize the glorious history of Jodensavanne. 

At the same time are Jodensavanne and Cassipora not only an historical significance, but have also a harmonious atmosphere where you can relax. I’m glad Jodensavanne and Cassipora now belong to the cultural / historical monuments of Suriname, but I hope that it will be placed on the world heritage list of UNESCO.


Me at the cemetry of Jodensavanne.



Pines are planted on the savanna







Another viewpoint of the ruins of Jodensavanne



3 Feb

The first month of 2013 went fast. Or should I say that I didn’t have much time. Life still goes on.

While packing my personal stuff, I discovered in a small notebook some poems. I probably wrote those poems when I was in love or brokenhearted. It’s so high school material. But I kept them. I have an own diary in which I write the poems or notes when I want to express something. So my ‘newly discovered’ poems are now in my personal diary.

While going trough the diaries, I read my poems again. I think I started writing these poems when I’s in the 2nd year of high school.  But I’ve never been that artistic with words. No rhymes for me. Bad at it. But, I let the pen go when my heart is filled with emotions.

Because the diary is now in the box, I can’t share one of my poems today. But I am going to share a love poem which is close to my heart. Btw, it’s a Shakespearean Love Sonnet:

O Mistress mine

              O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?

O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming,

That can sing both high and low:

Trip no further, pretty sweeting;

Journeys end in lovers meeting,

Every wise man’s son doth know.

What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter;

Present mirth hath present laughter;

What’s to come is still unsure:

In delay there lies not plenty;

Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty,

Youth’s a stuff will not endure.


Children At Work

28 May Taken at a local orphanage
Taken at a local orphanage

This picture was posted before on my photoblog, titled The Orphanage

I’ve been spending some more time on Flickr. And then I discovered works of many good photographers from which I could learn something, but there is one photographer who’s done a great job and that’s why I want to share the link here on my personal blog,

According to his profile on Flickr, Mio Cade is an International Consultant for NGOs from Singapore. He’s taken many pictures of working children. I’ve seen pictures of working children in Cambodia. This photographer asks people for donation for these children. The pictures are very touching. I cannot share a specific favorite picture that was taken by him because there are many of them. Every shot has its own story.

I’ve been aware of the child labor in Cambodia, but this was the first time to view this. And I know that there are friends who will tell me that even in Suriname we see children at work. This is true! But I’m sure that I’ve never seen these kind of work done by children as the ones I’ve seen on this blog.

So, here’s the link to the photostream of Mio Cade: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramdiboy/

And here’s a favorite quote about child labor by Kofi Anan, the previous Secretary of General U.N.:

“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”

Thank You,


Divali- Festival of Lights

22 Oct

October 2009

On the 26th of October, Divali (Deepavali) will be celebrated by every Hindu. Even I’m going to celebrate this day, but today, the shop where I work at, started selling Divali-items from India. All those Dia’s (oil lamps) in different models. But I won’t talk about what I sell in the store.

Divali, also known as Deepavali, is the festival for lights which has been celebrated for several reasons, occuring between mid October- mid November. For many Hindus, Divali’s the most important festival . Even in Suriname, Divali is one of the most important festivals. And last year, this day will be a national day for every Surinamese.



Divali is also a day for preparing sweets (if you’re home) and eating vegetarian food on that day. We start eating vegetarian food 3 days before Divali, but some started with Navratrie (which is a month before Divali).

Since the last few years (5years), Divali’s been fun but I also get tired a lot. There’s a lot of work like cleaning the house and also working in the shop till the Divali day. But on every Divali, I make sure that some Divali-shots are taken. I really enjoy doing that! So, I’ll be sharing some of my Divali shots. I don’t have a lot Divali photos anymore, because last year, on Divali-day, my external harddrive crashed, so I lost every photo.  Luckily, I had my photos of that day, saved on my CF-card.

Because I’m really tired today, I have to leave you now, but keep enjoying my photos (and feel free to send me feedback).

Subh Divali (Happy Divali)

This is one of the photos I lost last year when I had a harddrive crash. But I had ;posted this one on of my personal profiles, so I'd save it.


Lalla Rookh

5 Jun


5th June 1873 was the day on which the  ship, Lalla Rookh, arrived with the first group of laborers from India. After the abolition of slavery in 1863, there was a shortage of cheap labor on the Surinamese plantations so therefore workers were brought from India. Their predecessors, the Chinese and Portuguese labors, did not meet the need. And, therefore, recruitment of settlers, targeting other countries, notably India. The recruitment center was the Indian city, Calcutta, and most of the immigrants were from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. False promised were made to the poor people. They were promised a golden future. But no, they came here as contractors, for 5 years, to work on the various plantations. On arrival in Suriname, the workers were spread throughout the plantations  over the whole country. The amount they earned was not much. They were underpaid. The contractors were often put to work on the sugar plantations and in agriculture field. Gradually, the Hindustani  managed to gain an important place in Suriname. During and after World War II  many of the British Indian immigrants moved to the capital, Paramaribo, for more opportunities to work and study.

2008-05-31%20-%20Hindostaanse%20immigranten   Tropenmuseum_Royal_Tropical_Institute_Objectnumber_60012346_Brits-Indische_immigranten_in_het_koe
Former contract workers were called British Indians, but a descendantsis now called a Hindustani (Hindostani).
Today, the Hindustani are, second, to the largest ethnic groups in Suriname. Also there are approximately 50,000 of them who moved before the independence of the country in 1975, to the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia, there are about 120,000 living descendants of the Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands.


The culture is largely preserved. The language, a mixture of Bhojpuri and dialects of Bihar, which is influenced by the Dutch, Sranan Tongo (Surinamese a local dialect) and even English, is called  Sarnami (Sarnami Hindustani). The religions practiced in the Hindustani, are Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Hinduism has two groups: the Sanatan Dharma and the Arya Samadj. Most Muslims are Sunnis and Ahmediyyas. There are not many Christians among the Hindustanis, but many of them are Catholic and Moravians. Although traditional clothing is not worn everyday, people like to dress in the Indian clothing inspired by Bollywood, for traditional and cultural festivals. There is also a local song and dance form developed, Chutney and Bhaitak, but Bollywood songs are also a favorite. The most popular musical instruments are tabla, harmonium and dhol. Even the Hindustani cuisine is similar, but adjusted to the environment. Roti, rice and masala (curry) are still used, but in addition they have their own snacks. Roti is very popular among the Surinamese.


Today, the 138 years Hindustani Immigration is celebrated. Over these 138 years they have reached a high level. I am one of the descendants of the British Indian immigrants. India is the country where my ancestors come from, but there are now differences in customs and cultural experience. And since I was born and raised in Suriname, I see myself as one … a Surinamese with the Hindustani background.

You must be thinking why I named this blog Lalla Rookh? This, because with the arrival of this ship, the story of the Hindustanis began.

Note: The photos used in this blog are not mine but adapted from Wikipedia

Sis’ Wedding Preparations

2 Oct


It’s the first of October today. It’s the start of a new month in 2010. For my family and me, it’s the official start of the preparations for my sisters wedding, which is on the 23rd of this month.

As I haven’t written a blog lately, I thought it would be a great idea to write something about the wedding and the preparations as it is the only thing, beside work and photography, I’m focusing on. Kaarttt

The wedding takes place according to Hindu rites of Suriname. As we are accustomed in Suriname, it is not a one week or three day festival, but in one day. From today we start the preparations for the wedding. Of course were things reserved soon after the wedding announcement which was in January but other arrangements were left for the October. For now guests are invited,  looking for matching accessories for our dresses, Bridal mehndi has been tested, giveaways, appointments and other arrangements are made. Actually there is no end to the preparations …

bdanktmand maken3 Bedankje

bdanktmand maken

For someone like me who doesn’t like partying at all, the whole preps are new to me. Sometimes irritating, but quite an innovative experience, especially for taking some shots of the preparations for the wedding.

  Shoes-1-antiueedittext2  Toesha churiya

“When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels desert heaven and come and sit in that house and sing for joy.”  ~The Brahma Sutras