Na de komma - Shantie Singh in conversation with Vinod Busjeet
Indentured labour in Suriname and Mauritius
In this episode of the Writers Series, Shantie Singh speaks with Vinod Busjeet about the impact of indentured labour on present times. Poet and musician Raj Mohan will perform a selection of his works. All are descendants of Indian indentured laborers and grew up amidst different traditions. Which ones do you pass on to the next generation, and which ones do you reject?
Busjeet's debut novel Silent Winds, Dry Seas (2021) was recently published in Dutch translation as Stille winden, droge zeeën. Singh publishes her book Na de komma: Hindostanen en de erfenis van het kolonialisme (After the comma: Hindostani and the legacy of colonialism) late November 2023.
The conversation in this Writers Series-event will be in English.
With apologies for the slavery past, the Dutch government put a comma, not a full stop. 150 years ago, slavery was abolished in Suriname, but immediately, the recruitment of indentured laborers from British India began as a replacement to keep the plantations running in Suriname, and (here less known) also in Mauritius. The colonial mentality persisted. Slavery had been abolished, but the abuses continued.
Shantie Singh (1982) is a writer, presenter/facilitator, program creator, theater maker, women's rights activist, and creative public administrator, also known as a 'glambtenaar' at the Rotterdam municipality. Shantie was born in Almelo; her parents come from Suriname, and her ancestors are from India. She has been living in Rotterdam since 2006. She is also a storytelling fashionista. With her novel Vervoering, she wrote a family chronicle spanning four generations dispersed over three continents in the countries of India, Suriname, and the Netherlands within a hundred years. In 2023, her book Na de komma (publisher De Geus) will be published, a passionate and personal plea for more recognition and visibility of the Hindustani story in the Netherlands. Na de komma will be published end of 2023. This book will be available for pre-order during this Writers Series.
Vinod Busjeet was born in Mauritius and lives in Washington DC. He was long active in the world of economic development, international finance, and diplomacy, with roles at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Previously, he worked as a teacher at a high school in Mauritius. He grew up with different traditions: Indian, French, Creole, and Chinese. His debut novel, Silent Winds, Dry Seas(2021) tells the story of a descendant of British Indian indentured laborers who were transferred to Mauritius after the abolition of slavery. This island was first colonized by the Dutch; then it came under French and subsequently British control. It gained independence 55 years ago.
The conversations in this (English spoken) Writers Series-event will be interspersed with performances by poet and musician Raj Mohan, who in 2008 published his first poetry collection Bapauti / Erfenis, an exploration of the songs from his album Kantráki / Contractarbeider. He plays and sings compositions based on his own lyrics and contemporary Urdu poets' poems in the (semi) classical North Indian tradition.
This Writers Series program is in English.
After the event, there will be a book sale by De Vries Van Stockum, along with an opportunity for book signing.
Programme presented and curated by Shantie Singh (Writers Unlimited)
Writers Series: Shantie Singh in conversation with Vinod Busjeet
Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM Central Library Podium B, Spui 68, 2511 BT The Hague
Writers Unlimited organises the Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague every year in January (2024 dates: 18-21 January) and monthly Writers Series programmes throughout the year at various locations in The Hague, including the Central Public Library (Centrale Bibliotheek) The Hague. The festival, featuring more than 100 writers, poets, spoken word artists and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad, will take place over four days at venues including Theater aan het Spui, Filmhuis Den Haag, Paard, Koninklijke Schouwburg, neighbourhood libraries, Hague universities and secondary schools.