Libmonster ID: SE-308
Author(s) of the publication: I. KOTIN

I. KOTIN, (Saint Petersburg)

The Hague is an unusual city that has become a multicultural metropolis. Much of it is surprising and unexpected, different from other cities in the Netherlands and at the same time interconnected with them.

As the headquarters of the Dutch counts, The Hague has been known since the 13th century, but only in the 18th century the" Count's Castle " - "Grafenhage" - received the status of a city. The dispute between the cities of Delft, Dordrecht and Leiden for primacy in the Union of the northern Provinces of the Netherlands made The Hague a compromise center of power, where ministries and embassies of the half - world were located near the residence of stadtholders, and then kings, but the Dutch Constitution assigns the status of the capital to Amsterdam.

Delft and Amsterdam established a powerful navy and colonial empire in Southeast Asia, but it is The Hague that is called the "Indian (East India) Widow" because of the abundance of names that recall the former "Netherlands India" (modern Indonesia). The Hague also hosted the largest group of Hindustans, descendants of Indian indentured labourers born in Dutch Guiana (Suriname).

Suriname belonged to the Netherlands, which later than other European countries (1863) abolished slavery and felt the need for cheap hired labor. In 1872, a Dutch agent arrived in Calcutta. He received permission from the British authorities to recruit workers only in the United Provinces and Bihar, i.e., in the lands known as Hindustan (hence the self - designation of Surinamese Indians-Hindustans).

In 1873, the ship Lalla Rook arrived in Suriname, bringing the first batch of 339 Indian workers to the Dutch colony. In the same year, four more vessels delivered human cargo from India - 2,449 people (1,503 men, 556 women and 390 children). The conditions of labor on the plantations were so severe and the death rate so high that the British authorities soon banned the importation of labor into Dutch Guiana, allowing it again only in 1878. This immigration continued until 1916, so that 34 thousand Indians arrived in Suriname during this time, of which 12 thousand returned to their homeland after the contract expired. In 1885, the Dutch offered the Indians who remained permanently in Suriname monetary compensation (100 guilders) and various benefits, which prompted more than 20 thousand Hindustans to stay here. They were allowed to drain swamps and cut down forests, which allowed many Indians to later become landowners.

In 1903, 1,972 Indians owned 14,182 acres of land. In 1911, 4,250 Indian landowners controlled 30,448 acres in Dutch Guiana.1 At the same time, they settled in hamlets and villages near their fields. In 1921, there were already 30,500 Hindustans living in Suriname.2 Although the population of Dutch Guiana was quite diverse, in some areas Indians formed the majority, because the system of contracting for employment determined their concentration depending on the type of work. Thus, in 1939, in the province of Saramacca, where 6% of the colony's population lived, Indians made up 49% of the population, and in Nikeri, where every tenth Surinamese lived, Indians also made up half of the population. In the city of Paramaribo, where one in three Surinamese lived, only 10% of the population was Indian3.

By the end of 1975 - the time of Suriname's independence - Indians accounted for a quarter of the country's 400,000-strong population. In 2001, this figure increased to 150,000, 4 with Hindustans representing the largest group of Suriname's multiethnic population, which also includes Blacks, Mulattoes (these two categories are commonly referred to as Creoles), Javanese, Chinese, and Whites. However, there could have been much more of them in the country if not for emigration. Since 1975, more than 90,000 Indo-Surinamese, mostly young, have left for the Netherlands, taking advantage of the right to obtain Dutch citizenship granted back in 1927. It is noteworthy that the mass emigration of Indo-Surinamese (Hindustanis) to the Netherlands was not caused by economic reasons (the need to attract labor to the Netherlands or the catastrophic surplus of the population and the associated" pressure " on land in Suriname). The reasons are different - serious political differences between Creoles and Indians.

Interethnic competition has contributed to the consolidation of Hindustans, and they were united by the language-a synthesis of the vernacular dialects of Hindustan. It should be particularly noted that the Hindustans use Sarnami, a kind of Pidgin Hindi. Indian researcher Gautam notes that until the 1960s, the Indians of Suriname called their language Hindi-Urdu-Hindustani.

The study was supported by the Gonda Foundation at the International Institute for Asia (Leiden, the Netherlands).

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Then, with Creole dominance, they tried to contrast their language with the Creole "Sranan tongo" (lit. - Surinamese language) and called it "Sarnami", "Surinami" or "Surnami", i.e. also "Surinamese" language. In Nikeri it is closer to avadhi, in Paramaribo it is closer to Bhojpuri. At home, Hindustans are more likely to speak the dialect, in public places-in standard Hindi 5.

Territorial isolation, and later inter-ethnic rivalry, contributed to the formation of Indians in Suriname as a special political force, united under the flag of the folk language Sarnami and literary Hindi as the language of the population of the historical homeland.

Suriname became an independent country on 25 November 1975. At the same time, the administration, police and army remained in the hands of Creoles, and no agreement on proportional representation in government was reached either with Creoles or with the former colonial authorities. The Indians considered themselves loyal. Many hurried to leave for the Netherlands, where more than 100 thousand people already lived. migrants from Suriname, mostly Creoles.

Since the Hindustans objected to the granting of independence to Suriname to the last degree, the Creoles sought to "help" them leave, and the Dutch authorities were forced to receive them and provide substantial assistance.

All Surinamese living in the Netherlands have held Dutch citizenship since 1927 and could retain it during the early years of Suriname's independence.6 For 5 years (1975-1980), Surinamese citizens were free to come to the Netherlands and return to their homeland. However, after 1980, both in Suriname and the Netherlands had to choose, because there is no dual citizenship agreement between the Netherlands and Suriname.

In the Netherlands, there was no clear job offer from the Dutch Government. Those who arrived were provided with an allowance, or they were assigned to work in state institutions. They were dispersed throughout the country, so as not to irritate the population with a noticeable non-cultural neighborhood.

The decade that followed the relocation was marked by family reunification, the creation of "hubs" of concentration of Hindustans, with their presence most noticeable in The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht. As noted by Professor X of the University of Amsterdam. Knippenberg, in 2005, 23.5% and 16.5% of all Surinamese people lived in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, respectively; 13.8% of Surinamese people lived in The Hague; and 2.1% in Utrecht. It follows that 56% of Surinamese people lived in the 4 largest cities in the Netherlands.7

Dutch researchers S. Festappen and M. Rutten estimate the number of Surinamese in the Netherlands in 2007 at 325,000, of which half (160,000) are Hindustans.8 Indo-Surinamese Hindus, who number about 2/3 of all Hindustans, are divided into Aryasamaji and Sanatan dharmi.

Aryasamajis or Aryasamajists are representatives of reformed Hinduism. In 1875, in Bombay, a religious reformer, a Gujarati Brahmin Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1883) founded the Aryan Society with the aim of reviving the original Hindu religion - the religion of the Vedas. In 1877, the center of the society's activities was moved to Lahore in Punjab, where religious ferment was observed, and many low-caste Hindus converted to Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism. The sermons of the Hindu philosopher Swami * Dayanand Saraswati, often called the "Luther of Hinduism", caused serious disputes between Hindus in India and abroad.

D. Saraswati's religious ideas have evolved over the years of his sermons, but in general, he is characterized by a desire to reform Hinduism, presented as its revival (revivalism).

Swami demanded the "purification of Hinduism", its liberation from "stratification", a return to the "purity of the ancient faith", he fought idolatry, sectarian fragmentation, denied the role of priests as the only intermediaries between man and God, criticized magnificent rituals, the caste system, while calling for the revival of the Varna system, allegedly based not on religion. belonging of a person to a particular professional group by birth, but based on the personal qualities of the person 9.

Swami Dayanand's teaching was quite radical and did not receive the support of the majority of Hindus in India. However, the Aryasamajists achieved good results outside of India, not least because Hindus abroad were considered to have lost their caste and were not worthy of attention. Aryasamajists, on the contrary, expressed respect and keen interest in the Hindus who preserved their faith overseas. In 1912, the Arya Samaj branch was established in Surinam10. Through the efforts of the preachers of this organization, 16% of the Hindus of Suriname accepted the interpretation of Hinduism proposed by D. Saraswati.

The activities of the aryasamajists could not fail to provoke a protest from the local performers and custodians of the ritual-the Brahmins, no matter how doubtful their Brahmin status was. The reaction of the Brahmans was the emergence of committees of "true Hindus" - "sanatana Hindu" or "sanatana dharmi". This process has been developed in most Hindu communities abroad. Although the Aryasamajists led only 16% of the Hindus of Suriname and the Arya Samaj tradition became a family tradition, and, accordingly, was "imported" to the Netherlands, the significance of the organization created by D. Saraswati is not limited to this. The Aryasamajists created competition for the Indian brahmins, who for the first time began to recognize Hindus abroad as real Hindus.

The migration of Hindus of both major groups to the Netherlands was accompanied by the transfer of su-

* Swami - "lord" - a polite address and title that was assigned to Saraswati Dayananda.

page 56

Rinamic religious traditions. Aryasamajists and representatives of the Sanatana Dharmi managed to retain most of their followers who came from Suriname.

As government subsidies temporarily fell into the hands of Surinamese Creoles, Hindu organizations, along with the Lalla Rook NGO, took part in lobbying for Hindustan interests at the Dutch-wide and local levels. Arya Samaj branches were established in The Hague (5), Amsterdam, Beilmermeer (abbreviated as Beimer, a suburb of Amsterdam), Utrecht (2), Rotterdam (2), Dorderecht, Eindhoven, Uden, Enschede, Groningen, and Friesland with the help of local religious communities and government subsidies and assistance from Indian public organizations, in Maarsenbroek, Den Helder, Zoertmeer, Delft, Aalfen am Rhein (near Leiden)11.

Representatives of the Sanatana Dharmi movement founded the Sri Krishna Mandir in The Hague and the Sri Vishnu Upasna in Amsterdam, as well as 36 prayer houses, 19 of which are located in Amsterdam and 17 in The Hague.12 In this example, we can see that Aryasamajists have been more successful in creating formal centers of their faith (temples), but we note that they are also more interested in this, because D. Saraswati's interpretation is a reformed, or rather presented as a reformed, and in many ways invented by Swami Hinduism, the basics of which have to be taught, in particular while Hinduism "sanatana dharma" is traditional, allowing for domestic service.

To a lesser extent, Sanatana Dharmi Hinduism, which is institutionalized through temples, is largely due to a particular brahmana whose clients are a particular circle of Hindustani families. However, given the loss of caste prohibitions in Suriname and the preservation of only a group of Brahmins as cult ministers, they are forced (this is the main part of their earnings) to perform rituals related to the cremation of the dead, as well as practice as healers and magicians who save from the evil eye. This area of activity of traditional Ojha healers, recognized as Brahmins by the Sanatan Hindu community of Suriname, is covered in detail in a number of works by Dutch ethnographers Van der Berg and Van der Veer.13 On the basis of these works, it is possible to present the activity of ojha as a kind of entrepreneurship, and there is competition, luring customers, denigrating this or that religious specialist, "who became a Brahmin only on the plane flying to Amsterdam."

In The Hague, Hindustans live in two areas that are considered the poorest in the city - in the Transvaal and in Schilderswijk. The author visited several apartments in the Transvaal area inhabited by Indo-Surinamese (2 families) and Surinamese Creoles (1 family). All apartments have the same layout. These are municipal services

page 57

apartments. Their inhabitants are immigrants, in addition to the aforementioned Surinamese, Turks and Moroccans live in the area, and only a few Dutch families. According to an informant (Ingrid Grant), the largest concentration of Indo-Surinamese people is observed in the Hague market area. Several streets near this market (Paul Krugerlaan, Beeklaan, Regenesselaan) are populated mainly by Indo-Surinamese people. Paul Krugerlaan is home to many Indian shops, while Biklaan and Regentesselaan are home to Indo-Surinamese shops and restaurants. Regentesselaan gives the impression of a" little India " reproduced in a Dutch metropolis. There are the Surinamese mosque and the Ramait temple.

Attempts by the Municipality of The Hague, with a significant immigrant population, to smooth out internal contradictions between representatives of youth groups of different faiths have not yet proved very successful. The failure and riots in the streets of The Hague ended the holding of the interfaith carnival "Kasbah" in the Schiederswijk district, which has a significant Hindustani, but also Arab (Moroccan), Afro-Caribbean (Creole) population.

On October 15, 2007, representatives of various communities of the city marched along Oranienstraat Street towards Koenigstraat, where temporary stages were located. Performances of non-professional artists were accompanied by shouts of support groups, as well as disapproval from rivals. Some unflattering comments were followed by insults to the rival religions, and by the evening of the same day, the area of the mentioned streets turned into a riot zone. The source does not name the instigators of the riots, but it can be assumed that they could be representatives of Moroccan youth, the most restless residents of the Schilderswijk district.

The Ram Mandir temple, created and visited by Surinamese Hindus, has become an object of particular dislike among young Moroccans. Attacks by young Moroccans on a Hindu temple have been observed since 2005 and are manifested in the desecration of the temple space with sewage, the theft of the statue of god, the robbery of the temple ticket office, the attack on the priest and parishioners. These actions discouraged the church's parishioners from participating in events to support the countries of the Islamic world. As the abbot of the temple, Mr. Ramdhani, noted, in such actions he sees a growing hatred of Hinduism among local Muslims.

Various organizations are calling for the unification of Hindus in the Netherlands. Among them is Hindu television-Hindu Broadcasting Organization. The Ganesh Foundation is positioned as an organization that seeks to unite local Hindus and present them to the Dutch government. However, its impact is not very great, and not all respondents knew about it.

The Hague, which has become the center of the Hindustani community in the Netherlands and has also hosted several thousand Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis, has a nearly 100,000-strong South Asian audience. Indian film festivals are held here, Indian films are being shot, and even its own Indian film studio has been created, which gave The Hague another name - Dollywood-a combination of the words Den Hag (The Hague) and Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood).

Hira 1 - Hira S. The Evolution of the Social, Economic and Political Position of the East Indians in Surinam, 1873 - 1980. India in the Caribbean. Hertford: Hansib, 1987. P. 194.

Knippenberg H. 2 The Netherlands. Selling Churches and Building Mosques. The Changing Religious Landscape of Europe // Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis, 2005. P. 88 - 106.

Knippenberg H. 3 Op. cit. P. 195.

4 Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora. New Delhi, 2001.

Gautam M. K. 5 Ethnic Identity of the East Indians in Surinam: Process of Language Maintenance and the Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Creating an Effective Source of the Formation of Cultural Identity. Indian Diaspora in Search of Identity. Mysore, 2003. P. 202.

Van Der Veer P. 6 Religious Therapies and their Valuation among Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands // Aspects of the South Asian Diaspora. (Ed.) S. Vertovec. Oxford University Papers on India. V. 2, Part 2. Delhi: OUP, 1991. P. 39.

Knippenberg H. 7 Op. cit. P. 102.

Verstappen S. arid Rutten M. 8 Bollywood and the Indian Diaspora. Reception of Indian Cinema among Hindustani Youth in the Netherlands // Global Indian Diasporas. Exporing Trajectories of Migration and Theory. Amsterdam University Press. HAS Publication Series, 2007. P. 212 - 233.

9. Mezentseva O. V. 9 The World of Vedic truths (Life and Teaching of Swami Dayananda). Moscow, 1994.

Van der Veer P. 10 Op. cit. P. 41; Van Der Veer P. Religious Therapies and their Valuation among Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands // Aspects of the South Asian Diaspora. (Ed.) S. Vertovec. Oxford University Papers on India. Vol. 2. Part 2. Delhi: OUP, 1991; Van der Burg C. and Van den Veer P. Pandits. Power and Profit: Religious Organization and the Contruction of Identity among Surinamese Hindus // ERS, Vol. 9, N 4, October 1986. P. 514 - 527.

Van der Burg C. 11 De Sanatan Dharm // Van der Burg C, Damsteegt T. en Krishna Autar (Eds.), Hindustanen in Nederland, Leuven-Apeldorm: Garant., 1990. P. 124 - 138.

Mungra G. 12 Hindoestaanse gezinnen in Nederland. Leiden, 1990 // Centrum voor onderzoek van maatschappelijke tegenstellingen, 1990. P. 70.

Van der Veer P. 13 Op. cit. P. 41; Van Der Veer P. Religious Therapies and their Valuation Among Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands // Oxford University Papers on India. Vol. 2. Part 2. Aspects of the South Asian Diaspora. (Ed.) S. Vertovec, Delhi: OUP, 1991. P. 36 - 56.


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