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I wanted to write & testify, one-time suicidal Dr. Anil Deo, is reborn during second half-century on earth! Yes, Jesus is real to me, to revive hope and the desire to live or write, or preach ... when I sat for years in a small apartment in USA, waiting for USCIS to decide on my being sponsored by a citizen child, when she turned 21 in 2012. I will leave that for another time, for revelations I have from recent research into my indentured worker-roots in India during 1900s, for sugar on Caribbean & African sugar plantations, in the colonial economy or MNCs of the day!
One of my paternal relatives was a martyr in World War II as a pilot from then British-controlled South Africa. I have a picture on my phone ... but only know the last name, GOORDHEEN, and caste "Aheer or AHIR," those who took care of cows and dairy work.
The other exciting details is that my great-grandfather's brother, had gone to French-speaking (French plantation in Caribbean) at Gaudeloupe, to work for 5 years. Initially, there was a real migrant labor system (as is ongoing in the rich Emirates today). Later on, the ships (Steam ships mostly up to 1900) were NOT chartered, free, to repatriate our ancestors to India. Hence they are in places like Fiji, Australia, Suriname, Jamaica, Guyana, South Africa, Mauritius ... So we became a captive work force, somewhat UNFREE!
My ancestor, was listed as "RESIDENT of Gaudeloupe" at Natal, South Africa in 1890. Goordheen Bhagoo (Number 41766) was about 15 at the start of his migrant work life in 1881. He returned to LUCKNOW, married GOLABA LALSA (#41767), both arriving to "Natal Government Railways." After 5 years as contract worker, he started a store in Charlestown, then Newcastle & Ingangane. He was marvelously colorful; a wrestler; he built a TEMPLE in Newcastle. In 1906 he opened a store #4 in Dannhauser. That northern Natal town is what I recall as my family connections, spatially, in RSA. He had a GANDHI contact, too. Mahatma Gandhi organized a strike for worker rights in 1913; Gordheen was sent from Volksrust to Newcastle to organize the strike there.
He did change his first name to his caste name, AHIR. He died in 1942. A teenager gone to a French-speaking island in faraway Americas, returned to marry in India, and became connected with the FREEDOM story of my nation, South Africa. I thought I was unique in the 1980s organizing DIVESTMENT and sanctions against apartheid in Ohio, Indiana, and Maryland. (c)A. Deo
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