Lalla Rookh For the descendants living in their ancestors' old workers' houses around the Mariënburg plantage, time has almost stood still. On June 5, 2023, it will be exactly 150 years ago that the sailing ship Lalla Rookh (Red Cheeks) anchored in the mouth of the Suriname River in Paramaribo with the first Hindustani contract workers on board who were recruited as cheap labor after the abolition of slavery to perform the grueling work on the plantations of Suriname. These indentured labourers become the new slaves through complicated international constructions. An unknown and underexposed period in colonial history that lasted more than 150 years and the consequences of which can be felt by their descendants to this day; in India, Suriname and the Netherlands.
Arriving at the Mariënburg plantation present day you meet (grand)children of those first indentured laborers. With old machetes they chop the grass and other vegetation that has been overgrowing the old machines and structures for decades.