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Jaggernauth – a Poem by Frank Satnarine

Published: 19th of January, 2023

Last updated: January 19, 2023 at 17:27 pm

After the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire around 1838, European plantation owners in Guyana, as well as throughout the Caribbean, looked to India for cheap labor. The myriads of stories passed down from generation to generation about the East Indians’ journey from India to Guyana help us fit pieces of a puzzle together and get a clear picture of the chain of events that culminated into the Guyana we know today.

Here is a beautiful poem written by prominent Guyanese citizen, Mr. Frank Satnarine, in which he describes his grandfather’s journey to the land that is now his home.

Jaggernauth

It was dark and cold
My family was all asleep
I gathered my things 
And ran down the Street

Where are we going?
My friend asked
Going to Demerara 
We have to move fast.

A long line of strangers
Mutterings strange and loud
We sneaked our way in
And passed that grumpy crowd

There the white man stood
Tall with pen in hand
What's your name boy 
I trembled at his command 

I am Jaggernauth 
And my friend is Mangra
We wish to have a boat pass
We are going to Demerara 

The sails were dropped around 6 am
My journey had begun
I am leaving India forever 
My back turned towards the sun

Endless nights of counting stars
Stormy seas with bad dreams
I stood and braved them all
Even the sound of women screams

Then.....there it was
In the horizon we saw her there
The news of land was welcomed
With a humongous cheer

Again I saw the white man
As I stepped upon new land
You will work for me here in Leonora
That was his first command

I am Jaggernauth 
And that's how I came
I hope that all my  descendants 
Will never forget my name.


Written by Frankie Satnarine

Great grand son of Jaggernauth
May 2022
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