Apart from their exemplary taste in food and striking sense of fashion, our East Indian fore parents also brought many unique things with them. In this brief piece, we will examine some of those items and their significance.
The Lorha and Sil
The Lorha is a flat piece of stone upon which a variety of cooking ingredients are crushed with a
smaller handheld stone called the Sil. The Lorah and Sil were used to prepare almost any cooking
ingredient that is needed in an Indo-Guyanese dish. From crushing fresh garlic and ginger to grinding
lentils, as well as making all kinds of indian chutneys, the Lorha and Sil are instrumental parts of the East Indian culinary culture.
The Dhantal is a traditional musical instrument brought by the Indian indentured immigrants to
British Guiana. It consists of a steel rod that is struck by a beater (a curved object shaped like a horseshoe) to create music. The fact that the instrument is also found in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad, where big concentrations of Indian indentured laborers settled, would opine that it was most likely produced in India and easily remade in these other countries with the materials that were available to them.
A mandolin is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum or “pick”. Mandolins resemble a guitar. They commonly have four courses of doubled metal
strings tuned in unison, although five and six course versions also exist.
The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument, also resembling a guitar, used in Hindustani classical
music. The instrument flourished under the Mughals and it is named after a Persian instrument called the sitar.
The dholak is mainly a folk instrument, lacking the exact tuning and playing techniques of the tabla or
the pakhawaj. The drum is pitched, depending on size, with an interval of perhaps a perfect fourth or fifth.