Indian (Hindu) Time Ah Come

People's Partnership Supporters
People's Partnership Supporters
By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 10, 2010

The victory of the People’s Partnership (PP) with the assistance of African people, has changed the face of Trinidad and Tobago’s politics. In spite of its rhetoric, 2010 may prove to be a pivotal year in the relationship between Africans and East Indians. In years to come it may be seen as the year in which Indian ascendancy consolidated itself and the decline of Africans commenced. One only has to look at Sat Maharaj’s new prominence to understand where much of PP’s power lies and why his function, in many ways, may be analogous to that of the Priestess in the last administration.

It is wise, therefore, to keep our ears attuned to the testimony of the major players of the PP to get a sense of how Indians see themselves in this new dispensation. Winston Dookeran, the leader of COP and a generally mild-mannered man, is a case in point. Earlier this year he visited India as a part of a tour that was organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. In an interview with India Empire (May 2010) the editor asked him why Indian identity in the West Indies remained subverted (or was it subservient) to African identity “even though East Indian majority was established through indentureship in many of the countries,” to which Dookeran replied: “There are two reasons. The power structure in the country did not facilitate the plurality of the political voices…. The structure of the society was such that is why identity became a big issue. The Indians saw themselves as victims, not shapers of the society, and the Africans captured political power. They felt they had the power of the state. What is required now for the Indian community is to be the legitimate shaper of the New Society. When we talk about Indian identity, we need to talk in terms of Caribbean identity. The time has come when the Indian community must now shape the society for all so that they can offer that leadership.”

There are many problems with this statement all of which cannot be dealt with in this article. Apart from its many factual inaccuracies, it is an unhistorical view about the development of politics in our country. In the first place colonial societies such as Trinidad and Tobago did not facilitate the plurality of any voices until 1925. In 1831, the first legislature, the Council of Government, was established and the island remained a crown colony government up until 1925 when the first Trinbagonians were elected to the Legislative Council. The electorate comprised of 5.9 per cent of the total population of which 14.8 per cent voted.

The 1925 legislature established a balance between the official and unofficial members. In addition to the governor there were twelve official members and thirteen unofficial members. Although Indians were against the elected system-they feared it would not work in their favor–their fears turned out to be ill-founded. At the first election in 1925 one Indian member, Sarran Teelucksingh was selected. In 1928, Teelucksingh was joined by two other Indian members, F. E. M. Hosein (St. George) and T. Roodal (St. Patrick). Roodal, a leading member of Cipiani’s Workingmen’s Association, brought a substantial section of the Indian working class into the labour movement.

A. C. Reinzi, a fourth Indian member, was elected to the Legislative Council in 1938. Five of the seven members elected to the Council in 1938 were representatives of labour: Cipriani, Roodal, Rienzi, Teelucksigh, and Milliard. One was white (Cipriani); one was black (Milliard) and three others were Indians. In 1946, the first year of universal adult franchise, four of the nine victorious members were Indians. Although Indians consisted of 35 per cent of the population, they represented about 44 per cent of the elected members. Two of the four of elected members were placed in the Executive Council.

In 1950 there were eighteen elected seats in the Legislature. Indians won seven of those seats. That is to say, although Indians consisted of only 35 per cent of the population (Africans were 46.8 per cent of the population according to the 1946 figures) 38.9 per cent of the elective membership of the Council were Indians. Although there may not have been a plurality of political voices the Indians were well represented during this early period which leads one to ask: where or what is the discrimination to which Mr. Dookeran alludes?

After such a spectacular indictment, Mr. Dookeran makes a great leap forward. He says: “The Indians saw themselves as victims, not shapers of society, and the Africans captured political power. They felt they had the power of the state.” Just like that. If my analysis is correct up until 1950, Indians possessed more political power (certainly if one measures their representation in the Legislative Council) than Africans. More importantly, within that period Africans took the lead in wresting power from the British authorities who was controlled the state. While the Indians were worthy allies the Africans were in the vanguard of the struggle for self rule.

Although the Indians may have seen themselves as victims (and I am not too sure who made them feel that way) it is untrue to say they were not the shapers of their destinies or the society. In fact, social theorists have argued that while the Indians kept their culture and traditions during indentureship, African culture and traditions were attenuated during the slave and colonial period.

When Dookeran says that the “Indians community must now shape the society for all” it sends a threatening message to all. It leads one to believe that in spite of the talk of inter-racial unity Indian (read Hindu) hegemonic intent still lingers in their psyche.

In 1869, J.J. Thomas, the son of an enslaved African, expressed the wisdom of our forebears when he admonished: “If the frog tells you the crocodile has sore eyes, believe him” which means that in judging another person give great weight to what he says about himself. As the old people say, don’t take a candle to look for something that you can see in broad daylight.

Ethnic chauvinism is an inescapable consequence of the PP victory. Let us be on guard against its crudest manifestations.

53 thoughts on “Indian (Hindu) Time Ah Come”

  1. if anyone should start aracial conflict in tt it would be selyn ryan. with comments like the above he has already started.

    1. Agreed some people sleep race, talk race, run race, write race and yet makes the claim that they are not racist. How is that possible??? The PP is working to assist all people and that is the way it should be.

  2. The writer’s relegates himself to the position of the “pot” in the famous local proverb in his final pronouncement that ethnic chauvinism is a corollary of the PP’s victory.

    The PNM, much like the Panday-led UNC, was famous for its ethnocentric modus operandi. The proportion of citizens of African extract who occupied positions on state boards, both houses of parliament, HDC houses and CEPEP employment tells a tale of naked racism that Dr. Cudjoe would not recount in public or in his writings but in all likelihood, puts a nice smile on his face before he goes to bed.

  3. I would like to see the commentors in the preceding posts respond (intelligently) without casting stones to what Mr. Ryan has written. Unless they can say otherwise history is always a good teacher. If they can state what is written is a lie then they are not true unto themselves.

  4. Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe seems to be mixing history with reality. The People’s Partnership is not an Indian political party. The ‘Indianness’ of the UNC has evolved into the new political coalition, that is the People’s Partnership. Dr. Cudjoe is just advocating for his pnm party by misleading the public with his diatribe. The African has shaped Trinbago during its political leadership. Unfortunately, the African is a product of ‘western’ hegemony leading to its advocating of European culture and religion. The facts show that there was ethnic chauvinism under the pnm. Surely, Trinbago can withstand a little Indian culture and hegemony. Dr. Cudjoe completely ignores the fact that for the second time in our history, Trinbago has a coalition government which is bringing all stake holders to the table, including labor. THIS IS BETTER FOR TRINBAGO. Many pnm supporters, instead of wishing this new government well, are plotting for it to fail. Many pnm supporters seem to love their party more than Trinbago. Indians are Trinbagonians too and should be able to lead our country. This time Trinbagonians are awake and will protect our nation from all kinds of ethnic chauvinism.

  5. Mr. Ryan, I doubt Trinbagonians of African descent will stand idly by while another government of the Republic of T’n’T, subject them to further marginalization. While I have great respect for your command of history; and do appreciate the heads-up, I sense a bit of the alarmist in this piece. If a Hindu vision for our society begins to look anything like it looks in India, why then Trinbagonians might just have a few more lesson to impart in social integration and its primary byproduct, social solidarity. Here’s hoping members of PNM party weren’t asleep in class.

  6. This article was written by Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe but I see several posters referring to him as Ryan perhaps mixing him up with Selwyn Ryan.

  7. Utter nonsense…Selwyn Cudjoe is an African Sat Maharaj and a hand puppet of the PNM. People like Sat Maharaj and Selwyn Cudjoe should be charged with High Treason…

  8. Out of curiosity, what country in Africa are African Trinbagonians from? Why when asked do many East Indians in the U.S. always say that they are different from East Indians in the Caribbean?
    I think that everyone fears change because of what they may lose. The P.P’s responsibility is to inform everyone that they are all winners and that fear is not needed. Anything less than that by the new administration will be considered a failure for those in the country who voted for real change.
    While you people with the distinctive Trini accent, diet, music, etc… argue about the identity of a nation as the country attempts to move forward, let me be the first as a son of a immigrant from TNT to the U.S. to say that you are all Trinidadian to me.
    If your country strays from that image to reflect that of an African Country or that of India, then you all collectively lose. Together we achieve and together we aspire. If there is something about you neighbor that you think is destructive to the community, let him know what it is and why it bothers you. Don’t just run and try to undercut him or stop him from living without a reason. Dialogue is the answer and if you cannot agree on something, perhaps you shouldn’t be discussing it in the first place. This tribalism garbage has to stop. The children don’t want this. The future of TNT wants a more prosperous, safe, and unified nation. If you think your best days are behind you and your unwilling to contribute to the compromise that defines the future, then you must stay silent or leave.
    This is all a waste of time. What Trinibagonians should be arguing about is how to improve the country so that everyone can prosper. Race politics in a diverse country have to stop in order to move forward and away from self destruction.

  9. Here we go again – an individual who is not living in Trinidad and Tobago using the electronic space dedicated to this island to render negative racial comments.
    How could someone look at another human being and think that anything that they do: is only because of ‘race’ that they would do it. Race is only a creation of the ignorant – Science teaches us that all humans are from the same family – minor variations of skin tone and hair texture – make us look different but our genes are the same. In fact all humans from the pygmies of Africa to the fairest light complexioned blonde of Northern Europe can mate and have off-springs and they would be fine. They would not be like the ‘mule’ that wrote this piece unable to pro-create by himself. He must have been an off-spring of a gaddha and a mare – now that off-spring is sterile, something like what Dr Cudjoe is – you see thats what racist people – sterile – both in body and mind.
    They have nothing uplifting to offer the world except a negative diatribe. Racial superiority should be the last thing that we should feel any pride about – because we had nothing to do with being African, Indian, Chinese or mixed for that matter. I would like to think that even our parents had nothing to do with it since they were propelled by love and love is natural human emotion.
    Losers in this world resort to race talk because they are bereft of good ideas. They have nothing uplifting to report to the world, hence they find ways of misrepresenting the truth – As Cudjoe did in quoting Dookeran in the May 2010 Article from India Empire – I got to say – not a well known magazine by any stretch. He must have had to dig through a lot paper to uncover these comments. But these comments are taken out of context – at a time before the elections, certainly at a time when Dookeran did not think he would be back in T&T politics any time soon. But really it does not say anything harsh.
    If Selwyn Cudjoe feels that the PNM can win another future election on this island by ignoring the people he hates so much – then they will never have a chance at Govt again. People are not inclined to vote race if they could vote issues – especially when those issues are things like healthcare and security against crime. You see Cudjoe – it does not matter if you are East Indian or African – when you are sick and dying, you need proper health care – and when a bandit breaks into your home – he does not check to see if you are Indian or African before he does so.
    Racialism is not a good thing and for someone like him to sit in a cushy office at Wellesley and continue to make racist comments against the people of Trinidad and Tobago – is unconscionable.
    We just have to look at what happened in Rwanda in 1994 – when the world looked on in horror and did nothing because they did not have oil or were strategically important, similar to what happened in Bosnia – but at least they reacted – they were white people albeit muslims.
    We do not want that level of stupidity in Trinidad and Tobago – This is a lovely twin island republic with lots of good things going for it – most importantly a collection of peoples that can rival cultures from any part of the world – we are beautiful, articulate, resourceful, funny, compassionate (read Haiti) and have a lot to give to this world. We certainly do not want to give racism to this world, other countries do a much better job than us. We must be very wary of a ‘mule’ who sits in a teaching job in a wonderful country that once had slavery but is now a beacon to the world – and writes these shabby articles. We must guard at all cost against this level of nastiness, its puerile and it will not get us anywhere.
    We do not want race mongers like Selwyn Cudjoe, to propagate spite and illwill amongst us. We had the elections, its gone – who won, won; who lost, lost – End of story.
    Tomorrow is a bright new beautiful day – and we have to live it with hope and positive expectations.

  10. From where I humbly stand, Mr Maharaj and Mr Cudjoe BOTH reflect intelligence yet at the same time such an expanded ignorance of life and its diverse beings and history. These are learned men; yet their learnedness does not seeem allow them to see past their own biased and destructive way of analyzing people, culture, etc. It seems as if their learnedness frustrates and eventually does away with any compassionate reasoning that they may retain as men of intelligence. However, we should swallow our abhorence to the brilliant ignorance behind their writings and try to learn from them, otherwise we can count ourselves as being just as ignorant and destructive. Let’s face our demons in order to conquer them, and let them be an example of the kind of beings we strive our best not to evolve as.

  11. “Tomorrow is a bright new beautiful day,” indeed Marilyn.

    Lets hope that it would also include acceptance that all of us of diverse backgrounds and shades , in this blessed country, Indians, and Africans, Chinese ,Hispanics,Europeans ,Syrians, Lebanese, Jews , and so called Gentiles , are responsible for the despicable state we are in presently.
    As we skin and grin, with a typical Trini false sense of superiority, over our less economically vibrant ,Jamaican brothers and sisters, as they too face their own social menace of runaway crimes , mixed with political collusions, we however can now grasp the opportunity, to lead by example, in saying that this would never again be allowed to flourish in our country , as was done also under the economically clueless and corrupt ,Basdeo Panday ,arrogant , “dis is our time,” regime.

    With respect to this , I make no distinction between a white color gangster, and a blue color criminal, neither should any of us. In essence, zero tolerance for all forms of corruptions , and other forms of criminality , irrespective of race color creed or class, will be our watchword.
    Lets therefore make an effort to love country over tribe, and support our dear PM as she proudly touted in her run up to May 24th power , “jail for dem!”
    By the way, thanks Dr Codjoe, for writing perhaps one of the most insightful analysis of an often ignored aspect of our country, as far as race and ethnicity ,and it’s links to power.
    There is hope therefore ,that these and future honest and frank discussions , we might escape the problems of let say a Fiji, Guyana , Zimbabwe, Uganda ,Sri Lanka,Kenya, South Africa, old Europe , and USA. These are all nations that never fully look the historical monster of race ,economic and social injustice , and power ,by pretending it was inconsequential -that was until it became too late.
    Perhaps the author Dr. Cudjoe, is up to something here when he proclaimed in this headline that “Indian (Hindu) Time Ah Come.”
    Hopefully our Minister of Works , in his capacity as one of FIFA head honchos , would get a chance away from some of the World Cup well staged ,glitz and dazzle, to see South Africa , not only in it’s beauty, but some of it’s ugliness, as they too grapple with an inglorious past,atrocious present criminal realities /economic depravities, and future concerns for concrete power for those left behind during the post Apartheid love feast.
    He too like our author might be able to bring some lessons that we can all benefit from ,in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country.
    In ending , let me say,don’t blame the messenger folks. What do some call it ,ethnic chauvinism?
    Got to love these phonies, ah tell you!

  12. All Selwyns are not the same. Some were so hasty to comment that they mistook one scholar for another. Selwyn Cudjoe has listed some facts that can be verified in the historical record. One may disagree with the conclusions he arrved at based on those facts, but it was never true to say that the Indian-originated Trinis were under-represented in the legislature, nor in the Eric Williams Cabinet for that matter.At the begining of our road of Independence, the PNM was everybody’s party-(Montano, Mahabir, Willliams(Chinese)and the DLP was the Indian party.To swipe an analytic mind with the word “racist” is to fail to see the facts of his commentary, so hasty were some, that they took him for someone else.

    That being said, I thought the title of the piece rather inflamatory. Did, some, perhaps, respond only to the headline, without reading the article? Sad.

    1. My apologies for misrepresenting the identity of Dr. Cudjoe, but I read some of the responses before I added mine, with the intent to shed light on the accuracies of his commentary and to show appreciation for the heads-up.

      Dookeran’s comment was made to a little known publication so maybe he thought no one would be listening, I’m happy Dr. Cudjoe gave it the light it deserved; but I do not believe he shows much faith in the ability of Trinbagonians to control their future. Trinbago gained its independence more than a decade after India; but its Socio-Political perspective is clearly eons ahead of India.

      Dr. Cudjoe made the distinction between the (Indian) Hindu and Indian perspective in his headline but failed to do so when listing the representatives on the Legislative Council; Hosein is clearly not Hindu. I agree Trinicenter should rise to the occasion for the edification of the nation.

  13. We should be celebrating the achievement of a free and fair election which removed, arguably, one of the most corrupt regimes in the history of the Western Hemisphere from power, and not be dredging up obscure points of history, and assigning evil motives to the leaders of the new dispensation based on what one of them said in India. Some former leaders went to Africa and were made Chiefs, should Indians have been threatened by that? It is unfathomable that someone will regard a majority Indian government in multiracial T&T as a threat.
    Mr. Cudjoe by the inflammatory nature of his comments is sowing the ground for his nemesis, Sat Maharaj, and in that sense, they are two peas in a pod.

    1. hahahaha, you have to be kidding…”one of the most corrupt regimes in history of the Western hemisphere.” Methinks one doth protest too much!

      Kamla really do a number on alyuh yes….

  14. Thanks Mr. Cudjoe. We see it, feel it, and know what you speak of. Trinidad Indians are always the victims, even though they own most of the businesses etc in Trin. The truth is, they want the island for themselves, including Tobago! That is the nature of that beast….What they have to remember, is because of AFRICAN votes they got into power, (something they will never admit) and it is just as easy to remove them. They have not appreciated Africans or even persons who are ‘dougla’, because once u’re mixed with African, u are lower ‘class’ or ‘caste.’ If they don’t like it so…tell them go back to India…We should be proud and overwhelmed by our unique cultures and all from Dookeran, to Sat and the others could think about is Indian and Hindu…not here….get out with that nonsense…

  15. Based on the response of the posts that critique’s Cudjoe, you kinow that he is right. Notice they say nothing about Dookeran’s asertion that Indians will shape the future of T&T. They say nothing about the prominence of Sat Maharaj in the PP. All they do is attempt to assassinate the author because his words reflect what they know, what they feel, and what they are dastardly reluctant to have revealed.

    Imagine that they are calling Cudjoe’s comment racist for expressing the concerns of his group, when they never stop presenting bogus claims of marginalization. Indian Trinidadians and Indian Guyanese will never co-exist peacefull and equally with African Trinidadians and African Guyanese, because for significant portions of that population equality means “awee pon tap”

  16. My ‘corn tree’ you couldnt have put any better. These ‘indians’ are ALWAYS the victim and always being discriminated against. Africans in this country always supported Indian businesses, but the reverse is not true. Indians make it a POINT not to support African businesses. They do not participate in African themed events and they still cling to the notion that the WORST thing your daughter could do, is to marry a black man!

    The sad reality is, the same africans who voted for them this time around are the ones that are going to be betrayed. Especially when the PP starts to remove these social programs like CEPEP and Hype! It happened in 95 – 01 and it is going to happen again.

    1. Let’s stop perpetuating the myth that PNM voters elected the PP.
      Here are th facts:

      In 2007, the PNM got 299,000 votes and won 26 seats. In this election, the PNM got 285,000 votes, a mere 14,000 less, a 4.7 per cent reduction. Clearly, PNM voters did not stay away in droves and that was not responsible for the PNM’s landslide defeat. The UNC went from 199,000 votes in 2007 to 340,000 in 2010. In that increase of 141,000 votes, even if all 14,000 PNM voters voted for the UNC, it would not be significant. And when one looks at the overall 440,000+ votes for the PP, that 14,000 is even less significant. It is clear, therefore, that PNM voters for the most part voted PNM, and that the PNM’s defeat was not attributable to its voters deserting them, but to the turnout of UNC voters who did not vote in the 2007

  17. My dear Gru Gru, to be ma de a chief in the west African systems of Chieftaincy, is t be recognized as a significant elder of tose people. While some chieftainships are hereditary, some are earned based on achievement, and is a sign of respect. As such African nations have conferred chieftaincy on white people , middle easterners asw ell as Afro-Caribbean people. There are Indianoriginated people high up in the ruling ANC of South AFrica. I am not sure if they would be proud to be made an honorary chief of the Zulu or Matabele people, or even of the Shona; although these fierce warriors have defended their land against White incursions ad made it ossible to have Indians prosper in their midst.
    What Indo trinis need to recognizeis, that anything said by a visiting political person even in the most rural parts of India can be, and are, picked up by the media and is instantly worldwide. Mr. Dookeran should have remembered his remarks, whispered to platform people on the day of the NAR rally before the votequake of 1986; He whispered to the soon to be elected Gloria Henry, with Merle Stephens within earshot, that he hoped his supporters from Central “would not turn out en masse, because then people would realize how Indian the NAR support base was.” They soon found out though, didn’t they? And people like Henry, Stevens, and the one representing Carenage, who was in the Health Ministry, were soon marginalized in the raw grab for power, represented by the Panday faction.We learn from History, that we learn nothing from history.Go back to photos of that afternoon, you’d see how close they were sitting. I have my own photo of the event, formy historical records.Now, you could ask Mr. Dookeran if he ever said this., but remember, non-Christians have a different version of what truth is.

    We are the past and the future. Our ancestors are holding our hands, while we lean forward to lift the younger ones into the light.

    What the world’s societies -not just Trinis- are unconfortable with, are religions that transfer into an ethnic and political movement, which you can only be born into. Judaism and Hindutva fall into this category.

    1. To me if people are not happy with the current administration they can leave as you did Linda…. The prof can do the same also, I understand he have a U.S. green card and he is about to lose his high paying job in T&T. His bacon and eggs lifestyle is coming to an end (lol). I wish him the best though.

    2. “What the world’s societies -not just Trinis- are unconfortable with, are religions that transfer into an ethnic and political movement, which you can only be born into. Judaism and Hindutva fall into this category.”

      Actually after centuries of inbreeding the Semite is seeking to enhance his gene pool through selective outbreeding. A heads-up to African women everywhere; value your eggs! Beware of the fawning Semite.

      1. You live in strange world. I know a lot of women of African heritage who are looking for love outside the tribe. They have learned the hard way that the male component of the tribe is a good seed planter but not a nurturer of the seed. I have heard Jamaican women say they will not marry a Jamaican man but grabs the nearest Indo-Trini male they could find. I have two close friends who are married to Jami women. Other Jami women are discovering that Indo-Trini men will treat them with love and respect.. And I am sure Afro-Trini women are discovering that also…

  18. Once more this is a very good, balanced , and objective article by Dr Cudjoe.He is a fearless patriot, and proud African son of the soil, that would not hesitate to attack members of his own race , or class where he thinks it’s warranted.
    In like manner , he should be encourage to give as forceful a commentary , and opinion on any subject he deem fit, especially one as contentious as race and power in our country. The reason is simple , more than 90% of the conflicts that take place across the globe ,especially since the “end of history,” (a la Cold War ),are connected in some fashion to race and the inequitable distribution of resources.

    On this day, let our Indian brothers, and sisters proudly enjoy their moment in the sun, as that’s their right. Seven or eight years in political power, out of 48 years of independence ,is tough to swallow, especially if each time they were able to break the stranglehold , it was due in part to total dependence on the said people they vehemently despise, that did them no wrong historically.
    Never should any of us global humanist be afraid to speak up for peace,truth , and justice in our land, or anywhere for that matter , when we see it threatened.
    This blogging forum should not be relegated to some baseless daily, pathetic debates about Indians, or Africans so call cultural , economic, or political superiorities over the other, as the evidence to support this is no where to be found.
    The realities as far as our country is concern are as follows: Since 1962 ,a small percentage of people in both communities have done well ,in this resource laden country , and that’s unfortunate.
    Like neo colonial counterparts in their ancestral homes from Asia , and Africa,conniving,elitist leaders ,have kept the poor ,and neglected majorities ,in their desperate state.
    How was this done you enquire ? Namely , through baseless pontification , about meaningless religions ,and other cultural nonsense, skewed political ideological tricks, and idiotic tribalistic brainwashing feedings.
    I am excited however today folks ,about my country, as we move forward , in full awareness of the various challenges we will obviously encounter . We have two new leaders from competing parties that have quite a lot to prove to themselves, the nation, respective individual communities, and thousands of detractors ,that lurks in and out of the party.
    We have a very tolerant, and sophisticated electorate, and a growing mass of young vibrant people that want to be engaged so that they too can be part of the solutions. We are all part of the solution, business, civil society, politicians, experts expats stuck across the globe, retirees, young and old alike.
    Let us remain steadfast in our task towards efforts aimed at country development , my loving fellow ‘blogerspherians,’ as our nation ,and people ,deserves no less.
    Long live our healthy democracy,and long live the people of unitary Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
    Stay vigilant folks!

  19. “When Dookeran says that the “Indians community must now shape the society for all” it sends a threatening message to all.” I don’t understand the threatening nature of those remarks. I came from a home where we grew our own food and took care of ourselves without much State help. My parents instill in us the value of hard work, good education, not stealing, respecting our elders, giving back to our society. If those were threatening ideals then I think we can safely take the intellect out of the Prof and say he has lost it…hmmmm

  20. Neal, you have outdone yourself. The above is one of the most sensible statements made so far on this issue. Extreme , emotional statements on both sides serve no useful purpose in this debate.Yours is a message of vigilant optimism.

  21. Ah shocks T-M! Thank you my friend. It is always more fun ,and even more productive,if level heads prevails when confronting,any crisis,conflict,or disagreement.
    We must be prepared therefore to put ourselves in the other persons shoes,so as to try and understand their point of views,yes?
    Changes ain’t easy to grapple with my friend,but respect for the other can be a very potent force ,and start to healing -if warranted-and rebuilding,even with the tough choices that lie ahead.
    When it comes to our wonderfull country,and it’s various array of peoples that contributed in some fashion to it’s development thus far,I am always reminded of a teacher who to prove point,once advised us to look at the 5 fingers on one hand.He said,they may be all different in size and shapes,but each one is equally important,if the hand is to be efective in doing what it is expected to do. Lot’s of merit in tht argument.
    Keep the faith.

  22. I too believe that What Professor Cudjoe stated in his piece was a true historical accounht of what actually occurred in this our Trinidad and Tobago. If someone has a problem with the historical accounts that he (Mr. Cudjoe) misrepresented, then take him to task on it and inform us about the true nature of the source of his facts. When racists call other people racist we remain ignorant of an issue where there needs to be enlightenment on. The ;professsor raised several issues; viz Indian under-representation (or lack of it), Usage of the word “Indian” or Hindu interchangeably, the cedeing of African voting power to what is viewed as a reasonable ursurping of power by the Indian people, the weakening of the African will power, Sat Maharaj and Mr. Dookeran’s stated view of the rise of lack of it of the Caribbean Indian. Those were the issues and we should welcome the opportunity to have healthy discussions of these matters even though it might make some of us uncomfortable at times because it exposes some of our long held values and practices that may or may not be amiable in a public setting. There is a lot that African people can learn from the Indian people and similarly there is a lot Indians can learn from the African. We cannot reach that realization if we become timid about how offensive a ‘fact’ might be to each other. We must first first acknowledge irrefutable facts and defend principle. I see a start here even though there is a lot of name calling but people like Linda and Neal have stretched their hands to those who are willing to be reasonable in this kind of conversation. That is good and I hope it can continue.

  23. What is the purpose of tribalism in the Western world societies of the new millennium? It seems that this alliance to something that is not TNT is what really causes the fear. Indians, Africans, Chinese, Europeans, etcetera; are all a part of TNT, but TNT is not a part of these other places. All of the former European Colonies of the Western World are populated by people of Eastern world civilizations that have already conformed or assimilated to the local norms that defined them. For example, the Celts, Anglos, Saxons, and Vikings all played major roles in the formation of the English Empire that colonized much of the world including Hong Kong, India, and Nigeria to name a few.
    This is relevant to TNT because it is a young and culturally diverse nation. How TNT self identifies will be as a result of the influences that inhabit the nation currently. Many see themselves as allies of some ancestral nation on the other side of the world while a growing number of people understand that they are a result of events, experiences, etc… that are specifically Trinbagonian. They see themselves as Trinbagonian without need to daily pay homage to some ancestral nation in which they never visited or lived in. The process of assimilation as sure as gravity is crippling tribalism and it is the xenophobic force in the minds of unsure citizens that fights and fears change.
    Dr. Selwyn R Cudjoe stated,” When we talk about Indian identity, we need to talk in terms of Caribbean identity”. This is mentioned because of fear. However, I out of curiosity question why would anyone need to discuss Indian identity in terms of Caribbean identity? Aren’t Indians an assimilated part of TNT? Why wouldn’t their allegiance be to Trinidad and Tobago over India?
    Before I focus on that, can anyone say that under the PNM that Indian culture was subservient to African culture? What was specifically African about the PNM other than genetics?
    This is why identifying with another nation other than the one that your trying to grow is counterproductive. Rather than assimilating to the norms and similarities that affect your lives everyday, everyday people are celebrating something that does not represent all of the people in that geographic reality. This is just an observation and I am not attacking anyone, but when people who have lived all of their lives in Trinidad and Tobago come to the U.S., they all regardless of racial group say that they are Trini. It’s time that Trini’s live like Trini’s at home.
    Dr. Selwyn R Cudjoes’ remarks are nothing to get upset over. They are an invitation for dialogue to squash rumors and settle xenophobic concerns over the future of Trinidad and Tobago.
    Last, it is true that some people who post statements on this forum don’t live in Trinidad and Tobago, we don’t know why nor should it deter anyone from exchanging ideas and opinions. Wherever we may rest our heads, we are all connected through innovative technology and the realities of a shrinking world. The Global economy does not exclude Trinidad and Tobago and neither does the news cycle. Only the corrupt would set forth an agenda to silence opposition.

  24. selyn r and selyn r cojoe are both saying the same thing.on june 6 “reflections on an epic election” or the post mortem of an election ryan says about the “shocking events of may 24 2010” that is he could not believe that pnm would have lost the election. all of a sudden they are talking about indian hindus afro trinidadians eric williams carl marx and dead people. these old die hard should give the young trinis achance to get together. whatever creed or race let them find an equal place.

  25. I would like to state for the public record, that I think Khem is an idiot. First he talks about my leaving, as if I was disgusted with my own people, without knowing what the heck he is talking about, then he talks about Afro women preferring Indo men. Is he trying to f–k us into submission like poor little Hope Arismandez, who died at the hands of her mother’s lover?

    Currently, there are a group of Caribbean scholars in my home town, brought here by the US State Department(Institute of International Education) to examine hurricane issues. They are from various islands, and we were asked to host them for a weekend. Not one of the people I asked to help was concerned as to which islands they were from or what their ethic group was. They pitched in, one family in particuular, and had a Trinbagonian, A Grenadian and a Haitian over for bake and saltfish, pelau, curry and other Trini food. That’s what we do here. When I am asked to host a Caribbean person, I do not care what race they are, or which island. They are our poeple, here as guests of the State Department,the way I was once, forty years ago. In the last few years I have done this “hosting” for people from Pakistan, the Maldives, Kenya, Germany, Malawi and Namibia, as well as the Phillipines, Mexico and Taiwan.

    The puny issues of Khem and Co, are just puny. The State Department in its people exchange and info offers, does not ask Indo-Trini,Afro Trini or mixed.

    And Khem, for the record, both my brothers have half Indian children, and one sister has four daughters with her Indian husband. I would like to think that my younger sisters and brothers are far more advanced in their thinking, than you are. Hence the designation: Idiot. It is not that you were born mentally deficient, that would not be your fault, but failure to grow would be.

    1. I can see you are a one love woman Linda. But please subtract your emotional outburst and carefully re-read my comments. Instead of telling me a man who have his Bachelors that I am an idiot. Personally, I think you should not seek to interpose you hatred on all of us. I always say Trinis as one people. Some of my best friends do not look like me, yet they treat me very well.

  26. Just for context – I am including attaching the link to the actual article in the ‘India Empire’ that Cudjoe is referencing in this article:

    There is much positive information in this article – very relevant, uplifting, good things – speaking even of the impact of people like Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, etc. These are icons that not only shaped India pre and post independence but also much of the developing world as well, way into the 1960s. Remember the non-aligned movement.
    India itself is a great emerging economy and T&T can learn a lot from them. They have been reasonably succesful at running a country of close to 1.3B people, we have 1.3M. If we can leverage relationships with someone of that size, think of the benefits! That very idea was missed in this whole tirade by Cudjoe. We need countries like India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa for that matter. These are countries, if we can leverage relationships into economic prospects due to close cultural and other ties, – it would make us more competitive in the world. Now is a good time to start teaching Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese, Yoruba and Xhosa in our schools, as an option. Think of the benefits that can accrue if we can go to these lands – and charm these people with our knowledge of their language and culture and at the same time doing business.
    The time for us to be provincial and parochial, as some of the commenters on this article seem to be including the author is long gone. Trinidad and Tobago is now approaching its 50 year Independence Anniversary – we are a Nation with great abilities and skill. That is not because of petroleum or any of the other natural resources we have: It is because of our people – our talent and our future success lies in our people and we are blessed that we have been thrown haphazardly as a nation some thru’ slavery and indenture, some by pure chance – but we make up an milieu of peoples that if we understand our differences, we can harness them to the benefit of this small little nation and no be constrained by minute little ideas like race and ethnicity. You see, you can not take that to the shop to buy food, or get an education or a job or be healthy and free of illness and have security in your daily lives.

    Cudjoe has distilled and synthesized from that article that is primarily written for Non-resident Indians – and the author of that article entitled: There is Much to learn from India, seem to be probing this question a little too much: The very last line – I gather his audience like this kind of stuff.

    But the rest of the article gives you a clear understanding that Dookeran, definitely has Trinidad and Tobago’s best interest at heart and will do his best for this country.

    On another point, a lot of people like equating Indian and Hindu as one and the same. There is no such thing as Hinduism really – as it is the forked-tongued ancient Persians who could not pronounce the Sapta Sindhu river properly that gave rise to that term. This, the oldest of the Great Faiths is called by its believers: Sanatan Dharma, the Eternal Lore. That religion teaches universal love and kindness to all creatures – man, animal or plant. This faith sees all religious pursuits as valid and the absolute reality as being beyond attributes. Its a faith that shows its past in its present – sort of like an archeological religion changing but not getting rid of prior parts – and in such a way it shows us how a religion could evolve from village worship to the contemplation of the absolute: Advaita Monism and yet explain all of it in its wonderful tapestry.
    Pay no heed to Satnarayan Maharaj of the SDMS – he is an old man with just bluster. He does not represent the true spirit of Sanatan Dharm – just ask any Hindu. There are more organisations out there that are against him than are for him. There are more pandits out there against him than are for him.

    When people try to disrepect a faith and the people that follow that faith without understanding it properly: They are doing a great disfavour to themselves as well as to the people they are maligning.

    We must try to have a little more context in what we say and the way we act so that we come across as reasonable and not on the lunatic fringe without a true purpose on this earth.
    God Speed…

  27. Linda, you should enjoy your new country the United States. After all you have no allegiance to Trinidad. When you placed your hand over your heart and recited the citizenship oath you chose the US over Trinidad. Stay and enjoy the change Obummer has delivered.

    1. Linda’s allegiance is not to T&T it is to her own self importance. I am sure she writes Obama. Having said that I think she can do better if she stop her judgemental nonsense and her condescending tone. After all Linda your ideas are your ideas. The world may not subscribe to it. T&T is at the dawning of a new era and the politics of division is coming to an end. Watch how Rowley scambles to re-brand the party of Dr. Williams. The problem with the PNM is the same with Cudjoe and that is tribalism is written in their DNA. No matter how much they try they can’t stop being tribal. Cudjoe makes a good presentation but always draws the wrong conclusions. Why??? Because he interprets the world through tribal eyes. Unfortunately, the world has moved on and left people like Linda and Cudjoe behind…. Chew on that.

  28. Linda B, what the —do you know about loyalty to anything except perhaps the Lotah and some marigolds?If you live in TnT, go to the Express, Guardian and Newsday archives, as well as that if and see that I have probably written a manual on our country, my country.

    Perhaps the strength of England is that no matter where her people go,they are Englishmen and women, they carry their culture with them, integrate, but stay centered on who they are. They have some core values that are in them for good. I am lke that.

    A member of Gopio once called me a “Stinking N—- C—” because she had claimed that the sari is a sacred garment- in something to do with Carnival, and I had the temerity to point out to her that it is what Mother Teresa wore, rescuing the forgotten diseased people on the streets of her town. Also the prostitutes of India, and the women who sweep the street and till the fields wear it, and so, it was NOT sacred. She almost ruptured an artery in the viciousness of her reply.
    I will continue to write. I consider it my sacred mission. I suspect that many of you envy that passport with the golden eagle on it, which eliminates visa fees to the places I want to visit.Being entitled to three passports is even better than two.Access to the world is what its about. Go stew in your rage my child.I will keep on writing.So many people enjoy reading what I write.

  29. I am also going to recommend reading this column to my friends Vivek and Sheela whose families I have helped settle here, when they came from India. I took Vivek to the Association’s dinner three years ago,(he was looking or a wife, and I hoped he’d find one of ours suitable) and the Trinis there of Indian origin was shocked that he came with an older woman, who is of African origins. I told him some of them were paranoid, and he could not understand what I was talking about. I had to tell him of some of the trauma experienced in travelling that dark water.including the fact that an infant born soon after arriving was not wanted by anyone, including her mother, so The St. Mary’s Children’s home was founded to take care of her, and other throwaway children.Surprising, but true. Found that out when I did some volunteer work there in 2007.
    Children of trauma take a long time to act “normally”, ask Anna MAria Mora, a psychologist who contested the last election.

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