Alternative to Crossing the Kala Pani

By Stephen Kangal
January 29, 2011

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar Meeting with her relatives and receiving a Gift during the visit to her inaccessible ancestral village of Bhelupur in Indian state of Bihar
PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar Meeting with her relatives and receiving a Gift during the visit to her inaccessible ancestral village of Bhelupur in Indian state of Bihar

The official visits undertaken by Prime Ministers Panday (1997) and Bissessar-Persad ( 2012) to their respective ancestral homeland villages located in North India after receiving the Pravasi Samaan Awards bring into sharp focus the truth inherent in the maxim that God works in mysterious ways His wonders to behold.

During the Bhelupur visit I saw animals accommodated in mud-hut “pens” similar to that of the thatched-roof, humble housing accommodation that the villagers still call home or “ghar ki matee aur thatchee”.

The journey of the “jahajee girmitiyas” to the Caribbean and especially to “Chinidad” starting with the Fath Al Razak in 1845, involved being tricked by the “arkatias” by being told that they were going to “chalay chinee” in Chinidad”. They had to trek from the isolated and remote villages of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to reach Calcutta, the port of embarkation, the monument of which was visited by the PM during her recent visit. They then navigated the treacherous and dangerous Kala Pani (Black Waters) arriving after enduring the harshest sailing maritime conditions at the Nelson Island holding station to face a hostile African host environment. Their first act upon arrival was to seek the blessings and connect with Dharti Mata by touching the soil of Nelson Island. They never forgot their “dharti mata” ancestral cultural linkages throughout their toils and sweat in the cane-fields of Caroni.

These guest workers carrying their simple “jahajee” bundles were contracted (bound coolies) to do the servile, back-breaking work on the sugar-cane fields abandoned post-1838 by their African counterparts. They lived in sub-human conditions in the Caroni barracks, sleeping on “pals”, eating salt and rice, drinking the water of the Caroni River, reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, Gayatri Mantra and Tulsidas’ Ramcharitarmanas written in their Bojpuri (Patois Hindi) dialect. I am told that the Caroni barracks were superior to what they left behind in their ancestral villages dominated by cruel “zamindars”.

But after the lapse of 167 years when both Prime Ministers Panday and Persad-Bissessar visited their ancestral villages of Lakshmanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Bhelupur (Bihar) respectively time and progress seemed to have stood still for these villagers. The two villages like so many others in India remained isolated and inaccessible with roads having to be built to afford the visits of the PM’s who had to travel via helicopters.

I had previously come to the conclusion that had our “girmitiyas” ancestors not taken that qualitative and heroic leap to brave overwhelming adversity and defy their karmic prescriptive baggage to seek out new Caribbean pastures for earning a better life, their off-springs- the now generation would have been consigned to a life of penury and poverty, isolationism and anonymity like the Bhelupuris and Lakshmanpuris today. That is the stark reality that we must confront and face that that fate would have been the harsh alternative to the brave crossing of the Kala Pani en route to unknown lands via turbulent voyages when many perished and were thrown over-board unceremoniously. That is the dilemma that the African community must also face and rationalize in their own minds as to whether they are better off here in T&T than in their African countries from where Africans are daily risking their lives at sea to enter the Mediterranean countries.

Why would Indians of the Caribbean diaspora want to return to India when in T&T we have built “havelis” and “tajs”. But we cannot be separated and disjointed from our recollection of our historic past and ancestral memory even though the principle of the territorial imperative of birth binds us to Mother T&T.

T&T today will not have had the socio-economic boon spawned by the East Indian contribution. This is why the Indo-Trinbagonian today does not seek reparation from anyone for his harsh period of indenture-ship.

The girmitiya believes that he was being sent on a Mission to the Caribbean. He is not wasting intellectual time promoting hostility against the English and their colonial system and seeking blood money. He almost suggests that colonialism is embedded in all human psyche and not the exclusive preserve of the Europeans. That is justified from the empirical evidence and experiences of post-1956 T&T.

The jahajees were able to take on and respect the English sahib. His socio-economic status in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were inferior to what he had in Caroni. He retained his cultural practices by his own efforts contrary to the African view that the English allowed the Indians to retain their culture. The English recognized the civilized culture of the Indians with his language, books and Hindu/Islamic way of life. He used the land (Dharti Mata) as the launching pad to attaining literacy, social mobility and economic well-being. He could not have achieved this alone without the help of some Canadian missionaries starting with Rev John Morton in Iere Village, Princes Town in 1868 and the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) in 1953.

It is the civilized appraoch for the populace to appreciate and empathise with the complex cultural distinctiveness and persistence of the Indo-Trinbagonian, his embedded cultural memory/ancestry and discard this “all ah we is one” foolish placebo. As a product of 6,000 years of the Indus Valley civilization he has the resilience, the cultural platform and the character to overcome all hurdles en route to social and economic mobility and progress as the past 100 years have amply demonstrated. The entrepreneurial ethic is firmly planted in the mind of the Indo-Trinbagonian.

Bring on the policy, programmes and priorities of effective diversity management and conservation to harness the enormous human capital and capacity endemic in our cosmopolitanism.


44 thoughts on “Alternative to Crossing the Kala Pani”

  1. Sad article, there is no mention of the British Raj and their influence in the travel to Trinidad by our ancestors. Surely the British played an important role in taking Indians to a far away land to become the domininant culture in Trinidad. Such ideas are lost in this article. The story only begins at Nelson Island, raising a new chapter of the salient history of people whose ancestory still resides in the diminished abstract of human suffering in a distant land.

    But what is the connection to India? I have not visited and do not wish to visit despite many invitations. Not that I could not but why should I??? There must a real plausible reason to go back to a nation that I am a fifth generation decendent of.

    I have found that I am more connected to Caribbean people but scarely have anything in common with people from India. Sure we look similar and we both like Bollywood but that is where the similarity ends. Now don’t get me wrong. I read as much news as I can about India, more than any other nation except Trinidad.
    Maybe I can surmise my feeling this way. When on vacation I met a Punjabi from London. Here we were hanging out in the Caribbean where we formed an instant bond. During the course of the conversation he identified what I was trying to figure out in terms of connection to India. He said to the people from India are different, we who have left do not really have much in common with them because our vision of the world is different. We are more about looking after the interest of others, while they are all about seeing what they can get.

    And maybe there is difference….

  2. Cuz Stephen said, “They then navigated the treacherous and dangerous Kala Pani (Black Waters) arriving after enduring the harshest sailing maritime conditions at the Nelson Island holding station to face a hostile African host environment.” Is this the babbling of a 12 year old, who was locked in a time warp, on planet Pluto , with his brother ET?
    Can someone tell cuz Stephen K, that Afrikan folks, are not his enemy-then or now -as they had no power whatsoever, during that period mentioned , to discriminate, much less, create phantom hostile environments, for their equally desperate ,South Asian replacement.
    Both yourself , and the ungreateful, morally depraved ,anti Islamist/ anti Afrikan, phony intellectual V.S Naipaul , needs to take your respective disgust , and hatred to your white , European masters, that you today so adore, and who in return , pretends to do likewise- conniving bastards as they are.

    He erroneously added, “T&T today will not have had the socio-economic boon spawned by the East Indian contribution.” This socio economic boon that you idly boast about, and give credit soley to your Indo Trini tribe, is totally ficticious , and a mear case of historical revisionism -by a mid level diplomat who spent too many years writing trade treaties , that made our country into a regional laughing stock. It’s more aplicable to a sub par educated ,Chickland high school drop out , than someone who claim to be a globally sophisticated lawyer.
    Socio economic success of a country cannot be seperated from the political culture that existed , for the past 49 years of our indeendence. In plain language , it did not devekop in a vaccum, for the same way that America did not become the captalist, military dominant , land of opportunity immigrant fiefdom, without, political leadership, and government. Since your Indo cousins , only held full political sway for perhaps seven of those years , and five of them were rift with bacalanian, corruction, tribalistic ethno – jingoism , as has occured over the past two years , then credit, must instead, be given where it is due – to Afrikan leadership/ Stewardship. Papa Deffy Eric, Uncle Chambers, Uncle ANR Robinson, and even maligned pal of Basdeo Mr Manning? Guys . Take a deserved bow, from de appreciative Indo population. Now as for their own Afrikan people’s , well ….’dat’s a horse of a different color,’ as de wise folks would say.
    Not to be dismissed , is your most arrogant account on T&T economic success, without acknowledging the efforts of our other Jewish, Arab,Latinos, and European brothers, and sisters contributions.

    In almost John Agitation comedic fashion , he produced his best punch line , by saying, ” This is why the Indo-Trinbagonian today does not seek reparation from anyone for his harsh period of indenture-ship.”
    The reasons, for this ,is simple cuz Stephen K. Indentured Indians , just like they did in South Africa, East Afrika, Fiji, Guyana, Sri Lanka , as well as their much hated T&T,came freely/of their own will, and were compensated for their efforts.
    It is Afrikans peoples , my conveniently amnesiac friend , who were only kidnapped from their continent, brought like animals across the Atlantic , had their women raped , and abused,exploited for free labor, had their cultures erradicated from them , then dumped like garbbage in de Beeham Labasse, once a more compliant bunch was found. They are more deserving of reparation, both 900 million plus, still living at the continental level, and individually , with their 90 million or more cousins , scattered across the Diaspora.
    For all those who for decades has lapped up this most revolting ,purtrid koolaid , laced with poisonious hate, and revulsion , of everyone, and everything Afrikan ,that exist not only in T&T , but across the planet, here is my advice.
    Please,for yoor own good , and the society in which you are allowed to trive , get over your self, and return to earth, by finding some catharsis elsewhere.
    Show ‘a lil bit oh gratitude,and empathy,’where applicable , Cuz Stephen K , for the role of Afrikan people towards the cause of peace in your country, and their plight where suffering , due to negative fallouts, and legacy of post slavery .
    Acknowledge their roles in standing up and fighting the dreaded evil, conniving, barbarian White European savages , so that you can enjoy your freedoms today.
    Appriciate the fact that unlike Democratic T&T,there would never be an Indian leader in Sri Lanka , Fiji, Uganda, Kenya, South Afrika , unless they resort to violence, or political chicaneries ,like neighboring Guyana, under Jagdeo, and clan. Postrate on the ground and thank your lucky stars, that a mature politicul culture exist in your own country ,that adhere to basic democratic principles of decency , tolerance ,and respect for the other.Here , every creed and race , finds an equal place, so that hard wrk is compensated econmically, yes? Here , at least , up to a recent past ,laws were implimented , ‘without fear or affection , malice or illwill.’
    Guess what my friend , though we have our few problems, we love it, and see our country as evolving from it’s embryonic stage , and hopefully oneday into a leading , enviable scio- economic – com political brand .
    I like you was fortunate to travel far and wide , and seen the worst that humanity , had to offer- even in our beloved, respective Continents-, and won’t trade my country , and it’s collection of wonderful people for nothing.
    I see it as my duty to protect it’s name, and reputation of well deserving leaders where appropiate ,at all cost, and would likewise find a way , to connect with those who wish to further it’s interest,while denouncing the unpatriotic fools who seek to divide , and destroy , for their own twisted reasons.
    Hope you fit the list of the former, and not the latter. We wish our people well.
    Long Live the Republic of T&T.

  3. So far I have written four articles on the visit to India and in this one there is a passing reference to the role of the Anglos because they were the mere instrumentalities. In each article I try to keep within 300 words. I also am more connected to people of T&T and not necessarily to Caribbean because except for Guyana, Suriname, Grenada and Jamaica that has an Afro-domination. What really is the dominant mainstream culture of T&T? In my view it is not the Indian arts except since 1993 when the Indian radio stations hit the air-waves.
    I have no political and economic loyalty to India or no urgings to travel to. I acknowledge an emotional-cultural link to the States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from whence we transplanted a cultural practice that may have changed significantly although ours maintained its original purity and forms because it was insulated from the winds of change that re-configured 1845-1917 UP and Bihar. During the KBP visit I was able to empathise with her very easily because of the persistent ancestral memory.
    Mention of the arkatias, journey to Calcutta, the crossing of the Kala Pani and the embedding of the jahajee imperative clearly show that the journey began in the isolated famine devastated villages of UP and Bihar and may have ended in Nelson Island. The selfishness is still current in the Indo-T&T community and not only in mainland Indians. How many charitable/Indian welfare organisations you know of in T&T?

    1. Stephen Kangal, given your obvious interest in history, and possible inside connections to the government, you missed again an opportunity to be wholly honourable.

      That is, speaking the truth more as it is, and not so much having your opinions trumping the truth.

      For example, you speak of a hostile “African presence” greeting the Indentures arriving at Nelson Island.

      You also speak of a form of neo-colonizing of Indians in T&T after 1956.

      In every case, your commentary on Africans and Africa is negative, dismissive, and condescending.

      What is more than obvious is that you either do not realize this, or that you have reasons enough not to care, or both. This observation is not singular either to you …

      And while you down-grade African history and culture and resilience, you otherwise state–as clearly as I have ever heard from any Indian–the necessity to accommodate colonialism by the Anglos.

      In short, for you, Europeans who oppressed India are blessed, while Africans who never have, are cursed.

      Here are some other facts; facts which address the urgent and overdue need–something at which you hint–of TnT to realise the two narratives; those of African enslavement and resistance; and that of Indian indenture and accommodation.

      There would be no Indian Arrival were it not for the earlier African Emancipation!

      This is more true than it is triumphalist!

      Indians arriving at Nelson did not meet any unified group of Africans opposing them. They met people, real, genuine, unequivocal human beings who were deliberately denied lands on which they and their ancestors had toiled; lands now to be given to these new arrivals; also colonized, used and abused.

      Nonetheless, unlike the circumstances negatively affecting the Africans, according to the Moyne Commission as part of its pre-WWII findings, Indians by 1900 then already possessed a million acres of lands.

      The only lands given to Africans were those given to the “Merikans’; sixteen acres per family to the Black soldiers who had fought on the side of the British during the War for American Independence.

      Being given lands brought into cultivation by the slaves was no fault of the Indentitures. However, the narrative has been deliberately altered, insomuch that it is a great fault of those today who use the economic launch obtained by Indians vis-a-vis the economic hardships imposed on the Africans as a legacy from 400 years of enslavement as a claim to ‘Indian industry’ and for ‘African indolence’.

      For you to imply that by demanding reparations Africans today are somehow irresponsible is for you to believe that while the injuries done to Africans is lesser because we are a lesser ‘breed before the law’. It is to think that for Africans, unlike for others, the past is dead.

      “The past is not dead; in fact, the past is not even past.” (William Faulkner)

      It is for this reason why the Jews commemorate Rosh Hashanah. And Indians, Arrival Day. And the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day.

      It is for this reason why the Prime Minister went to her ancestral homeland and wept.

      And all Trinis–and Caribbean peoples–of conscience and who oppose injustice should empathise with her; and even more with ancestors who were brought to serve the interests of an empire whose beneficiaries casually brought famine and dislocation to millions, and did so, lacking compassion and a sense of justice, with eyes as lidless as those of lizards.

      Today, you make a claim of fault, not against the British who first called you ‘co*lies’, but against the Africans who, in every struggle had in TnT for universal adulkt suffrage, independence, etc., took the leadership only to see others who played the role of fifth columnists benefit more from the gains made.

      In addition, it was Africans like Mr. Murray of Osmond and Mr. Holder of Progressive who educated both Indians and Africans when Britain practised a pedagogy based on white supremacist ideals. Of course, you would only be able to recall a white man–who no doubt did good–as the only example worth citing in the educating of Indians.

      Africans, from Dr, Williams on down are to be used as examples, only, of those who ‘oppressed Indians’.

      Or more as pawns to advance a Big Lie agenda to thereby marginalize Africans.

      In addition, the Indentitures arriving at Nelson Island met among others, Black women, nursing mothers who nursed Indian babies whose mothers had died intransit.

      Among these African mothers the Indians, mostly men, formed unions–not usually married since even then Indians, inculcating the racist diseases of the ‘Anglos’–used these women, many of whom had babies who today, became the ancestors of some Indians who now disobey the Creator’s injunction to ‘honour father and mother’.

      In a personal vein, and one also historical, the family of my spouse could tell of the support Indians gave to WWII Yankees hunting Saturday nights for ‘mopsies’ in places like Mayaro and other places in the Oil Belt; directed to knock at the doors of Black families to snatch women and girls, many of whose bodies ended in nearby swamps.

      It was Black Americans who kicked the sh*t out of “Trini” Indians and local whites to break broke the back of what Sparrow later used in his “Jean and Dinah”; a most despicable, denigrating characterization of Black women;.

      Finally, during the period at the ending of the 19th Century when Carnival was taking root via Tambo Bamboo(the ancestor of the steelpan), and the warrens where ex-slaves denied house or employment settled–the first squatter settlements in TnT–behind places like Besson and Nelson Streets which became the ancestors of the sections in mas bands; yes, it was during this period when the British (1877 and one Captain Baker whose reprobate name lives in eternal ignominy), trying to kill carnival with its ‘jamettes and sans humanite wajangs(the French description of Blacks being outside the circle of humanity)’ that the British used Indian informers and fifth columnists to find out who were the key elements among the Black ‘ring leaders’ in revolt and who to hold.

      All was not lost between Africans and Indians. My dad told of African engineers making bombs to damage the British train lines that ran to the Docks and having as aides an indian, a Hindu who ‘died’ in one of these sorties.

      In short, Are there in TnT, narratives of historical truth which for the sake of political and cultural expediency are used to trump, not only the truth which can set the society free from mediocrity and the banal, but thereby also probably serve to advance the conditions which led unfortunately and disastrously to a Sri Lanka and a Rwanda?

      1. And all Trinis–and Caribbean peoples–of conscience and who oppose injustice should empathise with her…

        Quite so, but only up to a point. I can understand her weeping on the return to her ancestral village. I remember going to Elmina Castle in Ghana, and standing at the “door of no return”, from which many of the enslaved Israelite Africans embarked on the Middle Passage. If I was moved, to have returned to the door of no return, through which some of my ancestors may well have passed, on their way to 400 years of captivity in the West, I of course could understand and empathize with Mrs. Bissessar.

        My empathy ends however, when she makes obeisance to the President of India. As the Prime Minister of T&T, Mrs. Bissessar swore an oath to “bear true faith and allegiance” to Mother T&T. Such allegiance cannot be shared. That oath has to be brought into question when she makes obeisance to a foreign Head of State.

        In this context also, I remember soon after her assumption of office, she traveled to New York for an “India Day” parade. That too brought into question her true allegiance. She actually stood on a float next to a Bollywood actress — Priety something-or-other. To all appearances, she stood there — waving a tiny T&T flag –not as an honoured guest for whom appropriate arrangements were made beforehand, but as though her participation had been an afterthought. The Bollywood actress held the commanding position on the float, waving a huge Indian flag, and our Prime Minister was conceded some little space to her left, waving a tiny T&T flag. How unbecoming. Now, again, we have the unbecoming spectacle of a “goar lagay” which even the Indians themselves will never perform at an official State function in secular India. So it is either that Mrs. Bissessar thinks that her true faith and allegiance is to Mother India, rather than Mother T&T, or she has not overcome sufficiently her lowly caste origins to take her proper position in matters of protocol, when representing all the citizens of T&T.

        Maybe she needs to get a new Protocol Officer, or maybe she should listen to the one she has. She described the visit to India as a “State Visit”, when any Second Secretary at any Embassy or High Commission could have told her that Prime Ministers do not make “State Visits”, only Heads of State do.

        Be all that as it may, my real apprehension is that we have a “disloyal Government”, bent on raising up an unassailable rival Indo house in T&T, to supplant the house of “Mother T&T”. Talk about “Grandmother India” is just to camouflage the true intent. Tears at the ancestral village, and goar lagaying in Rashtrapati Bhavan provide useful sympathetic cover under which to blunt criticism and to advance a program of disloyal mischief. How does one safeguard the Republic, when the Government itself, is disloyal?


        1. YorubaIsraelite,my remarks are not so much directed at the PM’s actions, in her opinion possibly well meaning though in the opinion of so many others as being definitely beyond her need or ability to comprehend.

          If I appeaar to be generous, it is primarily because our parents taught us to take every effort especially where it is most needed to be both magnanimous and prudent; wise as the serpent and harmless as the dove.

          In fact, the PM’s bowing to her ‘elder’ in India while representing the peoples of TnT is a discussion that appears possible only in TnT.

          This means that at heart all the people in TnT either do not count as equals, or that she represents some of them more than she does others.

          I wonder what the African Trinis who voted for her now think.

          My response was to Stephen Kangal, possibly a scholar and writer, and from whom one would expect more in terms of having self-regard and an intrinsic sense of honour.

          I am not implying that he must be moreso than others as myself, or that he be less so either.

          However, what stuns one is that in his opinion, Africans have been hostile, historically and contemporaneously to Indians; an opinion sadly held by too many other Indians who should know and do better, and is therefore more than troubling.

          In my questioning, if individuals as he had the opportunity to better the relations between the two races, would he more than likely choose the one of less cooperation and more tension?

          I can only conclude that his position and even more his positioning as an Indian is emblematic of a desire and a possible strategy by which on one hand to marginalize the African presence and influence in TnT, and on the other to create from the myth of ‘African hostility to Indians’, an industry based on animus.

          This industry based on a concocted victimisation is possibly to succeed by being repeated over and over and over and over by every means possible.

          Thus can myth become reality, and fact inconvenient.

          I still hope for what is the better since in the heart of everyone who has come from the Creator, there are possibilities, not only for evil, but also for righteousness.

          On this point will I die in the blessed hope of seeing Shiloh face to face, and in peace.

          Shalom, dear friend, Shalom!

          1. neverdirty:

            Your points are and were well taken.

            However, Scripture narrows down the options considerably, as to what, really, is going on. There is a dishonourable strategy afoot.

            Innocent Indos will also be judged culpable to the extent they do not acknowledge it, and repudiate it.


            Revelation 22:11-15.
            11He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
            12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
            13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
            14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
            15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

  4. The same questions you ask in the amove Uncle K can be leveled at the Afrikans, unless you think that Dashiki , Kite cloth wearing ,clueless folks, such as Makandal Dagga and his gangs, pan beaters, best village drummers, and Soca musical bump and whine foolishness ,is somehow continental Afrikan cultural. Just yesterday , I was having an amusing conversation with a 30 year old , final year Pakistani med school student, about life in her country of birth, cultural practices of herself and family living in America, and her connection with diasporic members of the tribe. She lived and studied in Antiuga incidentally, and was quite familiar with T&T foods, which she claimed to like. I asked her about roti , which I tried unsuccessfuly to find in her country during some of my visits there in the 90’s. She then proceeded to tell me that she is not (a), big on Islam her country’s religion- which of course I did not believe.(b) S

  5. Keep on writing. Go a bit further and give us some information on the ships that made this journey and the conditions on board. I understand women had to dress as men to avoid being raped.

  6. Sorry my friend , but I hope you are not awaiting a cogent reply from cuz Mamboo , de Mayaro kid ,turned grateful refugee Canadian . Rumor has it , that this guy , got to get his beauty sleep, then fight for survival ,as he take up his much dreaded 12 to 8am shift, of cleaning the cold dirty street of Toronto , followed by his 9-5 coffee / Donuts ,and papers sales ,to unfriendly Canadians , my friend, so this is the most you can expect. I agree, he too is better off returning home, to be a glorified Sando ,cab driver. Poor Fella! Don’t tell a soul however , but it’s T- man who enlightened me as to his sad plight.

    Seriously , the ways of ‘de ancestral land obsessed,’ can be quite intriguing indeed, ‘ain’t it people?’ It does not matter , where they originate from folks ,Burnham Guyana, Basdeo controlled T&T , Yardee ,Cuban Socialist Michael Manley ,Rasta fiefdom ,Cedi/ Janet Jagan CIA tin box , or now, Her Majesty Queen K , and ardent fan, Uncle K , same difference.
    There are the suspect Afrikans, and no one leads the cast , in grander fashion , than our Regional suspect Afrikan, political entities. In de PP party por ejemplo, there is roving Caribbean Ambassador Makandal Dagga,who some claim is extremely busy- pretending to be still socially relevant ,4 decades after the stolen Black Power Movement placed de fear into de twisted soul of Afrikan traitor Papa Deffy Eric, and his West Moorings, Valsayn , Federation , and Lange Park ,fake European buddies -while spending his much treasured ,UNC bosses ,30 pieces of Silver, a la clicking overprice Vodka, eating tasteless British cheese Cake , and Yankee/ New England Apple pies, from de Little England / Bajan upstarts, to Dominica Eco Tourism junket , aka Land of the rivers, and Mountain Chicken.
    In the interim folks, those form De Dashiki/ Kente cloth wearing ,Kiswalli / Yoruba babbling ,bearded face, UWI grad’s home enclaves, are still suffering in abject poverty , via an obvious , yet unmentionable ,’dis is wee time, policies,’ while dying like flies , either from hunger, housing fires , gang banging shooting , and yes, lingering PNM neglects ,that are so common , dat it just ani’t funny- thank you very much , for all de change we can believe in.
    Not too certain how the life of anyone can be enhanced either in Central, or Western Carenage from either speaking Hindi ,/ Urdu, or practicing genital mutilations, can you? Can the poor scrunting Farmer in Aranguez , and Caroni , fight repeated floods, and get a decent market , much less price for his produced at the San Juan Tunapuna, or Changurnas food Market , if he knows when the Taj Majal was constructed , or the Province in Italy that Rajiv Gandhi met his Italian wife Sonia? As for South African criminals, having sex with virgin ,under aged females , to cure AIDS, or the more civilized bride burning in India ,or facial disfigurement in Pakistan ,of desirous women , female Infanticide , in China , or selling of kids into prostitution, and a lifetime of barbarian labor , across the entire Asian continent , we’ll leave that alone, since we know those were not what members of the ‘ancestral adoration brigade ,’ had in mind, even if that too is culture .
    How about those crazy Afrikan fishermen in Toco ,Mayaro, or Roxborough? How much can they protect their catch , or costly boats from criminals- who would rob ,and kill them with no compunction? The blimp is gone , to be replaced by unaccountable , overhead expensive drones , and Canadian overpaid Police Expert Commissioner Gibbs , to take care of that, but is that the answer?
    Now what these self serving pseudo intellectuals with too much time on their hands for writing unreadable books on opaque history ,won’t explain to you is , what are the negative fall outs from these stupid obsessions by leaders on distant lands. Can you walk the length, and breath, of our country, and find a single patriotic Trini, folks? I doubt it, but perhaps my criteria’s are too loft.
    As such, an emergency ambulance crew ,will refuse to do their job , while hiding behind opaque ridiculous rules, and de Minister of Health , who has done absolutely nada to addressed the already decrepit Health Service , since in power , will appear to be surprise as to the state of his country . Here , a people can be the hardest working outside of their own country , and yet at home? A call to Dr Goopiesing , our resident ,anti genocide, head guru, where are you my friend?
    Some wiser than yours truly , seem to think dat you are over your head ,at the Ministry of Education , as Uncle Sat , already has that depart in grip, not only with his plans to fire , honest , whistle blowing female Principals , but closing down our Junior Colleges, led by COSATT , so that kids of poor folks , can be deprived of opportunities , but instead revert to teenaged pregnant basket cases, and young dope dealers, awaiting a call to conduct a lucrative kidnapping job, for a wealthy member of de Trini Landed gentry/ business entity , yes?
    Pray someone tell me ,what do these people know about ancestral homes? Both Europe , and Norte Americana , are failing economically, the Persian , Jewish, , Arab ,and Turkish ,Middle East cesspools ,drags along in political chaos, and as for Latin America , Afrika ,and Asia ,with the exception of a few neo imperial , selfish greedy elites from -Sao Palo, to Paris, Deli, Islamabad/ Karachi, Gaza, Cairo,Beirut, Damascus, Tel Aviv/ Jerusalem, Lagos, Luanda, Rome , London / Santiago, Buenos Aries, and Zoo York,folks within cities of those respective Continents, are barely hanging on socially and economically , as their citizens try to exist under some of the worst , dehumanizing atrocities , imaginable.
    Therefore who is kidding who, about this T&T, when compared with the rest? Here we have a land laden with opportunities , though unfortunately , still saturated ,with visionless leaders, that won’t know much less appreciate ,the simple concept of Sustainable Development , or more importantly , full utilization of human resources, and less squandering of the natural ones underground , even if one was to threaten them all with torture , within an inch of their lives, yes Uncle Steve K?

    You know folk, dat there are still people, out there in La la land, still attempting to make him hate my country , hmmmm?
    Tell dem , dat the person , who can so do , ain’t born yet.
    Luv Humanity, yes?

  7. They then navigated the treacherous and dangerous Kala Pani (Black Waters) arriving after enduring the harshest sailing maritime conditions at the Nelson Island holding station to face a hostile African host environment.

    This would be laughable, delusional as it is, except that this is the dominant Indo view.

    God has already judged between the Israelite and the heathen. It is only now a matter of fulfilling the Book. On this conflict between the Indo and Afro “narratives”, I will again quote Scripture: “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.” (Deuteronomy 28:43). So, yes indeed, the Indo “stranger” has fulfilled prophecy by rising above the “hostile African host”. “We shall rise” indeed!

    But it will be short-lived.

    Scripture promises the Israelites (Afro): “And Yahweh thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.” (Deuteronomy 30:7). Certainly, now that the Indo is “in power”, they use that power to persecute the Afro. They have requited hate for love, evil for good.

    God has already judged the matter: “And thou *Asia*, that art partaker of the hope of Babylon and art the glory of her person: woe be unto thee, thou wretch, because thou hast made thyself like unto her.” (2 Esdras 15:46-47).

    The Indo in T&T fits the description, as exemplified by Kangal, the Indo posters to this blog, and by the disloyal Indo Gov’t of T&T. They are partakers of Babylon system, and are engaged in establishing an unassailable position of Indo power in the Afro house that gave them succour, and opportunity. And they are doing it by deceitful means, and foul, in violation of the oath of allegiance they have sworn to Mother T&T.

    The deceit is to speak sweetly about multiculturalism, and showing humility and respect to Grandmother India. The foul is to fire wholesale every Afro considered “ah PNM”, and to fool the people with shameless lies about Afro “hostility”, even “oppression”. Meantime, Kangal at least gives the game away by actually making the claim that the Indo is on a “different plane” from the Sino and the Afro! No mention of the Euro that brought them over the Kala Pani, and put them in the erstwhile slave barracks on the plantation. Perhaps it was because the Euro actually paid them the wages of indenture, which he did not do to the Afro, still to this day. But one day, one day, congotay!

    God has already judged between us. Yes, we Israelites are guilty of many offences against God, which is why he sent the heathen against us from a far country, and made them to rise over us. But the heathen too has been judged. Woe unto thee Asia, thou wretch! You have requited evil for good, and hatred for love. That is what Yahweh says, not I.


    Revelation 22:11-12. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

  8. I do not want to add fuel to this smoking pile of an article by Stephen Kangal, and the subsequent responses. I will only ask a couple of questions.

    1. Why did Stephen K say that hostile Africans awaited the incoming indenturers? Were newly freed slaves in a position to process Indians at Nelson Island?

    2. Is this his (Stephens’) view, or is it the pervasive thinking of most Trini Indians?

    1. The Africans were not hostile although some may have been but generally they were good to the indentured labourers. It is not my view that they were hostile. But then again I am not writing this narrative.

    2. It sounds as if some would rather bite the hand that fed them rather than unite against global tyranny. Indians only arrived in TNT because Africans would no longer work for free. To undermine the African demand to be respected and treated like human beings by being compensated for their labor, the Europeans recruited low cost labor from a deperate region of the world and Stephan Kangal thinks that the Africans were hostile toward the perhaps unidentifiable potential threat (the Indians) who where consequently being used to not only provide a service at low cost, but to spite the Africans who where being abandoned without a means to survive or thrive in a hostile land financed by England. The Indians came over under different terms and thats the only reason why they maintained their culture. It’s a miracle that there wasn’t war and or genocide. It’s furthermore offensive that now in today’s society there seems to be an effort to shove the African aside again by this time partnering with the Chinese. When will African in TNT wake up and see whats going on? When will the level headed and socially responsible people of TNT wake up and resist this effort. When will Africans see that all of these with their hands in the pot are only looking to reconnect with their ancestral homelands by using Trinidad as a Trophy for social acceptability amongst members of the motherland? If I’m wrong, then stop making it seem that way. Work to uplift the condition of every member of the community regardless of tribe. Do it not from a position stemming from ideologies steeped in superiority or inferiority, but rather from the position of creating a better society for all to live in as people from this Republic. I’ve stated many times before that Trinidadians have more in common with other tribes in TNT than they do with members from their ancestral homelands.

  9. It is a historical fact stated and written over and over again by non-Indian historians including Bridget Bereton of UWI that the indentures were subjected to hostile reception from the African freed ex-slaves upon arrival in Trinidad because they were viewed as coming to work for lower wages and to fill the void of scarce labour post -1838 after emancipation.
    Do not blame the Indians(Protector of the Immigrants) for negotiating conditions of work that were different from their those of their African counterparts. That does not make Indians lesser T&T citizens among those who came to T&T.

    1. I don’t think that anyone was doing that. People are pointing out that the Indians where only brought because Africans would not only no longer work for free, but also because they wouldn’t work for wages that the Indians accepted later. Hostility can be interpreted many different ways. What reasonable person should welcome his replacement when his replacement threatens his ability to survive? It does not matter if it is intended or not.

  10. Kangal stop the the foolish academic dishonesty which you do throwing smokes and Mirrors.When you cite bereton give context.You amde blanket dishonest statement as you usually do.Everthinh about you caste conscious dark skin Indian scholars is about anti-african with no proof.Go read Professor Brinsley Samaroo papers on the topic.Be enlihtened.The Fiji and auritius solution copuld nver go unchallenged.Is pire fiction Afican hostility to Indentured could never be termed so.Where tension between both communities othe writers state it.Not tor get intra tribal tensions of caste colour rivalry.Bhoj puri speakers differeiated from so called hindi which now is claim falsely also as the lingua Franca of indentured by a a meddlesome indian embassy.All to impose The aryan agenda again which truly seeks to dominate asin does in Mauritius and Fifi.Africans and Indians have always coexisted though to wat varying degrees is still to be amiable equal.

  11. Mr. Kangal sir,
    When you write articles in a newspaper, or any other medium for that matter, you need to indicate your source of information; especially when it’s something as incindiary as that of a hostile environment. Why would you mention it it the first place in the context that you did. C’mon man be more responsible than that! Think and imagine how the Africans felt at the time! I’m not saying that they were or were not hostile, but can you blame them? I’ll never condone violence but i can empathize with them. If the shoe were on the other foot i’m sure you would not have written about it in the same context; if at all. The old saying goes—-Show me your friends and i’ll show you who you are! This is also true of writers. Your writing reveals your soul! You have published, now you have to live with and by your words. If you do not then you are nothing but a fraud. Namaste!

  12. While you all debating the past Trini ppl enjoying each others cultural contributions from food to traditions not to mention all the pretty Dougla babies…Real Trini’s doh have time for the politics they want to live and let Live!

    1. This may very well be true, but there is an undercurrent of hostility between the two major ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinbagonian tendency to sweep things under the carpet notwithstanding.

      The problem in Trinidad and Tobago, and the responses in this blog can be taken as a small, albeit non-representative sample, is of two dual narratives. One ethnic group has leveled charges of racial victimization against the other while the accused group makes a counter-charge of racial marginalization against the other group. I have heard these arguments made while growing up in Trinidad and Tobago and it puts he phrase “We time now” in its proper context.

      My own personal views on this subject are irrelevant (I am not convinced that Indo-Trinbagonians were subject to racial victimization in the past), since these fundamental beliefs are so etched in the psyches of many within the two major ethnic groups.

      Methinks what needs to happen here is a national forum between leaders of Trinidad and Tobago’s two ethnic groups, where representatives from each side truly listen to what the other has to say.

      If this were to happen, perhaps we can begin to make some progress.

  13. My previous comment had numerous typing mistakes using a lap on a train in the subway.Forgive errors.This is Kangal usual strategy though.In One of his commentary he points out The prime miniter low caste status.Mind you in Trinidad luckily Indians do not practice caste in an open and policy way.Yts mostly with families you hear abysmam anti-African musings.In spite of this marriages between both came about.But like Stephen kangal the low caste “”other” or the opposer is always the african Other outside the suppose cohesive Indian community.Note how Douglas such as is my background are treated not unlike tribals and southern Indian types-the socalled Dravidians.They exist with what might be hostlity but a certain indifference.NOTe how the tribals and socalled Draviduians are treated with cruel hostilty in India.I need not quotew.If you get a feeling from the likes of Kangal that all the victims of being tricked by the British not by Africans to come pass The Kala Pani and exist as cheap labour on the abandoned and cordoned estates such the sugar estates ere indians,Who were were the real culprits of hostility?Kangal? The Africans.During the African reign in the Caribbean were Indins able to flourish and why?Don’t expect Kangal to even illuminate us there.Or for that matter to view the the meeting of the Africans and Indians in early and latter stages in Caribbean Culture.
    But does the social inequality inherited by the Africans in Caribbean from the colonials means some wonderful lurking agenda of racism and racial abuse foisted upon Indians.That some Indian thinkers tend to teach?That will nothing but bare face fiction.By mere numbers domination does bespeak racism?Does the more amount of whites over other ethnics bespeak domination in United States,France or England.Not at all. Social Inequality in sports,cricket,
    football,teniis,golf,does not means thats the classes and races who once dominated these games did so out of racial hostility.The police forces had mainly Africans because Africans are are hostile? hence preventing Indians to Join.How the head of the present defence force rose through a hostile African other.My wish is now more Indian men will now join these spaces and prove he hostility myth to be a myth.Even in Africa itself african hostlity to Indians as became a policy under Idi Amin has been negated.Lands were given back under new Ugandan government and such policy recinded.But evedidence of hostilty to blacks can noted in the Vedas in the entire fair and lovely campaign,which stephen does nake it.Varna always implied clour too.Does he care.Was varna practice by Indians on the Sugar estates?Was bride burning or sati practiced?I challeged Kangal to cite his awry sources.Africans have ben very compettive for space.Many africans and Iiandians have intermarried.Marriage is never a solution to social inequalities iregardless of how they come about.but quote tertiary and secodary sources to say so is not oly foolish but lazy academics.kangal and the Naipaulians beware we are watching.

    1. Trinidad has grown over the years and social integration as such is part of that growth. The whole issue of ethnicity is sometimes foolishly based on pride. Unlike Guyana and Fiji, T&T to some extend escape the full whip of racism. That does not mean it was not practiced, however, this generation is more connected socially with their peers of all ethnicity and as such the issue of racism only raises it head with those who are insecure with themeselves.

      The PNM learned for it’s part the blunt lessons of 1956 meed no longer apply to a nation that is desirous of seeing all of it’s citizens succeed and enjoy life liberty and freedom with the pursuit of happiness, the end goal. Such things transends race and is base in the salient parts of our psyche. Indeed to defile one’s conscience is to do things that diminish the human race and the wonderful cords of human happiness. We must keep the national cord strong.

      As a mature society we must embrace our past without allowing it to shape our future. The future is a blank slate before us rich in promise, hope and faith. To defile it by racism is a sorry excuse for your humanity. Yes there were things that happen, but think about South Africa and where that nation would be today without a Mandela or Tutu. I am sure the ravages of civil war would have ripped the nation apart as it has done across the African continent. With millions of dead people in the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Angola etc…

  14. P.J Jeffrey please ring/e-mail Professor Bridget Brereton of UWI to determine the validity of the existence of the hostile reception afforded to the indentures when they embarked upon their contract labour post- 1845 in Trinidad. I attended her public lecture on this subject and can be verified quite easily. This is not a matter of opinion- hard true and brutal fact of history- not an interpretation of the past.

    Let it be known that I welcome all shades of opinions/criticisms/abuse and feedback on what I write with a clear mind and no malice aforethought.

    1. Stephen Kangal, malice is malicious especially because it can piously claim not to have been ‘aforethought’.

      It is, as scripture defines it, like ‘trying to hide the hand that throws the stone…’.

      1. It is, as scripture defines it, like ‘trying to hide the hand that throws the stone…’.

        We live in a time of Apocalypse, when all is being revealed, and the scales from our eyes are being lifted. “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith…” (Acts 9:18).

        Ideology is wonderful, but Reality IZ. It cannot be escaped. The words of warning and the call to repent are necessary. But alas, they shall be ignored.

        Instead, the hand that throws the stone will indeed seek to hide it.

        The source of the hatred, which is envy, will also find expression in elaborate but vain doctrines of superiority/inferiority (caste and race consciousness).
        “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).

        But fear not: “… Yahweh thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.” (Deuteronomy 30:7)

        Also: “… Thus saith Yahweh the Most High; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.” (Ezekiel 11:16).

        They will do their worst, and it will avail them nothing but woe.


  15. There is an all out assault on all things African since the coming of Kamla Persad Bissessar as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Since ascending to the prime ministership, riding the backs of dissatisfied Africans, who were left behind and forgotten by Patrick Manning who placed his money supply on the Arabs in our society, because under the PNM administration Blacks were NEVER afforded opportunities to move up the ladder, Kamla’s policies have become distinctly Indian and particularly Hindu in nature. With every policy emanating from Cabinet, not a single one has come out as distinctly Trinidadian. Every issue has either an Indian text or sub-text that can be traced to the source from which it derives. Let us take for example the question of PAN. When Ramlogan brought up the question of the G-Pan authentic ownership, there were always question as to the motives behind his interest in PAN, since according his favourite musical instrument was the sita. This leads us to believe that since the sita has its origin in India and PAN in the hills of Laventille, Trinidad, Mr. Ramlogan let us know where he stood culturely. Furthermore, the most notorious crusader for Hindu and Indian culture has on many occasions expressed his annoyance with those who use PAN as an art form, especially to teach our kids. Now, we read with amazement that OUR PAN manufacturing rights are sold to India to sell to the world as a producer of our instruments! W-H-A-T ???????????? Who are these people and what and when they knew about PAN? Where are the leaders of Desperadoes and all these steel bands who laboured from 1939 to now to lift the PAN instrument?. Now that PAN is no longer a regional phenominon, how come the brains of professor Copeland and other pioneers have no say in where our famed instruments is to be produced? What is the criteria used to determine that our instrument should be produced in India? This is only one of many questions we have to as Kamla and her cohorts about a governance that is highly suspect and is at odds with African life in Trinidad and Tobago. There is TOO MUCH silence coming from the black intelligencia who are watching the total collapse of everything African, even their hard fought battles with the European masters and now to be ruled locally by masters whose skin might be a little lighter than ours. It is a crying shame that this is allowed to happen without some noise coming fromk those whom we depend upon to defend us!

    1. I have been in T&T since November,living and enjoying the richness of the culture,affording me little time to comment. On this occasion I feel compelled to respond to Kian whose commentary is beginning to show signs of paranoia.
      Pan is and will always be the national instrument of T&T.It is numero uno, unquestioned, a wonder of the world .
      Also, the perception of many who contribute to this blog is totally distorted and far from the reality of the people of T&T who live and work in harmony,not disturbed by the “black intelligencia” who live overseas and are victims of racially oversensitive cultures.
      Africans are secure in T&T and form a major component of the rising middle class.No political party or visits to India could change that.
      I do agree though that Kamla should tone down her religious charade and be more sensitive to the multi religious nature of the country.
      As far as the replacement of PNM political appointees in a variety of positions in T&T is concerned, there is nothing unusual about that. It appears to be racially motivated because members of the PNM are mostly Black. In any case there is a better racial balance in Cabinet, on State boards and in government corporations under the PP government than under any previous PNM government.
      It seems to me that the natives are all happy, except for the PNM “till ah die” crowd who did not support the PP and who will never support any party which is not totally African based.

      1. As a people for the most part without guile, the Israelites (Afros) of T&T may be fooled, certainly some of the time. But we can’t all be fooled, all of the time.

        You and Kangal flatter to deceive, you are not on friendly terms with the truth. Take a leaf from Naipaul’s book:

        The wish to be a writer didn’t go with a wish or a need actually to write. It went only with the idea I had been given of the writer, a fantasy of nobility. It was something that lay ahead and outside the life I knew-far from family and clan, colony, the Trinidad Guardian and negroes. — V. S. Naipaul.

        In his hate, he at least is honest.

        I will say it plainly: We have a disloyal Government. It is building up a rival, Indo, house to take over the house of Mother T&T.

        Their allegiance is to Mother India. That is why the G-Pan, as one example, would be licensed for manufacture in India. In that project of building up the Indo house (we will rise, yes?), the Israelite Afro (“Negro” or “black”) people, whether PNM or otherwise, are being ethnically cleansed from positions of power and authority. Many who voted PP have been axed, on the *assumption* that they are “ah PNM”. Even if they voted PNM, many of those who have been axed are far from being political appointees. I have personal knowledge of some cases very close to home.

        Such as Jack Warner, Mackandal Daaga, and Errol McCleod have been used, taken in by their own gullibility and cupidity. They will be cast off as soon as their usefulness ends. Jack Warner is finding that out as we speak: “… he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11)

        Your smooth denials and reassurances have for the most part already ceased to work. The “natives” are more restless than you suppose. Gibbs and Ramlogan have failed to sort out “who’s who in the zoo”.

        Be that all as it may, the final outcome has already been written: “And thou, Asia, that art partaker of the hope of Babylon, and art the glory of her person: Woe be unto thee, thou wretch …” (2 Esdras 15:46-47).

        God will sort out the lions from the snakes in the zoo.


        Revelation 22:11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

      2. TMan, I always welcome your participation and feel compelled to address a few issues in my reply to what you erroneously described as my “paranoia”, regarding the situation in my country and the current vision that the country is better off when only one ethnic group prevail over another. That is not paranoia, that is foresight! What you are saying that as long as your group is then fine, then all is well. What I am saying is that the selling, giving or passing over of the national will and resource is delayed suicide. WE DO NOT HAVE A NATIONAL WILL ANYMORE and there will be none in the forseeable future. If you see progress only in terms of materialism and is blinded by everything else that is happening around you, then you are blind. The murder rate for example is symptomatic of something much more serious and than the counting of each occurrence of it. While the politicians are the ones we depend upon to fix it but, they by no means must be left with the ethical, clinical, psychological and moral solutions in which to address, agree and repair the problem. Secondly, your perception of “fairness” is totally different from mine. If that means packing our institutions with one ethnic group who historically avoided that that kind of work then again that calls for some soul searching and numbers alone is NOT the solution. Solutions CANNOT be found in mere numbers. Numbers might be symptomatic of something that is good or bad, but our intelligence in understanding those numbers, must tell us whether our policies in place are right or wrong in what approach is used to correct them before something disastrously happens that puts the whole country in turmoil. If that to you is “paranoia”, then I gladly accept that there should be nothing to worry about. We have a secular government in power pushing a religious doctrine that is only supported by thirty five percent of the people. They pour taxpayers money into every effort made to promote this religion and we must remain quiet and not say anything about this, how in God’s name can this be good policy? Where are we going with this? To increase numbers? Where is the good in all this?. I am concerned that we are not creating a monster that would be unmanageable in the future and ungovernable that NO such thing as a NATIONAL WILL will be possible. If that paints a bleak picture of what is to come then we must take note from now.

  16. Mr. Kangal reported that Africans were hostile to them when they were brought to Trini. Of course the African had resrvations because the new labour pool would undercut wages of African. But despite this scoalled hostility. Can Mr. Kangal point out at anytime since the arrival of Indos to TT has Aficans ever physically harmed them. Tell us Mr. Kangal. Even when TT got adult sufferage and Independence. The the Afros went around harming Indos. Did Eric, stop Kirpalanis and Kirpsons. Did he have Africans terrrorize maraj jewellers. De he tell africans do buy turban curry or don’t buy from Razak spot store. Did he not give contracts to Mootilal Moonan and Seeraram Bros to build highways and move mountains. Do you think the PP/UNC will reciprocate. The Brits did a fine job on you also. You are suffering from convenient anesia. Jai Hind , kangal

    1. Remember the British had a system of law and order that would have pre-empted any grievous bodily harm and any case the peaceful Indians were isolated in the rural backyards with little urban contact and no schooling till 1869. You make it appear as if you were doing us a big favour by not harming Indians because there was no rational basis for so doing

  17. I have often rued the skewed analysis of the historical antecedents of Trinidad & Tobago and its consequences by many so-called intellectuals (the article’s author included). The historical filters in any attempt at analysis are usually tainted by racial, political and subjective approaches. One of the major problems in striving for objectivity & truthfulness is the lack of empirical data that can be trusted. One just have to read newspaper articles by many so-called intellectuals and observe the ‘politicizing’ of their analysis & opinions to suit the political climate and their own personal agendas.

    One of the issues that has historical, political, economical and racial overtones which may in the future become socially and politically explosive is that of land ownership and distribution. Oftentimes there is a subtle nuance of one race’s right to the land which they worked hard for and an inference to laziness of the ‘other side’. What is not often told is that others labored and worked the land, howbeit in forced subjugation. It is a historical fact often untold that when the indentured laborers arrived they entered into the labors of those who preceded them inclusive of an infrastructural & asset development base driven primarily by slave labor. Many Indo-Apologist have dishonestly and deliberately painted a picture within their communities of a ‘right’ to the land (He who owns the land has POWER)because the other side is lazy and unworthy of due consideration.

    In order to justify this a false claim to exclusive entitlement had to be hatched. So the cultural & racial superiority / inferiority argument reflected in educational and economic achievements was branded as the rationale for overall entitlement. Any & all negative practices & social dysfunctions (sometimes associated with religious beliefs) within the culture and race had to be hidden to maintain the stereotypical claim of superiority and thus entitlement.

    I noted for example the claims to Caroni lands and the resistance to ‘outsiders’ attempting to encroach upon the rights of those who worked the land. The irony of this argument is that historically both ‘sides’ can lay claim to the land. This is where the politics must reflect equity and fair-play. The State being the largest land owner must be balanced in its land distribution policy and not cater to sectarian interest. To refuse comply is to set the stage for future antagonism. To this end squatting on housing & farm lands should be even handedly dealt with throughout the length and breath of this nation; failing which it has the potential to explode into heightened racial, political and economic divisiveness. REMEMBER A NEW GENERATION WILL ARISE THAT KNOW NOT ‘MOSES’ and took matters into the own hands (The Book of Judges)…

    1. RealBishop, your critique is apt.

      Your point, too, of the need for empirical data being the basis for any honest debate, is equally so.

      Regarding your final points based on the ‘potential to explode into heightened racial, political and economic divisiveness’, must be considered as more reality than rhetoric.

      Analyses of what created conditions for the Rwandan genocide or Interahamre–in 100 days 800 000 moderate Hutus and Tutsis were slaughtered–have been buried in the heat of subsequently charging Hutu militias.

      The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on 6 April 1994.

      A French judge has blamed current Rwandan President, Paul Kagame – at the time the leader of a Tutsi rebel group – and some of his close associates for carrying out the rocket attack.

      Mr Kagame vehemently denies this and says it was the work of Hutu extremists, in order to provide a pretext to carry out their well-laid plans to exterminate the Tutsi community.

      What is also overlooked and hidden is part of the Tutsis President’s statement that, ‘Rwandan people were able to live together peacefully for six hundred years and there is no reason why they can’t live together in peace again’.

      The Hutus and the Tutsis had lived together, intermarried, had the same languages, and cultural and religious praactices. And as well, one nation, that is … until the arrival of the Europeans en masse.

      This occurred following the 1885 Berlin Conference when, as King Leopold of Belgium insisted, ‘he like everyone else had to get his share of the African cake …’

      what is historically called, ‘The Shame of the Congo’. The website below carries a Soliloquy written by Mark Twain in the 19th century.

      This ‘Shame’ occurred and continues to, until the present. This is because this region in continental Africa is the richest piece of real estate on Earth, unique and irreplaceable minerals.

      Behind the most recent of the genocides there was set in motion by the Belgiums who practised the ‘divide and rule’ tactics so effectively used also by Perfidious Albion (Britain).

      The Hutus, in appearance, are more African, with flat noses, thick lips, etc. The Tutsis, more arabic in appearance–like the Ethiopians–were treated differently by the Belgians.

      The Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus; giving them greater priviliges and opportunities for advancement. Not surprisingly, the Tutsis welcomed this idea, and for the next 20 years they enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than the Hutus, people alongside whom theey had for centuries lived, not always amicably, but not in civil war, etc.

      The colonial Belgians, when forced to leave, mischievously placed Tutsis in positions of power, militarily and otherwise.

      Unfortunately, these peoples, Hutus and Tutsis fell into this trap. Marginalization of the Hutus, and as well the scourge of ‘nationalist propaganda and vitriol’ was the final wick in an already incendiary situation.

      The steps which led to this calamity are like a template when placed over other areas like Sri Lanka and Bosnia.



    “that the introduction of whites would have the same effect on blacks as the introduction of Indians, but both the Colonial Office … legislature were agreed that the scheme would have created a furor among the neighbouring population if free grants of land were given to whites at a time when the blacks themselves were effectively prevented from purchasing land, not to mention squatters being chased off Crown Lands; the local oligarchy also feared that in time they would become a threat to the established power structure..
    After the Immigration Act was suitably amended to satisfy the demand of the Government of India that wages be increased from eight pence a day to 10 pence per day, in September 1859 the Government of India was formally requested to approve emigration of 2,000 to 3,000 immigrants at the rate of 600-700 per year, but it was not until April 1860 that the Government of India finally passed an act extending to St. Vincent the provisions of Act XXXI. of 1855; by that time it was too late to meet the St. Vincent request for two shiploads of Calcutta Indians for the 1859 to 1860 season, and the first ship did not arrive until 1861.

    In all there were eight shiploads of Indians to St. Vincent over a period of 20 years between 1861 and 1880, the first and only one originating from Madras, while the other seven ships left from Calcutta bringing a total of 2,475 Indians. On the other hand most of the 2,100 Portuguese arrived over a three-year period between 1845 and 1848. Most Indians were Hindus from the Northwestern Provinces, Bihar and Oude.

    The conditions under which the Indians were recruited were significantly different from those under which the Portuguese came: whereas the Portuguese were recruited under private arrangements, the Indians came under a highly regulated and organized system. In India there was an agent representing the island and recruiters licensed by the Government of India, whereas in Madeira ships’ captains and their agents were the recruiters, but crimping and kidnapping was carried on nevertheless according to some immigrants; the ships bearing immigrants from India were chartered by the Emigration Commissioners and had to meet certain stipulations, including the employment of a surgeon during the voyage, while the ships that brought Portuguese were invariably cargo and passenger ships outward bound from Britain….The first shipment of Indians was probably unique in the annals of Indian emigration, because the Travancore arrived in St. Vincent on first of June 1861 with 260 Madras Indians, two more than it left Madras with, there having been two births and no deaths; they performed beyond expectation in spite of the language problem made more difficult by the absence of an official interpreter. The second ship which arrived from Calcutta in January 1862 with 307 Indians and 14 “Liberated Africans” taken on board at St Helena much to the ire of the Indian government, could not have arrived at the more unpropitious time-for the price of sugar had again fallen in Europe and the island was hit by bad weather; consequently some planters refused to take up their share of applications and many Indians had to remain in the depot for weeks during which the Government have to pay for their upkeep.[THOMAS CTD IN INDO CARIBBEAN HERTAGE 2012]

    The economic conditions in India were very bad. The British had just taken over the governance of India (1850s) and the offer of contract work .. was made to Indians. Famines in India in the 1870s also impacted on Indian emigration.

    Indian migration to the Caribbean had started since the late 1830s to British Guyana. Consequent to the termination of slavery in St. Vincent on August 1, 1838 there was a shortage of labor as the resident workers refused to work on the estates. During the period 1839 to 1864, prior to the Indians, 1,036 liberated Africans and 2,110 Portuguese Madeirans had taken up work …. Typically, an Indian signed a bond to work for a period of five or 10 years at a rate of 10 pence per day after which he would be entitled to passage back to India.

  19. When will we ever learn?

    “A scorpion wants to cross a river, but it can’t swim. It asks a frog to help. The frog is worried, but the scorpion promises «I won’t sting you, because if I did I would drown». In mid river the scorpion stings the frog. The dying frog asks «why?» and the drowning scorpion answers «that’s my nature».”

    As my old aunt use to say “a nice name is a name for a damn fool.”

  20. I am following your writings.
    I think they are all well written, factual and enlightening.

    To those who say they have no interest in visiting India, well I say too bad for you, because you will be misssing out on an expereience that cannot be imagined or duplicated, good or bad.
    I will not comment on the Afro experience because that is not relevant here.

    1. I tell my Afrikan brothers , and sisters the exact thing priamnath sanka. Visit Afrika ,change your life , and then put in place efforts to contribute.
      The Indo experience is of absolutely no significance, and definetely does not warrant the amount of time we waste on it- especially on this site. To prove my point on the latter, many of the bastadized ,elitest ,cyber tigers, who daily boast/pontificate about their alleged ,noble continent, would not wish to spend more than a week vacation, but prefer to opt instead for their more cherished Europe,and America, ennt priamath?

  21. Is it really relevant whether the Africans were hostile or not?
    Hostility after emancipation against the Indentured labourers would be an expected normal human reaction. The fact is that considering the circumstances faced by both groups,relationships developed which should be admired.Trinidad is unique in this regard as compared to other jurisdictions where these two groups had to interact.
    The present Opposition and many race merchants who contribute frequently to this site are using the race card to stimulate their supporters and create fear in the nation, but very few are buying that strategy.
    The foreign African contigent, far removed from the dynamic of the country and discoloured by their own foreign racial encounters, pretend to know what’s happening in the country by following the media,which fail to put foward consistent stories on a dail basis.
    There is no Hindu conspiracy.There is no “Indian” agenda.The Prime Minister is too busy holding together a coalition of five political entities and is still receiving support, not only from political leaders, but from the majority of the population.All polls endorse the latter.

  22. ‘There is no Hindu conspiracy.There is no “Indian” agenda.The Prime Minister is too busy holding together a coalition of five political entities and is still receiving support, not only from political leaders, but from the majority of the population.All polls endorse the latter.’

    Past utterances by prominent leaders and Government ministers of former incarnations (Like GOPIO) make this endorsement of confidence questionable. This present government while in opposition cried victimization at every opportunity and even tarnished our reputation internationally to gain political points; forgetting that what goes around often comes back to haunt us.

    A past female parliamentarian was never challenged and never apologised for uttering that ‘black men were raping indian women in central’ (a fabricated story proven false)which saw an exodus to Canada on the pretext of seeking asylum. The questionable practices associated with entry into the medical faculty it could be argued is another case in point… The list goes on & on… While most of the people on the ground may not be indulging in these nefarious activities, politicians are often manipulative and conniving in their quest to retain or regain power… It comes with the territory. So don’t be to quick to defend or exonerate them.

  23. Of course there is an Indian agenda, and agents like you are assigned to lull those who it will affect adversely into a false sense of security. You and others continuously on this site make statments that Africans cannot understand the concerns of Indians. Well what kind of ethnic hubris influence you and others to assume that which you would not suffer unto others. Like in your Aryan brothers and sisters, the supremacist gene is alive and well, and so inbred that it operates to formmulate your perspectve at will.

    Africans need to be concerned and pay attention when Indians are in power in any nesting in which they reside. Look at the Andaman Islands, and the disrespect and racist attitudes they face from the Indian Rulership. Look at Fiji, look at Guyana, look at any place where Africans have been and Indians came later and acquired political and economic power. In ever instant, as soon as they get a little power, they use it to discriminate against Africans. You damn skippy we need to look at you guys with both eyes.


    – Those who get away, survive
    Ashok Mitra

    Kamla Persad Bissessar at Garden Reach, January 2012
    She, Kamla Persad Bissessar, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, is sure of her dates. Her ancestors left Bhelpur, the famine-cursed village in the Buxar district of Bihar, exactly one hundred and sixty-six years ago. They were loaded into a cramped cargo boat at the Kidderpore docks in Calcutta and dispatched as indentured labour for sugarcane cropping in the West Indies. In her official tour to India last month, the T&T prime minister did two separate pilgrimages. She made a call at Bhelpur, where the somewhat dazed villagers gawked at her in awe and wonderment. She also visited the Kidderpore docks, as it were to see off, never mind if it were one hundred and sixty-six years late, her forefathers making their great escape from India. Was she not greeting too the future destiny had ordained for them and their descendants?

    Bhelpur occupies a footnote in eastern India’s social history because of the humble folk’s savoury its name is associated with. It is otherwise a bleak, cheerless slab of landscape. Buxar is one district where crops fail with dreary regularity. The decades of Independence, the five-year plans and periodic changes in the political colour of regimes have made little difference. Starvation, often culminating in death, is still, shall one say, the buzz word in the neighbourhood. As Kamla Persad Bissessar was paying her fleeting visit to Bhelpur, the thought might well have passed through her mind — what a quirk of fate can do or undo. Had her great-great-grandparents not been forced by acute privation to get into that boat in the mid-1840s, or had they missed the hawk eye of the procuring contractor, the family might have come to a pestilential surcease in one of the many famines that took place in Bihar during the past century-and-a-half, the family tree would have disappeared early, the generation of Kamla Persad Bissessar would have been unborn. Or if, through a series of miracles, the family survived to see the dawn of the 21st century, Kamla would have been an anonymous constituent of the multitude of children, counted in crores, who grow up underfed, undernourished, unlettered in the world’s largest democracy.

    It was a close shave. Kamla Persad Bissessar, instead of being prime minister of Brian Lara’s country today, could have been a source of shame for the prime minister of Sachin Tendulkar’s country, and who would, in that eventuality, be her prime minister too. But, no, there is some misunderstanding here. Just as T&T’s prime minister is punctilious about her dates, the Indian prime minister is punctilious about ascriptions. Close to one half of India’s children upto the age of five suffer from undernourishment. This is a matter of shame for the nation, says the nation’s prime minister. He does not quite admit that the phenomenon is a matter of shame for the government he presides over: if the nation fails to feed its children properly, by all means blame the nation, please leave the government and its prime minister out of it.

    The government knows its task and its priorities; it is for more and more ‘reforms’, that is, for further liberalization of the economic system pursuant to the pledge undertaken 21 years ago. The reforms introduced have lifted the rate of growth in gross domestic product to unprecedented heights. The government hogs all the credit for this great stride forward. These very reforms though happen to be the principal factor responsible for mounting unemployment, growing income inequalities and persistence of poverty and malnutrition in the country. The old hypothesis — while reforms, of course, will make the rich richer, the larger income accruing to the affluent set will filter down and help augment the income of the poorer sections, too — has not been borne out. The stance of the government, nonetheless, seems to be one of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose, the glory of high GDP growth belongs to it, the shame of widespread poverty and malnutrition attaches to the nation. And official policy continues to be to push ahead with further ‘reforms’. If that worsens income distribution, intensifies poverty, ushers in more under-employment or breeds frighteningly undernourished children, well, the nation must be held guilty for all these unsavoury developments.

    This attitude is no longer a tendency, but has evolved into a culture. The finance minister disowns any responsibility for rising prices; he embarks on quoting assorted statistics in a bid to convince simpletons that inflation is an international event and as irresistible as a force of nature. When the aman crop crowds the markets and has a tranquilizing effect on foodgrain prices, the same finance minister rushes to face the television cameras and wax in self-praise.

    The seasonal fall in food prices will offer little solace to the nation’s underfed and undernourished. Even the temporarily dipped grain prices are beyond the means of a major segment of the nation’s under-classes. The ‘reforms’ the prime minister and his government are so resolute about are sworn enemies of subsidies. In the ethics, as much in the economics of the reform-mongers, subsidized food is sin, it acts as a disincentive for traders and producers. A war has accordingly been launched against the proposal of universal public distribution intended to ensure food to each and every citizen. As far as the government’s point of view is comprehensible, the main reason for its disapproval of a universal public distribution scheme is on account of both the corruption supposedly endemic to such a project as well as for the quantum of subsidy — something to the order of Rs 1,00,000 crore or even more per annum — it is likely to call for. It is jolly good entertainment watching a regime, which has steered so nonchalantly through the financial skulduggery of the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum allocations, to be squeamish over the possible corruption quotient of a universal food security scheme that might cost Rs 1,00,000 crore or a bit more. It is equally pertinent to ask why the government’s conscience goes into hibernation when appropriations in the name of national security and defence strategy cross the bounds of all proportions. Those with crooked minds will have a theory for this dichotomy in attitudes. The leakage of funds in a public distribution network is likely to seep down to thousands of middlemen diffused all over the system; on the other hand, commissions accruing from defence contracts stay with a few hand-picked agents proximate to the corridors of power.

    There is a more basic issue. Is or is not food security more worthwhile for the wellbeing of the nation than what passes as outlay for national security or defence strategy? Perhaps the answer depends on one’s value system. Even so, while expenditure on armaments, aircraft and equipment purchases is heavily import-intensive, largely adding to the income of foreign entities, funds to maintain a public distribution system will mostly stay at home. A government chooses pursuant to its predilections. The home minister sounds expansive as he announces the setting up of a national terrorism control centre. His joy, it is a fair surmise, will be much less, if, instead, the decision was to set up a national malnutrition control centre with an open-ended budget.

    In any case, during her visit to India, Kamla Persad Bissessar had every reason to thank her stars. Had her forefathers failed to make that boat in the middle decade of the 19th century, and had she been reared as a speck amid India’s vast rural impoverished mass, she might still get listed as belonging to the ‘above poverty line’ category and cut out from subsidized food; she could not therefore escape the fate of being an ingredient of what is ascribed as the nation’s shame.

    Come to think of it, did not the migration of her family one hundred and sixty-six years ago save her from an excruciatingly harrowing experience of caste differentiations? If it were not under the tropical sky of Trinidad but that of caste-skirred India that the family struggled to survive through these 17 decades, it could have been a grim tale of insults, rebuffs and humiliations of a genre which could have impressed the most rabid practitioners of racial discrimination in the southern parts of the United States of America during more or less the same period. The institution of indentured labour was a great equalizer, it obliterated the distinction between the Brahmin and the chamar. Kamla Persad Bissessar’s 10th, or may be 12th, cousins rooted in Bhelpur could have narrated to her, in case they were provided an opportunity, how different their own experience has been. Right at this juncture, they are being tossed about in the maelstrom of quotas, sub-quotas and sub-sub-quotas; Kamla too could have had a perilous existence somewhere in that whirl. She was saved; her forefathers got away.

    Those who get away, the adage says, survive. The dear old adage knows what it is talking about.


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