Indian Arrival Day — Afri-centric Analysis

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
May 20, 2012

Dr. Kwame NantambuThe historical truism is that Indian “indentured servants” came from India to Trinidad on 30 May 1845. They did not come from Indo. Ergo, the descendants of these original Indians are Indian-Trinbagonians. They are not Indo-Trinbagonians. This label is totally Euro-centric, ahistorical and must not only be relegated to the ash heap of T&T’s cultural/ethnic history but must also be expunged from T&T’s societal lexicon.

In his “Capitalism & Slavery”(1938), Dr. Eric Williams asserts: “The immediate successor of the Amerindians was not the African but ‘poor whites.’ They were regarded as ‘indentured servants’ because before leaving England, they had to sign a contract binding them to service for a stipulated period in return for their passage. Others were criminals/convicts who were sent by the British government to serve for a specific time on plantations in the Caribbean.”(p.9).

In “A Post Emancipation History of the West Indies”(1975), Prof. Isaac Dookhan suggests that immigration to the Caribbean was very attractive to the Indians for the following reasons:

  1. The establishment of the British factory system in India had destroyed Indian domestic industries, including the spinning of cloth and tens of thousands were thrown out of work.
  2. Famine due to failing crops and high food prices.
  3. The promise of land for themselves.
  4. The promise of higher wages in Trinidad and Guyana.
  5. Criminals escaping from police and afraid of returning to the village as well as loafers could go to the colonies.
  6. Some Indians were led to believe that they could find non-agricultural work as policemen, teachers, clerks, etc, in the Caribbean colonies.
  7. Contacts with returning relatives and friends who came back home with money encouraged Indians to want to emigrate.
  8. Displaced workers in cottage industries and agriculture and labourers experiencing seasonal unemployment were forced to search for work; when they got no jobs, they were ready to listen to the British recruiters’ propaganda. (pp. 51-52).

In other words, the Euro-British government sent human beings to India but guns to Africa.

The religious breakdown of the Indians who came to Trinidad was as follows: 85.3% Hindus, 14% Muslims, and .07% Christians. These Indians were Hindus, Muslims and Christians in 1845; they are still Hindus, Muslims and Christians in 2012. Unlike the Africans, the Euro-British allowed the Indians to keep their religious identity on the whole.

On Indian Arrival Day, 225 Indians arrived at Nelson Island, Trinidad. Whereas only six Indians died during that journey via the “Kala Paani” or Middle Passage, millions of Africans died during their Middle Passage to the Caribbean.

The make-up of the Indians who came to the Caribbean consisted of men and women between the ages of 10-30 years. They were from the lower caste (Shudras not Brahmins). They were agricultural workers; 40 women to 100 men were selected.

On the ships, single men and women and married couples were separated and given separate cabins. Whereas the Indians were treated as equal human beings, Africans were packed like sub-human, chained sardines on the ships.

Indians came mostly voluntarily from Calcutta, Madras, Pondicherry, Punjab, Lahore, Karachi, Bihar, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Mardan and Kashmir. The Indians’ Motherland umbilical/ancestral cord is still overtly etched in the names of streets in St. James.

Conversely, the Europeans successfully/totally severed the Africans’ Motherland umbilical/ancestral cord and identity with Africa.

Indians who came in 1845, had original India names. They still have these Indian names in 2012.

Conversely, Africans who were brought totally involuntarily and violently, had original African names in 1516. On the whole, they now have Euro-centric imposed/derived names in 2012.

It must be interjected here that Indian-Trinbagonian entertainers sing Chutney songs in the tongue of their Motherland, while African-Trinbagonian entertainers sing calypso/soca in the tongue of their former European colonizer—save Ella Andall.

“Dey still living in dey mother (linguistic) house”, although they were supposed to be living on their own and independent since August 1962.

The Indian “indentured servants” were given 5 pounds and 5 acres of land to remain in the colonies after their contract ended; men received a five-year contract while women got a three-year contract. The salient, stark, historical reality is that the Indian “indentured servants” received the same treatment from the Euro-British government that was afforded the Euro-British “poor whites.”

Indian “indentured servants” were required to work only 280 days per year; pregnant women only worked part-time, while older women looked after the children.

Conversely, on the plantations, Africans worked from sun up to sun down- 24-7-365.

In 1869, the Euro-British government opened up Crown lands for sale and thousands of ex-indentured Indians acquired ten-acre estates. The Indians had money to buy land because they were paid wages.

Conversely, Africans received absolutely no wages; ergo, Africans deserve reparations, as in unpaid wages totalling USS770 trillion. Indians do not.

In 1884, the Euro-Trinidad colonial government established the Peasant Development Programme to assist in the economic empowerment of Indians. Africans are still waiting for economic empowerment in 2012.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

19 Responses to “Indian Arrival Day — Afri-centric Analysis”


  • Lol. This is such madness!!! A man like Dr. Kwame Nantambu still living in the past.

    No one owes anyone any money,it was Africans who went into the bushes and kidnapped other Africans, then sold them to Europeans.

    African in TnT are as decent and civilized so stop your BS!!!
    STOP TRYING TO FIND DIFFERENCES AND TRY TO FIND SIMILARITIES AT THE END OF THE DAY WE ARE ALL HUMANS.

    STOP LIVING IN THE PAST!!!!!!

    • The past explains (partially) the present and the future.
      Yes Africans are owed, but anything outside of war (or the serious and potential threat of a war that could cost significant casualties)will force nations who benefitted from the wrongs of Africa and Africans to repay and repair what has been done.
      I doubt that it would ever happen especially now that the world turns to Africa for natural resources. So much of the worlds technology depends on the minerals found in the soil.
      If all Africans could except this, then maybe less time would be wasted liming, not acheiving in school, and causing harm to one another.
      Yes there has been and there continues to be great harm directly attributed to the interference in African affairs over the last sevn ceturies, but today the wort enemy of the African in the motherland and abroad remains other Africans.
      I cannot hate on the Indians for making the most of what has come their way. For any group to not do so equates to self hate. The concern for the African should not be limited to equality and fairness as provided by another mans mercy, but rather, the quest to impower himself and own his future so that he will enable himself to negotiate whatever term equally and fairly.
      I believe that we should all be able to acknowledge the historical plight of others without blaming, comparing, and or pointing the finger at other people who where in the end only trying to improve themselves.
      The African population in TNT has to come to grips with the reality that they find themselves in without trying to continue the blame game or remake their image as stranded visitors from Brooklyn or any other geographical place in the world. History is done. Iza Trini now and I have to make the best of that and define it for my children and future generations.

    • What I will like you wonderful Scholars to acknowledge, and le ts not get caught up in RACE. The life we live is all about opportunities. However for Dr. Kwame like Dr. Eric Williams both wrote with certain biases. I want us to build our country instead of creating differences and creating a deeper abyss between African and East Indian.We first must realize slavery was about economics and not race. Today we look at TNCs’ exploiting labor and resources Globally, hence what took place in Africa back then was simply a trade of human labor, do we not have Chinese people doing a lot of construction in Trinidad, terrible living conditions and a minimum wage.The chief reason the African and East Indian majority are waiting for handouts.Today we must acknowledge slave labor evolved to the Indentureship program(Please review Adam Smith Wealth of Nations). Simultaneously one must acknowledge for slavery and Indentureship to take place, we have a group of collaborators(African Chiefs,modern day developing world Governments).How is it we do not ever discuss the massacre of the aboriginal people of the Caribbean, which is very key to Caribbean people way forward.Dr. Kwame when Columbus visited Portugal in 1443 he went to the Island of Cape Verde where he saw and acknowledge African Slavery taking place. I could write a book on this topic, because our Country is quite clearly a ‘Failed State’ when one considers human development.I will like you all to acknowledge the following; “The negro has a deep contempt, as has been said, for all that is not white; His values are the values of white imperialism at its most bigoted. The Indian despises the negro for not being an Indian: he has in addition taken over all white prejudice against the negro and with the convert’s zeal, regards as Negro everyone who has a tincture of Negro blood. Like monkeys pleading for evolution, with each claiming to be whiter than the other, Indian and Negroes appeal to the unacknowledged white audience to see how much they despise one another by reference to the whites.” Our leadership has failed us, they lack vision and creating prosperity for all, according to UN reports 30% of T&T citizens live pretty good,(I wonder who they are?), while 70% live in conditions that is not suitable to Human Development Standard. People we have a lot of work to do.In 1975 Erica Williams was considered the fourth richest teen in Europe, now those of you who travel, you know it is difficult to achieve that lifestyle.What we see in Trinidad is really Race and it is sad as a Lecturer, you should remove yourself Dr. Kwame from teaching because you are counterproductive to my development project of Trinidad and Tobago. Please do not attempt to place all the Caribbean people in one parcel, our history, politics,culture, is similar and different.
      Do not be afraid to contact me.

      • Are you Muslim?

        My only issue with the Doctor’s article and he’s not alone in this, is his lumping of all “Indians” in the same, so to speak, boat.

        Long before Indian Indentureship, Muslim merchants from the Middle East sought new economic opportunities in the Caribbean. I know a few so-called “Indian Ali/Aziz/Muhammed/Elias” families in Trinidad who can trace their male ancestral line to Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

        They didn’t arrive on our shores through indentureship and many made free African originated women their wives.

        Many of these multi-ethnic unions, became the founder families of several communities on the island.

  • Ron you are an idiot, for your baseless denunciation of the good Doctor , for simply telling the truth. Yes we know , a few savages in Africa , ensured that over 40 million Afrikans were exported from Africa, so that they could eventually endure 400 years of slavery, by barbarian Europeans,in effort to build Europe , America, and the the entire Caribbean/ Latin America ,only to have other , fake elite tribes ,eventually come in, to ride their coat tails, and enjoy all the spoils , while keeping their culture.

  • Neal. you are too much!!! lol…

  • Why is it that whenever anyone talks about the treatment of blacks, whether in the past or present people are always saying forget the past. Why is it that the Jews will never forget their past. As I see this article it shows that there was preference given to the Indians over the blacks. It is only obvious that those who received better benefits would be better able to help themselves. What the doctor is saying here is something that I never knew. I am glad that he has made this information possible. It is the truth, but sometimes the truth is unpalatable.

    So many would like to live in denial. As I see it, the past is the creature of the future. Must blacks exonerate the Europeans for what they did. The mind really boggles.
    Thanks Dr. Kwame for this article.

  • Draw your own conclusions, but sometimes members of a group tend to speak for a group while individuals from a group don’t share the same struggle that others in that group may share. It seems repetative to keep crying about differences. There where free Africans in TNT long before Indians arrived.
    In Trinidad at that time, a civil conflict was brewing which reflected the military conflicts in Europe. Under the Cedula of Population, the document which had created a population for this island in 1783, local people – white and non-white – were granted certain rights. In the Articles of Surrender of 1797, the British had accepted these rights, which allowed Free Blacks and People of Colour along with their fellow countrymen of European descent to inherit property, hold commissions in the local forces, practice professions and apply to the crown for grants of land. They were also exempt from certain taxes. Many of these Free Black people were slave-owning proprietors of large sugar estates.

    • Yes there were a few free blacks and colours who own business and a few slaves but they had no power to influence the slave society other than follow the line and know your place. There were between a rock and a hard place. and they were very very few in numbers. Not trying to excuse them.

      • What was the African Population in TNT during the 18th and 19th century? The fact remains that a measurable amount of the African population was free and assimilated to the Eurocentric norms of the nation long before the Indians. To say that Africans where disadvantaged in this regard in comparisson to the Indians because of the circumstances of their arrival is a bit misleading. All over the Diaspora upon emancipation in former British colonies where there populations of Africans who did well for themselves and their families. Lets not have a pity party. I know that my ancestors wouldn’t want that. What do you mean by “they had no power to influence the slave society”? Also, Slavery for all Africans ended decades before the Indians Arrived. How is it that unassimilated foreigners where able to arrive and obtain more than completely assimilated nationals who had a cultural head start? We need to stop making excuses and start adressing the real issues that continues to define the results of two groups of people being compared.

  • Why are peopleof African descent so afraid of the truth. “Le us all forgeet it and the hate will go away”.

  • What happened to my previous comment where there was an error in my address.

  • A pity party will not help the condition of Aficans in the diaspora nor will it further their intrest in the motherland.
    Africans where assimilated to the norms of TNT before the Indians arrived. Africans where free before the Indians arrived. Africans could control their own futures before the Indians arrived and yet, some Africans want to blame the Indians for their sad condition when in the end even with the effects of Slavery, it was the African who held power for the majority of time since Independence and yet it was the African who didn’t make the best use of his time and resources to further his condition.
    So tell me please, what is the truth? Idnians came in and stole what the Africans should have been given? Perhaps it was that the Indians for better or worse made the best use of their gifts while the African chose to lime his away?
    None of it matters now because tho only way any man is going to maximize his utility is to work harder, smarter, and better than the next man.
    There is no reason acceptable why the African cannot at least compete. Don’t blame it on the Indians. Nobody today in TNT was a slave. Who on this message board didn’t have a fair chance at a decent education and or the opportunity to make the best of his life?
    You can’t blame the Indian for the wrongs of the PNM which led to Kamla.
    If we are to move forward, we must look in the mirror when we start the blame.

  • Reality check everyone – the world is just black and white. If you doubt this then follow this link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEnSPer-Cmg

  • Hello All,
    If you all would have the time to sit into one of Dr. Nantambu’s classes at the Cipriani Cillege of Labour and Cooperative studies, you will have an appreciation for his research. Thanks
    Ravi- One of Dr. Nantambu’s many students.

  • Close attention should be paid to reason No.5. for Caribbean Immigration; and how devasting the effects of British export of Indian Thuggee-ism, has been to unsuspecting and hitherto honorable, though persecuted, predominantly African societies, both within and without the continent of Africa. If Trinidadians of non-Hindu origination have questions about their nation’s future, look no further than Guyana where lawlessness and corruption have become the order of the day.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703315404575249901511960396.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577448571408865682.html?mod=WSJ_World_LEFTSecondNews

    http://www.danagroup.com/home.aspx

  • ANCIENT AFRICA AND EARLY INDIA

    Exceptionally valuable writings reflecting close relationships between Africa and early India have existed for more than two thousand years. In the first century B.C.E., for example, the famous Greek historian Diodorus Siculus penned that, “From Ethiopia he (Osiris) passed through Arabia, bordering upon the Red Sea as far as India…. He built many cities in India, one of which he called Nysa, willing to have remembrance of that (Nysa) in Egypt, where he was brought up.”

    Another important writer from antiquity, Apollonius of Tyana, who is said to have visited India near the end of the first century C.E., was convinced that “The Ethiopians are colonists sent from India, who follow their forefathers in matters of wisdom.” The literary work of the early Christian writer Eusebius preserves the tradition that, “In the reign of Amenophis III [the mighty Dynasty XVIII Egyptian king] a body of Ethiopians migrated from the country about the Indus, and settled in the valley of the Nile.” And still another document from ancient times, the Itinerarium Alexandri, says that “India, taken as a whole, beginning from the north and embracing what of it is subject to Persia, is a continuation of Egypt and the Ethiopians.”

    INDIA’S EARLIEST CIVILIZATION

    In Greater India, more than a thousand years before the foundations of Greece and Rome, proud and industrious Black men and women known as Dravidians erected a powerful civilization. We are referring here to the Indus Valley civilization- -India’s earliest high-culture, with major cities spread out along the course of the Indus River. The Indus Valley civilization was at its height from about 2200 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. This phase of its history is called the Harappan, the name being derived from Harappa, one of the earliest known Indus Valley cities.

    In 1922, about 350 miles northeast of Harappa, another large Indus city, Mohenjo-daro (the Mound of the Dead) was identified. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were apparently the chief administrative centers of the Indus Valley complex, and since their identification, several additional cities, including Chanhu-daro, Kalibangan, Quetta and Lothal have been excavated.

    The Indus cities possessed multiple level houses enhanced by sophisticated wells, drainage systems and bathrooms with flushing toilets. A recognized scholar on the Indus Valley civilization, Dr. Walter Fairservis, states that the “Harappans cultivated cotton and perhaps rice, domesticated the chicken and may have invented the game of chess and one of the two great early sources of nonmuscle power: the windmill.”

    The decline and fall of the Indus Valley civilization has been linked to several factors, the most important of which were the increasingly frequent incursions of the White people known in history as Aryans–violent Indo-European tribes initially from central Eurasia and later Iran. Indeed, the name Iran means the “land of the Aryan.”

    DRAVIDIAN KINGDOMS OF SOUTH INDIA
    It is safe to say that when we speak of the Dravidians as a people we are speaking of the living descendants of the Harappan people of the ancient Indus Valley who were pushed into South India as the result of the Aryan invasions. This is certainly consistent with Dravidian traditions which recall flourishing cities that were either lost or destroyed inantiquity. The term “Dravidian,” however, encompasses both an ethnic group and alinguistic group. The ethnic group is characterized by straight to wavy hair textures,combined with Africoid physical features. In reference to this Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop stated that:
    “There are two well-defined Black races: one has a black skin and woolly hair;the other also has black skin, often exceptionally black, with straight hair,aquiline nose, thin lips, an acute cheekbone angle. We find a prototype of thisrace in India: the Dravidian. It is also known that certain Nubians likewise belong to the same Negro type…Thus, it is inexact, anti-scientific, to do anthropological research, encounter a Dravidian type, and then conclude that the Negro type is absent.”

    Dravidian, in addition to its ethnic component, however, is an important family of languages spoken by more than a hundred million people, primarily in South India. Theselanguages include Tamil (the largest element), Kannada, Malayalam (from which the nameof the Asian country Malaya is derived), Telegu and Tulu. The term “Dravidian” itself is apparently an Aryan corruption of Tamil.From at least the third century C.E. three major Dravidian kingdoms existed in South India:the kingdoms of Pandya, Chera and Chola. Pandya was the southernmost Dravidian kingdom. The major city of Pandya was Madurai, the location of the famous chapel of theTamil Sangam (Academy). The Sangam, of which there were three, was initiated by a body of forty-eight exceptionally learned scholars who established standards over all literary productions.
    The Pandyan rulers received these intellectuals with lavish honors.It is also important to note that in the kingdom of the Pandyas women seem to have enjoyeda high status. This is the exact opposite of the regions of India where the Whites ruled. In these lands of Aryan domination it is said that a woman was never independent. “When she is a child she belongs to her father. As an adult when she marries she belongs to her husband. If she outlives her husband she belongs to her sons.” An early queen of the Pandyas, on the other hand, for example, is credited with controlling an army of 500elephants, 4,000 cavalry and 13,000 infantry.In 1288 and again in 1293 the Venetian traveler Marco Polo visited the Pandyan kingdomand left a vivid description of the land and its people. Polo exclaimed that:
    “The darkest man is here the most highly esteemed and considered better thanthe others who are not so dark. Let me add that in very truth these peopleportray and depict their gods and their idols black and their devils white as snow. For they say that God and all the saints are black and the devils are allwhite. That is why they portray them as I have described.”

    – – TAKEN FROM THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN INDIA BY DR. RUNOKO RASHIDI

  • ” In India, supposedly the worlds largest democracy, the leadership of the rapidly growing Dalit movement have nothing good to say about Mohandas K. Gandhi. To be honest, Gandhi is actually one of the most hated Indian leaders in the hierarchy of those considered enemies of India’s Dalits or “untouchables” by the leadership of India’s Dalits.

    Many have questioned how could I dare say such a thing?

    In reply I urge people outside of India to try and keep in mind my role as the messenger in this matter. I am the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal, founded in 1996, which was the first publication on the internet to address the Dalit question from the Dalits viewpoint. My co-editor is M. Gopinath, who includes in his c.v. being Managing Editor of the Dalit Voice newspaper and then going on to found Times of Bahujan, national newspaper of the Bahujan Samaj Party, India’s Dalit party and India’s youngest and third largest national party. The founding President of the Ambedkar Journal was Dr. Velu Annamalai, the first Dalit in history to achieve a Ph.d in Engineering. My work with the Dalit movement in India started in 1991 and I have been serving as one of the messengers to those outside of India from the Dalit leaders who are in the very rapid process of organizing India’s Dalits into a national movement. The Dalit leadership I work with recieved many tens of millions of votes in the last national election in India. With that out of the way, lets get back to the 850 million person question, why do Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi?

    To start, Gandhi was a so called “high caste”. High castes represent a small minority in India, some 10-15% of the population, yet dominate Indian society in much the same way whites ruled South Africa during the official period of Apartheid. Dalits often use the phrase Apartheid in India when speaking about their problems.

    The Indian Constitution was authored by Gandhi’s main critic and political opponent, Dr.Ambedkar, for whom our journal is named and the first Dalit in history to receive an education (if you have never heard of Dr. Ambedkar I would urge you to try and keep an open mind about what I am saying for it is a bit like me talking to you about the founding of the USA when you have never heard of Thomas Jefferson).

    Most readers are familiar with Gandhi’s great hunger strike against the so called Poona Pact in 1933. The matter which Gandhi was protesting, nearly unto death at that, was the inclusion in the draft Indian Constitution, proposed by the British, that reserved the right of Dalits to elect their own leaders. Dr. Ambedkar, with his degree in Law from Cambridge, had been choosen by the British to write the new constitution for India. Having spent his life overcoming caste based discrimination, Dr. Ambedkar had come to the conclusion that the only way Dalits could improve their lives is if they had the exclusive right to vote for their leaders, that a portion or reserved section of all elected positions were only for Dalits and only Dalits could vote for these reserved positions.

    Gandhi was determined to prevent this and went on hunger strike to change this article in the draft constitution. After many communal riots, where tens of thousands of Dalits were slaughtered, and with a leap in such violence predicted if Gandhi died, Dr. Ambedkar agreed, with Gandhi on his death bed, to give up the Dalits right to exclusively elect their own leaders and Gandhi ended his hunger strike.Later, on his own death bed, Dr. Ambedkar would say this was the biggest mistake in his life, that if he had to do it all over again, he would have refused to give up Dalit only representation, even if it meant Gandhi’s death.

    As history has shown, life for the overwhelming majority of Dalits in India has changed little since the arrival of Indian independence over 50 years ago. The laws written into the Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar, many patterned after the laws introduced into the former Confederate or slave states in the USA during reconstruction after the Civil War to protect the
    freed black Americans, have never been enforced by the high caste dominated Indian court system and legislatures. A tiny fraction of the “quotas” or reservations for Dalits in education and government jobs have been filled. Dalits are still discriminated against in all aspect of life in India’s 650,000 villages despite laws specifically outlawing such acts. Dalits are the victims of economic embargos, denial of basic human rights such as access to drinking water, use of public facilities and education and even entry to Hindu temples.

    To this day, most Indians still believe, and this includes a majority of Dalits, that Dalits are being punished by God for sins in a previous life. Under the religious codes of Hinduism, a Dalits only hope is to be a good servant of the high castes and upon death and rebirth they will be reincarnated a high caste. This is called varna in Sanskrit, the language of the original Aryans who imposed Hinduism on India beginning some 3,500 years ago. Interestingly, the word “varna” translates literally into the word “color” from Sanskrit.

    This is one of the golden rules of Dalit liberation, that varna means color, and that Hinduism is a form of racially based oppression and as such is the equivalent of Apartheid in India. Dalits feel that if they had the right to elect their own leaders they would have been able to start challenging the domination of the high castes in Indian society and would have begun the long walk to freedom so to speak. They blame Gandhi and his hunger strike for preventing this. So there it is, in as few words as possible, why in todays India the leaders of India’s Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi.

    This is, of course, an oversimplification. India’s social problems remain the most pressing in the world and a few paragraphs are not going to really explain matters to anyones satisfaction. The word Dalit and the movement of a crushed and broken people, the “untouchables” of India, is just beginning to become known to most of the people concerned about human rights in the world. As Dalits organize themselves and begin to challenge caste based rule in India, it behooves all people of good conscience to start to find out what the Dalits and their leadership are fighting for. A good place to start is with M.K. Gandhi and why he is so hated by Dalits in India.

    Thomas C. Mountain is the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal on India’s Dalits, founded in 1996. His writing has been featured in Dalit publications across India, including the Dalit Voice and the Times of Bahujan as well as on the front pages of the mainstream, high caste owned, Indian press. He would recommend viewing of the award winning film “Bandit Queen” as the best example of life for women and Dalits in India’s villages, which is the story of the life of the late, brutally murdered, Phoolan Devi, of whose international defense committee Thomas C. Mountain was a founding member. He can be reached at tmountain@hawaii.rr.com

    http://www.countercurrents.org/dalit-mountain200306.htm

  • DR. CHEIKH ANTA DIOP AND THE CULTURAL
    ROOTS OF THE DALITS: INDIA’S BLACK UNTOUCHABLES

    By V.T. RAJSHEKAR

    It is not generally appreciated that Blacks live all over the world, comprising the world’s largest oppressed group. That Asia has a large Black population is also not well known. Indian Blacks themselves are not aware of this fact. Lately, a strong Black identity has emerged and the slogan, “Black is beautiful” is catching up fast, at least among militant Blacks. Such a feeling is putting pride back into the broken hearts of Black natives, also uniting them with the struggle of their Black comrades in Africa and elsewhere. The Black liberation struggle against white racism, inequality and male domination is an international struggle.

    A distinguished Black physicist, historian and linguist, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop was among the first to establish that Egypt was the world’s first civilization and that it was Black. He showed that humanity originated in Africa, and that the first human being, the first person, was Black. The Blacks migrated from Africa to other parts of the world. The Blacks are also the ancestors of Indian Untouchables (Dalits). That is why the Blacks wherever they are, belong to one single family. Hence, the relevance of Diop’s work, for India’s Black Indus Valley Civilization is now widely accepted.

    Diop’s discoveries, therefore, establish that India’s Black Untouchables (with their African origin) are the ancestors of all humankind. Hence, they have to be proud of their Black Untouchable origin and their glorious cultural past. The whole world owes its origin to Black people–our people. African history laid the foundation of world history.

    Collective historical consciousness is a means of survival. If India’s Black Untouchables are today hiding their identity, ashamed to own their origin and admit that they are Untouchables, it is because they are not aware of their glorious past. Diop says that the Blacks can regain their personality, can become proud of their past if they are told “who they are,” and “what they are.” That means we have to discover our roots, our goddesses, our religion, our ancestors, our history.

    Cheikh Anta Diop has proven that the core of our problem is cultural rootlessness. The most important task facing us, therefore, is to reconstruct the links that tie us as communities. Humanity was born and developed in Africa. The first human was Black, and Black is beautiful. The Blacks lost their historical memory because we were fed by false history books. The rule of oppression will soon end with the reconstruction of world history, taking the aid of the tools provided to us by authorities like Diop, Runoko Rashidi, and Ivan Van Sertima–all world famous Black scholars.

    Dravidian journalist V.T. Rajshekar is the editor of Dalit Voice: The Voice of the Persecuted Nationalities Denied Human Rights. He is the author of more than twenty-five books and is widely traveled internationally.

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