Rekindling the Bhadase Maraj Legacy

By Stephen Kangal
June 19, 2012

Stephen KangalI wish to congratulate the Hindu Prachar Kendra for using their Indian Arrival Day function to remember and re-kindle the outstanding and unparalleled legacy bequeathed to posterity in T&T by the late Bhadase Sagan Maraj — trade unionist, religious leader, parliamentarian, land-owner and philanthropist par excellence.

The Kendra filled a huge void in our socio-political history by drawing national attention to the unmatched and colossal humanitarian response that a simple man such as Bhadase made in improving the lives of the rurally dispossessed, illiterate and docile.

Bhadase was a seventh-standard Caroni villager who stood up to the intellectual and pedagogic Oxonian credentials and stature of the late Dr. Eric Wiiliams, trounced him in the 1958 Federal Elections and sent him “bazodee” to the extent that the latter had to resort to the introduction of the infamous voting machines to secure his political space.

In the socio-political annals of T&T Bhadase remains the most unsung, unheralded, unappreciated and devoted nation-builder using his own resources and resourcefulness to build schools and mandirs to complement the work of the Canadian Mission in educating and training the rurally-isolated and neglected Indo-T&T communities to achieve social and economic mobility. No single Trinbagonian has done more to emancipate the Indian community from illiteracy, political dormancy, exploitation in the sugar industry, urban discrimination and the ravages of the wrought by the tentacles of post-1956 ethno-nationalism.

Even after his demise the large acreages of land that he acquired in Pasea South, Morang, Enterprise, Maingot Road and elsewhere became home to thousands of poor squatters who today are able to build comfortable homes on these lands and earn the opportunity to be classified among the house–owning landed gentry.

The cow-sheds that Dr Williams called his Hindu Schools have now emerged as high performing production lines for churning out among the best and the brightest students in T&T. The stone that the builders rejected has now been plastered into the corner. The first Government Primary School that Dr. Eric Williams constructed in the rural community is Munroe Road Government School, based on the political intervention of my late friend Councillor Nohar of the area.

I endorse the resolution adopted (Text attached) at the function that having regard to the stewardship of Bhadase, his stellar national achievements in education, trade unionism, religion, culture, wrestling, entrepreneurship and politics that resulted in the accelerated development of the human resource potential of our people during the crucial period of the 50’s and 60’s in T&T. The PPG should look into the feasibility of erecting an appropriate monument to celebrate and consecrate the legacy of the late Bhadase Sagan Maraj for the edification of posterity and as a symbol of our national gratitude to a great, noble, selfless and humble nation-builder.

Draft Resolution on Erecting a Memorial to the Late Bhadase Sagan Maraj
Adopted by the Hindu Prachar Kendra’s
Indian Arrival Day Celebrations

Taking into account the unparalleled, unmatched and unique legacy bequeathed to T&T by the late nation-builder, Bhadase Sagan Maraj

Appreciative of his critical role in uniting several Hindu organizations to form the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) as a cohesive unit to interface with the Government of the day on undertaking several Hindu-related initiatives

Grateful for the aggressive schools building and expansion programme that he undertook post-1953 that contributed to the emancipation, social and economic mobility and literacy among citizens in rural communities

Mindful of his sterling contribution to national development and human welfare in the fields of trade unionism, politics, culture and entrepreneurship

Buoyed up his private passion for large-scale land acquisition and ownership across the country that now provides shelter for under-privileged citizens and prime sites for schools including the Lakshmi Girls High School in St. Augustine

Participants at The Memorial Festival organized by the Hindu Prachar Kendra to celebrate Indian Arrival Day 2012 decided by a unanimous show of hands as follows:

a) Calls upon The Government of the People’s Partnership led by Shrimatee Kamla Persad-Bissessar to establish an ad hoc committee to review the outstanding, unheralded and unsung contribution to national development posthumously made by the late Bhadase Sangan Maraj;

b) To erect a suitable memorial and monument in his honour to bear testimony to this nation-builder’s selfless, devoted and highly patriotic and meritorious service to T&T for the benefit of posterity, and to show our collective gratitude belatedly to compensate for 40 years of indifference accorded to his memory.

6 thoughts on “Rekindling the Bhadase Maraj Legacy”

  1. Bhadase Sagan Maraj — trade unionist, religious leader, parliamentarian, land-owner and philanthropist par excellence….and CROOK! One of the initial corruption merchants.

  2. Mr. Kangal, the Bhadase legacy is one of the illiterate iIndian who scrambled his way to power. Not such a worthy image of emulation. If the records of TnT employees of the American base at Waller Field could be unearthed, you would see that this grss cutter, named Bhadase Sagan used to put his x mark near his pay records, and my father Emmanuel Edwards used to sign for him as witness. He, like Chanka MAraj could not read.

    When The BAse was closed, there was a frantic business in stealing electrical cable and structural steel, as well as glass windows and doors from the abandonned buildings. Everyone in Cumuto and Arima knew that Bhadase was buying up the stolen construction material. The only building that the TnT police guarded was the water tanks, as they were important in keeping the flow of water constant. Everything else was looted like Ms.Pena’s church in the same area. some of the looting came to an abrupt halt when the government ran electrical current through the wires. the ones that connected Cumuto to the grid originating in Arima, used the American lines going through Waller Field.
    A minor crook nmed Belly Boom, based on his size, go electrocuted trying to steal the wire which Bhadase was buying.He hung on those cables for three days, swelling, and smelling, until the power was shut off and the body lowered to the ground. I must have ben about ten at the time, but the papwers-the Guardian- had pictures. I remember this enormous black body. swollen in the heat, pictured in the papers. They reported that his feet had ruptured nas were dripping blood.
    The trade in busted concrete for the structural steel continued.
    Even then, crooks needed money to launch political parties, and so the illiterate Bhadase got started.

    Because I remember clearly things that happened in my early childhood, people shoud not lie about historical figures from my time. TMan stated that he was a crook.I have elucidated where his crookedness began. It is ironic that his wealth passed to his son in law, Sat, who was made executor of his will, and outwaited Bhadase’s daughter.
    Ill gotten gains.

    Now, are you sure you want to rekindle the Bhdase legacy? There were honourable Indians back then, you know.
    The Roopchands from St. Augustine-doctor, lawyer-magistrate and educator were one such family. The Tulsies who owened a grocery store in Cumuto were another.

  3. Now, readers might ask why did my father not engage in this theftocracy that was emerging in the early fifties? After the base closed, he went through a hard time.He was an Edwards. We go back to the freeholder Mingo Edwards who came as part of the First Company of Colonial Marines, to Williamsville in 1815.

    We work our way up.

    After more than twenty years of living in the same house, I still have receipts from the stores for every major purchase.
    I do not usually buy used things, not only because they may have been stolen before, but because the spirit of the previous owner may stay with the item. My African family’s beliefs handed down, stay with me.We were stolen people. We have to be honest if our spirits will make their way forward.Bhdase’s legacy lives on also. Look around.

  4. It was Barrack Obama’s favorite President , Abe Lincoln , who once said the following:- “I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”
    Join me and other caring Trini Patriots , Madame L, and let us grab all dem unmentionable ,immoral revisionist , and bury them alive in our, world famous La Brea pitch lake, huh?
    Call names , of some of the possible culprits , and I’ll whistle. Another self serving miscreant, who spent 35 or more years sucking /eating at the Trini governmental piglet trough, and today , now that he is drawing an undeserved pension, has choose to demonize everything Afrikan, while using his influence , not to help elevate our country as a whole , but instead to lead the phony triumphalist jig and dance.
    Tell dem , for me folks, that they are playing with fire- and no matter how one tries to tweak it , fire go burn you.

  5. When Bhadase pull in them wake long ago, any body ask what was the time! Bhadase used to open his shirt and say “two forty five”…Trigger happy…

  6. Stephen, I remembered Bhadase when he had his palace in Mendes drive Champs Fleurs. By that time he had mellowed, but still flamboyant. He had everything.He owned racing pools, Crest cinema in Curepe. His children were grown and believe it not had a good standing with that community. But some of the things that I heard about Bhadase is similar to what Linda mentioned. Some of it pretty horrific. But in the late 60s/70s he had moved up in society. Like I said I only known him when he had mellowed and had good relations with the African people of Mt.Dor/Champs Fleurs/St. Joseph. He even invited the entire comminuty to his daughter’s wedding. He got a state funerial when he died. Even he and Eric was on speaking terms before he died. When it comes to his son-in-law, well that is another matter. He seems to have a vendetta against all things African.

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