By Stephen Kangal
May 29, 2013
On the occasion of the 168th anniversary of the commemoration of the arrival of the East Indian community to Trinidad may I focus on the post-arrival vindication and justification of the system of Indus Valley customs and values. This tried and tested system has underpinned, dominated and pervaded the modus operandi of the East Indians and has been responsible for the degree of fulfilling lives and good law-abiding citizenry that they have conducted in T&T in spite of the adversarial conditions and hostile and negative environmental and social conditions that they had to overcome to gain acceptance to their culturally persistent way of life.
This system is in fact based on the cumulative effects of 6,000 plus years of socio-religious and cultural conditioning that has embedded in and made the distinctive Indian personality a very complex one that defies Western methods of analysis. It is very unique but deep and capable of being transmitted genetically in defiance of conventional wisdom and popular beliefs and this in the face of the historical and sociological fact that our pitris who crossed the kala pani and pagal samundar leaving the famines of UP and Bihar came from the under-privileged strata of that society. They were able in a short period of 168 years to super-achieve a level of educational and social mobility and prosperity that will constitute the platform for future generations to launch into the future equipped with all the resourcefulness and entrepreneurial drive that can make the global village their oyster of conquest.
Shub bharatiya ayenge ki din to all the peoples that celebrate success by dint of hard work, sacrifice and may God grant peace and nirvana to all our pitris who worked so that we can have a good life because I dedicate this 30th of May to their memory and that of my mother who sold bhagee and bodi and baigan to send me to Hillview College and to reach Buckingham Palace from the cane-fields of Caroni.
This is a very holy and sacrifice-embedded commemoration that always makes me have watery eyes flowing from the emotions that inundate me and recreate the powerful and loving images of my deceased mother and father. This was a journey and an odyssey inspired in heaven but translated into reality by imperfect human instruments and we have never cursed nor denigrated socio-cultural history and never allowed it to keep us back but focusing on the task ahead of us in search of the attainment of the good and honest life to enjoy what we have toiled for in the vine-yards of Tate and Lyle and to buy over their banglas when the time was rilpe and the patra most auspicious.
Indian Arrival is a very powerful force for mobilization and cohesiveness within the Indian community and the PNM lost the elections in 1995 (150 years) and on 24th May 2010 when the cohesive emotions were at their highest. The next elections will be held in 2015 when the 170th Anniversary of the Indian contribution to T&T will be marked.