GOPIO: T&T Indians second class citizens

By Kim Boodram
Jun 1, 2016 – trinidadexpress.com

lettersNEARLY two hundred years after they became part of the building of Trinidad and Tobago, people of East Indian descent are still considered second class citizens, the president of the local chapter of the Global Organisation of Indian People (GOPIO), Karran Nancoo, has said.

Nancoo, speaking on TV6’s Morning Edition on Indian Arrival Day, which is celebrated annually in T&T in March 31, has contended that the descendants of East Indian immigrants are still not being treated as legitimate citizens of the land.

Karran said the notion that Indians are “second class” has also shown itself in the politics of generations.

“You know some people in this country believe that Indians are second class people,” Nancoo said.

Indian culture is also less favoured, he claimed, pointing out that the national instrument is the steel pan but due to the lesser celebration of Indian culture and contributions, many were not aware that a second instrument, the dhalak, was also created in T&T.

“The crowbar and the horseshoe was used to play music,” Nancoo said.

“It was exported to India, not imported and I think we should cherish that but because it was Indian it is not established.”

As a result, Nancoo said, many younger East Indians are unaware of the impact their ethnicity has had on this nation and this underscored the importation is occasions like Indian Arrival Day, to help young people explore the achievements of their forefathers.

As for non-governmental organisations like GOPIO, Nancoo said its core functions are the promotion of Indian heritage and the fending off of discrimination.

Nancoo said organisations like his would like to see that new generations do not discard their ties to the past as they embrace the land of their birth.

“Many call us Indo-Trinidadian, I don’t know what that means,” Nancoo said.

“I remember years ago you put race and you put East Indian and that has changed. We are Trinidadian but when we talk about the racial aspect of it, we are Indian.”

Source: www.trinidadexpress.com/20160601/news/gopio-tt-indians-second-class-citizens

7 Responses to “GOPIO: T&T Indians second class citizens”


  • This article about what “Nanoo said” is absurd.

    The government has no right in trying to promote the piece of iron and horse shoe used in Indian music as a national instrument. I wonder if Nancoo and his supporters would feel the same if the government endorsed the bottle and spoon percussion, the scratch (the cylindrical grater and comb) and the iron drums (truck brakes hammered with iron sticks) as national instruments too. This rubbish argument came up years ago which is part of an ongoing attempt for total Indian hegemony in this country.

    The biggest problem with some Indians like GOPIO’s Karran Nancoo is that based on their caste mentality, they do not accept African-led politics . . . which is how they view the PNM. When UNC is in power, regardless of how reckless they are with the affairs of this country, they feel like first-class citizens which is a code for living true to their caste above African people.

    Unfortunately, many in Trinidad and Tobago do not understand this. The mindset of many Indian misleaders is not about improving this country, but total control rooted in racist caste ideology. This attitude is not helped by the fact that PNM leadership is not rooted in the development of our people, but more so in the control of our treasury.

  • Sat’s main job is to keep them second class. I always remember my poor grandmother Alice who was married off to Muslim Sheik Hussain to get rid of her. It was not soft nah it was hard. To their own they do this. Alice was so humble and pure like Mother Mary. She accepted her punishment for being sent to a christian family as her mother and father Hindus were dirt poor. Those memories of poor Alice always struck me as I remember her. Her siblings hated her. Yet I was told God takes care of all of us. Alice reminds me of how God works. Her 8 children took special care of her and developed the means over the years. Sat will meet his faith. You can run but you cannot hide my friend as your sins follow you to your grave.

  • Yoruba Israelite

    Indian culture is also less favoured, he claimed, pointing out that the national instrument is the steel pan but due to the lesser celebration of Indian culture and contributions, many were not aware that a second instrument, the dhalak, was also created in T&T.

    “The crowbar and the horseshoe was used to play music,” Nancoo said.

    “It was exported to India, not imported and I think we should cherish that but because it was Indian it is not established.”

    This is racial peevishness and musical dotishness combined to further an agenda of racist political mischief.

    As it is with cuisine, God’s gifts to humanity usually come with some sort of very specific geographic, ethnic and cultural provenance.

    Notwithstanding that geo-ethno-cultural specificity, His gifts are for all to enjoy, and on a take it or leave it basis. There is never any compulsion in the matter. And when we share these gifts, we are all lifted by them, the giver as much as the receiver. Most of us understand this instinctively. That’s why food recipes know no geo-ethno-cultural barrier. As a so-called “Negro”, I do not feel diminished by the Indian or Chinese or Arab or French or Spanish or English cuisines that contribute to the richness of the T&T gastronomic calalloo. As a matter of fact, cultural appropriation is so complete in this sphere that I was surprised to learn that pelau is an Indian contribution, and that buljol is Arab!

    It is the same with the music, if we let it! God gifted the world with the steelpan through the urban “Negro” youth of Port of Spain in the 1930’s and 40’s. It is for all of T&T to enjoy and all (well most) now do, embracing it the way one would embrace a cross-cultural recipe. If it tastes good, all may appropriate it. (Just don’t claim creative “copyright” when you know it’s not yours! God admonishes us against coveting that which is our neighbour’s).

    Steelpan lovers may now be found across the globe. And in some surprising places, including Poland, as perhaps the latest far-flung place to find a steelband. Played by Poles, mind you, not T&T expats.

    There is good musical reason why pan should have found such global acceptance. It is not just another musical instrument. It is an art form complete with its own kind of philharmonic orchestra, its own kind of (panorama) music, its own extensive musical repertoire, its own formative socio-cultural matrix that still gives it life in its place of birth in the form of the annual carnival and Panorama competition. It has a unique pattern of note placement in the form of the circle of 4ths and 5ths. That in itself has psycho-musicological significance: the instrument is easy and therefore “fun” to learn. Etc.

    With all of that, it is no surprise that the instrument should have traveled as far as it has to now global acceptance. It is a “Negro” instrument and art form, but it is a gift to the world. It has been embraced by others as such.

    Dholak and dhantal (D&D) has not traveled as well. But it assuredly is not “because it was Indian it is not established”. Bottle-and-spoon is another musical invention of T&T. But for obvious reasons, we do not expect that it too should have traveled as far as pan. D&D simply cannot capture the musical imagination the way pan can and has.

    We ought not to view gifts given through another ethnic group with ethnic lens. Just take it or leave it as your heart dictates, not as a matter of ethnic ideology or another battleground of ethnic warfare.

    For example, Italian opera is a musical gift to the world. One does not have to be an Italian to enjoy Pavarotti singing “Nessum Dorma”; see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtlgzFKWZKE. One might be surprised to find that Italian opera has found a home in South Korea. And there is at least one singer there that seems able to match Pavarotti note for note; see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZzACpDYAQs. Oh and btw, I was pleasantly surprised to find Boogsie has done a splendid arrangement for pan of this same tune: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCeSfwd6KRc.

    So when it comes to music (and cuisine) let us put racial and ethnic peevishness to one side. This place could be one of pure inter-ethnic harmony worthy of an operatic aria, or of Smooth’s Panorama arrangement of “Curry tabanca”.

    GOPIO is on a mission of political mischief. Let us reject this man and this invidious organization.

    Shalom.

  • Yoruba Israelite

    ADDENDUM:

    Another point about how pan has traveled the globe… There were “missionaries” of pan, starting about the time the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) went to Britain in 1951 to be part of the World Fair I think it was. Most of them stayed. Some went over to the continent. And wherever they went, they taught pan. Some made a living at it. These were remarkable men. I met some of them when I visited London in 1992 for the London Carnival. They would never think of themselves as missionaries in any sense, but that’s what they were. One, Sterling Betancourt, was even honoured by the Queen for his work in the community. The “prophets of pan” carried a musical and musicological philosophy with them, honed in the panyards of Port of Spain. As a humorous example, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXwguSa1-Q4 around the 4:30 mark. The Trini fellow is teaching the members of the French band the first lesson of Panyard 101. Take a look, it’s funny… There’s nothing to stop missionaries of D&D to do the equivalent, except of course there is nothing there to capture the musical imagination…

    Also, indo-Trinis contributed mightily to the development of pan, notably Jit Samaroo and Bobby Mohammed. No one should take away their contributions. Their ethnic origin neither helped nor hurt their contributions. It simply was a non-factor. They were both geniuses in their own right. Jit Samaroo’s arrangement of Pan in A Minor went global, I think because it was particularly accessible to a Western audience trained in classical idioms. Bobby Mohammed somehow brought a big booming sound to the pan, and shook up the north bands in winning the 1965 Panorama. He then led the first band after TASPO to go on a world tour I think. The point is that pan was not held on to tightly as a pure “Negro” art form. All who wished could join, and did. I’m not sure the same could be said about the D&D…

    THis idea that D&D was somehow held back because the indo is a “second-class citizen” is pure hogwash. And that’s being kind…

    Pan is as welcoming as any musical art form has ever been, although there are a misguided few who, fearful of cultural appropriation, try to cling too tightly to an ethnic claim of ownership. Yes there is some validity to the fear, but pan is now of age. Like it or not it will leave the house where it was born and raised, and find its own way in the world. We must let it.

    Btw, there is a beautiful Martiniquan (sp?) tune, “Fam Matnik dous” (sweet Martiniquan woman) played starting about 6:20 in the link. Not to wake anyone’s pan jumbie this sabbath, but just to make the point yet again about cultural sharing, see the performance of the same tune (1) by a Martiniquan woman singing in Cuba, backed up by a Cuban steelband at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UH0lJDcNpM and (2) a Japanese singer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PH2jhx6Zes.

    Let the indo insurgency stay well away from pan.

    Shalom.

  • Unfortunately , we become so obsessed in La Trinity , solely with race, and idiot pagan religions , that we forget the role that Class plays in keeping competing tribal folks, subjugated.
    Do any survey , and you’ll see that for all of the futile ,distracting media -donkey braying , most T&T Indians,and Africans ,are stuck in the same pathetic SOCIO – Economic state, and as such ,are struggling to keep their respective heads above the ‘Poverty Line.’
    Again,even with all those baseless ,chest bumping ,by de Brown/ Black Neo Triumphalist tribe,about their economic status,higher end educational accomplishments, and alleged-noble culture, the data would show ,that this minuscule numbers , are no different from that of their equally paltry- elite- African Trini counterparts- and I don’t give a rats behind ,what many of their phony experts say , to the contrary.
    As to de direct subject at hand , let me add the following:-Hey Kim Boodram ,here is some shocking news for your subjective media soul.
    The suffering that you choose to lament about , based on de preponderance of evidence available , it’s obvious , that such ain’t limited to only Indians , but likewise Africans in our country .
    Most have found themselves this way , all because of the actions of self serving ,neo Imperial leaders , who understood fully well, how to push the neo tribal hot buttons , for ,and against their own , and the other-so as to expand their private cash cows status for themselves , and GREEDY ,country leaching -business benefactors.
    Indo -Fake religious -UNC/PP -gangbangers, such as Sat,and the myriad of similar minded , conniving, Islamist Imams ,( who not too secretly ,help elevate Lennox Phillip , aka Yasin Abu Bakr a former Horse Police / Soccer Goalkeeper , turn Islamist , into cult status) are no different ,to the pro PNM Community /criminal pseudo-activist,who have likewise aided Afro politicians ,across the tribal isle.
    For decades ,local elite /bourgeois Arabs , (chiefly ) Lebanese , Syrians , and their few Jewish cousins , as well as the collection of Water down- White European descendants , have used their financial clout , and influence to promote African leaders,only to ensure they get their major pounds of flesh in return.
    At the opposite spectrum , fat cat Trini Indian blokes , have done the same for their ULF/ UNC/ COP/ PP , and likewise generated huge benefits for their efforts.
    90 % of Indo Trini Wealth ,evolved from Government contracts given out over the past 54 years of our country.Over 90% of lucrative State contracts , given to the private sector , during the Kamla UNC dominant, PP regime, were to members of her tribe .
    As a matter of fact she , and her AG , and dat foreign born Justice Minister Volney , almost squeeze through a law, that would have exonerated ,two high end UNC financial backing ,White color bandits, Ish, and Steve .
    Although in de end you paid a political price , let me add ,thank you very much Senator Hamil Smith, for throwing some oil in de engine of dat South of de Caroni Bridge,rickety – Political tractor.
    Unlike many on this board, and across my nation, I am not showcasing this bleak picture ,to promote a common , stupid , lose / lose viewpoint , that nothing can be done ,to address these social maladies.
    Far from it . What I’ll instead say is – There is a need for wiser , fearless ,’prudent advocacy leaders,’ willing to focus on this reality , as opposed to wasting energies ,simply pointing at the other tribe, as to the problem.
    Here is the deal, and I straight shooting/ objective bloke , that I am , won’t allow political correctness , to white wash my truth.
    History has shown that Indians as a collective ,hate their Darker skin brothers , and sisters ,in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Hindustani-Tamil haven -Sri Lanka , and naturally ,they have nothing but contempt for T&T Africans- unless of course ,they have Jack Warner, Ato Bolton, Marchael Montano , or Tobago ANR Robinson – NAR/ Tobago East West -social influence, and money.
    African Trini men ,love their more sociable docile ,sexually malleable, Indian females , but equally despise every Indian Trini male ,that walk this land.
    Under the watchful eye of Papa Deffy Eric , Johnny O’Halaran stole billions of our money , and no one paid a price, or was our country ever compensated- but who is checking?
    It’s 9 months into the Keith Rowley regime , and we are daily treated to a plethora of political distractions , dat make one want to go to de top of the TEric Williams- Twin Towers ,financial complex ,and fly off.
    For 54 years , Indian men , with the help of their criminally complicit women , have sexually abuse their daughters, and supported rape , via underage marriages , and yet nada was done to rectify this.
    Fast forward to 2016 , and all sorts of political symposium are been called for, to end these dehumanizing practices.
    Give me a break Mr Rowley, and National Security Minister Dillon! Give a darn directive, to your still Acting Commissioner of Police Willow,to start enforcing our laws.
    18 years is the age of consent- unless you can produce a Chapter/ Verse , in de Koran , or Bagwas Gita ,to show , where a man can risk going to hell fire , or return via reincarnation, as a Caroni, or Beetham lagoon Crapaud , if somehow they fail to have sex with innocent 9, 10, 11 , 14 , and 16 year old virgins- most of which are chiefly poor.
    For all the empty talk of anti corruption , by these two political parties , when in Opposition / out of power,sadly, the meter tends to quickly shift , once at the political helm.
    FIve years in office by the Kamla UNC / PP regime , and no one was charge for any major acts of corruption-n UDOCOTT Scandal notwithstanding.

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,112175.html

    Can we hold our breath Mr Rowley , and AG Alawi, that someone in ,or out of power , will pay a price for atrocities committed during the Kamla reign?
    So how is that Jack Warner , and ISH / Steve extradition proceedings coming along, and where de hell his Life Sports guru , in one time UNC / COP/ PP ,Chief Dougla, Anil Roberts ?

    http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2014-07-26/warner-life-sport-report—-evidence-naked-corruption

    In de words of my late , extremely wise , Tobago Granny- “6 of 1 , & half ah dozen of the other,” si? Ahhhh…De forays of the dem Indo / Afro Trini elites ,in La Trinity.

    Oh yeah, ride de backs of poor folks,then finger point at the other!
    Hopefully the delusional party hacks, and tribal minions, that rides recklessly along dis here ,Trini Center Information Highway , are savvy enough, to appreciate my bigger Sociological point , about what noted American Sociologist ,C Wright Mills referred to as the Power Elite.

    https://youtu.be/eE7t9UlGWUk

    In this Globalization era, I instead , prefer to expand his theory ,beyond America , to include the entire Global Village – PARTICULARLY,my T&T.
    The ‘Interlocking Global Elite ,’is my new term.
    Yes , this pointless fixations , only on race , ethnicities,and Religious cultural differences, while likewise indulging in stupid , ‘pro-Ancestral -jingoistic -feel good -butt slapping ,’ gets us no where.
    Por ejemplo- The guy with the 10 bedroom mansion from Signal Hill/ Sou Sou Lands Carnbee Tobago, is of like mind ,as the one from Lange Park Chagurnas.
    That water down Trini -White bloke ,with the $US45 million dollar Westmooring Yacht , has the same mindset, as the other ,from Maraval , Federation Park , or Valsayn Trinidad.
    If some Tethron Military bag boy, Captain , turned PP politician , in Griffith ,could not entice Basdeo Panday ,to marry off -London educated lawyer ,by way of the CLICO Shareholders -daughter Malika to him , then the elite weasel ,sure won’t allow his 12 year old niece, or great grand ,to marry some dirt poor ,desperate tomato planting joker,from say Aranguez, Las Lomas ,or any of dem Central mosquito lagoons.

    Take a stand. Make a difference , from right where you are people! Too much is at stake in our country , for us to allow others with destructive agendas to manipulate .
    Yet some still naively believe dat Nation Building ,was going to be easy, & what folly!
    Luv Humanity people!

    • Neal wrote-
      “90 % of Indo Trini Wealth ,evolved from Government contracts given out over the past 54 years of our country.Over 90% of lucrative State contracts , given to the private sector , during the Kamla UNC dominant, PP regime, were to members of her tribe”

      If I was to ask Nealos to name some of those contracts he I am sure could come up with some. But 90% of course is a big stretch. The word lucrative is indeed anyone figment of Neal’s Africana imagination. For instance the UWI Debe and Children Hospital were built by the Chinese, the major Point Fortin highway given to Brazilians, the hospital in Point and the cycling velodrome built and being built by the Dutch. The Aquatic Center is not an Indian project.

      The PNM gave a lot of contracts but certainly not to Indians. The full the pockets if the Syrians.
      Cost over run by the mighty PNM Rahael clan
      —Trinity Housing owned by the Rahael group constructed 138 units at Orchard Gardens, incurring cost overruns of $50 million.
      —Corinth Hills was done by the same company, incurring cost overruns of $128 million. —-Trinity Housing projects with cost overruns including East Grove in Curepe ($64 million),
      ——Bon Air (an original $13 million contract with $19 million in cost overruns) and ——Greenvale Park ($156 million in cost overruns.)
      —-Couva Junior Secondary ($172 millions cost over run)
      —-, Barataria Junior Secondary ($149 million cost over run),
      —- Pleasantville Junior Secondary ($150 million cost over run) He said Osha laws virtually closed down the contract for the Pleasantville project due to safety concerns.

      Africana boobolee Nealos must explain where the 90% of lucrative contracts are that was given to Indians. When the PP came to power as an example all CEPEP contracts they found were given to PNM contractors , they turn it into a 50/50 arrangement.

      As was the habit of the PNM for 37 years out of 50 years of nationhood contracts went solely to PNM supporters. So I fail to see where Nealos is getting his information from. Am I sadly to assume Nealos is as racist as Alyssa? I hope not.

  • “Am I sadly to assume Nealos is as racist as Alyssa? I hope not.”
    Mamboo
    Lo Siento , mi country hating Piazzano , but it ain’t for me to speculate ,as to what motivates Sistaz Alyssa, so since I am aware that she can defend herself on that score,I’ll only speak for myself.
    Here is the deal :-I am a ‘Global- Humanist,and Agnostic Buddhist,’who sees great merit in striving to ‘end suffering amongst all people ,’ irrespective of their race , tribe, class , ethnicity , gender, or geographical origins/ present location.
    As such , I have as much empathy for struggling Venezuelan neighbors-located only 7 miles away ,from La Trinity-as I do for Jamaicans, West Africans- or much ignored -large influx of members of your tribe, who seek to make T&T their home, after running from those social hell holes from India, Bangladesh,Pakistan, Nepal,or Guyana.
    Need I add , that big Arab corporate elite fishes ,are of little concern to me . Sorry Najib Elias, and Mighty Trini .
    I am more perturb about the plight of fleeing Syrians, whose kids are daily dying, on Refugee boats, en route to insular Europe, or starving Venezuelan bambinos ,whose parents are unable to purchase milk,while members of your tribe rant and rave , about African love/ obsessions for 30,000 migrant / refugee invaders.
    How about those frightened neo -Bantu Haitians ,about to loose their citizenship to fake Spanish – Latin -Dominican cousins , in the Dominican Republic?
    I don’t have a problem with you , or your Siamese pal TMan, looking at Capildeo, Basdeo Panday, or your Kamla , as political gods,but I in contrast,possess no such heroes , or owe allegiance .to any leader,past or present in this country.
    Translation:- I do not hold any other human being dead or alive , to any more worthy status ,than I view myself.

    If it’s racism to support a new government initiative, which one hope , would finally end barbaric rapes of underage Indo Trini females ,by your savage male clans members,then count me in.
    Oh , and by de way, thank you very much Ambassador Estrada , for throwing your ‘two cents into this important discussion,’ which attempts to look out for the rights of children, and has nada to with religions, as professed by self serving , agenda driven bums- seeking to build a majority ,for political-nefarious purposes .

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,228895.html

    If in your twisted mind , it’s racism to push for equal playing field justice in T&T ,as opposed to only getting excited when some elite , get the sharp end of de bristling sword , or sting of a bullet,then I’m dat too.

    I’m on record as saying that the insidious smoke of racism /tribalism, is seeping into the consciousness of most members of our society ,when it help serves the purpose of politically desperate citizens.
    It should be exposed , and curbed where possible,by all decent human beings.
    Thank you very much Whistleblower -Principal Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga,for exposing authentic racism , and shame on you, Dr Goopiesing,high end Hindustani guru ,Sat Maraj,and worst yet ,your spiritual devotee- ex PM Kamla-for sadly never denouncing you both.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/SAT_BLOCKED_BLACK_CHILDREN-133665408.html

    Oh yeah Mamboo,de Rights of low end , ‘Afro Kinky Head -one time slaves great grand Pickinees ,’ are just as important/ Precious to me ,as that of ‘Innocent- Indo Trini 9, 10, 12, 14, and 16 year old females ,trying to ward off their 40 year old, pot belly hombres,then nine months later ,being forced to deliver babies,on their yet undeveloped bodies, at our local hospitals,or backyard, one bed room, Central lagoon dens- just as was done, when their dirt poor, low caste , uneducated great grandmas ,came to La Trinity as desperate ,Indentured laborers.
    I am again, more concern for the fast eroding rights, of the neglected poor ,underprivileged,socially disenfranchised- of all races, who has continually suffered under the hands of an interlocking , conniving cross tribal elite.
    Jokers like yourself make me cringe.
    Here ‘you alzes’ are ,Touting concerns for the poor, but yet unconcern about the state of justice in this land ,as we still hold on to the costly Privy Council.
    Can poor folks South of de Caroni, or West of de East Dry River, afford to get justice ,via the Privy Council?
    These bastards always wish to pontificate about crime , but get upset, each time others , with quite accurate data , try to expose the culturally driven ,predilections of de tribe, for indulging in blatant acts of corruption, from Captain to crook.
    Lock up every low end , simi educated blue color thug , and they jump for glee, but go after their much cuddled, white color bandit cousins, then they’ll bawl like constipated Hyenas ,about non existent racism- and ain’t dat de truth Mamboo?
    Yeah we know Mamboo, just like Ram Kirpalini , Indians wealth in T&T were made solely via their own culturally driven initiatives ,and hard work.
    In their case- since diabolical African political leaders, were discriminating against them, during the past 53 years – they were forced to survive ,and gain wealth , from planting bodie beans, cucumber , cabbage, and egg plants, in the hot sun.
    There are certain qualities I find most reprehensible / disgusting amongst human beings , and if a hell truly exist , I’ll like to see proponents of these, leading the list to burn .
    I’m talking about ungratefulness, hypocrisy , greed, selfishness.To these we can add,revisionism, and pandering.
    Wake me up , when you ,and likeminded others, wish to be part of the solution to curb the cancer that is spreading across our country – authentic racism , and more importantly ,destructive collusions,between self aggrandizing elites.
    In de interim, I wish you well.

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