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Neemakharamism In Indo-Politics
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2002

By Stephen Kangal

Thank you for the opportunity to share with the growing firmament of browsers/readers my deep-seated and growing concerns for the regressive role that the Hindu concept of Neemakharamism (ingratitude) has been made to play and continues to exert in the vagaries and vicissitudes of the Indo-politics of contemporary T&T.

The unfortunate importation of this concept into the domestic political arena geared to foster and promote self-serving and vindictive political agendas constitutes a flagrant abuse and violation of the sacred guru-chela bonding and interface that are so fundamental to the corpus of tenets and doctrines of Hinduism.

Understandably the Hindu guru earns and expects life-long devotion and submission from his chela (devotee) symbolized by, inter alia, the latter's open display of public prostration in the presence of his guru. This corresponds to the rituals of genuflection that were prescribed for "neemakharams" Sudama and Maharaj at Debe and Dow Village respectively during the last elections as pre-conditions to reconciliation. Former neemakharam Ramnath seems to have complied with those rituals of complete submission.

Basdeo Panday popularised the neemakharami concept in platform politics. He branded former NAR Ministers Winston Dookeran, Sahadeo Basdeo, Beau Tewarie and Brinsley Samaroo as neemakharams for staying on with the NAR Robinson Administration in February 1988 even thought they continued to serve the legitimate interests of their constituents and for which they were elected in 1986. Yet even though Kelvin Ramnath left the NAR Government with Panday in March 1988, he, that is to say Ramnath was also subsequently branded an "asal"( undefiled) neemakharam.

Hitherto Mr.Panday has never publicly branded his Afro-political colleagues such as Joe Theodore or Barbara Burke as neemakharams for identifying with and participating in Team Unity. This is reserved for his kith and kin.

Non-Indians have never publicly accused each other of being ungrateful in politics. Not even the charismatic and powerful Eric Williams who hatched and nurtured the political careers of so many PNM MP's, degenerated to this level. Millstones, yes but not ingrates.

So that one ANR Robinson and Roy Richardson who severed links with Dr. Williams were never stigmatised with the Afro-Saxon equivalent of neemakharamism. Manning did not similarly brand Lasse nor Griffith when they crossed the political floor to join the UNC. Fortunately my African brothers do not personalise the politics. However, among the Indian brothers one is expected to dance to the nagara music and to readily admit of the pregnancy of the bull in the face of any slight suggestion to this effect by the maximum leader. The alternative is a charge of being a neemakharam.

Neemakharamism is also a derivative of the unique genre of Indo-politics of which the Judas, corbeaux and the jackass syndrome is another sordid aspect of this manifestation. The concept of neemakharamism is often used to build appeals to aspirations of ethnic security and to rally and mobilise ethnic solidarity.

I think that the avoidance of the practice of invoking neemakharamism has something to do with the inherent respect that Non-Indians harbour for the personal integrity, inherent personal ability and political prowess of their colleagues at all times. The Indo-community should take judicious note and learn from the process of the on-going cross- fertilization of our cosmopolitan cultures, inherent norms and values systems.

Egocentric-inspired and impulsive accusations of neemakharamism are unfortunately, a retrograde step in contemporary Indo-politics. Accusers must be unmasked for what they seek to motivate and institutionalise among their followers. Nevertheless such accusations are now still slavishly supported by the majority of the Indo-electorate who will made to overlook any and everything however serious on the road to the restoration of the status quo ante 2001.

Accordingly charismatic leaders deify and gurufy their image ( the UNC is their Sita), manipulate and enslave their supporters ( I made you Love Ramesh), personalise the politics( call dissenters neemakharam), and exact blind, submissive and chela-like adulations and political loyalties from the tribe. On what grounds were brothers Ramesh, Trevor and Ralph branded as Maha-Neemakharams and were to be banished to Banwas?

The concept now assumes pandaymic proportions across the plains of Caroni because it becomes the raison d'etre for the Indo-electorate to consign political dissenters to the political cemetery in blind following of their guru-leader. But who is in fact hibernating in the political cemetery today having fallen from the highest position in the land through political intransigence and is trying to implicate others for his political misjudgment and misfortune?

Sometimes I begin to reflect and ruminate in a mood bordering on depression, whether the infamous caste/class system which has wrought such untold damage to the social and political landscapes of the Indian sub-continent, is not being subversively embedded into the Indo-political culture of Rainbow T&T to further stratify the Indo-electorate with the intention of gaining a mess of political pottage.

The extent to which Ms. Diane Seukeran, PNM candidate for San F'do West and Mr. Panday in 1996, invoked their Brahmin lineage and roots is political opportunism par excellence. In fact all the Indian political leaders hitherto, namely Sagan Maharaj, Stephen Maharaj and Basdeo Panday have been of Brahmin stock- the "castification" and "classification" of Indo-politics.

Let me level with my fellow-Indo-electorate. The prevailing political culture of rainbow T&T is in the throes of abandoning kalyoog (evil era). It is entering satyoog (auspicious times) or a new political janaam (era) or a paradigm shift which will reprimand and consign the doctrine of neemakharamism to the mists and cob-webs of forgotten and undocumented history.

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