By Stephen Kangal
August 06, 2017
There can be at least three reactions to the question of lumping Indians and Africans together by Sir Hilary Beckles for advancing his money-based regional CARICOMesse reparations agenda:
1. One cannot trust Afro-Caribbean intellectuals to sincerely look after the interests of Caribbean Indians after they have been excluded in the first instance by CARICOM.
2. They cannot help but look at and re-create “Indianness” through African lenses and studiously ignore the peculiar socio-cultural values and distinctive characteristics of the Indian community as expressed, inter alia, on their presence in the Caribbean.
3. They have their own peculiar intellectual superiority agenda to promote at the expense of the Indians who are expected to be dotish, quiet and docile.
If they get money they will take 95% and let the Indians have the rest as pittance. Look at the aftermath of the 1970 Revolution in Trinidad when Indians and Africans were expected to unite against underlying white supremacy and senior Indian public servants were eventually dissed from the Public Service, including the late Frank Rampersad, to placate growing African sentiments by Dr Williams.
Look at the delays in granting EU support money to penniless cane farmers after the closure of Caroni Ltd and the sugar industry.
The Indian response to the indenture story is the antithesis of the African response to the slavery question and their associated transportation to the West to build the ailing sugar industry. Raviji calls it A Mission to the Caribbean inspired by divinity.
Indians came from a predominantly built environment with 6,000 years of human organisation and a very distinctive and advanced set of embedded socio-cultural practices including Sanskrit – the mother of all languages and over 500 dialects including Bhojpuri the language on indentureship.
Indians do not harbour the same persistent level of antagonism towards the White man as the Africans do. They are not interested in any form of reparations because of a deep-seated conviction and feeling that they are a superior group to the white man in terms of religion and culture and will triumph over him eventually as India emerges as the third largest economy.
That is why conversions to Christianity are not so widespread because it is viewed as the decadent White Man’s religion by the Hindus. Look at how many swamis have gone to the West to recruit devotees and followers.
Sir Hilary Beckles is indulging in an issue that is way beyond his human capacity as he has not taken the time to analyse the Indian question dispassionately to determine how willing they can be to joining any crusade/litigation for prosecuting reparations against the white Europeans.
Has he spoken to any Caribbean Indian group or leader?
After all they, that is to say the Indians, celebrate their arrival in Trinidad and not the end of the system of indentureship in 1917 that Beckles likes. That decision was engineered in India for non-humanitarian considerations because previously-indentured Indians who returned to Moolook eventually came back to the Caribbean to make a life of their own to escape from the socially disruptive caste system, extreme poverty, famines and lack of land-ownership prospects that were better in Trinidad and Guyana.
This is a long and complex story way beyond the reach and scope of contemporary tertiary history at UWI. One cannot trust the Bajans even when they bring gifts since the days when sugar was King and country.
See how the Indo-Guyanese are treated in Barbados and how our Indo- T&T cricketers are side-lined to make way for Bajan mediocrity/captaincy/insularity in the West Indies team in collusion with their like-minded Jamaican counter-parts such as Cameron and Co presiding over the demise of West Indies cricketing glory and harmony.
14 thoughts on “Timeo Beckles et Dona Ferentes”
“TIMEO et DONA FERENTES” I fear people like you Stephen Kangal when ever they come bearing gifts of hate and distortion, treacherous persons, even when they appear to be friendly. I noticed your last two columns had zero responses, and i knew that you would stay true to yourself, hope you “TIMEO” or choke on the trash you continue to utter.Sometimes i wonder if you really do research before writing, you tend to be all over the place because you are dialed into misleading the ones who think like you.Stephen, when next you leave Trinidad, don’t go to England, take a trip to INDIA,Pakistan ,after, travel to KENYA,UGANDA, yes UGANDA, your people are asking the UGANDAN gov’t for permission to create a TRIBE in AFRICA LAND, go to TANZANIA, SOUTH AFRICA and i can go on and on with your people living in the midst of AFRICANS.”INDIANS do not harbour the same level of antagonism against the white man” why is it that way? It seems that you are very inept about the history of INDIA, what human organization are you referring to? do you know that INDIA have one quarter of the worlds abject poverty? Have over 700 spoken dialects and hundreds more religious beliefs? instead you should be giving thanks and praises for not having to live the conditions the DHALITS continue to live under after 60000 yrs. You speak of a INDIA you know nothing about, and if you should spend some time there, you would be to ashamed to write of the conditions. There was no revolution in 1970, conditions change in a revolution did you see any change coming out of the peoples discontent you call a revolution? apparently you have never stood up to anything seeing that your entire working life was spent in the public sector. The SANSKRIT, is responsible for the greatest misconception of what you call embedded socio-cultural practices, are you referring to CASTE, RACISM in the present period? it seems that you are degenerating mentally as you aged, it is said that the ignorant gets more bitter in his/her waning years.When ever reparations are paid to the AFRICANS, most of it will be spent in INDIAN business places, replace HATE with VISION and see the point i’m making, when it floods, you see what happens, don’t be clouded Stephen KANGAL.The INDO- TRINIDAD cricketers have been historically sub-par compared to the INDO GUYANESE who are truly master batsmen, i’ve always wondered what have created that disparity, maybe you will tell us in your next column.HOTEP.
Cooper I find that being unable to treat with my argumentation dispassionately you have resorted to personal insults as you did with my Property Tax article, Gary Aboud’s and my current one.
There are in your comments an underlying subliminal message based on aggression and hate to the extreme to anyone who dares to insulate Indians from the Reparations Debate. After all we Indians in the eyes of the urban validating elites are expected to be dotish and docile and not to question the motive of the new Massa albeit black. If we do we are branded as racists quite easily.
I find that you are farce and outa place to tell me where to spend my money to travel to .I have already been to Tanzania, Burundi and Egypt on the African continent and to more foreign countries than you could ever dream of. As for London it is a laboratory to study the world because all the world is represented there. In London I attend a Reformed Church that is 90% Ghananian.
I have developed a global experience and exposure that you can only dream of as a former member of the Diplomatic Service.
Do you really understand what I mean by the concept of human organization that is almost 6,000 years old in India?
Have you read this quote from my article:
‘After all they that is to say the Indians celebrate their arrival in Trinidad and not the end of the system of indentureship in 1917 that Beckles likes. That decision was engineered in India for non-humanitarian considerations because previously-indentured Indians who returned to Moolook (India) eventually came back to the Caribbean to make a life of their own to escape from the socially disruptive caste system, extreme poverty, famines and lack of land-ownership prospects that were better in Trinidad and Guyana.’
The expected reparations money will go to the 1% percenters- not the Indian businesses.
Please try to read with the care with which I always write and not to misrepresent deliberately to suit your nefarious agenda.
Steven behave yuhself nah.. ‘We’ can’t even tell if you are Indian’…..
Most informed Africans disagree with Beckles’ call for Indian reparations, and even more so, the call for joint reparations with Africans.
I am unaware of any Indian lobby group clamouring for reparations; this may be because of the undeniable fact that their ancestors volunteered to come as Indentured servants, as harsh as their circumstances may have been. They were paid for their service and were granted land as an incentive to remain on the estates, which many of them accepted. This allowed some to circumvent the restrictions of caste. Those who returned to India were better off financially than when they had left and were more accepted than they had been prior to Indentureship, despite their low caste.
In the Caribbean, Indian Indentureship started around 1845. Most are probably familiar with the story of why they were brought here. One major factor was due to the formerly enslaved Africans demanding better wages. Although there was indeed a great movement away from the plantations, Africans labourers on the sugarcane plantations still outnumbered Indians until the turn of the twentieth century. White planters refused to pay Africans for the value of their labour and so the Indians were brought to further their social and economic suppression. Prior to the arrival of Indians, merchant traders were prevented from trading with budding African businessmen as a means of forcing Africans back to the land and to meagre salaries. This was one of the many attempts to prevent the social mobility of the formerly enslaved.
Although most of the Indians that came here were of low castes, the colonial authorities thought it useful to encourage higher castes of pundits and other Brahmins to serve as translators and to help keep the Indian community in check. The Indians who embraced Brahminism believed themselves to be superior to Africans; this is at the heart of continued antagonism between the races. Hindu Indians the world over do not accept African leadership based on this caste mentality and so they readily align themselves with white colonial overlords.
Most Indians did not resist white rule and domination, as oppressive as it was. This was the case in South Africa where Mahatma Ghandi resented being classed with Africans, thus beginning his crusade. This same attitude exists with many Indians the world over who ascribe to Brahminism, including Trinidad and Tobago.
If Africans remain distrustful of Whites it is because of centuries of well-documented abuses. If they are distrustful of Indians, they have more than sufficient cause. Africans did not have long-standing cultures that taught them to be superior to others, so they were always foolishly eager to mix and share with others.
So yes, while informed Africans may understand the unity agenda as put forward by some pro-African academics and activists, we do not agree that Indian Indentureship issues should be joined to that of the African call for reparations.
JustRight…..on this topic you are right on target.
Kangal’s article is a glaring example of how unaddressed biases could lead one to distort history and reality. Most of his article moves between exaggerating the plight of Indians and boasting of Indian superiority to Whites and Africans. This is done through various distortions. I don’t even think most Indians think that they are superior to whites.
Kangal claims that Sanskrit in the mother of all languages. Basic research would show that this is false. While Sanskrit is a mother language to various languages including Indo-European ones, it is not the mother of all languages.
Kangal further states that Caroni sugar workers were left penniless after the closure of Caroni. Yet Caroni workers were given a separation package which included land grants.
I think that there are valid issues that Indo Caribbean peoples have to discuss with Afro-Caribbean people as part of addressing history and achieving better relations. It is unfortunate though that Kangal comes to the table and his main mission is to make a (shaky) case for the superiority of Indians over other groups.
While Kangal argues that Indians do not have any antagonisms against whites because of feelings of superiority, history reveals something quite different. Indians in the context of the caste system saw the British as superior, and desired to be classed as in the same social category as whites. The Brahminic Hindu worship of whiteness/lightness was also part of this complex. In the context of Indentureship many Indians inferiorized themselves in relation to Europeans while superiorizing themselves in relation to Africans. This is the reason why many Indian spokesmen mainly speak about African discrimination against Indians, real or imagined, while rarely ever challenging colonialism and racism.
They are not interested in any form of reparations because of a deep-seated conviction and feeling that they are a superior group to the white man in terms of religion and culture and will triumph over him eventually as India emerges as the third largest economy.
I said that from a cultural and religious viewpoint Indians (Hindus) regard themselves as superior to the whites and their Christian religion. I did not make a statement vis-a -vis the Africans. That is misrepresentation.
I referred to cane farmers who are completely different from sugar workers who had to wait more that ten years to get their two-acre plots. The cane-farmers that include my cousins and uncles of Munroe Road, Cunupia are still suffering from Manningitis having not received the EU grant to date with land having gone to waste and abandoned.
“The cane-farmers that include my cousins and uncles of Munroe Road, Cunupia are still suffering from Manningitis having not received the EU grant to date with land having gone to waste and abandoned.”
Kindly point me to the relevant articles/reports that stated that the EU grant was to be paid directly to the cane farmers.
Let me add that the descendants of African slaves should have been the first people to be considered for Caroni land grants. Africans were forced to work those lands without compensation and were therefore unable to pass on this inheritance to their children.
I believe that Beckles’ call for African-Indian reparations came from the likes of Dr. Vishnu Bisram. Below is a quote from his article on the subject.
Dr. Vishnu Bisram said:
By at large, the Indian community is uninterested in reparations. However, because some are witnessing the growing momentum from these efforts and the possible benefits that can be gained from such demands, some Indians now want to jump on the bandwagon. Africans, have historically led the reparations movement in seeking the interest of their group due to centuries of injustice but are now being ‘called racist’ for not including Indians. As far as I can see, this is mostly because some Indians want to line up for a payday without doing the necessary work and, as usual, to prosper off the backs of Africans.
“I said that from a cultural and religious viewpoint Indians (Hindus) regard themselves as superior to the whites and their Christian religion. I did not make a statement vis-a -vis the Africans. That is misrepresentation.”
If you read over your article, you can see it is not a misrepresentation. Your point was that Indians come from “a predominantly built environment with 6,000 years of human organisation and a very distinctive and advanced set of embedded socio-cultural practices” and as such do not have antagonisms towards whites. This argument of Indians being more secure culturally and religiously is part of the superiority complex that comes across in your article. Even if your point is correct, that Indians feel superior to whites, you want sensible people to believe that Indians feel superior to whites alone, but not to Africans?
I am having a hard understanding this debate and why ‘I’ am the only one questioning ‘Indian-ness’?
It may seem that I do come across as a ‘provocateur’ here.. But, I do think it is insanity to engage in such a discussion without questioning Stephen on INDIAN-NESS.. What is really Indian? I don’t think I have halitosis Stephen… You can talk to me…
Don’t get me wrong yuh-know…. I am not trying to get you to wear a Dashiki… I just want to know… Do you EVER look in the mirror…. Please?
This is MADNESS..
Stephen… This one flew right over my head…
Cameroonians Speak Tamil
Tremendous link RAMK,We have to keep on searching, to free our people from the likes of STEPHEN KANGAL.
Let me try again…
Thanks Cooper.. The video only confirmed my belief that there is a strong link with Blacks in India and indigenous Africans…
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