Hindu Ethics and Morality

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 02, 2011

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSpeak to any non-Indian in Trinidad and Tobago and one is asked the same question: What dese Indians want? It may be an unfair question, a paranoid response, or just the reflection of feelings of anxiety. Yet, there lingers in the minds of many non-Indians that there can be no pleasing Indians in Trinidad and Tobago. Do they yearn for equality or do they seek dominance?

Anyone familiar with the antics of Devant Maharaj and the Maha Sabha prior to May 2010 cannot forget how they railed against what they saw as inequities in the society. With the assistance of Anand Ramlogan, they utilized every facet of the law to exact their pound of flesh. To hear them tell it, they were discriminated against at every turn. The sole function of the society, read PNM, was to suppress Indians until the day they die.

Dr. Eric Williams was the biggest villain. After calling them (so they say) a “recalcitrant minority” and describing their schools as “cowsheds”, his sole mission was to keep them subservient to Africans. He never named a Hindu to his cabinet which sealed the deal. He was the devil incarnate and his every action was designed to return Indians to the sugar plantations and the rice fields.

And then a strange thing happened. With the help of many Africans, the United National Congress won the elections and then the pay-back began. Initially, there were a few tentative acts of revenge against anything wearing a black skin. With growing confidence, the onslaught took on a new intensity. Amidst the deafening silence of the African members of UNC’s coalition, anyone black was a fit target. He or she was pronounced to be a PNM and there could be no room for him or her in the inn.

The first signs of the pay-back started when Suruj Rambachan paid his first official visit to the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate in New York. Arrogantly, he asked the Consulate General,

“How many persons work here?” to which the Consulate replied “Thirty.”

“How many are Indians.” He was told there were ten employees.

“That’s not good enough,” he retorted.

With that retort came the order that the number of Indian employees must be increased. It was a signal that ethnic cleansing had begun. Quickly, thereafter, Nizam Mohammed targeted the Police Service. There were too many Africans in the Police Force. This couldn’t be good for Trinidad and Tobago. Needless to say, ethnic cleansing was an art with which his party were intimately acquainted. Long before the Foreign Minister’s remark, the Minister of Education made the same point with regards to the medical profession at Mt. Hope.

Since then, ethnic cleansing is the policy of the UNC government. Regardless of competency; regardless of need, each government department must have its quota of Indians and this is presumed to be equality. As I noted earlier, Indian Time ah come and the world must know who the new boss man is.

No one should be surprised that the so-called victim, who is now the victor, is intent of committing all of the sins of which he accused the previous victor. And his Indian sympathizers, intent to twisting the language, ala, Alice in Wonderland, is determined to make the language say what they want it to say even though it does not match the reality of what they say.

Take the example of Clive Spencer, former General Manager of the Port Authority, who refused to carry out Devant Maharaj’s “orders” (that’s what they do, they order) to fire all the legal representatives used by the Port and reassign all of the work to Fortis Chambers and Subhas Panday. Trying to hold on to his dignity and do the right thing, he was subsequently fired by Maharaj.

Questioned whether a decision was taken to fire Spencer, Maharaj retorted: “He was never hired so I don’t know how he could be fired.”

Spencer, he announced was not fired. He was “dis-appointed.”

He observed further: “Well all of us could be disappointed. I could be disappointed…Once you are there at the pleasure of the government you could be replaced in a day or in a heartbeat. Nobody has a mortgage on any position.”

No one would have thought that citizens’ rights, circumscribed by the constitution, could be disregarded so blithely.

But, as Maharaj claimed: “I run my business with the boards rather than in the media.”

Listening to Spencer, one heard the voice of a humiliated person:

“These people are too vulgar. When they can’t drive you into submission they try to destroy you.”

Here was Spencer trying to run his board with a little bit of integrity but there was Maharaj giving directives from his office, “instructing the board to fire wholesale the panel of attorneys.”

Therefore it was not inconsistent that similar behavior, meant to humiliate, occurred at the Airports Authority. Felix Hernandez, doing his duty, was accused of “disrespecting the chairman.” I suppose that he, too, will soon be “dis-appointed” from his position on the board on the grounds that “all of us could be disappointed.” And this behavior will continue until every African is grounded into the dust.

So that when non-Indians ask what more does Indians (more specifically Hindus) want perhaps they ought to look more closely at Maharaj’s behavior and ask what is his moral compass and whether words such as equity, morality and ethics have the same meaning for him as it does for non-Hindus and whether it is alright to cite certain moral and ethical invocations when one is not in power and then do the exact opposite when one gets into power.

We will have to answer these questions if we hope to understand “what dese Indians want” and if we are to avert the crisis that will soon entangle our society. Different religious systems offer different interpretations of these concepts. It is a conundrum that we in Trinidad and Tobago will have to answer now that the “victim” has become the “victor.”

18 thoughts on “Hindu Ethics and Morality”

  1. Injustices: political or racial?
    PETER O’CONNOR Sunday, October 30 2011
    Barbados and Jamaica, and indeed all the former British colonies in the Caribbean, are spared a phenomenon peculiar to us in TT and possibly to the Guyanese
    When governments change following elections in those countries, there is, as there is here, a great shuffling of plum government jobs and perquisites, as the incoming victors move to place their people, their supporters, and yes, their friends, in the positions previously held by the supporters of the outgoing government—the party which lost the election.

    But because of how we are politically and ethnically, we pretend that we do not understand this reshuffling.

    In Jamaica, following a change of government, heads of state boards, agencies and the like, if they do not resign, are dismissed. Previously favoured lawyers lose their briefs, as do advertising agencies, and previously favoured consultants and contractors become sidelined. And they all accept this as part of the political environment in which they live. Their turns will come again.

    We live in an essentially similar political environment, but we have one basic difference. When a new government is elected in our country, the departures of directors, attorneys, commissioners, friends and hangers-on are not seen as the basic norm in a society where free elections bring changes of government, and changes of government bring changes in the personnel which governments appoint.

    We claim that these changes are “racially motivated”, and we call them “ethnic cleansing” (can you believe that statement?), and make comments like “another black man bites the dust” and “they trying to ‘Indianize’ the country”.

    We all know that these statements are inflammatory and divisive, and indeed banned in countries which we seek to emulate. We also know that while the physical changing of the guard, down through the ranks, gives an impression of the other “race” taking over, the truth is that that the change represents a political, rather than a racial reality — a reality which occurs in all democratic countries.

    I have addressed this issue in the past, and I was pleased to see that someone of the stature of Dana Seetahal wrote about it recently, as have others. Because our political parties depend largely upon specific ethnic groups for support, every action, or lack of action is now interpreted as “racial”, when it is in fact more likely to be “political”.

    Listen, any committed supporter of the PNM, who may be of Indian descent, will have access to the PNM’s largesse when the PNM is in power. And of course, to special favours.

    If Sat Maharaj had ever declared support for the PNM, he would have had his radio license long ago. And maybe a TV license as well! How can we claim that the PNM was objecting to an “Indian radio station” in Sat’s case?

    We have Indian and specifically, Hindu radio stations operating with licenses and without interference, so how was Sat’s denial racist? Come on, Sat was being punished — and that is the word to use — because he speaks against the PNM.

    I would never get a radio license, not from the PNM, nor from Panday’s UNC. And this has nothing to do with my being white. They would never give me a voice beyond what I write! And for what I write they go beyond me. When this country celebrated one hundred years of our petroleum industry, the Ministry of Energy published a list of 100 pioneers, and sought nominees. Among those submitted by the Energy Chamber was one PET O’Connor, my father.

    Now, it would be difficult to name ten “pioneers” and not include “PET” But the Minister at the time vetoed my father’s nomination! And not that the PNM had anything against him: he had served under Errol Mahabir as chairman of the Port Authority, and as a commissioner of TTEC. But that was before I started to write.

    So, for my “sins”, one of TT’s true petroleum pioneers was excised from the history of the industry! That was not racist, as some have suggested. That was straight political petulance and spite. Williams did not excise Gomes from TT’s history because of Gomes’ race, but again, simply out of spite.

    So, please everyone, get off this false racial bogeyman. We do have racial prejudices in TT and they fly in all directions, but mostly they stem from personal ignorance and fear. The spitefulness of our politicians, again flying in all directions, is not necessarily racist.

    Let us catch ourselves, TT! We are a wonderful mix of peoples, faiths and cultures, who live among ourselves better than peoples anywhere else in the world. We are brilliant, creative and joyous. But we suffer an element of indolence and self-loathing, which our leaders exploit to keep us from fulfillment.

    Free yourselves from your leaders and embrace your neighbours!

  2. The thesis of this article is “if you are African then nobody should fire you, because it is racism”.
    Yaawwn, I find it to be very amusing. The writer is black/PNM appologist so one cannot expect anything less than a frontal attack on two of the hardest working ministers Devant and Suruj. They are easy target because of their affiliation with SDMS. The head of the Port Authourity was a senior citizen and should have been in retirement for some time, once Devant told him to go “it is described as racism”. The writer must understand that if you disobey the orders of the Minister then he have the right to replace you with someone more compliant, in the business world that is simply doing what it takes to get the job done.

    “Since then, ethnic cleansing is the policy of the UNC government. Regardless of competency; regardless of need, each government department must have its quota of Indians and this is presumed to be equality. As I noted earlier, Indian Time ah come and the world must know who the new boss man is.”
    Equality should be the goal of all government, I find nothing wrong with that, under the PNM 85% of the public service was reserve for members of the PNM tribe. They never understood equality.

    Seeking to achieve balance is the right way forward, we cannot allow history to destroy the future.

    1. Mamoo there is a big difference between equality and affirmative action.Equality should not be sacrificed at the alter of meritocracy(not that I am saying some of those incompetents in gov’t service have any)but arbitrarily adding more Indos is not the answer.An equal rights dep’t should be set up just to study this problem in detail.

  3. Prof.. I will not loose any sleep over these Hindus in T&T and their values system.. They are so ‘Africanised’ without even knowing it..

    This statement from the head of the Maha Sabha tell of their dilemma.. No Sat Hindus have no concept of Heaven and Hell… Shuh..

    “When he talks to us and apologise to the Hindu community then we will move to accept it because the greatest harm done to the Hindu Community was done by Mr Patrick Manning and his administration and the day I hear him say that I’ll ask all my pundits to forgive him, he shouldn’t go to hell,” said Maharaj. The Maha Sabha took the matter to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Privy council and won.

  4. Thank you Mr. O’Conner. I love Trinidad. Your comments are inciteful and inspirational. God bless Trinidad and Tobago, where every creed and race find an equal place.

  5. Mamoo, I am not pointing a finger at you, but how come when Devant and Suruj do their thing it is not race, but when ‘scholarship funds’ are disbursed by the PNM it is a matter of race? The Prime Minister even had the percentages. She boldly divided T&T into ‘Indians’ and ‘Non-Indians.’ What is good for goose should be good for the gander.

    1. Mr. Frontsman, the scholarship fund is nothing new to the PNM. Truth be told such funds were there since 1956. It was design to help PNMites have an education abroad because their party was in charge. Unfortunately, too much focus was paid on the issue of race, when in fact the real issue was this fund was used by people in the PNM who did not need it to take care of their children. Just ask Louis Lee Sing.

    2. Did the PM divide the scholarship recipients into ‘indians & non-indians’ or did she read an Equal Opportunity Commission’s report which made this division?

    3. In Mamoo’s mind when an indian practise racism, he is just looking out for his brother, he is not doing any wrong. That is how Indian’s think, they are not satisfied until they have all whether or not they deserve it. Devant Maharaj, Suruj Rambachan et al are closet racists pretending to be for all the people of this country when in truth they are bent on promoting the Indian/Hindu cause. They cannot fool all of us ! I agree with Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe, why Kamla didnt go to Mount Hope and ask why it have so much Indian. African ‘s desiring to study medicine have to go too Mona, Jamaica or St. George’s University while they run roughshod over the medical school. Once they cannot control 100% of anything then there is racism. They only see it when they are not the one’s practising it. I will never vote for this Government or the UNC.

  6. “Dr. Eric Williams was the biggest villain. After calling them (so they say) a “recalcitrant minority” and describing their schools as “cowsheds”, his sole mission was to keep them subservient to Africans. He never named a Hindu to his cabinet which sealed the deal. He was the devil incarnate and his every action was designed to return Indians to the sugar plantations and the rice fields.”

    An honest assessment of the source of Hutu/Tutsi thinking T&T. Thank you sir, we all knew that but it is even juicier coming from an insider.
    The PNM never understood nationhood, their main focus was fixing PNM areas and practising rampant racism and discrimination. The PP for it’s part is not defined by Devant or Suruj the main subjects of author thrashing.

    The PP is defined by people like Mr. Sandy who is changing the psychological designation of black people by telling them to stay away from criminality. By people like Jack Warner who is spending billions to improve the roads and drainage system across the nation. By people like Dr. Khan who is seeking to improve health care across the nation. By Dr. Moonilal who is producing over 6,000 houses for the nation. By Mr. Vasant whose argo plan will forever eliminate foreign dependence on food. To name a few. Forgive me for not mentioning all.

    The Prime Minister is surrounded by people who can “balance of” any perceived idea of racism or discrimination. They are helping all nationals, it is mischievious to focus on two individuals and say they are the ones who are propogating anti-Afro hysteria. In fact Devant when he was chairman of PTSC, he said that they were expecting him to practice ethnic cleansing and was surprise when he came and work with the employees to improve the PTSC. And yes he performed well at that job and was rightly promoted.

    So these claims of ethnic cleansing is “vacuous” at best.

  7. thanks mr. o’connor for giving your slant on the racial politics of trinbago but your article tells only one side of the story ..will you please write the other side next time? not as a PPP sympathizer but as the neutral journalist you can be…peace

  8. Aroucan said ,”Thanks mr. o’connor ..but will you please write the other side next time , not as a PPP sympathizer, but as the neutral journalist?”
    Nice try buddy,as one can sense that your heart is in the right direction. However ,this you would never see in this life time for such is the ways of dem 3/4 white , and or, cuddled local French creoles ,that we have in our country ,still claiming to be citizens.
    They have fed like suckling piglets, from mama PNM for decades, then after placing their fingers in the air , then seeing how the political winds were blowing ,decided to jump on the bandwagon of another,always for self serving personal gains.
    As for neutral journalist? Don’t make me laugh. Sadly he is not the only one on this board , who won’t even know the meaning of the expression if it hit them on their head.
    Unfortunately ,they stupidly think, that they protect their tenuous lagasse , by indulging in such unscrupulous practices, of media stealth , pro ethnic biases ,and deceptions?
    We wish our people well.

    1. You are stereotyping O’Connor the same way that whites has negetively painted blacks for eons.Maybe it’s a subconcious urge to emulate the white conqueror/humiliator(a black Klu/Klux Klansman?)Who knows maybe all that Afrocentric verbiage you spew is an attemp to hide your white mask….A Patty Hearst syndrome 400yrs in the making…what a tragedy!

  9. Much respect to Mr. O’Connor, but is he trying to say that the politics of race does not exist in sweet Trinidad & Tobago in the year 2011? Mr. O’Connor describes himself as ‘white.’ Can he honestly say that he did not get a little favour over someone else because of his ‘whiteness?’ I would like to remind him of the pre-1970 era and the time when a visiting black American couple was denied entry to the “Whites Only” country club in Port of Spain. Mr. O’Connor would be correct if he said that it was not Government sanctioned, it was only practiced by the ‘white’ people.

  10. Our sweet Trinbago is becoming a Cesspool & all anyone seems to want to discuss is the painfully obvious racial agenga that the political directorate have continuously been using to divide & conquer. Get a clue my fellow citizens, perhaps we need to have a closer look at the example Nelson Mandela has set when he became the first black Prime Minister of a formerly apartheid South Africa. It was not justice, nor his pound of flesh he sought, but healing. Racial cleaning? What speak you of healing the racial divide. There are many other races living in Trinidad & Tobago & yet no one speaks of them or of their possible marginalization? This simply highlights the vacuous nature of the discourse of the political directorates of equality as it’s not on par with our present cultural & ethnic composition. The national agenda should always seek to perpetuate tolerance & address any issues of racial discrimination wherever it may be found & to address them with impartiality.

  11. With all the cries of discrimination in the Public Service most especially the Police Service, against Indians, it would seem that when it comes to corrupt Cops they are well if not over-represented, judging from the 13 named over the last week:
    Sgt. Kemraj Sahadeo, PCs Roger Nicholas, Glenn Singh, Antonio Ramdhin, Ronaldo Rivero, Safraz Juman and WPC Nicole Clement; count 4 out of 7 for murder and then PCs Veda Persad (any relationship to our PM) Samlal Seepersad, Ramesh Boodram, Lyndon Hosein, Elton Charlerie and actg Sgt Rasool Balkaran; a possible 4 out of 6 as Hosein could be any ethnicity or all.

    Begs the question what would our State look like with more East Indians in our nations police service?

Comments are closed.