International Jahajee Journal (IJJ), August 24th, 2008

Our peace of mind increases in spite of suffering; we become braver and more
enterprising; we understand more clearly the difference between what is everlasting and
what is not; we learn how to distinguish between what is our duty and what is not. Our
pride melts away and we become humble. Our worldly attachments diminish and, likewise,
 the evil within us diminishes from day to day.
Mahatma Gandhi
by Carolyn Kissoon,
Shiva Chakan, who is stricken with diabetes, wants to become a paediatric
And by the looks of it, the 16-year-old is well on his way to achieving his dreams.
Shiva, who’s most prized possession, an iPod media player, was stolen at a
diabetic camp last weekend, was among scores of secondary school pupils who
received their CXC Ordinary Level results yesterday. For each of the eight
subjects he wrote, Shiva, who attends Presentation College, San Fernando,
TRINIDAD, received grade ones.
“I was elated when I got my results, I worked really hard and I knew I would do
well but I did not expect this,” he said.
Shiva, who lives with his family at Ste Madeleine, Trinidad, said since he was
diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year and he began studying on how the
disease affected children.
“And I want to be able to do something to help other children, because I know
what they are going through,” he said.

NAYA ZAMANA by Guyana Dharmic Sabha 

President Bharrat Jagdeo Saturday evening, just before the staging of
Naya Zamana’- an evening of classical Indian dances at the
Cultural Centre
(NCC), congratulated the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha
for organising the event and for the organisation’s creativity and
persistence in assisting to promote the Indian culture over the
Reminding the large audience at the event about the struggles of our
Indian ancestors who survived near slave-like conditions during the
colonial era, President Jagdeo said they were successful in carving out
a position for those who followed. “The colonial authorities consistently
tried to dehumanise the people who came here by changing their religion,
their language and their art forms, because they saw that as a way of
controlling them. But they did not succeed; so we have today, this
wonderful culture that they have contributed to this land and that has
become part of the Guyanese culture,” he said.

Warwick University honours
Yesu Persaud with Doctorate

Warwick University honours Yesu Persaud with Doctorate
Dr. Yesu Persaud (left), President of GOPIO GUYANA

“An exemplary Guyanese whom a lot can be learnt from” Hans Barrow

“No one can take away that he is an example for all who would wish to walk in his footsteps” Major General (rtd) Joe Singh
“A splendid example of progress from poverty to stellar achievements” Professor David Dabydeen

Scores of
dignitaries and eminent entrepreneurs turned out at Le Meridien Pegasus
hotel, Georgetown, GUYANA,  to honour Dr. Yesu Persaud who was recently
awarded an Honorary Doctorate for honourable causes by the University
of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
The University only bestows the
honour on some 10 persons each year out of a field of literally
hundreds of individuals worldwide.

David Dabydeen, who chaired the proceedings, noted that Dr. Persaud’s
beginning was very humble as he started working in the canefields of
He, however, pointed out that despite his modest foundation,
he has served in a number of eminent positions which include Chairman
of Demerara Distillers, Founder and Chairman of Demerara Bank, Chairman
of the Trust Company Guyana Limited, Chairman of the Institute of
Private Enterprise and Development (IPED) and Chairman of the Private
Sector Commission of Guyana. He also served as President of the Guyana
Manufacturers Association, Vice President of the West Indies Rum and
Spirits Association, and a member of the Advisory Group to the
Caribbean’s Chief Trade Negotiator, Sir Shridath Ramphal, on CARICOM
international negotiations.
He has also been an Associate Fellow of the University of Warwick’s Centre for Caribbean Studies for the last 10 years.
“Yesu Persaud is a splendid example of progress from poverty to stellar achievements,” said Dabydeen.
Persaud is one of Guyana’s leading businessmen and philanthropists who
is renowned for his support of human rights, his outstanding
contributions in business and Indian history and culture, and his role
at conceiving the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED).
“His notion of helping people to help themselves is the most effective way of eradicating poverty.”
Persaud is the recipient of several international and national awards
including the Gandhi Organisation Plaque for his contribution to
promoting Indian culture in Guyana, the Cacique’s Crown of Honour for
the development of new industries in Guyana in 1983, and the Glory of
India Award and Certificate of Excellence by the India International
Friendship Society in 2005.
2006 India honoured him with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his
outstanding contributions in business and Indian history and culture.
Persaud is a founding member of Guyana’s Indian Arrival Committee (IAC)
which was later converted into the Indian Commemoration Trust, and he
is single-handedly responsible for creating the Monument Garden which
marks the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured labourers to
Guyana in 1838.
Dr Persaud was described by many of his friends and
colleagues last evening as a humble man who did not disrespect or
He was described as an open individual who would greet anyone on the social ladder from top to bottom and did not disparage.
“He is one of the persons who never hesitated to allow a person to realize their fullest potential.”
Chairman of IPED, Dr Leslie Chin noted that it was because of the
vision of Dr Persaud that IPED was formulated and one of the values he
instilled at that organsisation was the value of financial stability
for all.
Randolph George described Dr Persaud as a man of outstanding character.
“We ought to be thankful as a country for people like Persaud.”
Hans Barrow told the gathering that Dr Persuad was an exemplary Guyanese whom a lot could be learnt from.
Major General (rtd) Joe Singh noted that the distinguished persons in
the audience were testimony to the depth of Dr Persaud.
He added
that Dr Persaud was a man who never made age a factor and gave
unselfishly of his time. “No one can take away that he is an example
for all who would wish to walk in his footsteps.”
Singh also noted
that it was fitting for Dr Persaud to be honoured while he was alive
and urged that it be done in more cases for people who have served the
country faithfully and unselfishly.
Dr Persaud, in expressing appreciation
for the award and compliments bestowed on him, said that he was proud
of his humble beginnings and that he learnt “from a young age to
respect all, love all and hate none irrespective of who they are, given
that we are all part of the human family…cease to do evil, learn to do
good given that what you sow you reap.”
According to Dr Persaud, a
person is what he/she makes themselves and humility would take an
individual a far way. He added that one of his life’s philosophies was
to “do your best and nothing but the best.”
Dr Persaud acknowledged
that a project that he was particularly proud of is IPED, which gives
persons an opportunity to own their own business, and it was his
tribute to Guyana.
He estimated that IPED has been responsible for
the establishment of some 40,000 businesses and the creation of some
50,000 jobs.
In offering a bit of advice, Dr. Persaud said that
nothing happens if you don’t make it happen given that God has blessed
“us all with faculties (brain) and we must use it.”
He added that if all was to contribute to society it would be a better place.
Persaud was also adamant that there was no reason for this to be a poor
country since the country is blessed with an abundance of resources.
noted that what needs to be accomplished is the putting aside of the
division that exists in the country. “If we can come together we can
transform the nation….we will prosper.”
Dr Persaud is currently working on his autobiography.

From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize –

by Karan Chand

Karan Chand is a Guyanese living and teaching for the past 19 years in Belize
 City, Belize.
This book is on the list for Literature at two high schools in Belize
and others are now considering it to be included as an additional text.

From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize – THE INDENTURED IMMIGRANTS 
is available from the author – E-mail  kchand16@hotmail. com

Indians in America:
Before and after Attaining Citizenship Rights
By Inder Singh, President of GOPIO International

from India started coming to the United States of America at the
beginning of the twentieth century. Most of them worked at menial jobs,
lived in appalling conditions and in crumbling structures. Except a
few, all were single, could not bring a spouse from India nor allowed
to marry an American. For forty five years they lived in the shadows of
American society. After a long struggle, in 1946 they got the right to
US citizenship. Thereafter, they could buy property, get a job
commensurate with their qualifications, marry a person of their choice,
and were free to travel and visit India, the country of their birth.
Indian nationals had lived for years in a free country without freedom.
However, after Indian nationals obtained political rights, there has
been a dramatic change in Indian community’s contributions to the
country they have adopted as their home.

first part of this article describes the hardships, hostility,
humiliation and bigotry the early settlers encountered and their
sacrifices, perseverance and tenacity that defied all odds, while they
managed a sustained campaign for political rights in the country of
their domicile and hope, the United States of America. The second part
describes those immigrants who came after the grant of citizenship
rights and the liberalization of US Immigration laws. They comprised of
professionals, high-tech workers, students and sponsored relatives.
Several made laudable contributions in various ways to the country they
have adopted as their home and also contributed significantly to the
resurgence of India.

Beginning of Indian Immigration
In 1897,
Queen Victoria of England and the Empress of India, included a Sikh
regiment from the Indian Army in her diamond jubilee celebrations. On
the return journey, the soldiers were sent back to India via Canada.
Most of these soldiers were originally farmers and were fascinated with
the potential for farming opportunities. They dreamed of returning to
Canada after retirement. And some of them did return. India and Canada
were both part of the British Empire and Canada became the destination
of choice for many emigrants from India. Emigration from India to the
USA started as a trickle while many came from Canada from the porous
borders with America.

April 5, 1899, four Punjabis who had worked in the British Royal
Artillery in Hong Kong, landed in San Francisco and were allowed to
stay in the United States by the US Immigration Service. The grant of
permission for them was an encouraging signal for others to follow
those four pioneers.




Episodes of Indian Experience
by Professor Kenneth Ramchand
Professor Kenneth Ramchand is Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature,
University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Emeritus of English (Colgate University),
currently, Associate Provost, The Academy at the University of Trinidad and
Tobago for Arts,
Letters, Culture and Public



I want to do a ballet on the Ganges: Hema Malini

Hema Malini produces Revathi film


Dubai, Aug 17 (IANS) Bringing the Ganges river and the issues surrounding it today onstage is the next
big dream of veteran Bollywood actor and internationally acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer Hema Malini.

‘The next ballet I want to do is on our great river Ganges,’ Hema Malini told IANS in an interview here.

‘I have already made the script. I want to bring the Ganges on to the stage,’ she said.

She explained that her new ballet on the Ganges would carry an environmental message.

‘It is a beautiful concept, you know.
It starts with the mythological beginning (of the Ganges). But it goes
into today’s time and issues associated with the river. An
environmental message will be given,’ she
said. Talking about her other works, Hema Malini was very enthusiastic about another ballet she has
called ‘Draupadi’. ‘I have 12 actors playing the roles of the Kauravas
and Pandavas. I play the role of Draupadi. Our great epic ‘Mahabharata’
is then told from Draupadi’s point of view,’ she said.

Unity with Guyana and Suriname?
Dear Editor,
I am for integration but not
with Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The reason is
not ethnicity as some may be tempted to think but simply economics.
What do these country have to bring to  this “political marriage” with Trinidad and Tobago?
A political union with Guyana and Suriname will have many more advantages. These are as follows:
1. Guyana and Suriname
have vast acreages of land and a strong agricultural secotor that can
become the breadbasket of the Caribbean, thus ensuring food security for the region.
2. Trinidad and Tobago’s abundance of diesel and gasolene can be provided to Guyana and Suriname at a subsidized price to boost agricultural production.
 Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago have a common historical, cultural
and political experience that can be built on. For example, in all
three countries there are large numbers of Africans and East Indians
that are familar with and share religious and cultural practices.
4.Eco-tourism is a major
industry that can be explored in Guyana and Suriname. The Kaituer Falls
, the rain forests and the vast rivers of Guyana  and Suriname are 
a paradise for  naturalists.
5. Association with Surimane will provide markets for trade with the Dutch-speaking Caribbean and the Netherlands.
6.Trinidad and Tobago’s natural gas can be used to assist Guyana and Suriname with its aluminium smelter production rather than the need to establish smelter plants in Trinidad.
7.Guyana has gold and other precious metals that can be exploited and traded in international market for precious foreign exchange.
9. The potential for wealth
creation will give rise to a high standard of living, low inflation and
neglible criminal activities including homicides.
10. Lastly, Trinidad and Tobago has Brian Lara while Guyana has Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Trinidad and Tobago has nothing
to gain by an association with those islands. The only solution to
those three states is for them to apply to the UK for dependency status
and if successful, they would be lucky to be part of the European Union, an economic power house.
A unity with Guyana and
Suriname is essential for Trinidad and Tobago if we are to think of our
survival beyond 2012. If we don’t move speedily in that direction we
may also have to apply to the UK for dependency status.
D.H. Singh




Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath,
Editor, International Jahajee Journal
President, GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago.
Part 1 : Origin of The Coolie Slave Trade 
NRI saga goes back over 2,500 years

By Kul Bhushan
For most of the new NRI generation,
the Indian migration started about 60 years or 100 years at the most.
But this saga goes back over 2,500 years ago much before Biblical times
to distant shores of Africa, South-East Asia and the Far East.
Considering that they travelled by sailboats into uncharted seas in
voyages that took months to the Far East, it remains a humongous
Most of the second NRI generation in
the US and Britain traces its roots to their fathers who left their
motherland after India became independent. Canada is an exception as
sturdy Punjabi farmers settled there earlier around 1930s. NRIs in East
and South Africa, Mauritius and the Caribbean go back to just over a
century when their forefathers went abroad to work as labourers to
build a railway in East Africa or work on sugar plantations.
While Sri Lanka and Myanmar are just
over the horizon for Indian seafarers, negotiating tricky straits and
storms to land in Java, Sumatra, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali and the
Philippines demonstrated their real test of skill and endurance over
2,500 years ago. Sailing west was relatively easy as the annual monsoon
winds carried their sailboats from Kutch to the Gulf and then south to
East Africa and a few months later, they returned as the winds changed
into the opposite direction.
“The diaspora of Indians in ancient
times to the countries of South East Asia and the annals of those
kingdoms by the Hindu colonists were quite unlike the later European
ways of colonization,” writes Utpal K. Banerjee in his new book ‘Hindu
Joy of Life’, “Among the European powers were the English, Dutch,
French, Portuguese and Spaniards, all five of which acted with explicit
support of home government and were accompanied by military forces to
back them to forcibly impose supremacy over the people of other
countries; mainly to exploit the resources of the colony and benefit
their homeland.”
The Indians, on the contrary,
enriched the native populations by introducing the art of writing, high
degree of culture, improved methods of cultivation, improved
handicrafts and introduced new industries, claims Banerjee. “Indians
went out of their country without any sort of backing of any of the
Indian states,” he said. “Hindus left their motherland to settle abroad
in colonies and not to make fortune and run back to motherland. It was
diaspora in the truest sense, where the penetration of Hindu
civilization, culture, languages in South East Asia took place so
peacefully that the indigenous population never felt that their country
had been taken over.” Here is a book that chronicles the 2,500 years of
Indian settlement abroad in lucid terms in one of its chapters. This
highly readable panorama of the Hindu way of life, as opposed to narrow
religion described in dry, abstract terms, presents the full canvas of
the arts and culture that endures in all NRI communities to this day.
In full colour, it is an ide
al introduction for the new NRI
generation to learn about their heritage from their gods, scriptures to
their fine arts, dance and music. The author writes with the experience
of travels to almost all the countries with NRI populations and many
more where he was sent to lecture on Indian art and culture.
He scripts the NRI saga right up to
the present day. He outlines how the British rulers channelled the
recent waves of Indian settlement abroad. After the abolition of
slavery, the planters needed farm workers and so they tapped the huge
manpower resource of India for the sugar plantations of Jamaica, South
Africa and Mauritius from UP and Bihar. They needed workers to build
the Kenya Uganda Railway towards the end of the 19th century, so they
sent them from Punjab. They needed farmers for the hostile lands of
Canada and so Punjabi farmers were allowed in.
After the Second World War, both
Britain and the US needed factory workers, skilled professionals and
admitted Indians in large numbers from 1960 onwards. The latest flow of
Indian immigrants to the US, Britain and Canada came from east Africa
in the 1960s to 1980s when the independent African governments wanted
to provide jobs for their indigenous peoples. At the end of the last
century, Indian IT workers went to fix the Millennium Bug in the
computer systems followed by thousands of IT professionals.
Wherever NRIs settled, they have
prospered. As law-abiding citizens by and large, they have preserved
enduring Indian values. And they have maintained their links with India
from distant lands through their way of life. Banerjee pays NRIs a warm
tribute by writing, “This is no mean achievement, in spite of the
initial handicaps and owes a lot to the innate vitality of the Indian
civilization.” In brief, India has always been ‘a soft super power’.
A media consultant to a UN Agency,
Kul Bhushan previously worked abroad as a newspaper editor and has
travelled to over 55 countries. He lives in New Delhi and can be
contacted at:  

GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago
a chapter of GOPIO International.
P.O. BOX 2286, Chaguanas. TRINIDAD.

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) unequivocally and
categorically reiterates that there is only one authorized GOPIO Chapter in
Trinidad and Tobago, namely GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, with its leadership
team that was installed on February 29, 2008
in Freeport,

The executives of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago include Deosaran Bisnath (President);
Varsha Maharaj (Secretary); Oscar Ramoutar (Treasurer); Ena Maraj, PRO;
Directors (Niranjan Bhaggan, Jaganath Seeram-Maharaj) ; and
Youth Officers (Shivanie Ramcharitar, Sacha Mahabal and Avinash Sanu).


GOPIO International emphasizes that former GOPIO of Trinidad and Tobago chapter
president Devant Maharaj does not function in any capacity in GOPIO International,
any of its councils or chapters, and is not authorized to make any such representations
on behalf of GOPIO Int’l or GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago.


GOPIO is a secular, non-partisan, not-for-profit, international organization based in
USA with chapters in various parts of the globe, representing the interests and
aspirations of People of Indian Origin (PIOs), and promoting awareness and
understanding of issues of concern — social, cultural, educational, economic, or political,
to global NRI/PIO community.


GOPIO can be contacted:

Inder Singh (President, GOPIO Int’l) at gopio-intl@sbcgloba  or by
tel +1-818-708-3885, Ashook Ramsaran (Sec General, GOPIO Int’l) at
ramsaran@aol. com

 or by tel +1-718-939-8194, Deosaran Bisnath
(President, GOPIO of Trinidad & Tobago) at
deobisnath@yahoo. com
by tel +1-868-687-7529

Become a GOPIO member: write to –
GopioTT@gmail. com

GOPIO on the NET:

http://gopiott. blogspot. com/

http://www.gopio. net


Fiji to hold forum on elections

The interim Attorney-General of Fiji
says his country will hold its own forum to discuss future elections,
but New Zealand is not invited.
Fiji’s interim leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, refused to attend a Pacific Islands Forum in Niue this week.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says
he did not want to explain why he backed away from a promised deadline
for elections next year.
But Fiji’s interim Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says New Zealand blocked the Commodore from post-forum talks.
He says Fiji has now invited the heads of the United Nations and the Commonwealth to its own forum on elections.
Fijian leader Frank Bainimarama has issued a bold warning to the Pacific Forum nations – be wary of New Zealand and Australia.
The so called “statement to the nation” is
in response to the Forum’s ultimatum for Fiji to hold elections by
March, or be suspended, after Commodore Bainimarama was a no-show at
the talks in Niue.
The self-appointed Fijian leader says New
Zealand and Australia seem to have taken over the moral leadership of
the Pacific region.


~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~
user posted image

I was born from the nectar of immortality as the primordial horse
and as Indra’s noble elephant. Among men, I am the king.
Among weapons I am the thunderbolt. I am Kamadhuk, the cow
that fulfills all desires;
I am Kandarpa, the power of sex, and Vasuki, the king of snakes.
Bhagavad Gita 10:27-28 

The ego is like a stick dividing water in two. It creates the impression that you
are one and I am another. When the ego vanishes you will realize that Brahman
is your own inner consciousness.

Some realize the Self within them through the practice of meditation, some by
the path of wisdom, and others by selfless service.
Others may not know these paths; but hearing and following the instructions of
an illumined teacher, they too go beyond death.
Bhagavad Gita 13:24-25

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~


Netherland: A Novel
by Joseph O’Neill
Chuck Ramkissoon, Trini self-mythologizing entrepreneur-gangster
Review From Publishers Weekly
van den Broek, the Dutch-born narrator of O’Neill’s dense, intelligent
novel, observes of his friend, Chuck Ramkissoon, a self-mythologizing
entrepreneur-gangster, that he never quite believed that people would
sooner not have their understanding of the world blown up, even by
Chuck Ramkissoon. The image of one’s understanding of the world being
blown up is poignant—this is Hans’s fate after 9/11. He and wife Rachel
abandon their downtown loft, and, soon, Rachel leaves him behind at
their temporary residence, the Chelsea Hotel, taking their son, Jake,
back to London. Hans, an equities analyst, is at loose ends without
Rachel, and in the two years he remains Rachel-less in New York City,
he gets swept up by Chuck, a Trinidadian expatriate Hans meets at a
cricket match. Chuck’s dream is to build a cricket stadium in Brooklyn;
in the meantime, he operates as a factotum for a Russian gangster. The
unlikely (and doomed from the novel’s outset) friendship rises and
falls in tandem with Hans’s marriage, which falls and then, gradually,
rises again. O’Neill (This Is the Life) offers an outsider’s view of New York bursting with wisdom, authenticity and a sobering jolt of realism.

In Joseph O’Neill’s third novel, Netherland, there are two great love objects: the city of New York and the game of cricket. Hans van den Broek,
the novel’s Dutch narrator, seeks solace in both the place and the
sport after September 11, 2001, when he finds himself adrift in the
city. We know he watched the destruction on television in the midtown
office where he works, that the trauma that followed is the ostensible
reason for his foundering marriage, and that the catastrophe forced
him, his wife, Rachel, and young son, Jake, out of their Tribeca loft
and into the Hotel Chelsea. When Rachel leaves for London
with Jake, Hans slides into a state of depressed alienation, which is
relieved, in part, by playing cricket in the city’s outer boroughs with
like-minded comrades from the West Indies and Asia.
On one of these excursions, Hans meets a
Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon. This hyper-articulate, bamboozling
entrepreneur with a grand dream of building an American cricket arena
holds a steady if rather vague fascination for Hans, and the two fall
into an unlikely friendship.
Excerpt from Netherland.
The afternoon before I left London for New York—Rachel
had flown out six weeks previously—I was in my cubicle at work, boxing
up my possessions, when a senior vice-president at the bank, an
Englishman in his fifties, came to wish me well. I was surprised; he
worked in another part of the building and in another department, and
we were known to each other only by sight. Nevertheless, he asked me in
detail about where I intended to live (“Watts? Which block on Watts?”)
and reminisced for several minutes about his loft on Wooster Street and
his outings to the “original” Dean & DeLuca. He was doing nothing
to hide his envy.

“We won’t be gone for very long,” I
playing down my good fortune. That was, in fact, the plan, conceived by my wife: to drop in on New York City for a year or three and then come back.

say that now,” he said. “But New York’s a very hard place to leave. And
once you do leave . . .” The S.V.P., smiling, said, “I still miss it,
and I left twelve years ago.”

It was my turn to smile—in part out of embarrassment, because he’d spoken with an American openness. “Well, we’ll see,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “You will.”

sureness irritated me, though principally he was pitiable—like one of
those Petersburgians of yesteryear whose duties have washed him up on
the wrong side of the Urals.

But it turns out he was right, in a
way. Now that I, too, have left that city, I find it hard to rid myself
of the feeling that life carries a taint of aftermath. This
last-mentioned word, somebody once told me, refers literally to a
second mowing of grass in the same season. You might say, if you’re the
type prone to general observations, that New York City insists on
memory’s repetitive mower—on the sort of purposeful postmortem that has
the effect, so one is told and forlornly hopes, of cutting the grassy
past to manageable proportions. For it keeps growing back, of course.
None of this means that I wish I were back there now; and naturally I’d
like to believe that my own retrospection is in some way more important
than the old S.V.P.’s, which, when I was exposed to it, seemed to
amount to not much more than a cheap longing. But there’s no such thing
as a cheap longing, I’m tempted to conclude these days, not even if
you’re sobbing over a cracked fingernail. Who knows what happened to
that fellow over there? Who knows what lay behind his story about
shopping for balsamic vinegar? He made it sound like an elixir, the
poor bastard.

At any rate, for the first two years or so of my return to England,
I did my best to look away from New York—where, after all, I’d been
unhappy for the first time in my life. I didn’t go back there in
person, and I didn’t wonder very often about what had become of a man
named Chuck Ramkissoon, who’d been a friend during my final East Coast
summer and had since, in the way of these things, become a transitory
figure. Then, one evening in the spring of this year, 2006, Rachel and
I are at home, in Highbury. She is absorbed by a story in the
newspaper. I have already read it. It concerns a group of tribespeople
that has emerged from the Amazon forest in Colombia.
They are reportedly tired of the hard jungle life, although it’s noted
they still like nothing better than to eat monkey, grilled and then
boiled. A disturbing photograph of a boy gnawing at a blackened little
skull illustrates this fact. The tribespeople have no idea of the
existence of a host country named Colombia, and no idea, more
hazardously, of diseases like the common cold or influenza, against
which they have no natural defenses.

“Hello,” Rachel says, “your tribe has come to light.”

I’m still smiling when I answer the ringing phone. A New York Times reporter asks for Mr. van den Broek.
The reporter says, “This is about Kham, ah, Khamraj Ramkissoon . . . ?”
“Chuck,” I say, sitting down at the kitchen table. “It’s Chuck Ramkissoon.”
She tells me that Chuck’s “remains” have been found in the Gowanus
. There were handcuffs around his wrists and evidently he was the victim of a murder.
don’t say anything. It seems to me this woman has told an obvious lie
and that if I think about it long enough a rebuttal will come to me.

Her voice says, “Did you know him well?” When I don’t answer, she says, “It says somewhere you were his business partner.”
“That’s not accurate,” I say.
“But you were in business together, right? That’s what my note says.”
“No,” I say. “You’ve been misinformed. He was just a friend.”
She says, “Oh—OK.” There is a tapping of a keyboard and a hiatus.
“So—is there anything you can tell me about his milieu?”
“His milieu?” I say, startled into correcting her mooing pronunciation.
you know—who he hung out with, what kind of trouble he might have
gotten himself into, any shady characters . . .” She adds with a faint
laugh, “It is kind of unusual, what happened.”

I realize that I’m upset, even angry.
“Yes,” I finally say. “You have quite a story on your hands.”



Corentyne High School Holds 70th Anniversary Gala in NYC
By Vishnu Bisram
alumni of Corentyne High School – J C Chandisingh Secondary School
(CHS—JCCSS) of Port Mourant, Guyana, celebrated its 70th Anniversary
and Re-Union 2008 on Saturday, August 9, 2008 at the posh catering
venue of Antun’s located in Queens Village, New York City, USA.

event was a well attended gala affair graced by the presence of a
capacity crowd of 650 plus specially invited guests. Attendees were
predominantly graduates, former teachers and principals of CHS—JCCSS
and their respective spouses, friends and well wishers. Attendees came
from Europe, the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, several from the
Caribbean countries, Guyana and from all over the USA.

Special guests include Guyana’s Ambassador to the United
States, Hon. Bayney Karran of Washington, DC. Keynote Speaker was Jules
Nathoo, a former teacher at CHS—JCCSS who now resides in Canada. Former
CHS—JCCSS teacher and principal Jagdat P Deonarine attended as a VIP
guest, along with his wife Elaine, a former student herself. Also in
attendance: famous cricketer Joseph Solomon and wife Betty, as well as
former teacher Sewcharran Gunraj, Dan Sukhu, Chetram Singh, Dr Mahendra
Deonarine, Mr and Mrs Austin of the UK and Jane Baichu, one of the
oldest surviving alumni – and several well known former teachers whose
contributions are noteworthy.

The Chairman of the 70th
Anniversary and Re-Union 2008 Planning Committee was Ashook Ramsaran of
the class of 1964, formerly of Bloomfield Village, Corentyne, now
residing in USA. The MC for the event was Rishi Singh, graduate class
of 1971 and former teacher at CHS—JCCSS, along with Co-MC Bibi Hydar,
graduate of class of 1977.

It was a grand affair
and a very successful 70th Anniversary and Re-Union 2008 re-union event
that brought together alumni and former teachers spanning several
decades and from various parts of the world. In summary, it achieved
its objectives with unmatched style and elegance.

Indians in the Virgin Islands
Courtesy Lloyd Harradan
Friday, August 22nd 2008

(Virgin Islands Daily News 22.08.2008]

THOMAS – While the distance between India and the Virgin Islands is
thousands of miles, the local Indian community acts as a vital bridge
between the two, Ajay Gondane, India’s deputy consul general, said
who has more than 20 years with the Indian Foreign Service, arrived in
the Virgin Islands today to meet with government and education
officials and members of the Indian Association of the Virgin Islands,
which comprises nearly 70 local businesses and 500 members.
will address the membership tonight at the association’s 61th
anniversary of India’s independence event at Marriott’s Frenchman’s
Reef and Morningstar Beach Resort.
Cultural dance, food, and dress showcase and celebrate Indian culture during the event.
Gondane said he has been looking forward to his first visit to the Virgin Islands.
said it is important to establish and bolster links with the Indian
community in the Virgin Islands and to let the community know that the
consul general’s office supports them.
“We want to ensure they are keeping their roots and connections with India,” he said.
who is based in New York, said he hopes to meet as many people and
government officials as possible, and he has a meeting scheduled with
Gov. John deJongh Jr.
joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1985 and has worked in various
positions in Indian embassies in Damascus, Baghdad, Vienna and Ankara.
In 2006, Gondane was a visiting fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Centre
in Washington D.C.
He has published an analysis on terrorism in South Asia and two books on social development issues.
Association President Mulo Alwani said he is looking forward to
Gondane’s visit. Someone from the consul general’s office always
attends the association’s annual celebration.
India Association of the Virgin Islands aims to cultivate and celebrate
Indian culture within the territory. Alwani said that for years, the
members have committed themselves to improving the entire community by
giving education scholarships and making donations to schools and
medical facilities.
“This is our home,” Alwani said. “We are part of this community.”
organization’s donations include: $100,000 pledge to Charlotte Amalie
High School, $100,000 pledge to Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute,
and $20,000 to Lockhart Elementary School.
the late 1980s, the association has provided a total of $49,000 annual
scholarships to students attending the University of the Virgin
Education is very important, Alwani said.
“No one can take away your education,” he said. “If you have an education you can go anywhere in the world and be successful.”
‘Disillusioned’ Indians in SA want revival of Gandhi’s party
Prominent South African activist Fatima Meer has said revival of the
Natal Indian Congress formed by Mahatma Gandhi can only help the Indian
community that is feeling “marginalised” and “isolated” under the
ruling ANC, which is grappling with infighting and corruption.

NIC was formed in 1894 by Gandhi to fight discrimination against
Indians during the aparthied days and jointly worked with the African
National Congress. It was dissolved after aparthied was abolished and
ANC came to power in 1994.

was a mistake the ANC had made. It disbanded the Congress and it took
over the apartheid stooges,” Meer, herself an anti-aparthied leader who
turns 80 on August 12, told in an interview at her home in Sydenham
area here.

whose parents had come from the Gujarat and who is a close family
friend of ANC leader and anti-aparthied hero Nelson Mandela and his
former wife Winnie, predicted the state of affairs within ANC would
force “a great number of South Africans” not to vote for the party in
May next year.

a political party, the ANC was fine and totally acceptable but to
organise better, the Indian people needed an organisation”, she said.

Meer said the Indians had a very strong organisation in the Natal Indian Congress.

wrote to Mr Mbeki soon after he became president in 1999 that it had
been a tragedy that the ANC had asked the NIC to be disbanded. It was
an organisation that stood by the ANC always,” she said.

said she favoured the revival of NIC because she believed a large
percentage of the people of South Africa were disillusioned with the
current divisions within the ANC, which is witnessing a bitter power
struggle between President Thabo Mbeki and party chief Jacob Zuma.

Racial taunts spark protests by Indians in Malaysia
LUMPUR: About 500 angry ethic-Indians on Monday staged a protest
outside a school demanding action against a teacher who allegedly
hurled racial slurs against students from the community in western
Malaysia’s Selangaon state.

to the police report, a woman history teacher had allegedly called
Indian students in a Class four and five ‘Negro’, ‘black monkeys’ and
other derogatory names.

The crowd began gathering outside the Banting school’s main entrance near here at noon and staged a protest for two hours.

The teacher had also
allegedly said that the community members were stupid and prone to thievery, the
Star daily reported on its website.

The alleged incidents took place on July 17 and 22 when the teacher had allegedly beaten up some Indians students.

students also alleged in his report that the teacher had written the
word ‘keling pariah’ on the board and lost her cool when the Indian
students told her that they did not like being called names, it said.

of Malaysian Indian NGOs secretary Gunaraj George, who was among the
protesters, said such abuse would only breed hatred and racial
polarisation in schools.

one in his or her right frame of mind would have said these things.
Given this, the best option would be for the teacher to be assigned to
a desk job and not be allowed to be near youngsters anymore,” he said.

Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong said the schoolteacher might be
sacked if the allegations proved true. “The allegations were serious as
no one was allowed to insult others, especially in a school
environment,” said Wee, who was asked to comment.

The ministry was awaiting an official report before taking any action, he added.

‘Munnabhai’ inspires seminar on modern Gandhigiri
JOHANNESBURG: Bollywood film Lage Raho Munnabhai has
inspired a slew of protests worldwide using Gandhian methods, such as
people swamping officials with flowers. Now it’s the turn of the
academics to discuss modern Gandhigiri.

Gandhi had led a march in South Africa in 1908 to protest a law asking
all Indians and Chinese to carry registration certificates with them,
and hundreds had publicly burnt such documents following him.

the centenary of that historic march, the Centre for Indian Studies
(CISA) at the Witwatersrand University, Indian Consul-General Navdeep
Suri and the Gandhi Centenary Committee Monday hosted a colloquium on
The Bonfire of 1908: Passive
Resistance Then and Now

Mahatma’s great-granddaughter Kirti Menon headed the colloquium. P.K.
Dutta of Delhi University, an expert on Indian popular culture, related
how Gandhian ideas were now being revived in India in new ways.

Dhupelia-Mesthrie from the University of the Western Cape, a
granddaughter of Gandhi, spoke about a housing project next to a busy
motorway in Cape Town that has resulted in a lot of social tensions
there. She said that Gandhian strategies might have led to a different

Ebrahim-Vally from the University of Pretoria shared views on how young
Indian people in South Africa understand Gandhi’s ideals and how it
relates or does not relate to their sense of being of Indian origin.

Sitas, a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Crain
Soudien of the University of Cape Town spoke about the relevance of
Gandhian ideas to new movements that are trying to address

addressed the role of Gandhi in what he called “neo-Gandhians” in the
anti-militaristic movements across the globe, while Crain referred to
the African Renaissance led by South African President Thabo Mbeki and
how Gandhian philosophies might have led to different outcomes in his
attempts to bring about such a transformation.

were also presentations by Raymond Suttner of the University of South
Africa and Goolam Vahed, professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal,
on how the African National Congress (ANC) grappled with some of the
ideas of non-violence as opposed to the need for a violent struggle in
South Africa.

colloquium ended with a poster presentation by struggle veteran
Kantilal Naik, also attached to the host university, who said Gandhi’s
philosophy was relevant during the five decades of struggle, and was
even more relevant now, 14 years down the line of becoming a democratic

“We are now
faced with other types of difficulties – crime, fraud, lies, arrogance,
self-enrichment, economic meltdown, and rising poverty. What is there
left for us, but to adopt Gandhi’s principles to bring about some
sanity in our country?”

‘Satyagraha is a contribution of S African Indians to the world’
JOHANNESBURG: Mahatma Gandhi might
have been a just a footnote in history if it were not for the support
of the South African Indian community that brought him in South Africa
as a young lawyer and got him started on his now legendary struggle
against oppression, according to South African Arts and Culture
Minister Pallo Jordan.

“We all know and speak highly of
Mahatma Gandhi, but very few people will ever give recognition to the
fact that without the support of the Indian community in South Africa,
the name Mahatma Gandhi would not even have been a footnote in
history,” Jordan said.

He was speaking at Saturday’s centenary celebrations of a historic event led by Gandhi at the Hamidia Mosque in Johannesburg.

Hundreds of people including South African dignitaries and India’s
Culture and Tourism Minister Ambika Soni joined him in burning copies
of the registration certificates that all people of Indian and Chinese
descent were required to carry under a law in 1908.

Gandhi’s protest march against it is widely seen as one of the first acts of his philosophy of Satyagraha.

experiments in Satyagraha; his experiments in harnessing non-violence
as a power of truth and bearing witness against oppression, proved
successful because the Mahatma’s call received a response from the
Indian community of this country,” Jordan said to a loud applause from
the hundreds of locals, expatriates and children who had gathered
outside the mosque for the first in a series of events to mark the

Satyagraha is the singular contribution that South Africans of Indian
descent have made to the history of not only South Africa and India,
but many other parts of the world.”

Jordan said it should
never be forgotten the rallying to Gandhi’s call by the thousands of
Indian South Africans had been: “There is a tendency, especially today,
to relegate the role of various communities and individuals to the
background. That is very wrong; it is an injustice; and I think it is a
misrepresentation of the truth.”

He said the rejection of the
registration papers by the Indian community at that time had proved to
the world that an oppressive law could be made unworkable.

was a lesson that has gone throughout the world and has informed every
struggle in the 20th century. In honouring Gandhiji, we must also
honour and recognise the singular contribution made by this community,
to the struggle for liberation here and in every other part of the

Indian overseas Congress honours NRIs on I-Day
LONDON: A leading solicitor, a broadcaster and a social activist were among the four NRIs
honoured here by the overseas wing of the Indian National Congress, for
their outstanding contribution to society, on the occasion of India’s
62nd Independence Day.

Solicitor Hari Singh, poet and
broadcaster at Kismat Radio Sathi Ludianvi, social activist and
prominent leader of the Conservative party, Anita Kapoor and eminent
doctor Dharmendra Tripathi were felicitated by India’s Acting High
Commissioner to UK Asoke Mukerji here last night, at event organised by
the Indian Overseas Congress (UK).

Kapoor, freedom fighter and President of the IOC (UK) said NRIs were
proud of India’s achievements under the leadership of Manmohan Singh,
emphasising that economic growth must be all-inclusive and effective
steps should be taken to bridge the gulf between rich and the poor.

Mahindra, MLA and former cabinet minister of Punjab, who was a special
guest on the occasion, said the Indo-US nuclear deal would go a long
way in making India strong economically.

He also hailed the strong stand taking by India in safeguarding the interest of farmers at the WTO talks.

a message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complimented NRIs for their
efforts to be good citizens of their adopted countries, while keeping
alive their links with India.

In her message, Sonia Gandhi,
Congress President and chairperson of India’s ruling coalition said,
“We are making India into a strong country, strong in its independence,
strong in the defence of its territory and integrity, strong in its
economy, strong in its commitment to the values of secularism.”


Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

This is the birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth Divine Incarnation. It falls on the 8th day of the
dark half of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September). This is one of the greatest of all
Hindu festivals. Lord Krishna was born at midnight. A twenty-four hour fast is observed on this
day, which is broken at
Temples are decorated for the occasion. Kirtans are sung, bells are rung, the conch is blown,
and Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Lord Krishna. At Mathura, the birthplace of Lord
Krishna, special spiritual gatherings are organised at this time. Pilgrims from all over India
attend these festive
Sri Krishna is the ocean of bliss. His soul-stirring Lilas, which are the wonder of wonders, are
its waves. The honeyed music of His flute attracts the minds of His devotees from all three
regions. His unequalled and unsurpassed wealth of beauty amazes the animate and the
inanimate beings. He adorns His friends with His incomparable
If you cannot read the whole of the Srimad Bhagavatam during these days, at least you should
recite the following four most important verses from the book. The leading two verses and the
closing verse are the prologue and the epilogue
“Hear from Me the most secret knowledge coupled with the essential experience and its
“May you realise by My Grace, the knowledge of Myself and what form, qualities and actions I
am endowed
1. “Before creation I alone existed. There was nothing, neither existence nor non-existence. I
am that which remains after
2. “Understand that to be Maya or illusion which is devoid of any purpose, which is not to be
found in the Self and which is unreal like light and
3. “As the primary elements are amalgamated, with one another and also separate from one
another at the same time, so I pervade the whole universe and am also separate from
4. “The aspirant should, by the method of positive and negative, know that thing which exists
always and
May the blessings of Lord Krishna and Sri Radha be upon you all!

Gorgeous Farnley lass Janeena Basra has sparked a cross-border battle of beauty after scooping a title in Cheshire.
Gorgeous Farnley lass Janeena Basra has sparked a
cross-border battle of beauty after scooping a title in Cheshire.
Janeena Basra sparks Miss England beauty battle
The stunning 23-year old has just won a place in the final of the Miss England contest
after winning the regional Miss Halton Pride contest. If she wins that, the brainy beauty –
who has two University degrees – will go on to represent her country in the Miss World
later this year.
However as a Leeds native triumphing on the other side of the pennines, Janeena’s
victory has angered some people who believe a local girl should have won.
Miffed Halton folk have flooded a local website with comments such as “Where is the
justice in a girl from Leeds being crowned?” and “How is she going to fulfil her duties as
Miss Halton Pride?”  Another irate local said bluntly: “I bet the new Miss Halton had

even heard of the place until a few weeks a go. Disgraceful!”

juju \JOO-joo\, noun:
1. An object superstitiously believed to embody magical powers.
2. The power associated with a

[David] Robinson, sounding confident and sure, said that the time for juju
and magic dust had passed. ‘To be honest with you, I think it’s beyond
that’, he said. ‘It’s very hard to come up with magic at the end’.
— “Knicks Find There’s No Place Like Home”, New York Times, June 22,

‘You ever heard of juju?’
Skyler shook his head.
‘Magic. You talk about this and it’ll be the last talkin’ you do. You’ll just open your mouth and nothin’ will come out’.
John Darnton, The

are told, for example, of the Edo youngster, apparently both Christian
and traditionally African in his beliefs, who was heard to mutter
‘S.M.O.G.’ over and over when he and his companions were threatened by
‘bad juju’. When questioned he replied, ”Have you never heard of it?
It stands for Save Me O God. When you are really in a hurry, it is
quickest to use the initials’.
— “The Spirits And The African Boy”, New York Times, October 10,

any terminal she is using, a co-worker puts up a sign proclaiming, ‘Bad
karma go away, come again another day’. When she was pregnant, she
said, she crashed her computer twice as often — she attributes that to
a double whammy of woo-woo juju.
— “Can a Hard Drive Smell Fear?”, New York Times, May 21,

Juju is of West African origin, akin to Hausa djudju, fetish, evil
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~
‘jahaj’ = ship; ‘desi’ = Indian
‘JahajeeDesi’ = The Indians who crossed the Kala Pani by ship,
the Indentured Indian Immigrants, and their descendants.

For Free Subscription to this Newsletter, or to Join the JahajeeDesi
YAHOO Group, or to contribute News, Letters, Essays, Reviews,
Send Mail to: 

Subscription Problems? Unsubscribe? Send Mail



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IJJ, July 27th 2008: TANTRA – Sex Is Not A Sin; BAJAN ANTI-INDIAN HATE & RACISM; SATYAJIT RAY; The Indianisation of cricket

International Jahajee Journal (IJJ), July 27th, 2008
Voice of the International Indian Diaspora


user posted image

Home of the International Jahajee Diaspora

Editor: Deosaran Bisnath
http://deosaranbisn ath.blogspot. com
http://deosaranbisn ath.wordpress. com/
http://jahajeedesi. blogspot. com/

http://www.jahajeed index.php? act=idx

I see God walking in every human form. When I meet different people,
I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner,
God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
Sri Ramakrishna


by Satyajit Ray

Ray’s first film in a language other than Bengali – here English, Urdu and Hindi – is a gently
humorous, acutely observed satire of colonialism and self absorption. Using the powerful
symbolism of the chess games of two nobles to make an acute commentary on Anglo-Indian
relations in Victorian times, Ray notes that no matter who may win or lose, board and pieces
stay exactly the same.


Review by Andrew Robinson

“It’s a very, very complex mixed kind of thing, the entire British heritage in India”, Satyajit
Ray told me after a pregnant pause when I interviewed him at length for a biography in the
1980s. “I’m thankful for the fact that at least I’m familiar with both cultures and it gives me a
very much stronger footing as a film-maker, but I’m also aware of all the dirty things that were being done. I really don’t know how I feel about it.”

The opportunity to probe some of these deep equivocations in himself drew Ray to tackle a
film—The Chess Players (Shatranj ke Khilari)—that differs in certain important respects from
all his other 30 or more feature films, beginning with the Apu Trilogy of the 1950s. For a start,
The Chess Players was easily Ray’s most expensive film, employing stars of the Bombay
cinema (notably Amjad Khan, Shabana Azmi and Amitabh Bachchan as a narrator) and even
of western cinema (Richard Attenborough) , large Mughal-style sets and exotic location
shooting (Lucknow and Rajasthan). In addition, it was Ray’s first and only feature to venture
into a language—Urdu— other than Bengali. It was also his only film in which Islamic culture
played a major role. Most important of all, the film was a historical drama—set during the East India Company’s annexation of Oudh in 1856, the year before the outbreak of the Indian
Mutiny—which dealt directly with the Raj. Although the influence of the British is felt in most
of Ray’s films in subtle ways, and he made several films set in the 19th century, The Chess
Players is the only one where the Raj and its officials occupy centre stage.

Given its world premiere at the London Film Festival in 1977, The Chess Players was the first
adult film about the Raj. Today, after Gandhi, Heat and Dust, The Jewel in the Crown, A
Passage to India and many other Raj-related films, Ray’s film remains by far the most
sophisticated portrayal of this particular clash of cultures. As the Nobel laureate VS Naipaul
remarked of the film, “It is like a Shakespeare scene. Only 300 words are spoken but
goodness!—terrific things happen.”

Satyjit Ray’s films include the Apu Trilogy, The Music Room, Charulata, Days and Nights in the
, The Chess Players, and The Stranger. He also made comedies, musical fantasies,
detective films, and documentaries. He was an exceptionally versatile artist who won almost
every major prize in cinema, including a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1992.

GOPIO TRINIDAD & TOBAGO meets the President of the Republic
of Trinidad & Tobago, His Excellency, Professor George Maxwell Rochards

Left to right: Ms. Sacha Mahabal, Assistant Secretary; Mr. Oscar Ramoutar, Treasurer; Mr. Deosaran
Bisnath, President; Professor George Maxwell Richards, President of Trinidad and Tobago; Ms. Ena
Maraj, PRO; Ms. Shivanie Ramcharitar, Youth Officer; Dr. Vijay Ramlal Rai, Head of Culture
Committee… ….
SOUTH AFRICA sacks Indian-origin provincial premier
DURBAN: South Africa’s only Indian-origin provincial premier has been sacked by the ruling
ANC, apparently falling prey to the bitter power-struggle between President Thabo Mbeki and
party chief Jacob Zuma.

A close associate of Mbeki, Premier of the Western Cape province Ebrahim Rassool
announced his resignation at a meeting attended by the chairperson of the African National
Congress Baleka Mbete in Cape Town.  Appointed as the Premier in 2003 by President Thabo
Mbeki, Rassool, whose grand-parents came to South Africa from Gujarat, said that he had
served in his position honestly and effectively and was sad to step down.

Rassool has also resigned from the Cape provincial legislature. Mbete, also Speaker of
Parliament, told reporters that Rassool was asked to resign for “political reasons” and to
prepare for the general elections in 2009.

From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize –

by Karan Chand

Karan Chand is a Guyanese living and teaching for the past 19 years in Belize
City, Belize.
This book is on the list for Literature at two high schools in Belize
and others are now considering it to be included as an additional text.

From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize – THE INDENTURED IMMIGRANTS
is available from the author – E-mail kchand16@hotmail. com

INDIAN GOVT: Lord Rama destroyed the bridge

STAYED FOR NOW: The Sethusamundram project has
been stayed by SC following protests by Hindu groups.

New Delhi: The Central government on Wednesday informed the Supreme
Court that it is going ahead with the contentious Sethusamudram Project.
In an affidavit filed before the SC, the Centre said that it was not
destroying the Ram Sethu as no such bridge existed. Lord Ram himself had
destroyed the bridge with a magical bow, the Centre said in the affidavit,
quoting from the Tamil Kamban Ramayan .

BJP Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told CNN-IBN, “This is a deliberate attempt to play around with Hindu sentiments. They are now saying Lord Ram destroyed the Setu when earlier they had said that
Lord Ram did not even exist and that Tulsi Ramayana and Valmiki Ramayana had no historical evidence or scientific proof to corroborate their statements.”

Episodes of Indian Experience
by Professor Kenneth Ramchand
Professor Kenneth Ramchand is Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature,
University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Emeritus of English (Colgate University),
currently, Associate Provost, The Academy at the University of Trinidad and
Tobago for Arts,
Letters, Culture and Public Affairs.
http://deosaranbisn ath.blogspot. com/

The Indianisation of cricket

The concentration of power in the hands of the BCCI is not necessarily bad, but
India should understand that it is one thing to have earned the right to wield unipolar power, another to demonstrate deserving it

When the Cold War abruptly thawed almost 20 years
ago, political strategists launched the expression
“unipolar world” to describe global realpolitik in which the United States was the solitary superpower. In the
last five years cricket has realigned to reflect a similar world order. Where it was once ritually complained that
the ICC is weak, inconsistent, reactive, lacking in leadership, we now know exactly what that body will do on
every issue before it: what India wishes. Sometimes not exactly; sometimes not without qualification. But in
the main, no significant motion can advance without India’s patronage, and nothing to which India is resistant
has a hope in hell. On India’s nod, the ICC can even change the result of Test matches. Hell, why play Test
matches at all? Let’s just decide them by vote at the ICC!

In one sense at least, a unipolar ICC is long overdue. India has always been the most populous, and arguably
also the most passionate, of cricket nations. But its house has commonly been divided, and its stock abroad
poor. In Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, we saw little of Indian teams – frustratingly little, for they were a
purist’s delight to watch. While the West Indies seemed to tour every other summer, Australians were denied a Sachin Tendulkar Test innings for almost eight years. The reason? India were not perceived as sufficiently
bankable – and this is worth remembering lest it be imagined that the BCCI somehow introduced the evils of
money to a cricket world of prelapsarian innocence.

The reasons for India’s belated eminence are not far to seek either. Its democracy is stable, its economy vital,
its political and media elite rich beyond the dreams of avarice; they covet cultural clout due their wealth. I
suspect it is no longer correct to talk about the “globalisation” of cricket; rather is the game being “Indianised” , subordinated to Indian commercial agendas. That is to say, the emphasis has moved from taking the game to
new frontiers for its benefit and furtherance, but to spreading the sphere of the BCCI’s influence and providing
content for the consumption of its domestic market. And in a lot of ways this is actually no big deal. There are
worse cultural values to be pervaded by; and, well, most commercial agendas are alike, no matter where
they’re from, and India’s commercial sector is no more rapacious and vulgar than those of other countries. At
its best, in fact, the BCCI has shown an élan and imagination that other boards, and other sporting bodies,
must eye enviously. At its worst, however, it exhibits the characteristics of chip-on-the- shoulder superpower
and insatiable monopoly capitalist.. ..

http://content- wi.cricinfo. com/magazine/ content/current/ story/361499. html

Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath,
Editor, International Jahajee Journal
President, GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago.
Part 1 : Origin of The Coolie Slave Trade
Commentary: Bajans, Guyanese and the politics of hate
Published on Friday, July 25, 2008
By Dr Randy Persaud

It is finally happening. Guyanese immigrants in Barbados are now being murdered. The attack in which
Christopher Griffith was killed, and Seelochanie Samuels wounded, was not the work of bandits. It was an anti-
immigrant political killing.

For many Guyanese this might be a surprise, because, after all, we are all West Indians, and on top of that,
Barbados has this image as an Island Paradise. Political violence is not supposed to happen there. Barbados
is supposed to be the Singapore of the Caribbean – highly globalized, high per capita GDP, and outranked only by the OECD countries in the UNDP’s Human Development Index.

But something ominous and enormously complicated is occurring in Barbados. There is an unbelievable level of hatred against Guyanese in general and Indo-Guyanese in particular. The magnitude and depth of hatred
against the Guyanese is now bordering on neo-fascism.
In this short article I am arguing that the developments in Barbados have direct linkages to the campaign to
construct the Government of Guyana as racist. By ‘construct’ I mean that in contradistinction to objective
reality, a platoon of opposition elements have been using various media (TV, daily columns, letters to the
editor, blogs etc) to give the impression that the PPP government is deliberately victimizing the Afro-Guyanese
population.. . CONTINUED HERE:

Child of Dandelions

by Shenaaz Nanji
Publisher: Front Street (March 2008)
ISBN-10: 1932425934
ISBN-13: 978-1932425932

Child of Dandelions

A breathtaking account of one girl’s determination to triumph over a devastating historical event. In
Uganda in 1972, President Idi Amin, also known as the Last King of Scotland, announces that foreign Indians
must be “weeded” out of Uganda in ninety days. Fifteen-year- old Sabine’s life is changed forever. The
president’s message, broadcast on the radio every day, becomes Sabine’s “countdown monster,” and it follows her through days of terror. Sabine’s father is convinced that, as Ugandan citizens, their family will be
unaffected, but her mother insists it’s too dangerous to stay. When her beloved uncle disappears and her best
friend abandons her, Sabine begins to understand her mother’s fears. She becomes desperate to leave, but
Bapa, her grandfather, refuses to accompany her. How can she leave him, and where will her family go to
begin a new life?

Hear the author read excerpts in her own words:
Child of Dandelions.mp3

“Drawn in part from the veteran author’s own experiences, this deeply felt tale takes readers to 1972 Uganda
where, shortly after coming to power, Idi Amin gave all Indians and citizens of Indian descent just 90 days to
leave the country. … Readers will feel her inner conflict sharply, admire her resilience and quick thinking—and
come away shocked themselves by the brutality she encounters during this little-known historical episode.”
—Kirkus Reviews

GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago
a chapter of GOPIO International.
P.O. BOX 2286, Chaguanas. TRINIDAD.

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) unequivocally and
categorically reiterates that there is only one authorized GOPIO Chapter in
Trinidad and Tobago, namely GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, with its leadership
team that was installed on February 29, 2008
in Freeport, Trinidad.

The executives of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago include Deosaran Bisnath (President);
Varsha Maharaj (Secretary); Oscar Ramoutar (Treasurer); Ena Maraj, PRO;
Directors (Niranjan Bhaggan, Jaganath Seeram-Maharaj) ; and
Youth Officers (Shivanie Ramcharitar, Sacha Mahabal and Avinash Sanu).

GOPIO International emphasizes that former GOPIO of Trinidad and Tobago chapter
president Devant Maharaj does not function in any capacity in GOPIO International,
any of its councils or chapters, and is not authorized to make any such representations
on behalf of GOPIO Int’l or GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago.

GOPIO is a secular, non-partisan, not-for-profit, international organization based in
USA with chapters in various parts of the globe, representing the interests and
aspirations of People of Indian Origin (PIOs), and promoting awareness and
understanding of issues of concern — social, cultural, educational, economic, or political,
to global NRI/PIO community.

GOPIO can be contacted:

Inder Singh (President, GOPIO Int’l) at gopio-intl@sbcgloba or by
tel +1-818-708-3885, Ashook Ramsaran (Sec General, GOPIO Int’l) at
ramsaran@aol. com
or by tel +1-718-939-8194, Deosaran Bisnath
(President, GOPIO of Trinidad & Tobago) at
deobisnath@yahoo. com
by tel

Become a GOPIO member: write to –
GopioTT@gmail. com

GOPIO on the NET:
http://groups. group/GopioTT/
http://gopiott. blogspot. com/

http://www.gopio. net
http://gopio. com

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~
user posted image

Religions are different roads converging on the same
point. What does it matter that we take different roads so
long as we reach the same goal? I believe that all
religions of the world are true more or less. I say “more or less” because I believe that everything the human hand
touches, by reason of the very fact that human beings are imperfect, becomes imperfect.
-Mahatma Gandhi

From him come all the seas and the mountains,
The rivers and the plants that support life.
As the innermost Self of all, he dwells
Within the cavern of the heart.
-Mundaka Upanishad

Self-important, obstinate, swept away by the pride of
wealth, they ostentatiously perform sacrifices without any
regard for their purpose. Egotistical, violent, arrogant,
lustful, angry, envious of everyone, they abuse my
presence within their own bodies and in the bodies of
-Bhagavad Gita 16:13–18

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~

National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC), TRINIDAD
Hall of Fame, 2008

THE CHILDREN OF a nation are the ones who will pursue a positive path to success.

“Each parent, therefore, has the key for this progressive journey, which is more powerful than being
a politician,” according to Trinidad-born artist, Dr Ralph Baney.

At the time he was delivering the feature address at the National Council of Indian Culture’s (NCIC)
44th Anniversary Celebrations over the weekend, at its Fourth Induction Ceremony, at their
headquarters along the Narsaloo Ramaya Drive, Endeavour, Chaguanas.

Among the 2008 Inductees were Mahmoud P Alladin, Dr Ralph Baney, Vera Baney, Bisram Gopie,
Ram Kirpalani, Kewal Maraj, Surujpat Mathura, Kamaluddin Mohammed, Narsaloo Ramaya,
Ramdhanie Sharma, and Shri Brajamadhava Battacharya.

Altogether so far 40 persons have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dr Baney, who has received
numerous awards for his talent as an artist, has also received from UWI in 2004 the Doctor of Letters
Recognition and is further highlighted in the Who’s Who In American Art and American Artists of

He told the NCIC gathering:”Each ethnic group has its own historical leaders to emulate and together what a combination of resources we have to follow.” He felt that the “key to achieving this goal is
our children.

We may lament the failures of governments and its institutions in developing a successful society
but, we have the key to change in the children who are its future.”  He said that each sector of the
society in Trinidad and Tobago had the key to change and it is more powerful than what obtains in

He was of the view that “inequity in the country hindered nation-building progress and undermines
the commitment of citizens leading to self -preservation.”  “We tend to become predatory citizens,
who live in gated communities,” he added.

Deokienanan Sharma, president of the NCIC, said that they would continue to propagate the culture
of their forefathers which “was jealously retained by them.  They have succeeded in “creating a
community with vibrant cultural practices.”

http://www.newsday. 0,83083.html

TANTRA: The Method Of Kindling Dormant Energies



Tantra – a unique spiritual system capable of resolving the mystery of Being and its
relationship with the world without itself being mysterious, caught in the cobwebs of
misconceptions, misled beliefs, clergies’ disapprovals, moralists’ censure, ethical concerns, quakes’ and sorcerers’ misuses and abuses, opposition of the ‘authorised’ – theology,
philosophy …, and above all, the centuries long antipathy of Islamic and Christian rulers, has
been the subject of neglect, indifference and even aversion for quite some time now. The
term ‘Tantra’, often seen personified in the person practising it, the ‘tantrika’, brings to
mind’s eye the image of a man with a rugged, coarse, hoary-looking, bearded and wrinkled
face, eyes deeply pushed into their sockets, and locks of rough uncouth muddy long hair
hung around shoulders. Wearing a long loosely hung black cloak and strings of multi-
coloured, multi-shaped and multi-sized beads, stones and amulets, with a bundle of
peacock feathers in his hands, he is fantasized as seated against a smoky hearth in a dark
murky odorous cell in the suburb of a tribal or backward hamlet, engaged in practices
considered to relate to ghosts, evil spirits or other forms of witch-craft and black arts. To so-
conditioned a mind, Tantra is a system comprising incredible, primitive, unscientific beliefs,
which by inciting blind faith exploits undeveloped or under-developed masses.

Quite strangely, and unbelievably, Tantra, which emerges with such image in common man’s mind
now, is India’s earliest, or at the most, one of the two earliest spiritual systems, the other being
Vedanta. Being more simple and natural, seeking sublimation of what one is born with, not its
negation – the modus of the Vedanta, Tantra dominated India’s spiritual and ritual scene for
centuries with all principal theologies – Buddhism, Jainism, and even Vedanta’s offshoot
Brahmanism and its components Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism, practising it as a scientific,
technical and spiritual method leading to attainment of self-awareness, and thereby, ultimate
knowledge and liberation. Perhaps a pre-Vedic ritual cult practised by Harappan settlers and thus
one of the world’s earliest spiritual cultures, the Tantra occupied India’s intellectual domain ever
since. Significantly, the number of Tantra-related texts, which began pouring in from early centuries
of the Christian era and continued till late eighteenth century, is greater than that of the texts related to any other system of thought, though unfortunately most of them, usually manuscribed as secret
documents for individuals, survive now only as allusions occurring in other texts.
Not how the common mind takes, or mistakes it, Tantra has been on censor’s list almost always, or at least after the Vedic asceticism gained prominence, sometimes for psycho-metaphysical reasons and sometimes on grounds of morality. Human mind naturally inclines to obtain what it does not have,
seek knowledge of things ‘not known’. This mind disapproves Tantra for the Tantra takes off with the
real, instinctive, inborn, inherent in nature, that is, ‘what is’, or ‘that which is the best known’ – the
body, nature, desires or whatever. What to Tantra is its basic source to sublimate is to this reasoning
mind base and common not worth striving for. Apart, the common notion is that the key to
transcendence is in the negation of oneself. One has to negate, relinquish himself to become what
he is not; he has to give up what he has to obtain what he does not have. He venerates asceticism,
or whatever, because asceticism is above him. He believes that asceticism is close to the
‘achievable’. To reach the ‘achievable’, he is required to acquire first this ‘in-between’ asceticism
which is not in him. Asceticism condemns him as a gross common reality – a thing of flesh and
bundle of frailties, shows his littleness and commands him to disbelieve himself. Mesmerized he
accepts this
Indians head a dozen Fortune 500 firms
NEW YORK: Led by Vikram Pandit-run Citigroup, there are a dozen Fortune 500 companies across
the world with an Indian or a person of India-origin as chief, as per the latest list of world’s biggest
corporations released today. While there are seven Indian companies on this year’s Global Fortune
500 list, up from six last year, at least five other members of this league have been run by persons of
Indian-origin over the past year.

Among these companies, Citigroup, ranked 17th in the list prepared on the basis of the companies’
annual revenue, has Nagpur-born Pandit as its CEO since December last year. Citi is followed
ArcelorMittal, which has billionaire steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal as its CEO and main promoter, at
39th rank and Vodafone at 85th.  Other firms are beverages major PepsiCo (184) and financial
services entity Hartford Financial Services (311). PepsiCo is headed by Indra Nooyi while Hartford
Financial is led by Ramani Ayer.


Trials, difficulties, troubles and sufferings are necessary for your
purification and to strengthen your will and power of endurance. Face
them bravely and come out triumphantly. Press on. Strive on with all
your will; only then is the grace of God bestowed. God helps those
who help themselves. If bad thoughts enter your mind, simply ignore
them. Offer a prayer to the Lord and substitute divine thoughts by
studying the sacred books. The spiritual fire should be generated day
after day. Hold fast to the ideal. Keep the flame of aspiration ever
bright. Scorn mundane delights and strife. Dedicate your life to God.

God is one. God is peace. God is universal harmony. God is love and
law. As a lamp cannot burn without oil, so man cannot live without
God. Creation reveals that God is dharma (righteousness) . God is the
bestower of grace which is boundless and inexhaustible.
— SIVANANDA Readings
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~
‘jahaj’ = ship; ‘desi’ = Indian
‘JahajeeDesi’ = The Indians who crossed the Kala Pani by ship,
the Indentured Indian Immigrants, and their descendants.

For Free Subscription to this Newsletter, or to Join the JahajeeDesi
YAHOO Group, or to contribute News, Letters, Essays, Reviews,
Send Mail to:
CCDSJ@yahoo. com

Subscription Problems? Unsubscribe? Send Mail to:
CCDSJ@yahoo. com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IJJ, July 6, 2008: CHUTNEY AS POLITICAL IDIOM; ‘From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize -The Indentured Immigrants’; NAIPAUL: Leaving the ghetto; VISHAWANATH ANAND, World Chess Champion

International Jahajee Journal (IJJ), July 6th, 2008
Voice of the International Indian Diaspora


user posted image

Home of the International Jahajee Diaspora

Editor: Deosaran Bisnath
deobisnath@yahoo. com
http://deosaranbisn ath.blogspot. com
http://deosaranbisn ath.wordpress. com/
http://jahajeedesi. blogspot. com/

http://www.jahajeed index.php? act=idx

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these
are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence (USA)

Happy July 4th to all our American readers.

Six-year-old Nikita Ramadhin, a Second Year student, performs a dance during an awards ceremony for successful SEA students at the Gandhi Memorial Vedic APS Primary School in Aranjuez yesterday. See pages 5, 8. Photo by Roger Jacob
Six-year-old Nikita Ramadhin, a Second Year student,
performs a dance during an awards ceremony for
successful SEA students at the Gandhi Memorial Vedic
APS Primary School in Aranjuez, TRINIDAD.



Chutney as a political idiom

By Kanchan Gupta


The distance that ‘East Indians’ — men and women from what is known as the Bhojpur region, apart from

those from Bengal, of whom there were few — indentured to work on sugarcane plantations in Mauritius,
and later in British colonies in the Caribbean, travelled in jampacked ships and in abysmal conditions
across the kala pani, was not only geographical but also cultural. Within a span of three to four months, the time taken by schooners to transport the indentured labourers from the dockside in Calcutta to the
disembarkation jetties at Port Louis in Mauritius, Port of Spain in Trinidad, and other similar
destinations, these men and women, fleeing what a historian has described as “the appalling poverty
and joylessness of life under such conditions that cannot be easily pictured”, found themselves in an
alien land with alien practices that violently clashed with their centuries-old religious and social
traditions. Draupadi not only became Drupatee and Sriprasad was renamed Seepersaud, courtesy
immigration clerks, but along with their new names they were also confronted with the choice of
disowning their past or clinging on to it. Some disowned it; most refused to break free of all that they
had learned and inherited by way of tradition, rites and rituals. Tattered copies of the Ramayan became
the most valued possession; pandits with knowledge of Sanskrit found themselves pushed up the social ladder; and, despite its best efforts, the Presbyterian Church failed to separate ‘heathens’ from their
‘heathenism’ .


In the post-colonial era, the cultural identity of the East Indian community — referred to as Indo-
Caribbean in Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana and other Caribbean states — became the foundation
of their political aspirations: Politics was, and remains, a means of protecting identity and asserting the
right not to be swamped by Afro-Caribbean, or Black, culture. But for all their efforts, the East Indians
have not entirely succeeded in this, as is evident from the creeping influence of Creole culture and Black culture, even among those who remain firmly rooted in Hindu traditions linking them to their homeland.
The World Is What It Is: The Authorised Biography of VS Naipaul, by Patrick French, provides a certain
insight into this conflict between past and present and the gradual accommodation and assimilation of
cultures as memories recede with each passing generation. While keeping the past alive has been
easier in Mauritius, where descendents of the indentured labourers are in a majority, it has been more
difficult in the Caribbean where East Indian communities are suffering numerical erosion as the affluent
among the new generation seek fame and fortune in the US and Europe. The uneven electoral
performance of the United National Congress in Trinidad and Tobago and the trials and tribulati
ons of Mr Basdeo Panday are indicative of the community’s declining numbers, although infighting and
back-stabbing, the staple of politics in India, have played no mean role in preventing the UNC from
becoming the dominant political force. The Afro-Caribbean politicians have not missed the opportunity to exploit the Indo-Caribbean community’s weaknesses to their advantage, thus retaining power when they
should have really been in the Opposition.


The immediate provocation for these thoughts is a fine collection of essays in the journal, Man in India
(Serial Publications, New Delhi), whose special issue on the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean provides a fascinating insight into the post-colonial lives of the descendents of indentured labourers. Edited by Prof
Kumar Mahabir of the University of Trinidad & Tobago, among the best-known scholars of the East
Indian experience, it brings together views from Trinidad, St Vincent , Suriname , Guyana and Martinique . My favourite is Kai Abi Barratt’s essay, ‘I found my East Indian beauty’. While reading it, I was
transported back in time to an evening spent in the frangipani-scented lush lawns of the residence of Mr
Basdeo Panday, who was then Prime Minister. After a sumptuous dinner, we were treated to live
chutney music.


The relevance of the show dawned the next day when a group of young East Indian activists met me at
the hotel and launched into a long tirade against the UNC Government for sponsoring that year’s
calypso carnival and thus poking the community squarely in the eye. Afro-Caribbean musicians, I was
told, use calypso to denigrate East Indians and flaunt their prowess by using sexual innuendoes: The
wilting Indian beauty succumbing to the raw charms of the macho Black. An agitated young Maharaj,
his first name slips my mind, said Mr Panday should have withdrawn official support for the calypso
carinval and instead promoted chutney, integral to the East Indian culture, to make a political point. By
not doing so, he had pandered to the Blacks at the cost of East Indian sentiments. Apparently,
community elders had lodged a similar complaint with Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee. To disprove his critics,
Mr Panday ensured there was a lot of chutney at the official dinner he hosted for the visiting Indian
Prime Minister and we had a riotous time.


But like all things Indian, community opinion, it now transpires, is divided on chutney, described as
“representing Indian cultural continuity and persistence” in the Caribbean , too. Drupatee Ramgoonai, the most popular exponent of chutney and whose album Pepper Pepper (Mirchi Mirchi in Hindi) was a huge
hit, has riled community leaders with her lyrics and performance skills. In the popular chutney song,
Lick down mih nani, she sings,

Lick down mih nani

He fender break

On nani waist

Now she can’t move

She two knee bruise

While he drivin he was gazin

Ah feeling sad, she bump she hard…


What is seemingly incomprehensible to us Indians in India is replete with shocking double entendre for
conservative East Indians in Trinidad for whom Drupatee Ramgoonai’s music is as outrageous as that of
Executor and Dictator, popular calypso artistes. Kai Abi Barratt quotes a Maharaj incandescent with
rage, “For an Indian girl to throw away her upbringing and culture to mix with vulgar music, sex and
alcohol in carnival tents tells me something is radically wrong with her psyche. Drupatee Ramgoonai
has chosen to worship the gods of sex, wine and easy money.” In a sense, it’s the same old story of
the past jostling with the present for a future that is tense.



“Smutty & Dutty”

“…Another question I must ask is: how is it that chutney artistes such
as Adesh Samaroo and Lalchan ‘Hunter’ Babwah are allowed to
glorify the abuse of alcohol under the guise of ‘culture’?

Alcohol is the drug which is singly responsible for the destruction
of more individual lives and families than marijuana, cocaine and
guns put together.

Despite this knowledge, these chutney artists are held as cultural
heroes. The terms “smutty” and “dutty” have more applications
than those which many include in their subjective definitions. ”
Ganesh Gupta, GUYANA



From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize –

by Karan Chand

Karan Chand is a Guyanese living and teaching for the
past 19 years in Belize City, Belize.
This book is on the
list for Literature at two high schools in Belize and
others are now considering it to be included as an
additional text.

From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize –

is available from the author – E-mail
kchand16@hotmail. com



 “…..Day after day Mattai left for work before daybreak after eating and using the communal latrine over the trench which was an open sewer. On his way he secretly threw his baited buoys into the canal at a grassy spot to conceal them. He worked very hard, always choosing ‘task work’ over  ‘day work’, determined to earn the maximum wage. He chopped cane with his cutlass and stacked them. As he did, he usually overheard the sound of cane being cut by others in nearby fields, amid voices in conversation. Not far away, other workers were constantly yelling at uncooperative oxen and mules as they hauled the long carts and iron punts 9 laden with cane being transported to the factory. Mattai worked alone swinging his cutlass with great proficiency. As he did, his body was continuously covered in sweat which soaked his sparse clothing and trickled into his eyes, burning them. From time to time, he swiped his saturated forehead with the back of his left hand and shook it, shedding the invading sweat. This was done in one continuous, instinctive action that did not disrupt the rhythm of his chopping.

Mattai felt helpless; entrapped. He had never expected to work so hard in his life. However, there seemed to be no easier option, no readily available alternative. Many years before, he had stopped entertaining the thought of escaping. Then, when he was still young and restless, he had fled from his quarters and ran all night through the dark forest hoping to reach the seashore. Convinced that he could not have been that far from his homeland, he had, for many months, planned to make a raft and set sail for Calcutta .  In his rush, he had thumped his right big toe, severely injuring it, on a piece of fallen bamboo. Ignoring the pain, rather enduring it, he had limped on. By daybreak, he had not reached any body of water. The next day, hungry and tired, he had been caught hiding in the bushes. The Driver on horseback had taken him back to the estate. At the manager’s office he had been sternly rebuked and told to pay one shilling on payday. In hindsight, he realized that he had been favored. Older men who had tried to escape had been tied to a post and severely flogged with a cat-o’-nine-tails under the manager’s house. They had convulsed in pain during the ordeal which ended with salt pickle being rubbed on their wounded backs. Some of them got so ill afterwards that they had to be taken to the sick-house.. ….



On the eve of the wedding people again gathered at the venue for the wedding, a large two-storied, wooden house on tall cement pillars. It was the “Cook Night”.  While most of the invitees danced, drank and socialized, chosen people cooked all night underneath the house preparing for the attendees on the following day. In an enclosed area illuminated by a Tilly gas lamp, some women were busy peeling and dicing vegetables and preparing concoctions of other ingredients, various spices, which they crushed to a puree on massala seels.6 These were sent nearby to the men who cooked them in huge caharies 7 along with rice and dhal  8 which they constantly stirred with long wooden paddles.  All the while, there was music mixed with chatting, laughter and drinking. The cooked food was carefully stored in a makeshift room called the bandara 9 with one man supervising its apportioning as needed. This was vital in order to minimize wastage and prevent shortage. This time, Mattai was present and actively participating by micromanaging, having been asked to take charge by the bride’s father, Babutty. He moved around stirring pots, tasting, adding ingredients and chatting, while at the same time giving directives to others who assisted him. He was considered indispensable as far as catering for large crowds were concerned, regardless of whether it was a time for celebration or sorrow.  At these times his new status, from an underdog cane-cutter to a supervisor, gave him a feeling of importance and made him tireless, especially when the drinks were circulating, even though he was well aware that it was a temporary position. It was a badge of honor for him and made his days. With such feeling of self worth, he worked unfalteringly and did not return home until the wee hours of the morning.

6  massala seels-rubbing stones

7 caharies- cauldrons/ huge hemispherical pots

8 dhal- cooked yellow split peas

9 bandara-makeshift room serving as a pantry




“…Mattai’s daughter and son-in-law could not be there every harvest as they had both a rice and cane farm of their own to attend to. During their absence, Mattai, Sook and Rattowa worked late into the nights mostly in the ‘watch house’ with the light of a bamchodie 10. One night, Sook was walking behind the oxen in circles around a post mashing a pile of rice to separate the grains from the stack. Mattai was occupied nearby. They had not spoken for a while so absorbed were they with their work and thoughts. Suddenly, without forewarning, Sook said,

” Pa, ah want to be wan police.”

“Wha’ yu seh bie?” Mattai, who was putting threshed rice grains into jute bags, did not hear him. ” Ah want to be wan policeman.”

Mattai stopped working and let go of the bag which fell, spilling some of the grains.  Rattowa had remained later than usual because of the demanding work. In the moonlight outside, she was out of earshot winnowing the paddy in a huge sieve hanging on a frame in order …..”

10 bamchodie-  flambeau, bottle lamp



Episodes of Indian Experience
by Professor Kenneth Ramchand
Professor Kenneth Ramchand is Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature,
University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Emeritus of English (Colgate University),
and currently, Associate Provost, The Academy at the University of Trinidad and Tobago for Arts, Letters, Culture
and Public Affairs.
http://deosaranbisn ath.blogspot. com/

NAIPAUL: Leaving the ghetto

Short of money and short of food, V S Naipaul found his early life as a writer in Fifties London
harsh. Then the BBC offered him a lifeline with a radio programme, Caribbean Voices. It became an
important influence, but one he later felt obliged to disown

When V S Naipaul published his slim, grumpy memoir A Writer’s People late last year, assorted
reviewers took the chance to denounce him. It was a familiar spectacle, the lion in winter having
chunks torn from him by writers who would not have attacked him in his prime. In Naipaul’s case,
his determined self-construction during five decades in print was a provocation in itself: who was
this Trinidadian man who lived as a knight of the shires and denounced multiculturalism as “multi-
culti”? He said, or was said to have said, that Africa had no future, Islam was a calamity, France was
fraudulent and interviewers were monkeys. How dare he support Hindu nationalism? If Zadie Smith
– optimistic and presentable – was a white liberal’s dream, Naipaul was the nightmare. For a
successful immigrant writer to take the positions he did was seen as a special kind of treason, a
betrayal of what should be a purely literary genius. “Great art, dreadful politics,” complained Terry
Eagleton…. .
By 1962, he was aware that his identity had been compromised by external events. East Indians in
independent Trinidad appeared to be facing black majority rule, and many were trying to emigrate.
Under a new law, however, Commonwealth citizens would be denied the right to move to the UK.
Naipaul regarded the Commonwealth Immigrants Act as a betrayal. In a copy of A House for Mr
Biswas, he wrote his signature and, “For Andrew Salkey, in London, from which one may in future
be banned.” The mother country had abandoned a generation of orphaned children.

Ambitious, protean, deracinated by the accelerated politics of the end of empire, Naipaul made a
conscious choice to refashion himself. The publishing vogue for West Indian writing was over and,
uniquely among his contem poraries, he saw the implications of this early enough to do something
about it. Jan Carew remembered:

The last time we met was in a café in the Tottenham Court Road. By then, there were rumours that
Vidia was living in some part of London where West Indians were not welcome, and was taking up
with different people. He told me he was going to become English, and I thought he was pulling my
leg. The English are very strict about letting you in, particularly if you are a different colour. I
thought it was one of his jokes, but he was quite serious about it. He meant he was giving up his
West Indian imprimatur and taking on an English one.

Naipaul refused to be classified as a Caribbean novelist any longer. He would try to make himself
into a new type of writer, a world writer. Only very occasionally would he lift the mask. In Trinidad
in the late 1980s, he bumped into Sam Selvon at his sister’s house and accepted an invitation to go
boating near Soldado Rock. In the words of an eyewitness: “Sam said he wanted to swim. It was a
real hot day. Vidia says, ‘I would love to, but I don’t have my bathing things.’ Sam says, ‘I swimmin’
in my jockey shorts.’ Vidia says, “I can’t do that.’ We were in the sea, then kerplunk, V S Naipaul
was in the water, swimming around the boat in his jockey shorts.”

“The World Is What It Is: the Authorised Biography of V S Naipaul”
by Patrick French is published by Picador (£20).

http://www.newstate books/2008/ 04/naipaul- bbc-writer- short


“My life is an indivisible whole, and all my attitudes run into
one another; and they all have their rise in my insatiable
love for mankind.” — Mahatma Gandhi





UWI Hindu Society,

c/o Guild of Students,

University of the West Indies,

St. Augustine.



Hinduism, a way of life







The University of the West Indies Hindu Society will be hosting its
Annual Dinner and Dance function on July 12th 2008 at the
Rooftop Restaurant, Mt. Hope Medical Sciences Complex, from


The theme of this event is entitled “Dhanyavaad,” as the evening would
be dedicated to acknowledging and honouring the Dharmic efforts of
the 2006-2007 Executive, as well as our Special Contributors who assist
us in the promotion of our mission. These honourees have rendered their
services to Hinduism in a graceful and dignified manner, and for this we
say “Thank You.”


We extend this invitation to you – our membership and external supporters,
to join with us in sharing a delightful evening.  


Tickets are priced at $80, and can be collected from Amrita (685-6133) or
Shivam (754-9471). For further information, please contact us!



We do look forward to your presence and wish you continued success
and spiritual bliss in all your future missions.




Thank You

Yours Sincerely,                                                                                                           

Emma Mangaroo                                                                                               

(President- 2007-2008)                                                                                           


The UWI Hindu Society is an organization formed by the
Campus Hindu Community under the constitution of the Guild of Students of
the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus.
MOTTO: There is no Religion higher than truth





Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath, Editor, International Jahajee Journal
Part 1 : Origin of The Coolie Slave Trade 


GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago
a chapter of GOPIO International.
P.O. BOX 2286, Chaguanas. TRINIDAD.

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) unequivocally and
categorically reiterates that there is only one authorized GOPIO Chapter in
Trinidad and Tobago, namely GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, with its leadership
team that was installed on February 29, 2008
in Freeport, Trinidad.

The executives of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago include Deosaran Bisnath (President);
Varsha Maharaj (Secretary); Oscar Ramoutar (Treasurer); Directors (Niranjan Bhaggan,
Jaganath Seeram-Maharaj) ; and Youth Officers (Shivanie Ramcharitar, Sacha Mahabal
and Avinash Sanu).


GOPIO International emphasizes that former GOPIO of Trinidad and Tobago chapter
president Devant Maharaj does not function in any capacity in GOPIO International,
any of its councils or chapters, and is not authorized to make any such representations
on behalf of GOPIO Int’l or GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago.



GOPIO is a secular, non-partisan, not-for-profit, international organization based in
USA with chapters in various parts of the globe, representing the interests and
aspirations of People of Indian Origin (PIOs), and promoting awareness and
understanding of issues of concern — social, cultural, educational, economic, or political,
to global NRI/PIO community.


GOPIO can be contacted:

Inder Singh (President, GOPIO Int’l) at gopio-intl@sbcgloba  or by
tel +1-818-708-3885, Ashook Ramsaran (Sec General, GOPIO Int’l) at
ramsaran@aol. com
 or by tel +1-718-939-8194, Deosaran Bisnath
(President, GOPIO of Trinidad & Tobago) at
deobisnath@yahoo. com
by tel

Become a GOPIO member: write to –
GopioTT@gmail. com

GOPIO on the NET:
http://groups. group/GopioTT/
http://gopiott. blogspot. com/

http://www.gopio. net
http://gopio. com



~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~
user posted image

Where love is, there God is also.
-Mahatma Gandhi


May the light of wisdom illumine us.
May we become united with the Lord.
Let us contemplate five categories:
The world and luminous worlds in the sky,
Education, progeny, and speech.
-Taittiriya Upanishad



For aspirants who want to climb the mountain of
spiritual awareness, the path is selfless work; for those who have ascended to yoga the path is
stillness and peace. When a person has freed
himself from attachment to the results of work,
and from desires for the enjoyment of sense
objects, he ascends to the unitive state.
-Bhagavad Gita 6:3-4


~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~



The Indian Defense


It would take me 17 years to find that route, and along the way I’ve had hundreds of conversations about the origins of chess — with players, fans, officials, taxi drivers, barbers and who knows how many people who sat next to me on a plane. I’ve heard the ownership of chess being claimed by Russians, Chinese, Ukrainians, Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Spaniards and Greeks. My own view is that the sport belongs to everybody who plays it, but the question of its origins is easy enough to answer: chess comes from India.

Our claim is based not on dominance — although the Indian school is now producing lots of high-quality players, including (ahem) the world No. 1. Some of the oldest references to the sport are found in ancient Indian texts. In the great epic Ramayana (which, according to some sources, was orally transmitted sometime between 750 B.C. and 500 B.C.), the demon king Ravana invents chess to amuse his wife Mandodari. A brilliant mind, she promptly beats him at it. My grandmother told me that story when I first began to play the game at age 6. Chess also features in the Arthashastra (3rd century B.C.), perhaps the world’s oldest political treatise. Its author, Chanakya, describes chess as a game of war strategy, known as chaturanga, played on an 8-by-8 board. Think of it as the world’s first virtual war game.

I believe chess traveled westward out of India, through what is now Afghanistan into Persia, where it arrived during the Sassanid Empire — an Indian king is believed to have sent a chessboard as a gift to his Persian counterpart. At the royal court in Ctesiphon, the game was known as chatrang. The Arabs learned it (they called it shatranj) when they conquered Persia in the 6th century A.D. and carried it across northern Africa. They introduced the game to Europe when the Moors crossed the Mediterranean into the Iberian peninsula. It grew immensely popular in Moorish Spain, where it was played in the street — a practice still seen in parks and other squares in cities around the world. … READ MORE

The June issue of the Indo-Caribbean Times can be
accessed online at web/Indo- CaribbeanTimes

Some articles from this Indian Arrival special issue:


  • Indo-Caribbeans tell their stories of arrival in Canada:
    Dr Deoraj Narine, Manshad Mohammed, Indra Ramdass
  • 20,000 expected for Guyana Festival in Toronto
  • Vedic Cultural Centre marks a Century of Indo-Caribbean Arrival
  • Heritage Day celebrations in an East Toronto School
  • Tribute to immigrant #1 Kenneth Maharaj
  • Applying for refugee status in Canada
  • Camille Ross starts Guyana Beat television program
  • Caribbean Hindus to hold Canada Day Satsangh & Hawan to pray for the nation

My Arrival story in Canada

Dr Deoraj Narine

   I came to Canada from Guyana on September 1st 1979 to attend Acadia University in Nova Scotia
for an Msc in Chemistry.  At that time you could fly from Georgetown to Trinidad, Bermuda and Halifax.  I landed there all dressed up in this polyester suit and it was freezing cold in Halifax at the end of
August. Halifax as you know is next to the ocean. 
    I settled in there and it was quite nice but very, very cold. There was loneliness of course. If you were
there you wished the plane would land and you could step out of there and fly back to Guyana. But it
didn’t happen. You know we have to live out our dreams.
   One of the funny things about conditions under colonialism is that you never see white people dig a
drain. You never see them doing manual work. You see them riding on horse with cork hat or driving in
    The next day I was going to register at the university. There I was walking down Main Street in 
Wolfville,  Nova Scotia and there was this white guy digging a drain. You may not believe this but I stood up for about three minutes staring at this guy. Believe it or not. It was embarassing!   …

Courtesy James Rambally
 “…I was speaking to an Indo-St. Lucian and this is the first time I
was able to actually get someone to admit how they really felt about
their experience in St. Lucia:

Growing up in St. Lucia, I was ashamed of being Indian. I did not
grow up in the Indian community as others did, and I was cutoff from
the outside world. I remember being terrified to go to school because
insults of Coolie Calcutta were hurled at me. I was always prepared
to defend myself whether it was physically or verbally. People always
threw insults about my anatomy and that the fact I was Indian, I was
naturally weaker than the others around me. I thank my father becuase
he would come to school and straighten out these people who called me
names and threatened me. 
He later commented that in living in St. Lucia he thought Indians
never did anything of value. All he saw Indians doing was
agricultural and transportation jobs. It wasn’t until he left St.
Lucia that he saw Indian people had achieved momumentous feats.

We talked about the percentage of Indians in St. Lucia, and he
TRULY believed that the Indian population was less than half a
percent. He believed Indians in St. Lucia were a dying race and that
many had low self-esteem as the result of being Indian.”



Hindu wedding songs

CULTURAL ACTIVIST, author and singer Rukminee Beepath recently presented her latest
Vivaaha Geet
to the National Library in Chaguanas recently. Due to the numerous
requests from secondary school students and UWI, Beepath has been distributing her book to
schools and libraries across the country.
The book contains 108 traditional Hindu wedding songs and the corresponding meanings.

“The Hindu wedding contains the most fascinating rituals. It calls on the presence of the
various devis and devtas (gods and goddesses) associated with Hinduism to give blessings to
the couple who is prepared to take this step in life,” Beepath explained.

She said the belief is that couples were connected in another life. As a result, when they join
union in this life they call on the gods to remove all their bad karmas and bless them with

Beepath’s daughter, Reshma Beepath Umrau, who is also active in the cultural field,
explained that the rituals associated with a Hindu wedding takes three days to complete.

“There is a song for every step taken by the bride and by the groom in their respective
homes,” she said.

On the third day the couple comes together at the bride’s home to complete the ceremonies,
then return to the home of the groom to start their new life.

The book, which is available at local bookstores is also available in the United States and the
United Kingdom.

Beepath has also released a compilation of the wedding songs in a CD by the same name.
This compilation contains 20 songs which are sung as part of the Hindu wedding ceremony.


claque \KLACK\, noun:
1. A group hired to applaud at a performance.
2. A group of fawning admirers.

He cultivated the “Georgetown set” of leading journalists and
columnists and had them cheering for him as if he had hired a
— Theodore Draper, “Little Heinz And Big Henry”,
New York Times, September 6, 1992

Behind the hacks was the claque. They cheered and whooped in a
vague way, like a group of restrained English persons at a Texas
rodeo: “Whee! Whoooo! Polite cough!”
— Simon Hoggart, “Yee hah, chaps! It’s the manifesto”,
The Guardian, May 11, 2001

Charles Bukowski suffers from too good a press– a small but
loudly enthusiastic claque.
— Kenneth Rexroth, “There’s Poetry in a Ragged Hitch-Hiker” ,
New York Times, July 5, 1964

Claque comes from French, from claquer, “to clap,” ultimately of imitative origin.



Experience is never possible without consciousness. Anything that is
eternal must be infinite and unlimited. Consciousness is unlimited;
the consciousness of limitation shows that consciousness is greater
than limitation. Perfection is the attainment of immortal life or
pure consciousness. The enquiry of, “Who am I?” leads to self-
realisation (Brahma-jnana) . Divine wisdom can be attained only by
those who are endowed with purity. Tear the veil. Realise the reality.

Bliss is not an attribute. It is the very constitutive essence of the
self, or atman. As the self is absolute in nature, its bliss is also
absolute. This is the same as Brahman.

Annihilate the ego. Reach the goal here and now. Take the inner
essence and attain perfection. Relax not the keen vigilance against
your most subtle foes – egoism and desire. Where can you see the
Lord? I found the Lord where `I’ did not exist.

Where there is no sense of `I’, there is liberation. It is bondage to
have the sense of `I’ and `mine’. Identify with the all-pervading
soul (atman). You will attain immortality. This is the secret of
eternal life.

— SIVANANDA Readings

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~
‘jahaj’ = ship; ‘desi’ = Indian
= The Indians who crossed the Kala Pani by ship,
the Indentured Indian Immigrants, and their descendents.

For Free Subscription to this Newsletter, or to Join the JahajeeDesi
YAHOO Group, or to contribute News, Letters, Essays, Reviews,
Send Mail to: 
CCDSJ@yahoo. com

Subscription Problems? Unsubscribe? Send Mail to:
CCDSJ@yahoo. com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IJJ, June 22nd, 2008: My Agi who crossed the Kalapani; Drink from my Calabash; South Arica: “Go back to India, Coolie”. “Chinese is the New Black”


International Jahajee Journal (IJJ), June 22nd, 2008
Voice of the International  Indian Diaspora  

user posted image

Home of the International Jahajee Diaspora

Editor: Deosaran Bisnath

Whenever darkness comes, assert the reality and everything adverse must
vanish. For, after all, it is but a dream. Mountain high though the difficulties
appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but maya. Fear
not—it is banished. Crush it and it vanishes. Stamp upon it and it dies. Be not
afraid. Think not how many times you fail. Never mind—time is infinite. Go
forward. Assert yourself again and again and light must come.



Shriya, the cover girl


Bold and beautiful: Kollywood siren Shriya Saran is all set to scorch
the screen this summer as she turns cover girl for Maxim


  She is acting in Ashok Amritraj’s Hollywood flick The Other End of the Line.


A  picture of my Agi who crossed the Kalapani

By Leela Ramdeen



Your hands have changed with the years –

grown a little out of shape and worn.

Worn from the indentation of the cutlass

that ate into your soft flesh as you cut

the cane – day in, day out.


You used to hold me high on your hips

looking at me with knowing eyes,

your long, black hair smelling of

coconut oil with streaks of silver

glistening in the sun,

your shoulders bent from backbreaking

work in the fields – day in, day out.


I saw you once literally bleed

from the bottoms of your feet

as you walked through the

smouldering fields – still

blazing in parts – just to

make sure you cut your quota

of cane for the day –

under the watchful eye of the overseer

sitting high on his horse –

day in, day out.


You taught me how to count in Hindi

Ack, do, teen. You sang about

those you left behind, while I

climbed unto your lap and curled into

The crook of your left arm.

You cradled me and as the strain

of your sweet voice was carried by the wind

my eyes grew drowsy from the

swaying of the hammock – day in, day out.


If you had any hidden dreams, other than

of being a good wife, mother, grandmother,

no one ever knew about them. If deep regrets,

fears, or personal doubts tormented you

you never stated them. You were here

sitting stately on your perha

grinding masala early in the morning

before the sun rose – day in, day out.


Agi, they say there is no other success

for parents except to feel that they

have made some contribution to the

development of their children. No one knows

your true worth but us, your children.

You are the object of our love and

adoration. We appreciate the single-

heartedness of your life, your sturdy

unselfishness and the sacrifice you made for

your family – day in, day out.

Leela Ramdeen is a lawyer and education consultant




Bollywood’s veggie brigade
Cutest on the list: Kareena Kapoor is not only receiving compliments
for her size zero but also for turning vegetarian.





Black magic: Vidya Balan inspired by Kareena’s size zero look is also on a crash
diet and she says being a vegetarian helps lose weight easily.

Veggie Big B: Amitabh Bachchan has been voted Asia’s sexiest vegetarian male
in a survey conducted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The hunk: Milind Soman also swears by veg food only



“I’d rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong.” J.M.Keynes




Drink from my Calabash

by Norman Tewarie

You came to my house
As sneaky as mouse
I offer you water in my calabash
I’m open I have nothing to stash
You felt bad maybe
I aroused your curiosity
What a simple life I live
I have nothing to give
I gave you water in a calabash
Which I use to cook and to wash
I am not rich- I do not horde
I give you what I can afford
I do not make false promises
Don’t live up to the Joneses
The calabash came from a tree
And it is clean and it’s healthy
It was not made by man
It came from the land
Man has to go back to the basics
Put aside science and physics
And try his bloody darn best
To be sincere and be honest
And use the truth for his cure
And take a lesson from Nature.

From a new book by Norman Tewarie

To be released soon.




India Came West
by Norman Tewarie

The 13th of January was an ordinary day in India

When in 1838, the SS Whitby sailed with 24 9immigrants

After 112 days she reached Georgetown , Guyana

With her first batch trying to fulfil their needs and wants


Not long after another, the SS Hesperus came

She sailed on the 19th January at much cost

With 165 Indians on board it was not the same

For 13 died on board and at sea two were lost


On the 30th of May in 1845 came the SS Rozack

After 137 days she did not come to the main

For stormy weather caused her a serious set-back

With 225 souls she landed in Port of Spain


The last ship was the SS Ganges

Which sailed in 1917 on 17th January

Thus ended coming of the jahajis

Strong kinship made on the journey


In 1917, 239,756 Indians were in Guyana

Many died with flu epidemic and disease

After 5 years many went back to India

     To their respective provinces and cities


These pioneers came from Bengal and Behar

The North West provinces, Oudh and Orissa

From pretty Punjab and Uttar Pradesh so far

     From cities like Madras , Bombay and Calcutta


After 5 years they were freed from their massahs

With free passages back to Mother India

Many got lured with false promises by harkatiyas

Of easy jobs in the islands and Guyana


They made homes in Guyana , Trinidad , Jamaica

St.Vincent, St. Lucia , Honduras , Guadeloupe

Martinique, even Venezuela and tiny Grenada

French Cayenne and also in the Dutch groupe


Their hopes and aspirations were shattered

By the treatment and racial molestations

From the estate owners as they were scattered

On the cocoa, corn and sugar plantations


The massahs handled them like cattle

And they met a worse humiliating fate

Living in long logies of mud and wattle

When they bad to face the magistrate


His rights were always met with a denial

Any breach of indentureship contract

And he was charged and dubbed a criminal

For the massah was mean and exact


They came to save the dilapidated economy

When the Negro slaves got their emancipation

In turn they were oppressed into slavery

The reward for saving the English plantation


On top off all their problem

The Negroes made life very uneasy

They ridiculed and molested them

Calling them Babu and coolie


They mocked their Hindu religion

Called them pagans treated them as foes

Molesting the youths were common

So was the ridicule too by adult Negroes


The Indians suffered traumatic attacks

They couldn’t live in peace and couldn’t win

Indians were forced to marry blacks

Dougala meant straighter hair and fairer skin


In many islands they lost their names and religion

And they were completely integrated

Only then they were more tolerated as kith and kin

And then they were readily accepted


No one was in the Fast Indians’ niche

The plantation owners had the law on their side

For the magistrates were owned by the rich

And Indian field workers were in for a long ride


The Negro later became a black Whiteman completely

They lost their religion and were culture dead

Were bent on forcing the Indians into their society

Like them, only to become Brown Whitemen instead


Now the Indians are the wealthiest in the Caribbean

In Guyana , Trinidad and Suriname they are the majority

The Coolie Baboos are educated, self-made and keen

And owned most of the businesses, land and property


These pioneers who came from Mother India

Had the stamina and guts to come West

Today the East Indians have a proud dharma

       Still practised with much vigour and zest.

From a new book by Norman Tewarie

To be released soon.

Episodes of Indian Experience
by Professor Kenneth Ramchand
Professor Kenneth Ramchand is Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature,
University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Emeritus of English (Colgate University),

and currently, Associate Provost, The Academy at the University of Trinidad and
Tobago for Arts, Letters, Culture and Public Affairs.

Professor Ramchand’s article is made up of eight inter-related ‘slides’ or
episodes, each illustrating a particular aspect of the Indian experience, mostly in
Trinidad and Tobago. The episodes cover a period of over one hundred and fifty
years and they are arranged in such a way as to bring out the theme of Indian
arrival or coming of age and certain key issues related to this main topic. The
inter-related episodes form a tableau of people of Indian origin in the process of
re-making themselves and contributing to the making of Trinidad and Tobago.

The eight episodes are:

Episode I: ‘Vashti Deen and The Ties that Bind’, the literary efforts of a woman
sugarcane worker;

Episode II: ‘The Returning Lawyer’, a speech of 1948 which touches upon
Hindu-Muslim relations, the disunity among Trinidad Indians, and the cultural and
social challenge facing people of Indian origin in Trinidad;

Episode III: ‘Adrian Cola Rienzi and the Right to Vote’, the defeat of a scheme
(an English Language test) to deprive the majority of Indians of universal adult
suffrage (the vote) in 1943;

Episode IV: ‘Bound-Coolie Radical’, fighting words from the 1890’s by an
indentured Indian who wrote letters to the Editor of The Daily Chronicle of British

Episode V: ‘No Turning Back’, a story about a young Indian woman seeking a
place now that the Yankees have gone;

Episode VI: ‘Kale Khan the Shipwrecked Pathan’, (from a novel by Ismith Khan);

Episode VII: ‘No House No Biswas: The Gloom of the New Indian Satirists’,
(Shiva Naipaul and Neil Bissoondath);

Episode VIII: ‘Mirror, Mirror:the Greatest of them All’ (Sir Vidia Naipaul).



Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath, Editor, International Jahajee Journal
Part 1 : Origin of The Coolie Slave Trade


GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago
a chapter of GOPIO International.
P.O. BOX 2286, Chaguanas. TRINIDAD.

Become a GOPIO member: write to –
687-7529 GopioTT@gmail. com


Indian Indenture In British Malaya:
Policy and practice in the Straits Settlements

by David Chanderbali

ISBN: 9781845230364
Published: 26 May 2008
David Chanderbali’s book is a valuable addition to the small but growing literature
concerning 19th century Indian indentured migration to work as labourers in plantation
economies in the tropical world. It complements Hugh Tinker’s (and others) studies of
Indian indenture in the Caribbean,
Surendra Bhana’s (and others) of South Africa and those dealing with Fiji and Mauritius.
Whilst Chanderbali’s book is not the first to deal with Indian migration to the Malay
peninsula, it is the first to deal comprehensively with the workings of the indenture system
in that region. As such it makes several important contributions. It offers a contribution to
South-East Asian studies by giving a more accurate and detailed account of the
circumstances of the arrival of Indians in what is now Malaysia. It adds to the history of
labour movements in the nineteenth century by confirming what was common to the
system wherever it manifested, and establishing what was local and distinctive. In this
case it involved features of the local Chinese rumah kechil system. One of these was to
pay the immigrants’ passage, in addition to making a cash advance. In return, the
immigrants contracted to work for a specified length of time or until they liquidated their
debts. This kind of debt bondage was not to be found in such a naked form in other
versions of the indenture system.
Chanderbali’s narrative is a lucidly written and well structured. Whilst amply documented
with statistical tables, the study never loses sight of the people involved, whether Indian
labourers or white planters. Above all, in its careful detail, it enables clear comparisons to
be made in identifying the factors that shaped the commonalities and the distinctive
features of particular indentured systems, features that have contributed to the
contemporary position and inter-ethnic relationships of Indian communities in the
Caribbean, South Africa, Mauritius and Fiji.

Dr David Chanderbali was born in Guyana. He studied in Guyana and completed doctoral
research at the Australian National University. He taught in the Department of History at
the University of Guyana and is now the Registrar at that university

user posted image

These pleasures last but until tomorrow,
And they wear out the vital powers of life.
How fleeting is all life on earth! Therefore
Keep your horses and chariots, dancing
And music, for yourself. Never can mortals
Be made happy by wealth.

-Katha Upanishad

If all the land were turned to paper and all the seas turned to ink, and
all the forests into pens to write with, they would still not suffice to
describe the greatness of the guru.
By loving me he comes to know me truly; then he knows my glory
and enters into my boundless being. All his acts are performed in my
service, and through my grace he wins eternal life.
-Bhagavad Gita 18:55-56
Indian couple moves SA court against racism

DURBAN: A young Indian couple, allegedly targeted with racial slurs for six
months by their African neighbours who called them “coolies” and told them to
“go back to India”, have moved the Equality Court in the South African city of

Gopaul Mohun and his wife, Radhika, residents Amanzimtoti, south of Durban,
told the court that they had been insulted by their neighbours, Msizi Joel
Mosondo, and his family for the past six months.

“They said we were cane cutters and that is all we are fit for,” Mohun said in
the papers filed in the court.

“Mr Masondo said he was oppressed and that he fought for this country and that Indians only benefited from his hard work. Masondo’s wife said :’You coolie, go
back to India where you belong,” the Indian alleged.

“The family uses derogatory racial words and phrases and tells neighbours
about ‘these Indians’.”

Mohun told the court that he had twice tried to serve warning notices on the
Masondo family but they had refused to accept it.

“He and his family continue to make violent threats…on me and my family
despite my attempt to bring peace. The police told me that Masondo’s wife had
refused to allow her husband to accept the notices and said that she doesn’t
care about me because I am nuisance to them,” he said But Masondo, in a brief affidavit, replied that Mohun was the “trouble maker”.

“Therefore, while the cases and investigation are going I’m not responding to
anybody like Mr Gopaul who brews trouble now and again and talks too much”, said Masondo.

The hearing has been set for June 25. South Africa has recently witnessed
heightened racial tensions with renewed xenophobic attacks that has left more
than 63 people being killed and displaced over 70 000.


Outside the Justice Department, workers from India protest allegedly deceptive practices used to lure them to this country after Hurricane Katrina.

Outside the Justice Department, workers from India
protest allegedly deceptive practices used to lure them
to this country after
Hurricane Katrina

Indian Workers Decry Recruitment Tactics

Protesters Cite ‘Lifetime Settlement’ Offer


Washington Post Staff Writer

Vijay Kumar was working as a contract welder in the sweltering
United Arab Emirates two years ago, far from his wife and family in
southern India, when he spotted an advertisement offering welders

and pipe fitters “permanent lifetime settlement in the USA for self and family.”

Kumar answered the ad to find that workers were being recruited to rebuild oil rigs in Mississippi and Texas destroyed by Hurricane
Katrina. He returned to India, signed a contract and paid a recruiter
$20,000 to travel to the United States. He told his wife, who had just
given birth to a son, that he would send for them as soon as he
“I sell my house, my wife sell her jewels, we borrow money from
friends. We dream of living in America together,” Kumar, 34, said
yesterday. He stood outside the
U.S. Justice Department during a
protest with several dozen other Indian workers, all of whom have
been staging a hunger strike in Washington for weeks.
When about 500 Indian recruits reached Mississippi in the fall of
2006, Kumar and the others said, they found that they had been
deceived. Their new employer, Signal International Corp., had hired
them as temporary “guest” workers with 10-month H2B visas.
There was no possibility of obtaining permanent residency for
themselves, let alone their families back home. Signal denies that it
knew the workers had been promised U.S. residency.



(Part III)

From a new book by Norman Tewarie

To be released soon.


So when you are being political

Sowing seeds of distrust so hateful

Joining the highbrows helping

To divide us and keep on ruling

Better know that fellow man we are

A good people who never think of war

In small towns and tiny villages 

Enjoying the same sea breezes

Once were never divided living like chums

Not by race or politics or bully hoodlums


My Guyana is for all the six major races

The Amerindians who made the first traces

The sons and daughters of the blacks

Who came after camouflaged attacks

Of the slaves uprooted from Africa

To build the plantations of the bakrah

And the East Indians shipped from India

These are the people who made Guyana

These coolies really deserve our cheers

What it is today built by these pioneers

And they all have a democratic right

To govern peacefully in this fight


In my Guyana you have to positively go forward

Throw off your shackles but keep up your guard

Stop and think not of the race card game

And neither the old ever blame game

About the past we cant do anything

But from it we can learn something

Take the good dump the negative

And move forward think positive

Like when we were British Guiana

When we fought the white bakrah

We thought bad things would cease

And all the races would live in peace

When all the religions were respected

Not where some men were subjected

When we all used to work together

Played and laughed with one another

And sometimes loved each other

Yes that’s my kind of Guyana




South Asians for Obama (SAFO) is a grassroots
movement to mobilize the South Asian community in America to support
Barack Obama for President of the United States in 2008.  SAFO seeks to
unite the entire South Asian American community around Senator Obama’s
vision for America’s future.
As Americans of South Asian heritage, each of us embodies the promise of
the American dream.  Our families arrived on the shores of this great nation
in search of a better tomorrow.  They sought a land of promise and freedom, a land where hard work was rewarded and justice prevailed.  While we have
made great strides in this country, much remains to be done to ensure that
the promise of America is fulfilled for each member of our community.
Amongst the things that Barack Obama carries for good luck are a
bracelet belonging to a soldier deployed in Iraq, a gambler’s lucky
chit, a Hanuman murti (Hindu God), and a Madonna and child.
Barack Obama’s vision for America is our vision, and his story is our story. 
As the son of a foreign-born father, he has personally experienced the
challenges of race and identity that affect our community.  As a graduate of
Columbia University and Harvard Law School, he appreciates the value of a
strong education in expanding opportunity in this country.  He also
recognizes that love for America and pride in one’s heritage are not
conflicting values.  And he understands that our individual salvation depends on our collective salvation.


In South Africa, Chinese is the New Black

A high court in South Africa ruled on Wednesday that Chinese-
South Africans will be reclassified as “black,” a term that includes
black Africans, Indians and others who were subject to
discrimination under apartheid. As a result of this ruling, ethnically
Chinese citizens will be able to benefit from government
affirmative action policies aimed at undoing the effects of

In 2006, the Chinese Association of South Africa sued the
government, claiming that its members were being discriminated
against because they were being treated as whites and thus failed to qualify for business contracts and job promotions reserved for
victims of apartheid. The association successfully argued that,
since Chinese-South Africans had been treated unequally under
apartheid, they should be reclassified in order to redress wrongs
of the past.


This is not the first time the classification of Chinese in South
Africa has changed. In fact, the racial status of Chinese-South
Africans has often shifted with the nation’s political climate and its
international relations.

The first significant group of Chinese came to South Africa in the
early 20th century, before a formal system of apartheid existed, to
work in the gold mines. They were not encouraged to settle
permanently and by 1910 almost all the mine workers had been
. Those who remained struggled with racism and lived

in separate communities based on language, culture and socio-
economic status. .. MORE AT:

-Sky Canaves

http://blogs. rnal/2008/ 06/19/in- south-africa- chinese-is- the-new-black/



renascent \rih-NAS-uhnt\, adjective:
Springing or rising again into being; showing renewed vigor.

Their goal: to give voters in theJune presidential elections a realistic choice between the
rough-and-tumble reforms of President Boris Yeltsin and the Soviet-era nostalgia of
Gennadi Zyuganov, leader of the renascent Russian Communist Party.
— James O. Jackson, “Can Opposites Attract?”, Time, May 13, 1996

In the wings a renascent conservative movement waited to make the most of that
discontent– Bruce J. Schulman, The Seventies

Shuichi Kato, a renowned leftist literary critic, was staunchly against the Vietnam War
and is always alert for signs of renascent militarism in Japan.
James Fallows, “Japan: Let them Defend Themselves”, The Atlantic, April 1989

Where are the new ideas upon which a renascent Toryism can build?
— David Aaronovitch, “There’s no setting for Hague’s Tories at the nation’s kitchen table”,
, March 11, 1999

Rabbinical students saw themselves at the center of a renascent American Judaism,

pioneers of a nationwide — no, worldwide — Jewish faith rooted in the best of the
past and vigorous with contemporary innovations.
Chaim Potok, “Legitimate Voyeurism”, Forward, November 4, 1994

Heading the pack of institutional investors were dedicated “emerging-market funds”,

set up specifically to reap high returns in renascent stock and bond markets.
— “The miracle unmasked”, The Economist, December 9, 1995

Renascent comes from Latin renascens, present participle of renasci,
 “to be born again,” from re-, “again” + nasci, “to be born.”

user posted image


Seek God within you, in your heart. Seek him not elsewhere. Seek him
with faith. Seek not God for favours. Such favours will not bring you
near to God. Cultivate niskamya bhakti (motiveless devotion). Pine
for his grace and mercy.
Cling to the name of the Lord. Practise the religion of sacrifice.
Dedicate yourself to God. Walk in humility and love. This is the way
to God-realisation.
Practise ahimsa, satyam and brahmacarya (non violence, truth and
purity). Say from the bottom of your heart, “I am thine. Thy will be
done O Lord.” Stick to dharma (right conduct). Control the mind and
the senses. Kill egoism, lust, greed, hatred, etc.
Cultivate divine virtues such as humility, tolerance, mercy,
kindness, courage, selflessness, cosmic love, truthfulness, purity
and celibacy.
— SIVANANDA Readings

GUYANA’S IAC blasts ‘highly offensive’ Stabroek News cartoon

– registers complaint with ERC

The Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) has registered its “strongest
condemnation” of a cartoon published on page 6 in the Sunday Stabroek
edition of June 15, 2008. The body has registered its concern with the
Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).

The offending cartoon, the body notes, shows what appears to be an
elderly woman of Indo-Guyanese origin being interviewed by a
bespectacled member of the media.
“The old East Indian woman is drawn barefooted, sitting on a stool and
wearing an undecorated rumal (Indian Headwear), an earring, a pair of
bangles and a foot ring and an “I Love Guyana” badge while peeling what
appears to be an agricultural product taken from a large wicker basket. At
her feet is a bag with what appears to be the peeled product.
In the cartoon the interviewer first asks the old woman: “How do you feel
about a BLACK MAN being PRESIDENT?” After an extended pause
while appearing to wait for the old woman to answer, he adds: “of the

When the old woman finally answers she exclaims: “OH! The UNITED

The IAC opined that the interviewer is drawn as being anxious to extract
an answer from the old woman.

“The IAC feels strongly that the interviewer is portrayed in such a manner
as trying to extract a negative answer from her during his extended pause.

The IAC, which deals with issues and concerns of persons of
Indo-Guyanese origin, views this cartoon as highly offensive

The IAC interprets this portrayal to mean that Indo-Guyanese are alarmed at
the notion of having an Afro-Guyanese as President of Guyana.

The IAC emphasized that it “not only finds the cartoon racially offensive but
denigrating to persons of Indo-Guyanese origin as it can stir up feelings of
social hostility against Indo-Guyanese by promoting and perpetrating
negative stereotypes of Indo-Guyanese”.

The Committee noted that it had registered an official complaint with and
urged the Ethnic Relations Commission to deal with the matter expeditiously.
The IAC also called on all social, religious and political organizations to
condemn what it described as “this racially inciting cartoon”.

The IAC concluded its statement by indicating that it continues to be a
champion of cultural and ethnic harmony whilst at the same time celebrating
the rich heritage and contributions of Indians to the development of Guyana.

‘jahaj’ = ship; ‘desi’ = Indian
= The Indians who crossed the Kala Pani by ship,
the Indentured Indian Immigrants, and their descendents.

For Free Subscription to this Newsletter, or to Join the JahajeeDesi
YAHOO Group, or to contribute News, Letters, Essays, Reviews,
Send Mail to:

Subscription Problems? Unsubscribe? Send Mail to:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


This is Part 4 of series on Indian Arrival Month, May 2008, in the Caribbean.
Other Parts can be accessed here:



Coolie Mother

by Professor David Dabydeen

Jasmattie live in bruk-
Down hut big like Bata shoe-box,
Beat clothes, weed yard, chop wood, feed fowl
For this body and that body and every blasted body
Fetch water, all day water like if the
Whole slow-flowing Canje river God create
Just for she one bucket.

Till she foot bottom crack and she hand cut-up
And curse swarm from she mouth like red ants
And she cough blood on the ground but mash it in:
Because Jasmattie heart hard, she mind set hard.

To hustle save she one-one penny,
Because one-one dutty make dam cross the Canje
And she son Harrilal got to go school in Georgetown
Must wear clean starch pants, or they go laugh at he,
Strap leather on he foot, and he must read book,
Learn talk proper, take exam, go to England university,
Not turn out like he rum-sucker chamar dadee.



But do not expect to find it
where its seeds were sown
In its Motherland
the curry-scented sub-continent

It was created
on an island
by its children
yearning for the homeland.



a movement from a longer poem,  The Rain Suite, from


ISBN: 9781845230432
August 2007, Peepal Press

by Dr. Raymond Ramcharitar.
On these ululating plains, the rain is fate,
Draining the Indian’s ashes from the lips
Of the patient Caroni, to incarnate
Into the canestalks’ tasseled, sky-turned tips—
Arrows to the India of the mind.
While below, in patchworks of glistening strips
Of razor grass and dirt, board houses on stilts
Enclose the brown, work-knotted bodies,
Still-sitting, folded at the hip and knee
As primal eyes grope along the endless chains
Of the rain seeking escape, samadhi,
Inside the dank Chaguanas cinema
Where the pink, rose-lipped maidens pout and dance
 In streams and around trees—a panorama
Of sublimated lust, which spreads outward
Through the roads outside the towns, the chance
Settlements along old sugar cart-routes
where, now and then, resilient mud-spattered shards
Of humanity still walk through the downpours
Of fingers which reach under rough cotton
Like the coolie farmer’s trembling hand explores
His daughter’s taut, brown flesh to the strum
Of small bullets on the raw galvanise, to come,
Hesitantly, to a stop, as the final memory
Of the mother dissolves under the glare
Of the unforgiving sun whose gaze clears
Ruthlessly the dewy fields and glassy paths,
Silencing the rain’s many-armed history.


by Sasenarine Persaud

Kanhai in Calcutta and the swarm
of crowds, waves of Indian Ocean
roaring in the stands. Once Aja
stood on docks nearby, boarding
for Indies Cristobal, the Baptist
Navigator, christened this land.



Green Face Man

by Professor Rosanne Kanhai

ISBN: 976-620-227-3

nobody touch me, they know my skin slippery

nobody hear me, they know how I curse

nobody watch the bad eye I born.

I am the green face man
coming down, coming down
all over de town

Sugar in my blood, sugar
I plant the cane
weed the cane
cut the cane,
I grind the cane to sweeten my tea.
Sugar in my blood
I tief the cane
suck the cane,
make me faint
all that sugar not good for me.

My eyes going blind
my foot swell up
sores on my skin
my hands tremble when
I take out the cutlass
sharpen it on a stone
cut my veins
let the sugar out

I see blood flowing
more dirty than Caroni
more sacrifice than Ganges
I see splatters
from the highway to the back trace
accidents happen every day,
a whole family clean-up
trap in burglar proof
a little child hold down
two brothers break they neck
a taxi turn over
a truck run off the road
land up in somebody bedroom
I put kajar in my eye, I don’t see so good…..


Brechin Castle

by Madeline Coopsammy

(Trinidad , 2005)

       For Yolande Nunez

       Friend of My Youth


“ Brechin Castle to Shut Down”


This name of an unequalled music

heralding visions of the rugged Scottish landscape

of Walter Scott and Lorna Doone

of murderous feuding Clans

and the glories of an Empire

on which the sun would never set

was the misnomer for a sugar-cane plantation

in the backwaters of Central Trinidad

its coolies once fettered by

Indentureship, inheriting a legacy

more bitter than the fruit they harvested


One warm and lovely breezy island night

you and I, searching out a fete

on a casual invitation

as we were wont to do

were bound for

a sacred fortress

the Plantation House

of Brechin Castle


leaving well-worn paths behind

our familiar haunts of

Woodbrook, St. James,

Cascade and Belmont

we drove through miles of darkened canes

and approached the Castle grounds

meeting  no impediment  neither moat

 nor armoured Knights

only a sentry at a Gate

who cheerfully waved us on

for we had a password, a Manager’s name 

and your Father’s car,

an imported  American Rambler

the Mercedes in our third world economy


Independence had not yet come

but you with your mulatto confidence

the long history of your European ancestors

your Portuguese name

never feared to venture anywhere

you took me once on Carnival Day

into the Queen’s Park Hotel where the black waiters

viewed us with disdain, laughing in our faces

you never noticed, too busy enjoying the music and the jump up

while I was left alone to feel their scorn

for we were the only coloured people there


and since you always drove the car

I had no choice but  to follow where you led


and thus we found ourselves

in Brechin Castle

which symbolized to me

the servitude of sugar

white colonial overseers

and sweating coolies cutting cane


but the fete was non-existent

someone had failed to extend the invitations

or perhaps the house was subject to a boycott


for the elegant spacious ballroom was deserted

peopled only by

an inebriated Englishman

his wife consorting with the black

yard boy


in South Africa in the days of Apartheid

white women were incarcerated in Insane Asylums

for just such indiscretions


but our hostess welcomed us

with warmth and kindliness

and to my surprise

in excessive courtesy

graced us with a curtsey fine and practised

while I  puzzled over

this outmoded custom

which, once habitual in Victorian times

was surely now confined to

visits to the Queen.


but rendering such regard to us 

one a coolie woman

the other of indeterminate race

left me wordless with wonderment


but as the years moved on

and the world mad e room for us

that surreal night coming sharply into focus

afforded me the realization that it was already

the dying days of Empire

and our misguided hostess

an Englishwoman of a newer breed

who knew no better.


That was more than forty years ago

now cane will soon be gone from Brechin Castle

 the plantation houses stand stately and morose

eerie clones  of those on Indian tea estates

we drive between still lovely avenues shaded by Royal Palms

a gentle wistful breeze

fans the rolling landscape


what tales the land could tell

what bitter-sweet memories remain upon

the Castle grounds, the fields

of shimmering waving canes

in the noonday sun

what fate now lies in store for them

since sugar will make way for

housing, development, malls?

I shudder to return.






Poems by Mahadai Das
Mahadai Das was born in Eccles, East Bank Demerara, Guyana in 1954. She
wrote poetry from her early school days at Bishops High School, Georgetown. She
did her first degree at the University of Guyana and received her MA at Columbia
University, New York, and then began a doctoral program in Philosophy at the
University of Chicago. Das became ill and never completed the programme.


My shoes stand on a waste land
While your twisting toes squeeze in a frenzy of squelching mud
Which bears you life:
Your bleeding hands grasp roots of rice

In my fields,
and the seed of life you delved into the earth
has sprung up to mock me.

(Excerpt from Bleeding Hands by Mahadai Das)




In Gibraltar Straits,
pirates in search of El Dorado
masked and machete-bearing
kidnapped me.
Holding me to ransom,
they took my jewels and my secrets
and dismembered me.




my body’s a hallowed
stick of bone, a flute
through which you pipe
your melody.

I am those parallel
eyes of air
along my spine,
which measure
your heavy rhythms
vibrating in my marrow.

play gentle, love
my frail reed’s
single stem
can scarcely hold
this rhapsody.


by Sharon Sankarsingh
“Only six months more,”
my father’s mother had said
as she wasted
nineteen years moving,
between the houses
of her seven children,
from bed to board-layered
bed, onto this final woodpile
scattered with marigolds
and kerosene, roses and a pundit’s
prayer. Flames wrapped
their lascivious tongues
around her fragile lips,
powdered by a withering fire.

White cloth draped
around his austere loins,
bony chest bare,
the holy man tasted
a dribble of cow’s milk,
pure liquor
from this fertile Hindu mother.
For three days,
he prayed to the East
in the mornings,
then he sprinkled grandmother’s ashes
before Vishnu’s fire.

The ashes settled
into an elusive cat-form
upon the altar,
and the priest announced
my grandmother’s incarnation,
mistress of nine lives.

My mother’s mother laid
her wracked bones
four weeks
upon her extra firm mattress,
calling fifty-eight
grandchildren, twelve
children (she included the hippies
then), to her side,
marijuana smile
on her broad face.

In those last days
the soothing weed
was her only solace
for the burning pain
in her chest. It lived
between her swollen lips
through her passage
to the hard earth

in which she had toiled
in the cold
and mud-filled rice paddies,
through a wayward
husband, and three abandoned
grandchildren. She was a squat
woman, high cheekbones
and hard skin
until the scheming sun
reached out
his lecherous hand
to squeeze her breast.


by V. Ramsamooj Gosine
A Rolls-Royce messiah came out yesterday
Ordered men to shave their heads
Lie naked, walk barefoot
Purity is the essence of life. Store
Your millions in my pocket. See
No holes. Send your offsprings
For my education. I am a new birth,
The last coming. See my twisted hair
Straight nose. Let there be peace.
Let your wife be another’s.
Lie naked.
Slacken your hold.
Let freedom reign.


Posted May 28th, Deosaran Bisnath




Deosaran Bisnath     May 28th, 2008



A Migrant's Cry







Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IJJ, May 18th, 2008: Trinidad – An Island Scorned; Flanneled Fools in NY; CLASSICAL MUSIC; Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad

International Jahajee Journal (IJJ), May 18th, 2008
Voice of the International Indian Diaspora

user posted image

Home of the International Jahajee Diaspora

Dear Readers:

Lately, Trinidadians have been depicted as crooks, conmen, and

It continues: The New York Times Book review to be published in the
May 18th edition of the newspaper leads off with a novel by an Irishman
about a shady IndoTrinidadian, Chuck Ramkissoon, 911, and exiled
fools in New York. See below for more.

On the observance of the 163rd anniversary of Indentured Indian
immigrants arriving in Trinidad, we have included a 3-part series in this
issue of the Journal.

Naipaul remains in focus (the old chap must be delighted, even though
Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri have been in the news recently).
Patrick French’s biography The World Is What It Is has been nominated
for the lucrative Samuel Johnson prize. The New York Times carries an
article headlined ‘An Island Scorned’; the island is Trinidad, scorned
by Naipaul. I am tempted to respond to the Times but … not worth it.

We wish the people of Trinidad & Tobago a Happy and Joyful 163rd
Indian Arrival Day
on May 30th 2008.

Enjoy a few of my Classical favorites at:

Jean S. Sahai’s site

Deosaran Bisnath,

Some push us around, some curse us
Where is your splendor and prestige today?
The whole world calls us black thieves.
The whole world calls us “coolie.”
Why doesn’t our flag fly anywhere?
Why do we feel low and humiliated?
Why is there no respect for us in the whole world?
— An early Indian immigrant protest song

Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath, Editor, International Jahajee Journal

Part 1 : Origin of The Coolie Slave Trade

Sookra Khadoo Male 15, Panchoo Darhoo Male 16, Dabee Sing Sobrun Sing Male
16, Hullodhur Gobardhun Male 18, and Chowdory Aukalee Male 18, were amongst
youngest in the human cargo aboard the FATH AL RAZACK when it departed
the Port
of Calcutta on 16th February 1845. One hundred and three days later – on
May 30th –
the first immigrant ship from India to Trinidad arrived off Nelson Island.
Mungree, Ancklee, Jhalowa, and Somoreeya were among the 225 who
survived the
perilous journey across the Kala Pani; the unfortunate six who died
were dumped
unceremoniously, without rituals or rites.

Between 1845 and April 1917 when the SS GANGES docked for the last time, there
was continuous annual importation of labour from India, totaling 145000 to Trinidad,
239000 to Guyana, 50000 to Jamaica, 40000 to Surinam, and smaller numbers to the
other Caribbean Islands.

Indians have a long history of emigration to other parts of the world. Despite the
strictures in the Shastras against traveling overseas, the presence of Indians abroad
can be attested to from the days of remote antiquity. India’s links with Europe date
back to the tenth century B. C. with ships moving between the mouth of the river
Indus and the Persian Gulf. Indian settlements existed in North-Eastern Africa at the
time of Alexander (356-323 B. C.). Marco Polo and Vasco de Gama found Indian
merchants along the coast of East Africa, in Mozambique, Kilwa and Mombassa. In
contrast to Indian Indentured Immigration, the emigration from India before the early
19th century did not result in any significant permanent settlements overseas…
Continued at:

GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago
a chapter of GOPIO International.
P.O. BOX 2286, Chaguanas.
687-7529 GopioTT@gmail. com

Saturday May 10th, 2008, D

GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago honours: Rajukumar Krishna Persad (on behalf of
Kamaluddin Mohammed), Professor Kenneth Ramchand, Indian High Commissioner

Shri Jagjit Singh Sapra, Ajeet Praimsingh, Professor Prakash Persad (on behalf of
Pandit Hari Prasad ji – posthumously)

Rajnie Ramlakhan, Secretary of GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago; Shivanie Ramcharitar,
Youth Officer of GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago, and Hulsie Bhaggan, Presenter at Indian Arrival Day Seminar, May 10th, 2008.

Ajeet Praimsingh receiving award from Shri Jagjit Singh Sapra,
High Commisioner of India

Professor Kenneth Ramchand receives award from Shri Jagjit Singh Sapra,
High Commisioner of India


Support Malaysian Indians against State Brutality

Courtesy my dear friend from Guadelope, J S SAHAI.





VS NAIPAUL’s Trinidad: An Island Scorned
If the measure of a writer’s success is the ire he provokes, then V. S. Naipaul is a
spectacular success in Trinidad. In this island nation of just over a million people,
there is a widespread perception that he has jilted his homeland through
unflattering portraits in his books and a string of cutting remarks over the years.
“History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the
West Indies,” Naipaul wrote in “The Middle Passage” (1962) — the first sign that he
wasn’t going to play the proud native son. A fresher wound came in 2001, when
Naipaul omitted any mention of Trinidad from his initial press release after winning
the Nobel Prize, which many here saw as a deliberate rebuff. And last year, during
a visit sponsored by the University of the West Indies, Naipaul more than
lived up to his reputation for cantankerousness, prompting disapproving
press coverage after
he snapped at a group of students at a Hindu girls’ high school. In the nearly six
decades since Naipaul left for England, the relationship has taken on the character
of a bad marriage, with Trinidad setting Naipaul up to spurn it and Naipaul
obliging. When asked about Naipaul, Trinidadians will first talk not about
his books, though they are widely read in schools here, but about the
idea that he has turned
his back on the country. “He’s a bit salty about being Trinidadian,” a local bar
owner and guide said when I asked him to show me Naipaul’s ancestral home.
Others put it less diplomatically: “He hates Trinidad” was a common refrain…

Proudly Indian, a South African Indian site

Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath, Editor, International Jahajee Journal

Part II : Journey of the Jahajees

Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and the Madras Presidency – the most devastated
parts of India, ruled the longest by the British Raj – provided most of the immigrants
to the West Indies. Approximately 80% originated from the Gangetic plains of North
India, specifically from the Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar districts, from
the culturally and linguistically contiguous Bhojpur and Awadh region.

Jahajees (Indians who came on Ships) were terrified of crossing the Kala Pani
(Black waters) because it meant expulsion from their ancestral groups and a
consequent loss of belonging and identity. The journey was one of trauma and fear
that “they will be converted into Christianity… the Hindoos will be fed beef and the
Mohammedans with pork; the thread of the Brahmins and the heads of the Hindoos
will be taken off and they will not be able to keep their caste.”

What prompted them to cut their umbilical chord to Mother India, what pushed
them away from India, was the primal urge to quench their hunger, to own a slice
of the good earth, to escape the famine and specter of insufferable poverty, and the
yearning to be somebody in another society, in another world, thousands of miles
away. Millions had lost their jobs when the cotton and indigo industries were
destroyed by the British; millions more were thrown off their land after an onerous
taxation system was imposed. They filled the ships at the Indian ports; they agreed
to undertake the dangerous voyage, and to become Coolies of the Empire, because
there was one overwhelming motive: anything, anything at all, would be better
than dying for a living in British India… Continued at :

An Arkatya came and told me
To come to “Chinidad” (Trinidad)
All the people here were told
That the streets were filled with gold
And once we reach over there
Our problems would disappear.
Now that all of us on this ship
And we are sailing out to sea
The Arkatya comes and tell me
We are all bound kuli…
By Mukesh Babooram


CARIBBEAN TALK: The newest and most popular Caribbean Online
Group …
Free … unrestricted … uncensored …. JOIN NOW!
Or send mail to :

INDOCARIBBEAN TIMES – Current issue is available here:

Indian Indentured Immigration to Trinidad
by Deosaran Bisnath, Editor, International Jahajee Journal

Part III : Life on the Plantation, and Beyond

If the Indians were to survive as human beings their survival depended largely on
their own powers of resilience. They devised their own past-times, recreating some
semblance of the lost India in their festivals. But it wasn’t much, and often their
attempts to forget the cane fields ended only in drunken oblivion. When goaded
beyond their apparently infinite endurance and patience, they would try to rebel;
but the protest almost always ended in repression (Hugh Tinker).

On arrival in the colonies, the coolies were marched to the sugar estates and
housed in the former slave barracks. The expatriate managers, described as the
“czar, prosecutor, king and judge all in one”, lived in massive mansions while the
supervisory staff lived in their own segregated areas, a plantation type apartheid
system. The Indentureds were now regarded as the property of the Colonial massa:

“As long as the coolie is working for you, you have the right to do what you like
with him – that is, short of killing.”

Plantation life was dehumanizing – long hours of toil with little pay, poor diet,
rampant diseases, insults and beatings, intolerable drudgery and loneliness, with
almost 60% of the men lacking female companionship. Death from malaria,
dysentery, typhoid, tuberculosis and other diseases took their daily toll. The estate
workers were woken at 4.30am, they toiled in the torrid sun from dusk till dawn, far
beyond their capacity, for a mere pittance, with barely sufficient money to eke out a livelihood. Quite frequently, many Indians were unable to bury their
dead….Continued at:

Radio Fiji Two
Radio Mirchi

user posted image

God sometimes does try to the uttermost those whom he wishes to
bless —
Mahatma Gandhi
The highest form of grace is silence — Swami Chinmayananda
In this world there are two orders of being: the perishable, separate
creature and the changeless spirit. But beyond these there is another,
the supreme Self, the eternal Lord, who enters into the entire cosmos
and supports it from within— Bhagavad Gita 15:16-17
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

Naipaul book nominated for prize

The World Is What It Is cover

The World Is What It Is is one of the six books shortlisted
An unflattering biography of Nobel- prize
winning writer VS Naipaul is among six
books shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson
Prize for Non-Fiction.

The true story of a Victorian murder, a book on
the lives of rooks and jackdaws and a chronicle
of Stalin’s Russia are also nominated.

The winner, to be announced on 15 July, will
receive £30,000 – the UK’s biggest prize for non-

Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the
Emerald City won last year.

This year’s nominated writers are Mark Cocker,
Orlando Figes, Kate Summerscale, Alex Ross,
Tim Butcher, and Patrick French for The World
Is What It Is: The Authorised Biography of VS

Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart – Tim Butcher
Crow Country – Mark Cocker
The Whisperers – Orlando Figes
The World Is What It Is: The Authorised Biography of VS Naipaul – Patrick French
The Rest is Noise – Alex Ross
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Or The Murder at Road Hill House – Kate Summerscale
The book, which depicts Naipaul as arrogant, egotistical and cruel despite him
authorising the work, is tipped as the favourite to win the prize.


Pen in One Hand, Cricket Bat in the Other
There are no longer any Staten Islanders in the Staten Island Cricket Club, one
of the country’s oldest. The members are from places like Sri Lanka, India,
Pakistan, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad, St. Vincent and Grenada. There are just
two Europeans; one of them, Joseph O’Neill, a 44-year-old Irishman who grew
up in the Netherlands, was educated at Cambridge but has lived in New York
since 1998….

On the sidelines, near the Walker Park field house, a slate-roofed Tudor-style
building, players and onlookers sipped tea and nibbled Parle-G biscuits from
India. They cheered, hollered and called out to those on the field in the lilting
accent of the islands, the clipped vowels of Guyana, the lyrical syntax of Hindi-
inflected English: “Well thinking, guys! Well thinking.” “Nicely batted!” “Lovely
cricket — lovely!”.. MORE AT:

Superb Video on Hinduism Produced by Chicago Police Department


fustian \FUHS-chuhn\, noun:

1. A kind of coarse twilled cotton or cotton and linen stuff, including corduroy,
velveteen, etc.
2. An inflated style of writing or speech; pompous or pretentious language.
3. Made of fustian.
4. Pompous; ridiculously inflated; bombastic.

Don’t squander the court’s patience puffing your cheeks up on
stately bombast and lofty fustian. Speak plainly!
— Richard Dooling, Brain Storm

His stated motive is to meet “the flood of cant, fustian and
emotional nonsense which pollutes the intellectual atmosphere.”
— Walter H. Waggoner, “Joseph W. Bishop Jr., Law Professor and
Author”, New York Times, May 21, 1985

It would take a stout heart to read through all the loyal effusions
and fustian birthday odes of the 18th-century laureates — Nahum
Tate, Colley Cibber and the rest.
— John Gross, “In Search of a Laureate: Making Book on Britain’s
Next Official Poet”, New York Times, July 15, 1984

Fustian derives from Old French fustaigne, from Medieval
Latin fustaneum, but its precise roots beyond that point are uncertain.

Webpages and Forum dedicated to the NOBLE LAUREATE

user posted image

Dukha Mimamsa: The Nature, Cause (and Cure) of Suffering

The Bhagavad Gita places much stress on the need for maintaining an equanimity
of mind under both adverse or favorable circumstances (Bhagavad Gita: 6.7; 12.18
and 14.25). However, this is easier said than done. In the Shrimad Bhagavata
Purana, that relishable text overflowing with the nectar of sweet words fallen from
Krishna’s delicious lips, the lord says in unambiguous terms:

“Whether reproached or insulted, ridiculed or belittled, beaten or bound by ropes,
or deprived of one’s means of livelihood, spat or urinated upon by the wicked –
when one’s foundations are shaken in this manner, one should try to redeem
oneself by recourse to reason.”

In response to this instruction, Krishna’s great devotee and friend Uddhava

‘jahaj’ = ship; ‘desi’ = Indian
‘JahajeeDesi’ = The Indians who crossed the Kala Pani by ship,
the Indentured Indian Immigrants, and their descendents.