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


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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

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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. wsj.com/chinajou 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.”

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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.

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