Despite all the suffering and discrimination to which Indian indentures and their cultural traditions were subjected, Indo-Caribbean survival and resilience requires a symbol of pride, unity, progress and endurance. This explains the presence of our own flag. More specifically Indo-Trinidadians need a flag. Why? Because such a flag will become a magnet in bringing and uniting Indians as a community; it will inspire solutions to our differences in religion, politics, disunity and cement co-operation to unify us. It will rally us against adversaries and those who wish us harm. It will herald our strengths, contributions and the progress to which we have contributed in Caribbean nation building.
Is it unusual for any community especially the Indo community to have its own unity flag symbol?!
Not really. As immigrants to the Caribbean Indians have had to survive British control and religious conversion requirements to attend Christian schools as well as African political discrimination in acquiring our hard earned wealth. It has now become important to take a stand as a people in order to reassert and fortify our presence with a symbolic representation. This explains our flag as a people. This flag should come to represent everything we are as a race, our religious traditions, our culture, our history our foods, music, dances, dress, rituals and our steadfastness in any battles or common troubles to engender common treaties. When Indo Caribbeans or others see our fluttering flag it would evoke a sense of pride: “Ah yes… the Indians are here to stay!”
What does this flag look like? It reflects our history decorated with emblems of our past and the means how we came to the new world, the ships that brought our ancestors to Trinidad (like the Fatel Razack) and the crops we cultivated which fed a hungry nation. The flag has symbolic colours which represent our origin in India, our ancestry, our civilization, the challenges we face today and it glorifies our resilience and strengths.
This explains the symbolic saffron colour (Hinduism) background, ship sails, cocoa, coffee, sugar cane plants, green edges colour [Islam],an indentured picture of coolie(s) on the sail with the date 1845. The Indo Trinidadian flag will neither be a replacement nor overshadow or disrespect Trinidad and Tobago’s national flag.
In fact even the army, police, states and black people have their own flag. There is even a black anthem. So the Indo Trinidadian flag is unique only for its symbolisms and aspirations. It serves to unite and advertise our arrival, pride and progress. It is symbolic of our existence and contributions.
What does such a flag represent; what does it mean? Does it just signify the colours of a county or institution at international events, United Nations and diplomatic meetings signalling that the red carpet should be rolled out because our representatives have arrived? A flag symbolizes much more than that; it has the power to sew together our distinct ancestral heritages, to stand as a reminder for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their lands and to serve as an emblem when a nation is born. It harmonizes and inspires patriotism.
Flags have come to denote much more than just single country; it gives voice of the voiceless and hope to the threatened. Even organizations like the United Nations and the Olympic Committee with many flags also have their own flags symbolizing a united struggle for world peace, tolerance and global understanding.
The Indo Trinidadian flag is therefore within the ambit and hopes for our future. Respect it, hoist it with pride and treasure its symbolism as it what makes us all proud Indo Caribbean peoples.