Photo : Dr. Vishnu Bisram
Dr. Vishnu Bisram was born in Port Mourant, a sugar estate in Corentyne, Bernice Guyana. He studied at the St. Joseph Anglican Primary School where he passed Common entrance to attend Bernice High School on a government scholarship. he opted for the private J.C Chandisingh Corentyne High School. He migrated to the US in 1977 to further his studies and was elected in undergrad and graduate student governments at City College of City University of New York and CUNY doctoral school. He also did graduate studies at New York University. Bisram cofounded several Indian and Caribbean organizations such as the Indo Club of CCNY, Graduate Indian Students Club of CCNY, the Social, Cultural and Political Association of Indians of CCNY, Graduate Stunts Club of CUNY Grad School, Indian Students Club at NYU, and the Indo-Caribbean Federation of North America. He was also deeply involved in the launching and promoting of World Union of Guyanese (1991) and the Phagwah Parade of America held annually since 1990 in Richmond Hill Queens. He was honored for his student leadership being listed in “Who Is Who Among Students in American Colleges” two consecutive years (1983-84) .
Bisram is a prolific writer on various social issues whose articles have been appearing in the mass media since the late 1970s. He has been writing profusely on the Caribbean, India and the Indian diaspora. And he occasionally appears on TV in Trinidad and is also featured on radio analyzing political issues. He has co-founded several study groups and Indian organizations including the Center for Indian Diaspora Studies and Institute for Indo-Caribbean Studies, and the North American Caribbean Teachers Association Polling Institute. Dr. Bisram has helped to organize numerous seminars and academic conferences including at Columbia University and St. John University on the Indian diaspora and on the Caribbean as well. And he presented papers or gave talks at conferences, symposiums, seminars and forums on the Indian diaspora held at various colleges including CCNY, Columbia University, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Manhattan Community College, CUNY Graduate School, New York University, St. John University, USP, FNU, Mauritius Arya Samaj, Gandhi Institute, UWI (St. Augustine), UG, IGNOU, JNU, BHU, among others. He has also been lecturing on the Caribbean and Indian diasporas and India as well as on Caribbean related issues at several forums.
Dr. Bisram is an ardent advocate of India and the Caribbean and Indian diaspora issues. He marched in the India Day parades since its inception in 1981. He was honored by several organizations in North America for his community volunteerism, charitable activities, community leadership, and outstanding writings on the diaspora and of promoting India in the international media.
Dr. Bisram is also a renowned psephologist who has been conducting opinion polls in the Caribbean since 1991. Bisram teaches politics, history and humanities and economics in New York. He also remains very active in community affairs in New York joining several groups to advocate for fair representation of minorities in the American political establishment (New York City Council and NY State Legislature) and he worked on the political campaigns of many prominent politicians including Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, among others.
In America, Dr. Bisram has taken a leadership role in discussing issues of vital importance to the diaspora and that will also benefit India. He has been a passionate defender of India in the international media and has received glowing accolades from Indian diplomats in the Caribbean and New York for his advocacy on India; it would not be an exaggeration to say no one has written more defending India in the mass media though he has not been approached to do so by any official of the Indian government. He has also been one of the leading advocates in America for Caribbean societies lobbying for increased financial aid for those countries and he frequently visits these countries conducting surveys or interacting with political leaders on developmental issues.
Dr. Bisram has been a leading community and political activist; at age fifteen, he joined the political struggle against the oppressive dictatorship in Guyana in 1976 when he has a secondary school student at the Chandisingh High School. He was targeted for arrest by the racist dictatorship for his student activism in 1976 and 1977. He opted to migrate in 1977 at the verge of being arrested for his student activism; several of his student colleagues were arrested for their student activism. Bisram’s activism continued in New York where he migrated to further his studies.
In New York, Bisram became deeply involved in the anti-dictatorial struggle of Guyana joining various organizations and working closely with Indian diaspora community leaders including those from India and Fiji, Jamaica, Surinam and Trinidad. It was through the efforts of Bisram, Ramharack and Ramracha, and a few others that Guyana was liberated from the oppressive throes of the racist apartheid-like dictatorship of Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte. Bisram was saluted by the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, President of Guyana 1992-97, for the role he played in the restoration of democracy. And the leaders of Guyana and Trinidad as well as other Caribbean societies have praised him for his political activism in their societies. He is also lauded for his polling acumen – producing spot on predictions regarding election outcomes in those countries since 1992. He also conducted polling in Caribbean societies producing near perfect findings that almost match the election results most recently in Antigua that held elections last June. And he also did private polling in India, Fiji, Mauritius, and selected electoral races in New York, the findings of all of which reflected the outcomes of elections.