Play Whe before Food
Indians have gone Bazodee! Now Moko Jumbie and Green Days by the River are high in our entertainment menu! Are we working to lift standards to international levels? Or are we descending into the Black urban ghetto culture where steelpan, jouvert, marijuana, illiteracy and crime, single motherhood, etc. are the norm? Are Vashti Anderson and Micheal Mooledhar holding out to us the future for the next generation of Indians?
Where is the Indian agenda (vision) to rescue this society? Our Papaji and Mamaji did it before us! Now that we have our PhDs, MBAs and MBBS one would have expected us to be better equip to arrest this economy and give it a new direction. But would we ever be able to when high in our agenda is to provide succour the gaming industry! Are we now hoping that dreaming and playing a mark would rescue this economy? Is this our agenda! (Play Whe can be the title for the next local block buster with a flavour of political pepper sauce and curry masala).
Even our beloved Opposition Leader appears to be at her political nirvana when she announced that she was looking for a representative of the gaming industry to articulate the plight of affected workers to sit in the Senate. That is commendable but what about strengthening the opposition voice for agriculture!
Indians are experiencing an inability to overcome social hurdles. For example, the question needs to be asked: Why are Indians not owners of banks and insurance companies? We are a little less that 40% of the national population, the largest ethnic group in the country.
Indians have legitimacy in this country. Our ancestor came in rags, toiled and rescued this country from economic ruins in the 1830s. They grew vegetable crops, introduced dairy farming, rice farming, cane farming, etc. Through sacrifice and thrift Indians sent their children abroad for tertiary education, thus adding to the professional class. Many Indians also ran the risk of opening small retail outlets and skilled trades such as tailoring and jewel craft. This is an achievement every Indian in the diaspora should feel a sense of pride. Our ancestors did more than any other group to diversify the economy!
The leaders of the Maha Sabha and ASJA and others saw the value in preserving our identity through the establishment of schools. We kept our clothes and foods and other art forms such as music, dance, languages and festivals. If today T&T is not a monolithic society that has not descended into chaos and civil war it is only because of the resilience of our Indian ancestors to preserve their cultural identity and uniqueness.
For the past 20 years Indians have been the largest group graduating with tertiary level qualifications. Indians have tasted power since 1986 when the NAR formed the government. In 1995-2002 and 2010 -2015 the Prime Ministers were of Indian descent, notwithstanding a strong presence in Cabinet, the highest decision making body in the country.
I guess that the major reason for our predicament and lack of vision is a loss of identity. While Indians hold on to their ancestral way of life through poojas and festivals, they have not been able to adjust and change. They simply refuse to learn about their ancient past, happy with the stories the pandits share with them from the singhasan. They uncritically accept what is offered to them by western propagandists and missionaries.
The plantation economy that exists in T&T has to be challenged. This is the fight that Indians have in their hand. The 1% and the PNM administration are going down the road of economic suicide. An economy cannot strive when 80% of all that is consumed is imported. Such trend was affordable when there was a demand for our oil, gas and petro-chemicals.
Instead of Indians fighting to change the present economic arrangement we have involuntarily joined the coloured and other creolized minions in this economic j’ouvert band headed by the Port of Spain elites. Going down to Debe to eat doubles is no longer the norm for our young graduates. They now head for the Avenue. They don’t associate their social life with the National Council of Indian Culture or the sporting clubs in their neighbourhoods. It is membership in Queen’s Park Club that they seek and a privileged few are now active in the golf courses. Those that cannot make it to Queen’s Park and the golf courses settle for Rotary and Kiwanis! It is now fashionable to hear an Indian beaming with pride when speaking of his association with the 1%... no longer coolies interested in Ramsingh, Boodoo or Doolarie for friendship.
We need to dig deeper into theour rich culture. In it lies the solution to our problems. When we can plant our feet firmly on the ground, and connect with our past, then we will be able to rise to the star. That is my hope; not play whe!