Another May 5th is approaching and it is always a time for retrospection and Shraddhanjali. Coming from a faith where the latter is a way of life, May 5th is thus very important.
Growing up in the Dharmic Sabha, (the Organisation that was birthed by my father Mohanlal Sahadeo,) observing May 5th is an annual ritual. Year after year, the clarion call and promise by the then President Reepu Daman; to the Hindu populace is that as soon as the PPP wins Elections and is Government; he( Reepu), will make May 5th , Indian Immigration Day and a National Holiday. The PPP did win in 1992, and he did not keep his promise even to the end of his life. His daughter is now President of the same Hindu Organisation, and she has not fulfilled the promise her father made. Either she does not know he did so in all the years prior to 1992 as she was not around in those profound days of struggle or she chose to ignore this promise as he did. Arrival Day on May 5th is NOT Indian Immigration Day though it is a holiday.
The Hindus of Guyana have been the one group who has without fail, observed May 5th, year after year. That the Government who will not be enjoying their seat in power if Hindus do not vote for them, choose to disrespect a day that is very dear to our hearts, just shows the utter disdain that this present regime has for the Hindus of Guyana.(I refer to Hindus because it was this group of people who is the bulk of support for the PPP). While the Dharmic Sabha, ( when my father came up with the idea to form a separate group from the Burnham controlled Hindu group; to address the issues affecting Hindus), was not intended to be political; it did morph into the means of keeping the Hindu votes with a Party that did not attest to the concept of Bhagwan Impersonally, this is akin to blaspheme, Hindus nonetheless, support the PPP. (There are still a number of the older Hindu generation in the U.S. who still suck their teeth at the mention of the Jagan name and party.)
As I read the requests to the “supposed” Government of the Indians in Guyana, to rename Arrival Day on May 5th as a day in tribute to theirs and our Indian ancestors, it is akin to a child begging his father who brought him into this World to accept that he has responsibilities towards said child. I remember my friend Radhe of the IAC who had to literally picket his own Government to make May 5th a holiday. And when they finally acquiesced ( even as Reepu Daman was still part of the Government), it refused to acknowledge the very people who arrived to these shores on that day. I will write in another missive about how disrespectful this very Government is; not only towards the Indians who came on May 5th but to all other peoples who came to these shores. As I end now, I wonder, what hope is there that the President who preaches for ONE Guyana, will finally right the wrong done to his ancestors by Odo vis a vis the National Cultural Center? Does one dissolves ones own identity and roots in the mission for ONENESS?