Indian professionals are hurting in their corners. It would be nice that they have some healing sessions for them to air their grievances instead of pretending all is well. They need to overcome their pretensions and come to accept that academic qualification is only a tool to do a particular job, and more important are family, friends, and community. I think Black people know that well, hence they are in power -they understand well that democracy is a numbers game.
If I have $20 there is not much I can do but if that sum is put in a pool with 100 contributions it would amount to $2000 which is a substantial amount. The challenge for Indo-Caribbean people is to cooperate or work together. In the past our grandparents did exactly that; there was always a Minister of Finance in the family that determines how money was spent; not everyone doing his or her own spending.
In wealthy families, the members have sacrificed their individual freedom for the greater good of the family. The family welfare was placed above the individual’s fancies. Nonetheless, the individual welfare was secured in the collective good. This was a lesson the Jews adopted for their survival and success for millenniums.
Poverty and vagrancy were never traits of the extended family. If there was a death of one member, there was always the family to come together and fill that void. Hence, there was no need for orphans’ homes and homes for the destitute.
Nevertheless, that spirit of cooperation that exists in the planning of weddings, yagyas and funerals would surprise a non-Indian but little would they know the deep level of cooperation among relatives, neighbors and friends.
A closer look at these grand events would reveal that it is not families with the MBAs and other managerial qualifications that engage in such grand affairs but the simple folks who hardly made it through secondary school. They are the taxi driver, double vendor, mechanic, seamstress, carpenter, masonry, etc. Humility continues to be a feature of this group because they do not have a few letters after their names.
Talk about cooperation among the MBAs and there are so many probing questions. Their relatively high income makes them shadows of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in this small island of Trinidad. They normally unleash so many management’ jargons and cliches – cost-benefit analysis, opportunity cost, management by objective and reinventing the wheel etc that usually stuns you making you feel stupid and out of place. You begin asking: Why are some people so smart and I am so stupid?”
Nevertheless, you would wake up one morning after a good night’s rest to realize that despite such a display of intelligence those individuals have no achievements under their belt. While you would have been living in a house and driving a car that is fully paid for, these geniuses are filling the coffers of the banks repaying loans at high-interest rates.
Who are the 300,000 geniuses who choose not to vote in a general election? Inadvertently, their abstention from voting keeps the PNM in power. I think that they reason that voting with the masses debases them-low class people voting for jobs in URP and CEPEP. Their qualified sons and daughters are their authorities- “Mera says so and so…Kumar says so and so…”
You may be wondering who are they? I would attempt to now identify them for you. They are the people who have recently risen from a working-class social status to achieving some professional qualifications-medicine, law, accountancy, etc. This sudden rise in social status makes them uncomfortable with the neighbourhood. Suddenly, there is talk about the neighborhood being “too noisy” and “we must get out of here.”
They develop contempt for their traditions. The pandit is viewed as a conman who is misleading the foolish people in rituals and stories that has no relevance today. They are usually left with two options: hide in their homes or develop a small circle of friends all sharing equal contempt for their community.
It is a repeat of the early converts. However, the only difference is that they remain nominal Hindus because the god phenomenon is private and they don’t need a teaching job.
How does our community rehabilitate such people? It is only when they seek promotion and do not get it that their eyes would begin to open. When confronted with rank racism and religious fanaticism their feet would touch the ground. When they learn how the corporate world functions, they would understand the value of extended families and community bonding.
Hindus have to overcome these uncomfortable hurdles if they have to build a strong community to survive the tsunami of institutional discrimination that is directed against them. Many Hindus are underemployed, not getting the work and the compensation packages they deserve. However, they need to realize that such institutionalized discrimination cannot be fought individually but collectively. Cooperation is the only escape route for Indians in this hostile region.