As a diaspora Indian Hindu growing up in Trinidad my Indianness is defined by the social constructs that cultivate my mind and shape my Atma [Soul) Ie how to think, behave and how to assimilate by keeping the Vedic culture intact and alive.
Indians originating out of Bharat and domiciled in Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam and other places have become more sensitized to their identity than those Bharat Indians due to their social construct.
Indianness is having a feeling for one’s own music, sports, politics, cuisine and dress codes. Indianness’ is defined by behaviour and thinking and pride in every facet of life. In politics when the Indian based party DLP lost the Trinidad elections, I felt upset feelings that cannot be explained.
As I recall getting up at 6 am in the morning and turning that radio dial to hear Indian Music and bhajans is like I drank a booster vitamin. Having my Vedic flag and offering Jal [ spiritual water] I feel reenergized for the day.
In sports, I remember climbing up a tree with my radio to listen to Rohan Khanai bat for the West Indies Team and that brings a certain pride and joy to my Indianness.
On weekends in years gone by I and many others usually look forward to going to an Indian movie or show that added a personal Indianness to me.
My Indianness becomes stronger when threatened by enemy forces who want to define my ethnicity or my identity. When I celebrate Diwali, Phagwah and Indian Arrival Day the Atma is satisfied.
The wearing of a Sari is as beautiful in making a statement about the Indian race and Indian womanhood.
When an Indian is insulted because of their race and way of life and does not feel upset then that is a cloned Indian who is grounded in someone else’s roots. Since this article was provoked by Freddie Kissoon who wants to know what is Indianness it reveals to me that his upbringing was more creolized than Indianized from growing up in Georgetown. Freddie may find it difficult to feel Indianness as his ATMA is compromised. This does not mean he is unretrievable.
A case in point is the Honorable Kamal Mohammed of Trinidad who was one of the main founding fathers of the Black based party [ PNM ] in Trinidad and who was next in line to become Prime Minister upon the death of Dr. Eric Williams.
The honourable gentleman was told by PNM – affiliates and specifically by the President of Trinidad, Sir Ellis Clarke ‘ YOU CAN NOT BE THE PRIME MINISTER OF TRINIDAD, THE COUNTRY IS NOT READY FOR AN INDIAN” Kamal was hurt as his ATMA was affected. All his political life he was a strong supporter of the PNM. Kamal retaliated by telling Muslims they must support the Indian based party [UNC].
If the 1964 WISMAR MASSACRE does not affect Freddie Kissoon as an Indian, he cannot feel Indianness.
Most importantly my name also defines my Indianness –