My only fear is VASANT BHARATH putting his political future in the hands of those losers!
It is time to confront the unproductive and infantile ‘knife and fork’ narrative that continues to work against the wellbeing of the wider Indian population. Farmers, market vendors, domestic workers, taxi drivers, laborers and even the professional and business classes, are all reeling under the brunt of PNM discrimination. Despite this, some men who do not have the testicular fortitude to deal with this reality have opted to talk about lagoon Indians and knife and fork Indians.
Who are the knife and fork Indians? In the 1950s Dr. Eric Williams embraced a few urban Christian and Muslim Indians and members of the reformist Hindu sect called the Arya Samaj. These Indians stood in opposition to the wider Sanatanist Hindu population led by Bhadase Sagan Maraj and buttressed by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha.
Strangely, in the 1990s Patrick Manning with the aid of Lenny Saith, Ralph Maraj and others was able to bring educated Hindus into this mix. Basdeo Panday was successful in attracting Christian and Muslim Indians disentangled from the PNM to join his rejuvenated UNC. This resulted in the 1995 17-17-2 results that saw Basdeo Panday emerging as Prime Minister with the support of the DAC led by A.N.R. Robinson.
In 2001 the UNC under Basdeo Panday won 19-17 against the PNM led by Patrick Manning but had to call an election later in the year after three UNC MPs withdrew their support from his government. In the election held later that year the result was 18-18 with Basdeo Panday winning the popular votes and President Robinson giving the government to Patrick Manning on the ground of “moral and spiritual value.”
The big question is who are these ‘knife and fork’ Indians that continue to be a pain in the ass for the UNC? Are they real or are they an image that just doesn’t exist? Who are the politicians that command this “knife and fork” support base?
In 1981 Suruj Rambachan was Deputy Political Leader of the ONR and was able to attract a number of educated Indians but the results translated into ‘not a dam seat for them.’ Both Suruj Rambachan and Kamla Persad Bissessar were rescued by the UNC and given Chairman and Alderman respectively at the St Patrick County Council. Indians in the NAR such as Bhoe Tiwarie, Ganga Singh, Winston Dookeran and others were accommodated by UNC. The question remains: Who are these knife and fork Indians? One political commentator said that they form one-third of the Indian voters.
In 2007 the COP gained 145,000 votes but not a single seat. In 2010 the disenchanted and defeated COP merged to form the partnership resulting in the defeat of the PNM.
Now that the UNC has suffered two consecutive defeats (2015 & 2020) the ghost of knife and fork Indians is resurfacing. One blogger has gone on to identify two types of Indian voters -Lagoon Coolies and the Knife and Fork Coolies. No identifiable characteristics of each group were shared. I am bewildered!
Trevor Sudama’s The Political Uses of Myths of Discrimination Rationalized -A Collection of Articles (1993) highlighted through the use of data the under representation of Indians in State Boards where decisions are made. In most cases Indians had a less than 20% representation in state boards.
Sudama examined the various sectors of the economy and their contribution to the GDP. Sudama pointed out that even in the distribution and retail trade industry Indians, while being very visible, were making a far lesser return on their investments. These issues the knife and fork Indians do not talk about. They are better off pretending being wealthy, ignoring the findings of Sudama.
I was happy to see Trevor Sudama writing on the defeat of the UNC in the 2020 General Elections and making strong observations and proposals for the party to discuss and move forward. It is such intelligence that is lacking among the knife and fork elites. How do you explain a “motor mouth” lawyer writing on Facebook “Kamla Must Go!” Such a simplistic and infantile scribling from a lawyer!
The truth is there is no blasted knife and fork Indians but a bunch of Indians who are afraid to confront the bigger issues of institutional discrimination starting with the operations of the EBC and the shifting of polling divisions and voter padding through the allocation of houses by the HDC.
It is time to confront those losers who continue to present themselves with an air of superiority. They were never among the directors that Trevor Sudama identified in the State enterprises. Bhoe Tewarie’s appointment as principal of The UWI was possible only because Basdeo Panday appointed him; Dookeran was Governor of the Central Bank only because of Basdeo Panday, a lagoon coolie, was Prime Minister.
This knife and fork hallucination must be confronted. It is a pretension of half -illiterates who sell two bags of cement and two pounds of aloo but drives around with posh vehicles. The truth is they are fearful of confronting the real enemies-the PNM and the 1%!
They are truly like men who shout and bullies their families but silent on discrimination in the wider society. My only fear is VASANT BHARATH putting his political future in the hands of those losers!