The thoughts and works of Dr John Bharath, former MP for St. Augustine, now in print.
And there are several issues that are embellished in his autobiography, “A Man for All Seasons, but two issues that are fundamental to his career as a politician and humanitarian. One was squatting in Pasea and Bamboo Village, and the other is the dethroning of Dr Rudranath Capildeo in the late 1960s, when Dr Capildeo’s seat was declared vacant in Parliament, and subsequently the loss of the leadership of the Opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Dr Bharath was enthusiastic on the return of Dr Capildeo from London. This is how the Biography recorded it. “When Capildeo arrived in Trinidad more than 10,000 people flocked to the Piarco International Airport to welcome this son of the soil back to Trinidad to lead the DLP. Dr John Bharath was one of the 10,000 people who welcomed Capildeo to Trinidad, hoping that he would bring a new dawn to the DLP and the people of this beautiful country. While Capildeo saw his party as a national organ, many on the opposite side saw him as the leader of an Indian based party”.
Commenting on Dr Bharath’s view, Winston Dookeran said that the story is filled with events, intrigue and the political antics of the time—a quagmire of the complexities of forging a new democracy in a nation. For political analysts, it is fertile data in London at the time, Brinsley Samaroo, Balchan Rampaul and myself curious to learn why Dr Capildeo left after his period in politics in Trinidad, and what were the inside stories on the Independence talks for Trinidad and Tobago with the British Government. So we trekked to his humbly home in Clapham South, London, where we had a 10 hour conversation with the man himself. It was of great insights and most revealing, and Dr Capildeo had many kind words to say of Dr Bharath, and credited him with his influence on his book on the book, on the, “Gita : A Personal View”.
The Capildeo issue could well be a serious area of study by our political scientists, now that Dr Bharath weighed heavily on it, despite the fact it was some 50 years ago.
A highlight of Dr Bharath’s education was in 1955 at 21 years, he graduated from Nair Dental College, Bombay, India as a Doctor of Dentistry.
It as a momentous moment for Dr Bharath as he became one of the frontliners in the field of dentistry in Trinidad and Tobago, and probably the Caribbean. And from this specialized arena of humanitarian service, this sprouted his approach to become a politician with a difference…to serve the salt of the earth. Reading Dr Bharath, biography which was recorded and written by Dr Primnath Gooptar, one does not know from what angle to take, for it is a work of art, a work of creativity because Dr Bharath was a creative man, and the title of book confirms, “A Man for All Seasons”.
On of the several challenges of Dr Bharath faced was the eviction of squatters one as evidenced by an article in the now defunct Evening News in October 16/9/68 entitled, “Bharath plans human blockade at Pasea”. And this angered then Minister of Agriculture, Lionel Robinson, “that eviction of squatters will proceed today as planned”.
He was the real movie star that championed the human blockade by the squatters.
Political observers and civic leaders view this issue remains one the stalwart moments in that it demonstrated that government saw this as one of their greatest dilemmas, and this could set a precedent for similar moves even up today. According to Dr Bharath’s biography, he was not about to let down the Squatters Issue..
His flagship issue as the MP for St. Augustine drew support from even the late Gene Miles who was one of the celebrity speakers in support of his fight, in addition of his parliamentary colleagues. And his ferocious fight almost got the Government to is knees when it solemnly agreed then the main thrust, it was “not merely a legal problem, but also as one with grave human and social overtones”, as he saw more than 300 squatters in Bamboo Settlement in the same predicament.
“Man for All Season” is stocked with seven chapters and 24 sub-chapters and in each of them, one will relish the state of Trinidad and Tobago in the early years of Independence in August 31, 1962, and even up today as the state of politics has not improved, and with the daunting issues which this country is open up, there seems no immediate period of full recovery.
Former Government Minister and now Professor of Practice, Winston Dookeran, said that today as, we salute Dr John Bharath, “we acknowledge his contribution to our society, we respect him for the lessons he has taught us, we admire him for leaving an indelible ink on the map of our political history.
Dookeran praised Dr Bharath, a Hindu leader, for make serious mention of the role the Presbyterian Church played in the education of the East Indian community. “It was a forthright statement, by a Hindu at a time when Hindu leaders, shy away from expressing such truths. The Church of John Morton, Idris Hamid, Cyril Paul in today’s time, Daniel Teelucksingh, was recognized, without apology and in upright way by this man, John Bharath.”
This publication is dedicated to his wife, Chandra: “She was the love of my life, my inspiration, my soulmate and my better half”, and it is the sole initiative of his son, former Minister of Trade and industry, Vasant Bharath. Professor Emeritus Brinsley Samaroo wrote the Introduction.
“A Man for All Seasons”, gives us strategic information about Trinidad and Tobago in the early years of our Independence, and no library is complete without it is stocked with several copies, as it is a compendium for research by students of history, sociology, politics and human welfare.
For copies: Contact Dr Bharath 333-9552.