The life of Professor Brinsley Samaroo has not ended with his death; his works must be given a new impetus to highlight the Indian diaspora in a new setting. He courageously stood up at world conferences highlight the struggles of the Indian diaspora, but also spoke on behalf of Africans and other ethnicities and their contributions to nation-building.
Several national and community organizations recognized his works, including the Government when it bestowed on him the Chaconia Gold, and the Caparo Hindu Organization for his remarkable work in education.
“Independence, the political struggles of those who led the nation, and the rural festivals form an essential part of the national culture. This is, therefore, a biography… which is so necessary for the conduct of our daily lives. We need more similar accounts of iconic figures in the nation’s development”, he attested to this in his endorsement of my autobiography, “A Call Within A Call- All Politics Is Local”.
His contributions both in the Senate and later the House of Representatives were sound and inspiring. He played a decisive role in the 1990 coup attempt as his voice was one of moderation and sobering during those toxic days of 1990.
He was not the chief spokesman for the Indian diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago, but such diasporic countries like Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, Guyana, and even India where he studied for his master’s degree in history from Delhi University. He later graduated in history from London University and later joined the University of the West Indies as Head of the History Department and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education.
Professor Samaroo was one of the three wise men from the east (Rio Claro), one of them is Winston Dookeran who claimed that he learned, “a lot on the importance of history in the conduct of TT’s politics…and made a major contribution, “in bringing history alive”. Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar recalled that Prof. Samaroo delved in the rich and complex of TT’s history, “documenting the atrocities endured by enslaved Africans and Indentured Indians”. Former Government Minister, Dr Bhoe Tewarie lauded his contribution for his indelible and convincing work in West Indian history and the history of the Indian diaspora.
The works of Professor Samaroo should be stocked in the libraries of several institutions of higher learning for academic research and studies. That will be the highest tribute to his life and memory. He was an academic of the highest repute, and integrity and was never afraid of any debates to defend his thoughts. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago must not sit silently and allow this great and historical moment to be swept away in the flood waters.
Professor Samaroo’s work must become an integral part of our country’s history in this world of intense globalization.