Letters

PPP’s political ideology historically antagonistic to Indian religion, culture

Dear Editor:      I have read the page 2 report of the Guyana Chronicle, August 3, 2003 captioned ‘Keep culture alive’ on the imploration of Mr Jagdeo at the opening of the youth conference of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, and I feel deeply that a response is imperative.

The report begins with the President commending the Sabha for "its tremendous contribution in keeping the Hindu religion and culture alive in Guyana."

I would just like it to be known that this has indeed been a "tremendous con-tribution" in vain, for all studies have shown that from the abolition of indentureship in 1917 the amount of persons calling them-selves Hindus has undergone a continuous decrease. If the present trend is not urgently altered further decrease lies in waiting and continuous decrease can only result in extinction. So much for the "tremendous contribution."

The report continues by quoting the President: "allow me on behalf of all Hindus in Guyana to congratulate the Sabha for the tremendous work..."

This is indeed a deception. There is a considerable number of Hindus in Guyana who have concluded that the leadership of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha is no more than a puppet of the PPP and by direct extension is not capable of providing any Hindu leadership. So on behalf of those Hindus I reject President Jagdeo’s hasty generalisation.

Mr Jagdeo, upholding the norms of PPP propaganda, resorted to the usual tactic of playing on the Indian fear of the PNC by recollecting Burnham’s socialist economic policies where items used in the Hindu ritual were banned, saying that this had the effect of constituting a direct attack on the religion. This may indeed be so but what is more of a direct attack on the Hindu religion than the clause in the PPP’s party constitution that accepts Marxism-Leninism as its political philosophy? A political philosophy that, as Mike Evans in his book Let my people go shows, is highly antagonistic to all religion. A political philosophy that views all culture as some sort of peasant illusion that had evolved in that unenlightened period before the coming of the Communist Manifesto but now should be made subservient to that divine document.

Throughout the history of Indians in Guyana, the Marxism-Leninism of the PPP has manifested itself at key points resulting in the stultification of Indian people as a collective whole. The British Guiana East Indian Association (BGEIA) which had indicated an urge to shed the colonial stereotypes which held Indians as primarily ‘a labouring and peasant people’ by way of economic upliftment, was rejected by Dr Jagan as ‘middle class’ and ‘elitist’- euphemisms that indicate his fear that this institution was not willing to be subjected to his communist strictures.

What can be more of a direct attack on Indian culture and religion?

It should be borne in mind that the BGEIA represented that same entre-preneurial class and spirit that was found in the United Sates of America in the 1780s when that nation got its independence and which was the driving force that led to the economic supremacy of that land.

Mr Moses Nagamootoo in an article published in the Kaieteur News of July 25 captioned ‘Rudra Nath: Portrait of a principal and patriot’; a tribute to the former Principal of Corentyne Comprehensive School writes, "So popular was he becoming on the Corentyne that folks had started to whisper that he could be a suitable successor for Cheddi Jagan. But Rudra’s ascendancy to the higher echelon of the PPP was anything but dramatic. It became a great disappointment for him that though he tried at several congresses to get elected to the PPP General Council, he failed on each of his bids - the last, as I remember, was in the late ‘60s when congress was held at Anna Regina. I suspect that though popular, his strident pro-Indian stance was not acceptable in a Marxist Leninist party..."

Here Mr Nagamootoo, himself a long-standing PPP stalwart, is telling us of a popular PPP member who was isolated from the PPP’s leadership because of his "pro Indian stance."

I ask again what can be more of a direct attack on Indian culture and religion?

For Marxism-Leninism to have been imported into a place like Cuba by Fidel Castro’s Revolution of 1958 where the people largely through miscegenation and a total disconnection from their past as a result of centuries of slavery abolished only in 1880 and where American imperialism had reached its high watermark is perfectly understandable, because some tool was needed to confront the historic injustices.

But for such a philosophy to be foisted uncritically upon the Indians of Guyana, a people with such profound notions of culture, who, since their arrival in 1838 have always sought to improve their lot through resistance to injustice and a vehement pursuit of enterprise, reveals two things about Dr Jagan which are both symptoms of his circumscribed reading. These are: (1) his improper understanding of Indian history and culture and (2) his uncritical and deluded allegiance to the USSR.

Throughout the history of Indian people in Guyana this is what has constituted the most aggressive and the most direct attack on our people. Hence we can say that it is the PPP that has been the force that has been most antagonistic to Indian religion and culture through its adopted political ideology.

It has been 11 years since the PPP was returned to the helm of political power in Guyana. Hindus made an undisputed contribution towards this return since they voted almost exclusively for the PPP. But what have they received in return? There is no Hindi in the government school curriculum. The Indian history that is taught in government schools is insufficient and outdated, and is not in keeping with modern historiography. Students in government schools are still drilled in such anachronisms as the Aryan invasion folly. Hindu businesses have lost that important element of security. Hindus now see their salvation in migration. This is so because this PPP administration is grossly incompetent; it lacks the quality of personnel required to effect change.

The future of Hinduism in Guyana lies heavily in the future of its youth and the future of the Hindu youth will depend upon his ability to emancipate himself from the manacles of the PPP and their appendages along with their deluded and absurd ways of thinking. Such liberation is imperative if we are to ever see a restoration of that atmosphere where Hindus will be able to fully extract the complete significance of Hindu thought.

Amar Panday, La Grange, Guyana

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