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
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