Friday, June 26, 2009

Efforts to Rationalize Hindu Nationalist Racism in Guyana and the Caribbean

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter by Mohan Singh (SN 5/28/05 captioned “Where is the evidence of a Hindu conspiracy?”) and would wish to make these few comments. I also refer to the editorial comments that accompanied my letter of 5/27, captioned “Dr. Sieusarran’s racist diatribe should not be compared to Dr. Gibson’s book”.

The intellectual deficiency defined by denial is not, it appears, confined to the editorial staff at Stabroek News. For Mohan Singh, outright and obvious racist diatribe from Sieusarran has somehow degenerated to a discussion on “false accusations” of a Hindu conspiracy. If we can show that Singh’s concoction of “Indian assertion” in the multi-ethnic state is fuelled by nothing less than a culture of denial, a realm of hypocrisy, and a pollution of lies, then what we do indeed have is another validation of Kean Gibson’s “Cycle Of Racial Oppression in Guyana”. I call upon Christians everywhere, regardless of race, to set the record straight in Guyana. If not Christians, then who? Guyana, like Trinidad and the rest of the Caribbean, must not become a convenient dumping ground for Hindu-nationalist racism, or a willing participant to Indian visions of empire. Our future, our destiny, lies in egalitarian democracy.

Mohan Singh misses the point. ”Indian assertion” seems to be inextricably linked with a Hindu-nationalist version of racism. These first five examples of the phenomenon will suffice for now, then we can address other specific examples given by Gibson.

Frederick Kissoon maintains that caste was not transplanted “whole-scale” to Guyana, except in opposition to intermarriage to blacks. Yet the organization Human Rights Watch maintains that opposition to intermarriage is a DEFINING construct of caste. Apart from being in total opposition to everything that is Guyanese and “Caribbean” (the black-dominant Caribbean territories have generally welcomed the Indo-presence, and accommodated intermarriage), this racist assault on children of intermarriage advocated by Sieusarran validates Gibson’s arguments about the dangers of rampant “Indianness” in multi-ethnic societies outside of India. But Mohan Singh and the Editor of Stabroek News would disagree. The culture of denial, the empire of hypocrisy … must be protected at all costs.

Ramesh Gampat works at the United Nations, and in truest Hindutva fashion advises that despite globalization, or Caribbeanness, and Mohan Singh’s sickening lip-service to the reality of being Guyanese in the peculiar mixture of cultures that define our geography, “ethnic identification” will be the most important standard that “Indians” in Guyana and the Caribbean can subscribe to. I personally know of at least three young ladies who were thrown out of their homes because of intermarriage to Blacks. How many do you know? Mohan Singh and the Editor of Stabroek News would disagree. The culture of denial, the empire of hypocrisy … must be protected at all costs.

Dr. Elizabeth Sieusarran's comments bear testimony to the Hindu (Indian) culture of “contamination”, manifest in the motherland in the oppression/marginalization of 160 million black-skinned Dalits in India (see V.T. Rajshekar’s “DALIT: The Black Untouchables of India”), and thereafter manifest here in the Caribbean in her racist and atrocious comments about “ostracizing” the offspring of Indian/Black intermarriage. The editor of Stabroek News and Mohan Singh meets (all the) condemnation of this pronouncement, and the fact that Sieusarran’s position validates much of what Kean Gibson uses in her iconoclastic treatment, with strenuous resistance. The culture of denial, the empire of hypocrisy … must be protected at all costs.

(Guyanese politician) Ravi Dev’s dilemma illustrates the penalty for articulating the thing that must be boiling below the surface of every unrepentant Hindu-nationalist as they are forced to share the same space with other nationalities. His instinct for Gampat’s “Aryan identity” and his proclivity to effusive vitriol cannot stand it, so he articulates very forcefully in 1998 that “Indians” in Guyana have allocated the “Shudra” position to Blacks. For Christians of every race, the point made by economist Clarence Ellis illustrates the first social dilemma that an increased presence of businesses from India will bring under CSME: “The surprising fact is that not a single East Indian leader or leadership group has come out and said that they are willing to share the same space with Black people in terms of equality”. Unless anticipated new Indian investment in the Caribbean under CSME anticipates a flood of subservient labour from India, then serious social and labour problems lie somewhere in our future. After all, the Indian vision of “empire” sees Guyana as the “gateway to Latin America”.

Evan Radhay Persaud, in sworn testimony before the Ethnic Relations Commission, finds himself in a dilemma. He swears that there is no “caste” system in Guyana, and moreso in Hinduism as practiced in Guyana today, and promises to provide “proof” that this is so. Confronted with the fact that “caste” is a defining construct of Hinduism, and that no less a person than Cheddi Jagan gives evidence against him in “The West On Trial”, and that by his own testimony there is only one Black Hindu in Guyana (Clinton Collymore) and so therefore no conversion rate exists, he withdraws quietly. The Ethnic Relations Commission does not hold him to account for the obvious lie under oath … but this is not surprising, since the ERC has become a willing participant to the farce. Mohan Singh, and the editor of Stabroek News, would agree that the culture of denial must inform the empire of hypocrisy at all times. Persaud carries today 5/29/05 some of this bilge to "a conference" in Sieusarran's Trinidad.

Ryhaan Shah illustrates why the culture of “Indian assertion” mooted by Mohan Singh is dangerous for Guyana and the Caribbean. A culture of racism cannot exist alongside a culture of openness and friendship, and must be rejected. Shah opines that this culture of openness and acceptance, and particularly intermarriage, is tantamount to “mashing people down to blackness”. She sees socio-cultural integration and (the Guyana national motto of) “One People, One Nation, One Destiny” as a “racist creed of oneness”. Mohan Singh, and the editor of the Stabroek News, have apparently agreed not to pay any attention to this. The culture of denial must inform the empire of hypocrisy at all times.

We will consider next the hundreds of specific illustrations given by Kean Gibson. A final question: If not for Christians, then what?

Yours faithfully,
Roger Williams
29th May 2005

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