Indians frequently criticise each other

Stabroek News
June 29, 2001

Dear Editor, This is the second part of a letter [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] commenting on a Sunday column by Cassandra in which he raised a question about an "Indian" David Hinds, and suggested that for Indians, Buxton justified Albion.

Contrary to what Cassandra wrote, Indians do not "operate on the basis that criticising the tribe is tantamount to selling out." Indians did not beat up Mr. Haslyn Parris. The Indian members of TUF have not turned on Mr. Nadir for accepting a role with the PPP/C government. Instead, they continue to raise issues and engage in self?criticism in the hope of improving things.

Week after week, Indians who comment on or criticize the PPP/C, ROAR, PNC/R or concerns that affect their community fill the newspapers with letters. Consequently, there is no need for a single David Hinds.

We has seen in the Chronicle, for example, a surge of letters between Christian and Hindu Indians debating whether Christian proselytizing among Hindus is improper or not.

Everyone is aware that Mr. Ravi Dev (ROAR) has been critical of the PPP/C government recently. President Jagdeo has accused Mr. Dev of wanting to steal power "outside the ballot box," and after the Albion situation, while praising the president, GAWU stepped up the attack on ROAR for organizing the protest, asking all Berbicians "not to be influenced by the defeated political forces at work periodically among them," which are "designed to create confusion..." Both ROAR and the PPP/C have had to endure tough criticism from Indians (including some of their own supporters).

Although it did not shock me, Mr. Hinds' letter has done its part. Not only Blacks but Indians can and should learn from it. If his letter was a surprise to many Blacks, it's because for too long they have not shown the courage to criticize the PNC/R. This is why it is possible that a Black writer from the Catholic Standard saw it fitting to write that no one since Dr. Rodney has been able to address Blacks in such a manner. Think about the crippling effects of having only one voice (or a few) in over two decades, which can challenge Blacks as Mr. Hinds' letter did. Perhaps what Cassandra should have asked is this; "Where is the Black Ravi Dev who will confront the PNC/R?"

It is wrong to ask the PNC/R or the PPP/C to change their "spots" when we, Blacks and Indians alike, are afraid to question or remove our allegiance. The way we behave, it is as if we can't think for ourselves, or see these parties as pantheons of gods. Both of these parties are quite capable of serving their inner circles mostly, at our expense, so I agree with Mr. Hinds that people, not only Blacks, have to look more to themselves for solutions. People must return from where they began 50 years ago to find grass?root activists, leaders connected to the people and the land, not mere pseudo?intellectuals out of QC who never fetched water or studied with a kerosene lamp. Life is that simple, walk the same old road and you'll end up in the same old dead?end destination.

Buxton and Albion: Some, having convinced themselves, are trying to convince others that Buxton is Albion and Albion is Buxton. The two situations are quite simple in some aspects, while in most they are unique. Both are anti?government, although Albion becomes anti?government while starting as anti?criminal. It becomes anti?government when its nature changed from anti?crime to anti?lax police (police is an arm of government). Buxton started and ended as anti?government (even when it was anti?police).

No, Cassandra, Indians do not feel that Buxton justifies Albion. Indians do not need any place to justify Albion. Understand, I make no excuse for those who attacked the police; I refuse to support that as revolt, even though the law itself (at fault) was the issue upon which the protest started. Despite the loss of life, I, like many other Indians, still believe the protest was necessary and I, like many others, will continue to support Albions (less the violence of course). To expect Berbicians to apolgise is not totally wrong. Yet, if Berbicians were to apologise, it would not be totally right. If anything, apologies must come from the police and the government; the first for its unconscious effort in crime?prevention; the latter for allowing the situation to explode (its nasty potentials were obvious since the Friday before the terrible Monday).

Cassandra noted that Berbice has "lost its innocence." Has it? Berbice is still a place of peace, despite the "hooligans" that one writer in SN associated with the place. But Albion has pushed Guyana into unchartered protest territory, simply because it has altered our concept of who can protest. It has upturned one idea in that Indians are the silent type, and reinforced another in that they will protest if the need arises, even if it costs them a life.

Yours faithfully,
Rakesh Rampertab