SIMBHOONATH CAPILDEO
Lion of the Legislative Council
Father of Hindu Nationalism in Trinidad and Tobago
By Daurius Figueira

DAURIUS FIGUEIRA ON CAPILDEO: EXPLODING MAHA SABHA MYTHS

With the recent demise of Pundit Krishna of Caroni spin doctors lose no time in re-writing the early history of the Maha Sabha.
But read Figueira:
Capildeo would view the manner in which the leaders of the Hindu community interacted and dealt with the racist anti Hindu, anti-Indian position of the colonial overlord and their alliance with PNM racist hegemony to deny the Hindu population access to state power, and pronounce the said unfit, corrupt and complicitious with PNM racist hegemony. For Capildeo, Indo-Trinbagonian political, religious and economic leadership were in fact gunga dins. They had all surrendered first to the white colonial overlord who then passed them on as lap dogs to the PNM. Capildeo would in fact articulate the discourse of the servile race, he insists that the Indo-Trinbagonian had accepted their servility and would in fact refuse to defend their rights, to draw lines in the sand for the PNM because of their servility, premised upon the concept of ‘stooping to conquer.’ Capildeo would relentlessly attack the leadership of the very institutions he conceptualised and was central to their creation, the primary ones being the Maha Sabha, the PDP and DLP.
On the issue of the deliberate attempt of the PNM to halt the march of the Maha Sabha in the erection of dedicated school buildings which commenced in the early 1950’s under Capildeo’s worldview. He would flail away at the managerial incompetence of the Board of the Maha Sabha, but moreso he would insist that the failure of the leadership of the Maha Sabha to engage with the PNM government over its racist hegemonist education policy was as a result of the servility of the leadership of the Maha Sabha.
But who originally enunciated and chartered the course for the Maha Sabha. Figueira quoting the PoS Gazette of 20th May, 1956.
“And, the brain of the movement, Simbhoonath Capildeo, a dark, little lawyer with glasses who looks like a fakir dressed up in western clothes, did skilfully what he had been hurriedly summoned to do-check on all the utterances by his master’s voice and, bolster them where necessary.”
Simbhoonath Capildeo is then the brain of the Hindu Rasthra, the drive for Hindu hegemony in Trinbago. The dark little lawyer with glasses looks like a fakir in western clothes. Simbhoonath Capildeo is then viewed by the author of the said article as an un-regenerated, itinerant beggar who is in fact a Hindu holy man. This backward, un-regenerated, itinerant beggar fails to hide his backward dark, semi-civilized, even uncivilized self in western clothes. This fakir dares to take on Afro-Saxon civilization seeking the hegemony of the backward, the unregenerated, simplistic civilization of the Hindu fakir.
And as if to predict the Biche High School fiasco in 1962, Capildeo told the House.
“Mr. Speaker, if I had the conduct of the Board, and if I had built a school, and if I had come to the Government and told them that I have got the school built, and if I had satisfied the Government, as indeed the Government is satisfied, that there is need for a school, and they told me that we will not give you formal approval until you put up some toilet facilities and what not, after six years of the erection of the school, I would have invited the entire Hindu community and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and I would have personally set that school on fire to burn it down, as a monument to the inhuman treatment of the children of that district by the Government and by the people responsible for the building of that school.”
“It is a great pity that there is no school yet in Orange Valley for me to burn down, because I would set fire to it rather than leave it there for 5, 6 and 10 years, see my child walk four and five miles to get to a school, and to have the organisation saying, ‘we have every confidence in the Government’ and the Government saying, ‘we cannot allow you to open the school because you have not built a drain around the school’?”
Capildeo has no problem with affirming his nationality, his allegiance to Trinbago for him there is no constant debate over his rootedness for it was for him clearly Trinbago. In this embrace of Trinbago, Capildeo had then purged from his worldview the uncertainty of being a castaway, unlike his brother Rudranath and his nephew Vidia, Simbhoonath simply had no time in seeking out solutions to being a castaway external of Trinbago. In this praxis he was then the prime mover, the framer and creator of the praxis of Indo-Trinbagonian nationalism.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to make this clear-that the Hindus of this country have been betrayed for too long and used as pawns in the game of politics. I say that the fate of a country and a nation depends upon the efforts the people make themselves, and as a Hindu I say that I will not rest until I see this situation changed, and until I see every Hindu has in this country equal rights with everybody else, because this is my country I was born here. If I have to fight for any country it is this one I have to fight for, and if I have to die for any country it is this country I have to die for-and how can man die better-‘than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods?

Front Cover   Introduction    Extract 2    Extract 3    Extract 4
Extract 5

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