Lion of the Legislative Council
Father of Hindu Nationalism in Trinidad and Tobago

By Darius Figueira

UNHAPPY DAYS, here to stay?

In 1871 the celebrated English author, Charles Kingsley, wrote in his book “At Last”: “Trinidad ought to have been a happy place… if it be true that happy is the people who have no history” One Hundred years later Sparrow was singing “School days were happy happy days”.
Are we really happy? Do we have a sense of history? Or are we transients condemned to repeat history because we ignore history?
Read Figueira and despair that 40 years ago the two greatest parliamentarians debated one on one on the 2 issues of the day now being regurgitated and guttersniped by second rate infantile minds: Race and Constitution Reform and Secondary Education.
Listen to Simbhoonath Capildeo on Race and the Constitution speaking of Dr. Eric Williams:
“He has shown without any doubt at all that long before representation in the House ever existed the fears of the Indian community were manifested time and again by their memorials to all these bodies which sat. Those are facts that he has brought out. What is it showing? Is it not showing, Mr. Speaker, that there has been a chronic fear in the minds of these people? And who are these people?”
“Is it not a shame and a disgrace in 1962, after years of memorials, from the Wood Commission down to today, the Indian Association in 1962, the East Indian Congress in 1962-from then till now and long before? He had to go back and read the Pillai Report, the ‘this’ report, and the ‘that’ report, the Tyson Report to see the discrimination which has been practiced against these people.”
“If the Premier would only give his instinct for history some rein, and if he would put the case honestly and truthfully, he would say that the Indians have been discriminated against from the very first day that they came into this territory until today; and it is that point of view which the Indian Association seeks to put forward.”
“It is that point of view which, if you disregard when you become independent you are sowing the seeds for civil war in this country.”
“we believe now that the race prejudice that they have been victims of is now being put into reverse, and those who were the victims of the past are now the aggressors at the present time. The second-rate citizens are the Indians of this territory who are being made the victims of their prejudice.”
And on Constitution Reform:
“I want to make it clear that I am putting forward a point of view of a substantial number of the citizens of this territory. I know for certain that this is not a view of the DLP. I know for certain that the DLP will not entertain these views because it is a multi-racial party; but when the Premier had injected one hundred minutes of Indian Association in this debate, when he completely left the Constitution, completely left the Joint Select Committee, completely left everything else to charge into the Indian community, Mr. Speaker, I would be failing in my duty if I did not stand up to point these things.”
“My objection is, whatever has emerged from the exercise from the very first day that the draft constitution was printed has been one thing; all power is concentrated in the hands of a single individual. There is complete political control, widespread and complete over all areas of Trinidad life, and if I had the time I would find the hon. Attorney General’s words to that effect to the Select Committee, that we are moving into national independence and the government has complete control of every aspect of life in this country. That is what we are complaining against. The business of the Government is not to interfere in every aspect of people’s life. A good Government is a government which interferes as little as possible.”
And grieve at the irony of Eric Williams on Secondary Schools:
“as long as our Constitution does not prevent the free secondary school from being the cradle of the new nationalism of Trinidad and Tobago assimilating all the different cultural stocks and racial strains in this society. Let the secondary schools be the cradle of the new society which has one aim in view-the repudiation of the absurd and irrational prejudices that have been brought into this society generally from outside and imposed on it from above by the deliberate policy of the former governing power to divide in order to rule.”

Front Cover   Introduction    Extract 1    Extract 2    Extract 3
Extract 5

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