Jan 08, 2020
Yesterday, I was in an early morning telephonic conversation with David Hinds when I alerted him to a beautiful, incisive, insightful, reflecting, contemplative expression of thought by Professor Kean Gibson in the form of a letter in another newspaper yesterday. Just a brief digression; I knew her attorney father very well and he will always remain fondly in my memory as one of the few courageous human rights lawyers this nation produced.
Dr. Gibson is generally seen by many ordinary folks, politicians and intellectuals in the Indian community in Guyana as Afro-centric, racist and contemptuous of Hindu culture. I have had one expansive disagreement with her on the influence of Hinduism on PPP leaders a few years ago.
Her take is that Hindu culture intoxicates PPP leaders to see African Guyanese as inferior. I do not think there is evidence to support that thesis. I don’t believe any of the major religions have had and have a deterministic presence in the major parties that have had power and used it in depraved ways.
From 1957 to now, in Guyana, I think power-drunkenness, corruptibility and racial manipulations have been the overriding characteristics in the use of state authority. A PPP Hindu leader, PNC Christian leader and an AFC Muslim leader have all ruled Guyana in identical ways, in which possession of state authority derecognizes patriotism, humaneness, love for people and elevates selfishness and power-lustfulness.
Religion plays no part and has played no part in this ongoing Faustian journey of Guyanese holders of state power.
Dr. Gibson researches the Hindu religion. For this research she has been emotionally condemned by Hindu worshippers from all types of social classes in the Hindu community. This is not my area of study, so there will be no polemical confrontation between us. She could be right or wrong in her theories about Hinduism. I am more concerned with the politics of Professor Kean Gibson.
Over the past ten years, Dr. Gibson’s pronouncements on Hindu culture have led countless Indians to see her as an African Guyanese that does not like Indian people. I know the way that thought has evolved. I have been a victim of Indians’ castigation of me as a self-hater. What crime did I commit to earn that title? Because as an Indian I had to hate myself for criticizing an Indian government while the alternative waiting in the wing was a Black political party.
People like Ravi Dev and Dr. Baytoram Ramharack even explained why I was self-hater. I was never born into or exposed to Indian culture. I had to pen a column to educate Dev and Ramharack about my childhood; that I had more exposure and saturation with Indian culture than they ever experienced. My mom and dad were Hindu worshippers. My mom had her own private altar in our home. I married an Indian Muslim woman and my only child has a Hindu name.
This is what happens to you in Guyana when you choose not to belong to tribes and rage over and embrace the politicians from your tribe. Indians think David Hinds is racist. He is not. I know him. He is my friend. Indians think Mark Benschop is racist. He is not. I know him. He is my friend.
I don’t know Kean Gibson. We went to UG at the same time and belonged to the same faculty. Ms. Gibson and her Indian classmates snubbed me because I wasn’t middle class. but I didn’t care. because I was always reckless, crazy and with what people said about me.
Yesterday, Professor Gibson shut the mouths of Indians who dislike her and thinks she doesn’t like Indians. She came out with a statement that was powerful and engaging. She heaped scorn on race voting and condemned politicians from all sides of the ethnic divide who nurture racial consciousness in the Guyanese people. She didn’t take sides.
She showed her superior thinking to those among us who can never bring themselves to admit that the major parties encourage tribal endorsements and Guyanese ought to save their country from such destructive tendencies.
Those unbothered Indians who long resented Ms. Gibson must now replicate her character decency. They must proselytize the young people of this country into rejecting race voting. Over seventy percent of this nation is in the age group below 40. Indians must put their money where their mouth is – advocate, like Professor Gibson did, the need to save Guyana by exorcising tribal voting.
I end on a personal note. I am not voting for PPP or PNC+AFC.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)