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Frontlist | Anger over author's claims of Indian racism

Frontlist | Anger over author's claims of Indian racism
on Mar 19, 2021
Frontlist | Anger over author's claims of Indian racism
A story reporting the argument of a book by Bernard Yawching, called The Hidden Agenda of Race Relations in Trinidad and Tobago, has sparked anger among members of the Hindu population and others of Indian descent, whom he described as having a racist agenda. Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, spiritual head of the Satya Anand Ashram in Aranguez, has called for a boycott of the book and of booksellers who stock it.  
The Hidden Agenda of Race Relations, Trinidad and Tobago
Read more: https://www.frontlist.in/this-1997-archie-comic-predicted-schooling-in-2021-and-twitter-is-stunned/ Maharaj said consideration is also being given to taking the matter to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), saying it has the potential to incite racial hatred. He charged, “This unsubstantiated drivel seeks to paint both the Maha Sabha and the UNC with a racist agenda brush. “He has strung together separate and unconnected incidences to create a narrative without an ounce of truth. He presents no empirical evidence to support his claims yet calls his false assumptions facts.” Maharaj and the Maha Sabha (SDMS), the latter through its attorney Dinesh Rambally, have defended their position as reportedly represented in the book, which was featured in Thursday’s Newsday. Former prime minister and political leader of the UNC Basdeo Panday also joined the commentators condemning the content. “Race and racial discrimination has been in the society from the time Columbus landed here. Over time it has been exacerbated by slavery and indentureship. I don’t know what Mr Yawching is about, but (from) the fact that he said the People’s National Movement (PNM) is not involved is obvious he is trying to make a political statement.” On Yawching’s admission that he was a member of the activist council of the Movement for Social Justice and voted for former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the People's Partnership in 2010, but subsequently resigned, Panday quipped, “He may have a political agenda, or it may be tabanca.” Yawching, described as a social and political activist, said he expected a “backlash.” SDMS attorney and Chaguanas West MP Rambally, who condemned the book in a long social-media post, said he has not read and does not intend to read the book, but the excerpts suggest, “This is desperate and divisive commentary.” Rambally submitted, “This little-known writer obviously means to make waves by ventilating on a national issue which should have required a reasonable and balanced discussion. He said the fact that he accused the UNC and the SDMS of racism but left out the PNM, demonstrated Yawching had adopted a one-sided view. On Yawching’s description of the caste system promoting the idea of Indian superiority over Africans, Rambally said that is “downright fabrication and distortion.” He said he is not convinced Yawching understands the basis of the caste system or how it operates, as this requires a deep study of the history from which it originated and the role and functions it was supposed to serve. “To trivialise the history of it and to suggest that it largely operates in our society is imprudent.” He said he is most disturbed by Yawching’s smug satisfaction “that no racism was ever meted out to Indians. No one wants to bring up the Calcutta ship remark, nor the PNM skit showing the disrobing of a woman in a yellow sari by men in red costumes, nor the infamous and constant denigration of Hindus and/or Indian-Trinidadians by calypsonians so much so that calypso tents were effectively shut down. “He has failed to appreciate the political struggle of Hindus, conflating Hindu and Indian ministers of past Cabinets.” On his suggestion that Indo-Trinidadians vote along lines of race, Rambally said this is not peculiar to them. “In fact, he steps gingerly in alluding to the popular phrase PNM till ah dead.” He rejected Yawching’s insinuation of racism being practised against Afro-Trinidadians in SDMS schools. “These schools are run along lines of the Hindu religion and for this we make no apology.” He said they are churning out a respectable calibre of students, hopefully to be balanced and reasonable adults, cultivating principles with national unity and patriotism. “I find it very unfortunate that there are still persons who fail to make the distinction between fighting for equality and fighting against discrimination.” He said the SDMS had fought against inequality and discrimination as it has done in respect of the Trinity Cross and the radio licence discrimination case all the way to the Privy Council, will continue to this fight as it relates to students wearing rakshas in schools, and putting up jhandis in a government school which allows other, non-Hindu religious symbols. Source: The Brooke Times

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