You are here
Analyst: Sat must provide facts on anti-Hindu claims
Political scientist Dr Winford James is calling on Sat Maharaj, leader of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, to present facts, witnesses and scientific data to support his claim that Indians did not feel welcome in Tobago.
James was responding to comments made by Maharaj in the Sunday Guardian in which he claimed Indians were now feeling alienated and were refusing to go to Tobago since the “Calcutta ship” comments by newly re-elected THA executive member Hilton Sandy.
The Maha Sabha leader also claimed Tobagonians had always rejected Indians... and Hindus in particular. He said the Maha Sabha had purchased land in Tobago to build a temple at Carnbee over five years ago but the THA had refused to grant permission though there was a Christian church in the area.
He said the THA also promised a half-acre of land at Signal Hill to various Indian organisations but came up with an excuse at the last minute and reneged on its promise. “Calcutta ship can’t land but one from the Congo can,” Maharaj said. James said it was difficult to respond to Maharaj’s comments without proper and accurate facts, adding: “How does one respond to a charge like that?”
He recalled growing up in Tobago when Indians were a minority group but fairly and respectfully treated. He added: “Some owned businesses, like car-parts places and hardware stores, and Tobagonians would patronise these businesses. I remember the Indians getting along well with everyone.
“My three children went to school in Tobago and they had Indian friends and to this day they still enjoy those relations. “I am not saying some people may not have a fear along ethnic lines, [but] even if this does exist it is not a dominant factor.”
On whether Maharaj’s statements would cause a racial divide, James said that would depend on an individual’s decision. “Everybody has to make up their minds whether or not there is evidence and on the basis of fact. I think lots of people are accustomed to Mr Maharaj’s statements by now. There are those who would reject him, because not everyone would be willing to side with his comments,” James added.
He said it was not the issue of Tobagonians “picking on Indians” but rather rejecting a “haughty, superior attitude” projected by some Trinidadians. He added: “There was attitude that Trinidadians belonged to the bigger island and there was also the thought that Tobagonians were generous fools, and when you see us as fools, that’s a different story.
“Trinidadians to a large extent control the tourism sector. The small traders came afterwards.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.