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Amerindians in T&T to record culture

Published: 
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Swami Prakashananda, left, greets Chief Ricardo Bharat, of the First People Santa Rosa Carib Community, during the second annual Hindu New Year celebration at the Chinmaya Ashram, McBean, Couva, last Sunday. Photo: SHASTRI BOODAN

T&T’s Amerindian community plans to start keeping written records of its cultural practices says Chief Ricardo Bharat, of the First People Santa Rosa Carib Community, Arima. He made the comment while addressing the second annual Hindu New Year celebration at the Chinmaya Ashram, McBean, Couva, last Sunday. 

 

 

Bharat said the time had come to document the history and traditions of T&T’s indigenous people. He said unlike other cultures in T&T that have written records, the Amerindian culture was one that has an oral tradition that is passed down by word of mouth through the Shamman or PI. 

 

Bharat said the community has lost a significant amount of its traditions and may lose more if work to document it does not start soon. He said the indigenous people of the region are scheduled to meet in October to discuss various matters regarding their heritage. Delivering the feature address, Swami Prakashananda, head of the Chinmaya Mission in T&T, called for all groups to sit down and talk on constitutional reform, so that any changes in the Constitution could also better cater to the diversity of the peoples of T&T. 

 

He said the Constitution as it stands was one that did not take into consideration the world views of all the people that constitute T&T. Prakashananda said the Constitution was drafted along the lines of colonial ideology and concepts of divinity, adding its preamble starts with the God concept. He said: “It is formulated on the basis of some religion. The big question is whose religion. 

 

The fact that it discriminates against atheist, notwithstanding, it does not seem to understand or represent my religion well at all,” he said. “We (referring to Hindus) do not believe in creation (Hindus believe in manifestation), it seems very clear that this Constitution was not drafted but inherited,” he added. “Creation is a purely Christian concept...nothing is wrong with Christian concepts if you are Christian.”

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