August 2015 \ Interviews \ Spirituality
“Practices of Indian Sadhus are seen in the Rasta way of life”

Interview with Ms Linda Ainouche, Documentary Filmmaker

  • Ms Linda Ainouche

The Dreadlocks Story, an 83-minute documentary in English, French, Hindi and Jamaican Patois, with subtitles in English, French and Spanish is written, directed and produced by Linda Ainouche. It talks about Spiritual links between Jamaican Rastas and Indian Sadhus. It opens up the history of the Rastas in a new light. It talks about the dreadlocks hair-style, and the roots of the Rastafari culture which is entangled with Hindu tradition in Jamaica. Filmed in four countries including France, India, Jamaica and the USA, the film’s leitmotif traces ancient traditions in Africa and India. Ms Ainouche speaks with India Empire

This is fascinating, the connection between Rastafarian culture and Hindu traditions. Please elaborate on your findings…

Dreadlocks Story explores the never before seen history of Rastafari culture’s surprising roots in Hindu tradition. Jamaican and Indian people were oppressed by a common British colonial force, and they created a form of self-expression that grew from the very powers that persecuted them. I wanted to honor this symbol of strength.

Through it, I wanted to show people that in the face of adversity there is still hope, beauty, and the possibility of something new. By examining the diverse influences found in Rasta culture, Dreadlocks Story exhibits the strength and magnificence of a movement grounded in anti-slavery and anti-imperialist struggles. My findings also affirm the continued importance of Indian heritage in Jamaican society. We find it in various aspects, including cuisine, language, agriculture and medicine, to name just a few. The Hindu way of life, especially of Sadhus, can be seen in the practices of the Rasta way of life.

Please give our readers a background of the Rastafarian culture, its origins, its exponents, even through music…

For that, they utterly need to watch Dreadlocks Story! But quickly in few words, the movement has emerged from Leonard Percival Howell, known today as ‘The First Rasta’ in Jamaica in the early 1930. He promoted the belief that everyone is divine and equal through the figure of the Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia against George V, who was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India,- and thus starting the Rasta movement. The political nature of Howell’s ideas had him jailed for two years by the Jamaican colonial government where he wrote a pamphlet, which showed elements of Pan-Africanism and the anti-colonial struggle. Dreadlocks Story explores how Howell was influenced by another element present in Jamaican society - notably the lifestyles of Hindus. And for evidence, he took the pen name of Gangunguru Maharaj.

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