April 2015 \ Diaspora News \ Diaspora—West Indies
Indian Diaspora is not a tribal group in Trinidad and Tobago

By Paras Ramoutar

Whether we like it or not, Trinidad and Tobago is a multicultural and multi-religious society, and this must become the cornerstone for the full flowering of serious nationhood. The Indian Diaspora continues to engender spiritual reconstruction aimed at making reverence for life meaningful.

Spiritual reconstruction and a new attitude for the reverence for life must become the cornerstone on which to build a new society. We in Trinidad and Tobago must continue to celebrate in our multi-religious and multi-cultural society Eid, Divali, Christmas, Baptists, Easter and the other religious festivals and occasions at all times. We have to share and respect each other’s cultural strains. Likewise, we seek similar or reciprocal courtesies.

Indian Arrival Day must not be viewed upon with scorn as a people whose socio-economic and cultural and religious backgrounds do not have origins from some celestial source. We are not a tribal people. It is an opportunity to encourage the participation of shared values. We must not be seen as turning our backs on the other segments of the nation, but rather we must converse with others to listen, to learn, to understand and to respect their experiences.

All peoples must work towards the adoption of a new citizenship, and we must take a very serious and positive role in this initiative. Despite the ethnic strains displayed in electoral campaigns, it is heart-warming to see the population of Trinidad and Tobago joining, participating, supporting or celebrating the many religious and cultural presentations like Carnival and Panorama.

This demonstrates that the philosophy of multiculturalism is evident in our nation, and it must be enhanced and supported at the highest levels to ensure racial harmony, peace and concord among the respective ethnic groups in the national citizenry. State subventions must be equally shared across the societal spectrum, rather than favouring one ethnic group over the other.

Trinidad and Tobago’s first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams that there no Mother India or no Mother Africa, or no Mother Lebanon, there is only one Mother, and that Mother Trinidad and Tobago. With this statement on Independence Day, August 31, 1962 he set the tone and created the environment for the adoption of a multicultural state. How far, have we progressed in this matter is open for critical discussion and analysis, he said. Our civilisation is undergoing a severe crisis that requires the attention of all of us. We must take steps to overturn this trend. The Indian Diaspora will always answer to this notion of working towards national peace...something our politicians fail to procure or to empower themselves, more so, the population.