Dear Editor,

Limited as my exposure has been to Clem Seecharan’s authorship, ie, to Sweetening Bitter Sugar, I have been an admirer of his scholarship. All the more reason that I was disappointed to learn from SN of August 21 of the launching of his latest publication: Mother India’s Shadow over El Dorado: Indo-Guyanese Politics and Identity: 1890-1930’s in the presence of what you describe as “a small gathering.”

It occurred to me that as an educationist and historian, Professor Seecharan should recognise that the history of a country’s people belongs to all of them; and that all without exception, should be ‘educated’ about their multicultural heritage – from which we cannot ever be insulated, even though at the same time the implication of ‘shadow’ is hardly a positive reflection.

However coincidental may have been the Professor’s involvement in this discussion, it may be useful to recall that he enjoys a position of leadership that should enable him to guide special interests towards the wider membership of the human village.

It is impossible, for example, to be both ‘Guyanese’ and ‘separate’ at the same time. It is the continual and sincere embrace of our respective identities which contributes to our being wholly Guyanese.

I much prefer therefore that I have misinterpreted the message emanating from SN’s recital. Irrelevantly perhaps, I recall not so long ago, bemoaning the celebration of Shivnarine Chanderpaul as an ‘Indian’ for feats he performed as a ‘West Indian’ batsman.

Yours faithfully,
E B John

Editor’s note

The occasion was not a “launch” of Prof Seecharan’s new book; it consisted of readings of excerpts and a discussion. The work is not available locally as yet, and it is always possible that when it is, there might be an official launch which would be open to the public at large. Moray House, the de Caires family home, accommodates only about 25 people, and the guest list consisted of persons suggested in the first instance by Prof Seecharan, and in the second, by the de Caires children. Prof Seecharan had a long association with the late David de Caires and that association continues with his family. Once it was learned that the Professor was in Guyana on a brief personal visit, the opportunity was taken to arrange an impromptu reading and discussion of  Mother India’s Shadow…

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