Shri Kampta Karran’s passing come as a shock to me and I would like to express sincere condolences to his family. He was an excellent writer and lecturer. He was admired for his writings and for his courage speaking out against injustice. He contributed a lot in the struggle of Guyanese towards their freedom from oppression and for their self respect. He was a regular presence at rallies in Guyana and in Trinidad.
I know of Kampta through his writings in the media as well as his mini-publications and met him several times in Guyana during the struggle against the dictatorship as well as after the restoration of democracy.
It was in Trinidad, however, where we had more lengthy interactions and discussions on Guyanese affairs. I used to visit Trinidad frequently to conduct surveys and we met through common friends who were teachers.
Kampta worked closely with a group of NACTA affiliated Trini teachers like Rajnie Ramlakhan, Kamal Persad, Samaroo Siewah, Ashram Maharaj, Kumar Mahabir, etc, all of whom were also writers who published books and booklets, some on Guyana.
In Trinidad, we introduced Kampta to several of our academic friends at UWI where he obtained assistance to advance his educational achievements. Kampta spent a considerable time in Trinidad ably financed and supported by Rajnie and the three of us met frequently discussing the Guyana situation.
Kampta returned to Trinidad where he was successful in raising money, through my associates, to put out several publications and to leave for England to do graduate studies. In Trinidad, he won several tributes in his decades-long writing career and he spoke at numerous events including Yagyas and conferences at UWI, some of which I attended.
Young writers and teachers lavished praise on the richness of his works.
It was years before Kampta and I met again in Guyana after his return from England. Kampta’s writings, discourses in Trinidad and lectures in Guyana showed that he was a kind of revolutionary against Burnhamism. His copious contribution, especially his poems, to the literature of resistance and his personal role in the struggle for democracy and free and fair elections have earned him the respect and admiration of friends, including this writer and his friends in Trinidad as well people who knew him in the diaspora.
He was not afraid to write his thoughts against authoritarianism and join the struggle in Trinidad during the height of the dictatorship in Guyana.
Kampta was an outstanding and prolific writer not only on social science topics but on literary subjects and drama as well. Some considered him a true literary genius. And many consider him a literary activist for he sought funding for writers and poets.
In fact, he was very popular among the Indo-Caribbean literary fraternity and his generation of poetry lovers in Trinidad and New York.
And many of us still remember his ‘Offerings’ which are prized with only a few of us still having a collection.
Guyana has lost a good son who lived his life in service to his homeland and who made tangible contributions to our dear Guyana and her people through his writing.
The firepower of the academic community of Guyana is somewhat dimmer today with the passing of Bhai Kampta. May Kampta-ji rest in peace after a long and arduous battle fighting for the respect of Guyanese during the oppressive era and for his several publications and journals showcasing the works of Guyanese writers. He will be missed, but his work will live on.