Dear Editor,

In reply to A. A. Fenty’s dig at “Ravi and Ryhaan” about our supposed failure to address what he calls “Indian triumphalism” in our analyses of the Caribbean-wide marginalisation of Indian contributions, there really is a need to explain: what is this “Indian triumphalism” he speaks of; and how does it manifest itself? (Frankly Speaking, May 10, 2019)

Indians not only arrived into a hostile social and political environment from the time they landed here in the British colony but have faced ongoing hostilities that have continued to manifest themselves in brutal ethnic/political attacks since the 1960s. Indian Guyanese might have done well in the business arena but remain afraid and cowered in their homes and places of business for fear of both criminal and political/ethnic attacks. There is no triumphalism there.

With President Granger choosing to ignore the achievements of the Indian Guyanese who has made the most sterling contribution to Guyana’s development, President Cheddi Jagan, on the just past Indian Arrival Day, it does appear that we are not even allowed a moment of what could be called “triumph” and even when most deserved. So, no triumphalism there either.

The supporters of the APNU+AFC Coalition displayed full, public triumphalism in 2015 when they won the general elections. Can Indian Guyanese do that when the party they support wins? Or do they have to stay in their homes and pray they will not be attacked for winning?

The marginalisation of Indian Carib-bean achievement, with which Fenty seems to agree, continues. The flashes of exoticism through song and dance which Indians are allowed because they lend to the region’s empty boast of diversity can hardly amount to any triumphalism except if it is the colour and glitter of Indian costumes along with the intricate music and dance themselves that could appear triumphal to onlookers.

Those staged moments are fleeting, however, and hardly outweigh the marginalisation and political/ethnic attacks that is the reality of the Indian Guyanese experience.

Perhaps, we appear triumphal because of our sheer ability to try and overcome adversity and every obstacle that is put in our way as we continue to strive to create better lives for ourselves and our family. Perhaps, it is this pride and fortitude that some translate as triumphalism?

(I speak here for myself. My good friend, Ravi, is quite capable of making his own comments if he so chooses.) 

Yours faithfully,

Ryhaan Shah

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