Wednesday November 20, 2019

Ethnic Discrimination? Trinidad’s Culture Ministry excludes Indian cultural events from Calendar

35.43% of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian population are nationals of Indian heritage or descent

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Image Source: community.gov.tt/
  • 35.43% of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian population are nationals of Indian heritage or descent
  • The 2011 Census also places Hindus as the second largest religious group with 18.15%
  • No Indian-oriented cultural event was included in the Ministry’s cultural calendar

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country situated on the northern edge of South America mainland has diverse cultures due to the influx of people from all around the world. It was once a British crown colony, with a French-speaking population governed by Spanish laws.

Originally settled by Amerindians of South American origin, Trinidad and Tobago later came under the rule of Spanish authority. There was a large-scale migration of French planters under their rule. The influx of laborers from India took place when it became a British colony. The demand for Indian indentured laborers increased dramatically after the abolition of slavery in 1834 leading to large scale migrations.

Now, 35.43% of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian population are nationals of Indian heritage or descent. The 2011 Census also places Hindus as the second largest religious group with 18.15%. They are usually categorized with multiple identities, with a more localized ethnic orientation, like Bihari people, Haryanvi people, in addition to further tribal, village, or religious identities.

The Hanuman Temple at Carapichaima Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

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Therefore, when the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts of Trinidad and Tobago placed a full-page, full-colour advertisement in the daily newspapers captioned “Our Calendar of Arts, Culture and Community Events” for June 2016, one would expect that the interests of all the communities would be taken into consideration. But surprisingly, no Indian-oriented cultural event was included in the Ministry’s cultural calendar.

Dr Kumar Mahabir, chairman of the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre(left) Image Source: newsday.co.tt
Dr. Kumar Mahabir, chairman of the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre(left) Image Source: newsday.co.tt

The failure to recognize events like Baal Vikaas in St. Augustine (The largest school music festival in Trinidad and Tobago), Yoga on the Boardwalk in Chaguaramas in commemoration of the UN’s declaration of International Yoga Day, and Krishna Leela Dance Drama Procession in Caroni in reverence to the Sun, raises a number of questions.”Is there ethnic equity in the top hierarchy of the Ministry’s staff?,” asks Dr. Kumar Mahabir, the Chairman of Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre Co. Ltd (ICC) in an open letter.

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He writes,” the omission of eleven (11) major Indo-Trinidadian cultural events is a damning exposé of the narrow conscience/ness of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts. The revelation opens a can of worms about the practices and policies of the Ministry.”

He also questions all those who publicly declared that Manning and the PNM(People’s National Movement) have never discriminated against Hindus, Muslims, and Indians. “This form of ethnic discrimination”, he says,” can be the discussion of an entire chapter in view of the fact that Indo-Trinidadians comprise the largest ethnic group in the cosmopolitan society.” “Since the Ministry is promoting events organised by Christian churches, it would not have been inconsistent to announce that throughout the month of Ramadan (June 6 – July 5), free community dinners [iftar] were being offered daily by Muslims at every mosque to breakfast,” he adds.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram.

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  • AJ Krish

    When a community that makes up a significant portion of the population is ignored, it is clearly understood that there is discrimination. I believe the authorities should clear this up before it is too late.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Very sad to know that Indian cultural events are excluded even after the 2nd majority of people being Hindus

Next Story

Indians Are Cooking Western Food In Their Kitchens: Survey

79% of Indians are preparing western food in their kitchen, says survey

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Majority of Indians cook western food. Pixabay

At least 79 per cent Indians are preparing western food in their kitchens, at least once a week, which is mostly consumed during evening or dinner time as a full meal, a survey by market research firm Ipsos said on Wednesday.

The survey titled ‘The Evolving Indian Palate’, was conducted with 1,000 households across 14 cities who consumed non-home cooked western food in the last one month and prepared western food at home, with the help of western sauces or spreads, at least once a month.

“The Dr Oetker-Ipsos survey has revealed some interesting insights into western food consumption habits in urban India. It is indeed encouraging for us to see that consumers today are more open to experimenting with food in their kitchens with Indo-Western fusion food becoming a rage in particular,” said Oliver Mirza, Managing Director, and CEO for Dr Oetker India & SAARC.

The advantage that western food has in terms of ease of preparation makes it a convenient choice, the Oetker – Ipsos survey has further revealed.

The survey also found that only about 19 per cent of households consume western food during breakfast.

Key trigger for the growing interest in western foods is convenience with comments like it is “easy to cook” (68 per cent) and has wide acceptance, with comments like “good to share with family and friends” (57 per cent), “Enjoyed by children” (53 per cent) and “Good to serve to guests” (46 per cent), the research said.

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The advantage that western food has in terms of ease of preparation makes it a convenient choice. Pixabay

However, western food is not relegated to special or celebratory occasions.

Seventy per cent respondents said that western food is more likely to be a meal replacement rather than being limited to occasions owing to its ease of preparation.

The study found that irrespective of cuisines, preparation of western foods at home is a family affair with two out of five people preparing meals with assistance such as spouse (34 per cent), friend (23 per cent) or another family member (38 per cent).

The research also found that younger people are embracing western foods more.

As a result, seven out of 10 western food consumers are below 30 years of age, with the western food drive being led mostly by the youth and children in their families.

“Despite the entrenched traditional food habits, urban Indians are increasingly becoming open to Western cuisine with more people taking to Western food as a part of their regular consumption regime. Wide access to information, time-pressed and evolving lifestyles, are the key factors to this change,” said Sreyoshi Maitra, Executive Director, Ipsos.

Also Read- According to a Survey, 73% of Urban Indians can Afford a New Home

“Interestingly, kitchens in the western food consuming Indian households have on an average three western sauces (apart from Ketchup) of which mayonnaise and pasta pizza sauce top the charts,” she added. (IANS)