Tuesday October 16, 2018

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/
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  • 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

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A Guide To Complete Your Festive Look With The Right Shoes

The more formal the occasion, the classic and simpler the men's shoes are meant to be.

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Five rules to choose best festival shoes. Pixabay

Merely possessing a pair of classic, high-quality men’s shoes will bring the wearer happiness, but true exuberance and appreciation come when he learns how to properly carry them with elegance and class.

Ishaan Sachdeva, Director at Alberto Torresi and Harkirat Singh, Managing Director at Woodland, list some tips to decide on the best festival shoes.

* While going for sneakers: Sneakers can be the safest option for any festival if you are planning to wear something casual rather than going ethnic. But it comes with a few warnings: Any white shoe will automatically get dirty and some may not actually have the comfort needed to get through the entire day. Avoid slip-on styles with super-flat soles and consider with super-flat soles and consider it a support to add even more stability.

* Give your shoes a test run: This rule can be applied to any pair of shoe you are planning to wear for a big event. Give any new shoes a trial run and proper wear-in before wearing them for a festival. Even the most comfortable sneakers and sandals can initially cause blisters on the initial few tries, so make sure any final option is tried and tested before the big event.

 Shoes
Give any new shoes a trial run and proper wear-in before wearing them

* When planning to go ethnic: If you are planning to wear sandals with your ethnic outfit, just make sure you choose the one that holds you in all day. Skip lace-up styles that need to be re-tied throughout the day and instead choose a style with buckled straps that hold in the entire foot.

Also Read: Men Have Greater Endurance For Stress, Says Study

* Comfort goes a longer way: Festivals are just as much a chance for you to be flaunting good-looking outfit and classic shoes. There goes a long hectic day full of rituals and festivities, so scoring a comfortable yet stylish pair of shoes become a formidable task.

* The formal classics: The more formal the occasion, the classic and simpler the men’s shoes are meant to be. A plain black, brown coloured shoe is hence the perfect choice for the festive occasions. A tan coloured loafer can be donned with the traditional kurta look or with the trousers for the modish look. (IANS)