Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Dr. Kumar Mahabir
This year’s annual Bocas Lit Fest (Bocas Literary Festival) has just ended in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago (23-35/4/21).
For the second year, it ran entirely virtual and online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is a great, exciting extended weekend event of readings, discussions, performances, interviews, workshops, storytelling, music, and film screenings.
I attend the event every year since its inception in 2011, adding to the buzz of activities with local, regional, and international writers, readers, publishers, and critics of literary and non-fiction works.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
The festival’s founder and director, Marina Salandy-Brown, must be commended for this initiative. Running for 10 years, Bocas Lit Fest has emerged as the Caribbean’s premier annual literary festival.
But … but Indo-Caribbean CULTURE has always been marginalized in Bocas Lit’ Fest as well as in CARIFESTA (Caribbean Festival of Arts). That topic has been explored in another article published elsewhere. SEE https://indocaribbeanpublications.com/2018/07/30/is-the-bocas-literary-festival-biased/
On Saturday, the Indo-Caribbean-built heritage in Trinidad received a rare treat in the premiere of a special half-hour film entitled Port of Spain: A Writer’s Heaven. The film features sites in the capital city which have been captured in classic and contemporary literature. It was hosted by Wendell Manwarren during a walking tour of the city.
The film took its title from a quote by Derek Walcott’s famous Nobel Prize speech: “Port of Spain . . . a downtown babel of shop signs and streets, mongrelized, polyglot, a ferment without a history, like heaven. Because that is what such a city is . . . a writer’s heaven.”
Among the several sites in and around Port of Spain highlighted in the film, two of them were of special interest: (1) the birthplace of novelist Ismith Khan, and (2) V.S. Naipaul’s House in St James.
Ismith Khan’s House in Port of Spain
The novelist Mohamed Ismith Khan (1925 – 2002) was born at 48 Frederick Street in Port of Spain in a two-story house that overlooked the iconic Woodford Square. That house also functioned as a jewelry shop which was described as “the largest and most famous jewelry shop in Port of Spain.” The description was made in Khan’s first major work The Jumbie Bird (1961), a semi-autobiographical novel.
Khan himself came from a historic family. He was born of a Muslim family of Indian Pathan descent. His dada [paternal grandfather], Kale Khan, had escaped by the Kanpur Railway train from colonial India to Guiana/Guyana after fighting as a sepoy [soldier] against the British in the Indian Rebellion/Mutiny of 1857.
His dada later moved to Princes Town in Trinidad and again fought against the British in the notable Muharram/Hosay Indian massacre in San Fernando in 1884. Kale Khan then moved to Port of Spain where he established his jewelry business.
Living in the capital city, the family witnessed and helped many destitute ex-indentured individuals and families converging to Port of Spain to await a ship to take them back home to India. In The Jumbie Bird, Khan describes the desperation of these “coolies” living like vagrants in the streets and under tents.
V.S. Naipaul’s House for Mr. Biswas
V.S. Naipaul’s House for Mr. Biswas was featured in the documentary. It was the home of writer, Seepersad Naipaul, and his wife Droapatie, and their sons, Vidia Naipaul and Shiva Naipaul. Born in Chaguanas in the Lion/Hanuman House, Vidia is the holder of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature, the only Trinidadian to have achieved this honor.
The house still stands intact today at 26 Nepaul Street in St James and is described in V.S.’s classic novel, A House for Mr. Biswas (1963): “It was like a huge and squat sentry-box: tall, square, two-storeyed, with a pyramidal roof of corrugated iron.” The novel has been ranked at number 72 in a list of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library Review.
V.S. Naipaul lived in the house for four years from 1946 to 1950 before migrating to England on a Government scholarship to study at the University of Oxford.
His family resided in the house until it was sold to the government in 1996 on the advice of Professor Kenneth Ramchand led the NGO, Friends of Mr. Biswas. Ramchand was interviewed in the film by Manwarren.
Other members of the NGO included Ashvin Rai Akal, son of Naipaul’s sister, Savitri Akal; Rajendra Ramlogan, a lawyer; Dr. Radica Mahase, a historian; and Lenore Dorset, former protocol officer in the Office of the President.
The house was restored to its original form with some of the memorabilia either restored, reconstructed, or sourced from family members. The historical house in St James was eventually opened to the public as a literary museum 18 years later in 2014. Artifacts such as the yellow typewriter, the hat rack, the bookcase, and the dining table are all on display.
OṀ KALMASHARAHITABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) -KAL-MA-SHA-RA-HI-TA-BHOO-MYAI— NA-MA-HA
ॐ कल्मषरहितभूम्यै नमः
(Kalmasham: Tainted, blemish, dirty, sinful, wicked, foul, dosha, opprobrium, stigma; Rahita: Absent, devoid of)
Kalmasham is the opposite of purity; it means impure, contaminated and defective. The word is used in several senses such as: defective, fault, sin, dosham, tainted, vice, crime, disrespect, abuse, evil and contamination. However, it is also used in a technical sense in certain fields of knowledge. In Vedic literature we see words like pavitram, and pavitrata in the opposite sense of kalmasham. We, as Hindus, see everything as pure and equitable with God in an implied meaning that every atom at the microscopic level is part of the Supreme Power (Bhagavān). Having this knowledge and understanding, Hindus see the presence of God in living as well as non-living objects and have a pavitra meaning- kalmasharahita bandham.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated
In Vedas and Purāṇās, Lord Shri Ramachandra Murty is portrayed without any defects and His marriage with Sīta was described as kalmasharahitam. He was glorified as the one who strictly observed the 'ekapatnī vratam' meaning-'one wife as a life partner'. Even when Sīta was abducted by the demon- Rāvaṇa and he kept her in his palace for a year, Rama did not look at another woman. The same credit goes to His consort and wife Sīta, who came out of Agni (pyre of fire) as a shining diamond proving her chastity and kalmasharahitam to the world. Our sacred literature is full of these incidents. Our dharmaśhāstrās explain that what is kalmasham is that which brings defection to one's purity. They advise purity in our thought, speech and actions.
God Ram and Goddess SitaGetty Pictures
There are many relationships we have as an individual. Some are pure and kalmasharahitam, as opposed to other relationships, like extramarital affairs. The relationship between husband and wife; brother and sister; father and daughter; parents and children; between siblings; teacher and student; among friends; and last but not least, between a devotee and his desired, beloved and personal god are considered kalmasharahitam.
ALSO READ: Celebrate Holi In The Land Of Krishna
As a country, we have never waged war against another country with the intention of occupancy and robbing their wealth, or to convert them to our religion. We do not have that kalmasham on our hands or in our hearts.
Our land is 'Kalmasharahita Bhūmi'.
Xander Schauffele held off the late challenges from the chasing pack, none more so than Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia — who got without a single stroke of the American — to win a gold medal in the men's individual golf tournament at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
It was a huge victory for the 27-year-old at this point of his career. Despite often being amongst the favorites in the latest golf odds, the San Diego-native is yet to win one of golf's four majors — The Open, The Masters, The USPGA and The US Open — and he will certainly be hoping that he can use this triumph in Tokyo to push on next season.
Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.
With nine top-10 finishes in 18 appearances at the majors, six of which have been inside the top five (including finishing second at the 2018 Open and 2019 Masters), Schauffele is making a bit of name for himself as a nearly man in the sport's biggest tournaments, and that it is a duck he will certainly be hoping to break sooner rather than later.
Whilst not a major, winning an Olympic gold medal in golf is not to be sniffed at, and it is the kind of victory that the 27-year-old might just have needed to give him that boost to kick on and finally get his hands on one of the major trophies — even though he will need to wait until next year as the recent Open at Royal St. George's in Kent marked the end of this year's major schedule.
Some golfer's may have played down winning the men's tournament at the Olympics, but for Schauffele, whose grandparents live in Tokyo, taking the gold medal back to the United States with him was at the very top of his priority list.
Olympic GameGetty Pictures
"I really wanted to win for my dad. I am sure he is crying somewhere right now. I kind of wanted this one more than any other," Schauffele said after his one-stroke victory.
"You are trying to represent your country to the best of your ability and then you add family stuff on top of that. I'm probably going to have a nice call with my grandparents tonight.
"Everyone is back home watching. I was feeling the love from San Diego and Las Vegas this whole time. I'm a little speechless right now, quite honestly."
Form and momentum are key in the game of golf, and whilst this is a victory that has come somewhat late in the season, when there are no majors left to vie for, if Schauffele can just carry on playing at the top of his game for the remaining month or so, perhaps even landing a second TOUR Championship in the last tournament of 2021, which he will now likely be tipped to win on the best golf predictions sites, then there is no reason why he can't bring his current form with him into next season.
The Masters is up first, taking place in mid-April, and the prestigious Augusta National hasn't been too bad to the American over the last couple of years, as he finished second in 2019 before scuppering the same position late on to finish tied for third this year. If he can keep up the form that resulted in him winning gold at the Olympics, then he may just find himself being fitting into that sought-after Green Jacket.
It's fair to say that it's only a matter of time before Schauffele lands his maiden major triumph, and there's no doubt that scooping a gold medal at the Olympics will have only helped his cause!
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include commercial links)
Today, e-learning is one of the best alternatives for studying despite quarantine restrictions. Still, it has its own flaws, which are noticeable during the long-term experience. From one point, students learn to be independent and prepare their homework without extra help. Usually, everyone can buy essays for sale online and prepare for classes efficiently. And from the other point, online learning demands the highest responsibility. Let's find out why the face-to-face educational process is still more productive.
1. Too many distractions.
Needless to say that staying at home and learning are the biggest incompatibilities. When you get ready for your class, you often forget about how clean your house is or whether you have enough food for the day. In e-learning, the reality is that students should take care not only of the studying process but housekeeping as well.
Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what's happening around the world.
2. Not enough help from teachers.
The teacher's work during e-learning is to present the material and make it easy to understand. Still, this might be challenging for both sides. When the teacher sees that most students can get along with it, it is easier to pay attention to one or two from class who hasn't progressed much. Otherwise, while the subject is difficult for most of the class, it is almost impossible to dedicate attention to each while explaining the material better.
3. Less communication.
That feeling that you are far away from your friends can't leave you. Even if you don't have enough time to build strong friendships, studying in class helps students gain better results. Healthy competition plays a significant role in education, and everyone who stands for e-learning only should consider this aspect.
4. Access to online materials only.
When students write their texts or work on other assignments, they need to have more than Wikipedia. Studying in campus libraries is much more fun than sitting in one place to look for necessary information. Beside the traditional references, you can get feedback on your drafts.
Less movement with e-learning brings both positives and negatives in students' lifestyles.Getty pictures
5. Lack of individual approach.
E-learning is all about individual learning. Indeed, you can connect to your teacher or classmates online, but still, the schedule makes strict boundaries that you can't text or call them in late at night. When students are in class, a teacher can spread their attention to the whole audience and see how every student perceives material simultaneously.
6. Staying mostly at home.
Less movement with e-learning brings both positives and negatives in students' lifestyles. On the one hand, you don't need to spend hours driving on public transport or being stuck in traffic. And also, you don't have that vital time to prepare your mind for studying. On the road, we listen to audiobooks or read traditional ones, observe life, and think about further studies. This is the way our brain gets ready for classes, so it is less stressful for students to learn when they arrive at class.
7. Higher electricity bill.
Yeah, paying more for internet and electricity consumption is one more disadvantage of e-learning. When you study in class, you can use a public school Wi-Fi connection and charge your laptop in there as well. And while staying at home, you need to think about how much time you spend studying not to increase your electricity bill. Even if you pay for an Internet connection even when you don't study at home, electricity use significantly increases while you start e-learning.
Due to current epidemic measurement restrictions, many schools consider e-learning as one of the best variants to make education available for everyone. Still, e-learning can be a challenging affair for most students and teachers. To cope with it, they need to achieve new skills and apply them to the new reality.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include commercial links)