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An Unsung Hero Of The Caribbean: Dr Jung Bahadur Singh of Guyana (1886 -1956): Politician, Ship Doctor, Labour Leader And Protector Of Indians
By Dr. Kumar Mahabir
This article is part of a plan that is intended to profile and celebrate Hidden Heroes of the Caribbean. Even in countries in the Caribbean in which (East) Indians are the majority ethnic group, they are not given their fair share of recognition.
In books on national heroes, they are underrepresented. In the distribution of national awards, they are marginalized. This fact can also be easily seen in the proportionately small number of statues erected at roundabouts, and the names of highways, buildings, libraries, airports, and sports stadia.
It must be noted that the new book on Jung Bahadur Singh by Dr. Baytoram Ramharack was published by CHAKRA Publishing, an affiliate company of the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre Co. Ltd (ICC). A ZOOM public meeting, on which this article is based, celebrated the launch of its release on Amazon.com
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The following are HIGHLIGHTS of the ZOOM meeting held recently (08/11/2020) on the topic “Unsung Heroes of the Caribbean – Dr. Jung Bahadur Singh of Guyana (born 1886-1956): A politician, ship doctor, labor leader and protector of Indians.” The Pan-Caribbean public
The meeting was hosted by ICC, chaired by Anuskha Sonai, and moderated by Dr. Kirtie Algoe – both of Suriname.
The speakers were DR BAYTORAM RAMHARACK, J.B. Singh’s biographer and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science at Nassau Community College in New York; and VARUNA SINGH, the grandson of J.B. Singh, son of Rajkumari Singh, and brother of Gora Singh (deceased), Karna, Pirtha, Chitra and Radha Singh. The discussant was RAVI DEV, an Indian civil rights activist and a former Member of Parliament in Guyana.
DR RAMHARACK said:
“As the official biographer of Jung Bahadur Singh (1886-1956), I took the audience on a tour of the legacy and achievements of this notable Indian leader. As a second-generation Indian in Guyana, born about 50 years after the commencement of the period of indentureship, and whose parents were of Indian and Nepalese origin, Jung Bahadur Singh understood the nature of the indentureship system that kept Indians bound to the plantations, as well as the experience of the Indians who came out of indenture.
He was a Guyanese pioneer in many ways. J.B. Singh was a prominent leader of the Hindu community and a trusted self-appointed mediator who assisted sugar workers in their disputes with management. He was one of few early Indian medical doctors in Guyana, and, as a ship doctor, he made numerous trips accompanying Indian immigrants who were leaving India to be taken to the colonies, as well as Indians who were returning to India.
J.B. Singh’s contributions towards nation-building in Guyana was unmatched by many of his contemporary peers. Elected seven times as the President of the British Guiana East Indian Association (BGEIA), J.B. Singh relentlessly advocated for universal adult suffrage. He was a patriot and a humble servant who spent his adult life providing public service to the Guyanese people for 23 years as an elected member of the British Guiana Legislative Council from 1930 until his electoral defeat in 1953. He was the first Indian to be officially cremated in Guyana. His legacy stands tall with other Indian pioneers like Bechu, Joseph Ruhomon, Cheddi Jagan, and others.”
VARUNA SINGH said:
“Jung Bahadur Singh was born on June 14th, 1886 at Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara, British Guiana. His birth was registered as Dinanath, or Dinanauth, or Deenanauth. The recorder omitted the middle name Jung Bahadur which he later changed legally in 1909 to Jung Bahadur Singh, dropping the first name Dinanath.
His father, Dhan Bir Singh, was a Gurka Nepalese who came to British Guiana in the 1870s and was wed to his wife Subhagia, a match arranged by her uncle who was a ship compounder, whose family in Bengal plied haberdasheries to Indians who went into business in the colonies around the world.
Dhan Bir Singh had 15 siblings of which 7 sons and one daughter survived. He also had two half-brothers from his father’s side, after the death of his mother who died from childbirth of her last child and last son.
As a teenager, J.B. Singh became father, provider, and educator to his younger siblings. He became a teacher at the age of 14 years at Goed Fortuin and a compounder at the age of 16 years. As a young man, he became the advisor and guide to many locals on the West Bank Demerara and became very close friends with Pitamber Doobay of Vreed-en-Hoop, whose father became a very successful businessman.
It is very clear that this very early experience as a caregiver, care provider, educator, healer, and advisor shaped and molded him into the man he became. His unbelievable patience, tolerance, and understanding exuded great trust and confidence, and his serenity provided many with security and safety.”
RAVI DEV said:
“From previous presentations in this forum, I have learned that most people in our community, are very impatient when we go into the history of anything. “Why do we have to dig up the past?” is the usual complaint. Well, to quote William Faulkner, “The past isn’t dead; it’s not even past.”
Everything in the present is created out of the past and there are always traces influencing us. As one famous analyst pointed out, “Men make their history, but not in circumstances of their making”. The circumstances are all formed out of past actions. The fact of the matter is that we do not have an appreciation of history – or its liberating possibilities – and that’s why we (East) Indians in the Caribbean keep on repeating our tragedies as farces.
I will begin, like Varuna with some personal recollections of J.B. Singh. You see, I grew up with my nana [maternal grandfather] from the age of six, and he was born in 1896. He worked on the sugar estate of Uitvlugt on West Demerara. But by 1947, he had owned a saw pit and a farm, which generated an income that qualified him for the still restricted franchise, even though recently expanded. He voted for J.B. Singh who ran in the West Demerara Constituency and who won as a member of the Labour Party.
He did so again in 1953, by which time the universal franchise had arrived, which gave my 27-year-old sugar-worker father the vote – which he cast for the firebrand Marxist Cheddi Jagan. As I grew up, my nana always reminded my father of what he called the latter’s betrayal of Indian culture. My mother was a patient of first J.B. Singh, and later his son Hardat Singh. My mother always remembered the latter’s prescription of Bitamic C for the “cold ridden” child that I was, but had the grounded wisdom to tell her to give me cherries!
But what does the story and life of J.B. teach us in the present? For that, we must examine that present from which we are asking those questions?
Want to read in Hindi, Checkout: बिहार में किसानों की मेहनत मात्र औने-पौने भाव
For one, we have been here in the Caribbean for 182 years. We saved Guyana as a viable proposition because we saved the sugar industry and have contributed to all areas of Caribbean life. We fought sugar interests in the modern era which led to independence.
Yet those contributions which should make us Caribbean citizens with cultural, economic, and political rights as much as anyone else is not recognized.
Why? Well, as one anthropologist from Haiti – Michel-Rolph Trouillot – has put it, our history – our story, our narrative of our contributions have been SILENCED. Nobody knows our story – much less J.B. Singh’s contribution.
Now, this is not an accidental matter or an oversight, but a conscious, transitive act taken by those in power. And it’s always a differential in power that makes some narrative possible and others silenced. Troullet pointed out that people’s history can be silenced at four critical moments in the process of historical production through definitional power.
- SOURCES – the moment of fact creation (making sources) 2. ARCHIVES – the moment of fact assembly (making archives). 3. NARRATIVES – the moment of fact retrieval (making narratives). 4. HISTORY- the moment of retrospective significance (making history) looking back. Like what Dr. Baytoram just did. What will be out and in, and what will be left out?
Therefore, “any historical narrative is a particular bundle of silences.” Or silenced story, including that of J.B. Singh, is a metaphor of our lack of power to even define our existence.
What are we to do about our history?? Let’s continue writing our history as Baytoram has done. Train and encourage our youths to reverse the silences. Study history and the humanities … our career choices are always more utilitarian.
Attorney Fenton Ramsahoye once told me that without a self-conscious elite that thinks, reflects, and is concerned about the fate of their people, they can always be destroyed. The changes we want can only be engendered through the middle class, but they were destroyed.
Recommendation: There need to build Indian institutions formed in Guyana to promote an Indian Guyanese agenda.
Divorce is a hard fact in someone's life because it can affect all aspects of life like social, economic, and living status. Conditions become tougher if you have children. Recovering from divorce is also a painful process but good thing is that it is possible to get through it and place better in terms of both finances and emotions. The impact of divorce on finances can be life-lasting but taking precautions and thorough investigations of options can help a lot not only to save unnecessary costs but also some other hidden areas where you weren't aware. Following are some tips to save money during a divorce.
1.Avoid advice from everyone
People like your friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, etc. will start giving unsolicited advice during the divorce process when you discuss it with them. They will share their own experiences and horror stories and advice on how to handle financial issues during the divorce process. Get advice only from those you trust. In this regard, attorneys or financial experts are the best options to save money during the divorce process.
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2.Consider your spouse
It can be challenging for someone who has started the divorce process to think about the soon-to-be ex-spouse's best interests and financial wellbeing. While making decisions about assets and finances, considering not only your interests but also your spouse's interests can help you to reduce divorce process time. You can save your own and your spouse's money if you spend less time in such negotiations because times spend with the attorney will also be shortened.
3.Goodbye to the joint bank account
You should close all joint bank accounts which were in use of you and your spouse especially credit base account. Block major and supplementary credit and debit cards. Your spouse can use it and you can suffer heavy financial loss. Closing of all joint accounts should be the first step to cut down financial loss during divorce proceedings.
4.Open a new checking account
In continuation of the previous point, open your new checking account. This will help you in terms of not only building up of financial history but also your credit record. Credit history will be helpful if you apply for a loan or any other credit facility. This financial history will let you control your money during the divorce process. If your bank account is not a joint account but you own it, then make sure that your spouse was not using supplementary debit or credit cards. If the spouse was using then block it immediately.
Divorce can include many additional and sometimes hidden costs along with routine costs. This can bring more stress and worries to your life. Saving money can help you to fight such financial status. Force savings every month in this regard can help a lot. You can do this by opening a savings account and setting up a debit order from your checking account.
Recovering from divorce is also a painful process but good thing is that it is possible to get through it and place better in terms of both finances and emotions.Getty pictures
6.Keeping track record of the expense
You may not be interested in maintaining a record sheet of your expenses during your married life. If so, then you should start now. Analyze your bank statement critically because expenses can be out of control now. Review your daily cost of things and make critical decisions to cut down unnecessary costs.
7.Chalk out budget
Ideally, a proper budget should be chalked out to control expenses and save money during the divorce process. Select important segments/areas of your lifestyle and allocate a budget to each of them. After allocation of budget, stick to it strictly every month. This can be problematic in the beginning but become easy when you become used to it. By doing this, you will also be able to manage your savings account by allocating money.
8.Own health insurance
Medical emergencies and different health issues can be sudden or without any notice. So, it is necessary to have a health insurance plan in order to not only pay bills of medicines and lab tests but also an unexpected expensive hospital stay. If your health insurance has previously been covering your spouse then it is advisable to set up your own health insurance plan. This can help you to save money.
9.Amendments in your will and beneficiaries
If you have already decided about your will beneficiaries then it is the right time to update it. Now your divorce is under process, so, the content of your will and beneficiaries should also be significantly changed. This is much needed because it is possible that now you have children and who you like to allocate your property and saving especially if the children were not present when you drew up the will.
10.Change power of attorney
Many people assign power of attorney to their spouses during the marriage. Now it is essential to update and end the power of attorney and signing authority given to the spouse. This will help you in terms of legal and financial matters.
11.Apply for online divorce
Advancement in technology has made it easy for everyone to save time and money. Now in the United States, it is easy to apply for a divorce online. You can save time and attorney fees by downloading all the required divorce documents online. You should not worry about which document and how downloaded because many local court websites can give detailed information about how to file divorce online and which documents are needed.
12.Make use of the mediator
It is extremely helpful to use the mediator to decide terms and conditions between you and your spouse. Although an attorney is needed in certain matters of divorce use of a mediator will help you in saving attorney fee
Many spouses are very conscious about expensive assets and luxuries that are going to be distributed among spouses after the divorce. So, they make decisions to splurge on these luxuries. It is advisable not to splurge as the cost of divorce proves may be past your expectation.
14.Do it yourself (DIY) divorce
Many people are unable to afford the cost of attorney and mediator, so, they now try to handle things by themselves as much as possible. The rate of divorce and its cost is increasing day by day. This factor making "do it yourself (DIY) divorce" popular. DIY spouses are using information given by some attorneys who are offering free consultation on their first meeting.
Disclaimer: ( The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links)
Gone are those days when people, sports enthusiasts, and governments lined up to host the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics, once seemed to be an immensely prideful event, but it has now transformed into an economic burden. Host cities grapple with a plethora of problems which mainly include construction delays, cost overruns, security issues, and environmental concerns.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has more or less aggravated the problems. The Winter Olympic Games are scheduled for 2022 in Bejing, China. Furthermore, Paris and Los Angeles have been recently nominated as the hosts for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics Games respectively. Both cities have held the Games on two occasions previously, with Los Angeles hosting as recently as 1984. Simply submitting a bid to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) costs up to millions of dollars. Host cities typically have to spend $50 million to $100 million in fees to a slew of consultancy agencies, event management companies, etc.
Hosting the Olympics is more costly than the bidding process. For instance, London spent $14.6 billion for hosting the Games in 2012. On the other side, Beijing spent a lavish $42 billion for the Games in 2008. Meanwhile, the Russians spent $51 billion dollars on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Making, it the costliest Olympic Games in the history of the Olympics.
Governments of host cities and bid teams love to brag about the legacy of hosting the Games. But the hidden costs of such a massive project is too evident to hide. Such megaprojects require additional employment, as well as subsequent improvement of the pre-existing facilities and public infrastructure. Most of these projects are fraught with costs overruns, shoddy work and a lack of long term vision.
According to a study conducted at the prestigious Oxford University In England, by Danish geographer Bent Flyvbjerg and American journalist Allison Stewart, which looked into the individual economic parameters of hosting the Summer Olympic Games between 1960 and 2012. The findings were astonishing, they found out that the Olympic Games overrun the initial cost estimate with 100 per cent consistency. No other megaproject is this consistent regarding cost overruns.
Athens, in particular, seems to have been the tipping point. The city pridefully hosted the Games in 2004, which ended up costing them €9 billion (a whopping $11 billion at today's exchange rate). The offset of the Games was in disguise the onset of Greece's tumultuous years. The country now is in total disarray, with sky-high unemployment rates, failing economic apparatus, record levels of homelessness, all among the grandiose venues built for the Games.
The conclusion is simple, hosting the Olympics is an extravagant affair. If not planned properly, it tends to result in a severe economic crisis for the host city. If the host city lacks facilities and public infrastructure to support the excess crowds pouring in, not hosting the Olympics may be the best option.
Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.
On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.
Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.
Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).
Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.
India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.
He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.
Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.
The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.
Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.