Hindus in Trinidad – a repeat of Fiji?

Background

The following is from a conversation among friends.

37.6% are Indian origin in Trinidad.

“According to the 2011 Census, 33.4% of the population was Protestant (including 12.0% Pentecostal, 5.7% Anglican, 4.1% Seventh-day Adventist, 3.0% Presbyterian or Congregational, 1.2% Baptist, and .1% Methodist), 21.5% was Roman Catholic, 18.1% was Hindu, and 5.0% was Muslim. A small number of individuals subscribed to traditional Caribbean religions with African roots, such as the Spiritual Baptists (sometimes called Shouter Baptists) (5.7%); and the Orisha (0.1%). ”

so just 23% pagan.

This island is so mixed up sometimes its hard to tell what some one practices
You would find Muslims who would be by a Christian home for xmas drinking rum and eating pork

Indian marginalization and racial tension.

Indian were marginalized for years since they came here brought by the British but also by the Descendants of slave like myself ….The change came with the Independence transition in the 50’s we got our first local government made up of Africans. Making it hard for them since they could not speak standard English well….and could not get into the public sector….But they built their own school with help from the Canadian churches converting some of course. They excelled ….So while the back became dependent on the state the Indians became self sufficient .In the 90’s we got our first Hindu Indian PM and every truely open for them now….They have a heavy presence in the Public sector now. Police Army etc…..

***while the blacks became dependent****

The only reason racial tension dont really get out of controlled here is because there is enough wealth to go around compared to other placed where Indian settled in the Caribbean…Oil and gas put us above average….

My take is the Indian came here already prejudice because of their ideas of caste etc and the African who having no one else to blame for any issue when the British left blame the Indians…Both are at fault for the silliness but in essence came here on the same boat to work and things could work once their is mutual respect and understanding of our past

Hindu Army participation

(Question) So, do hindu Indians form say 30% of the army atleast? the reason we wonder is because hindus have been stupid enough to neglect this important role in other lands (eg: fiji), with disastrous consequences.
no not really but the discrimination is as blatant as before ….Once a Minister was fired for highlighting a reporting stating Indians were marginalize in the Police service … The race card was pulled so to speak and he was sent home. The PM who sent him home was a Hindu Indian which I found silly because he was stating facts.
The only time I have seen many Indian in the Police service within my 3 odd decades on this planet is when We got our first Indian PM
And my father was a Police officer so I know how those systems operate
In the report it state a lot of Indian were more than qualified to join but were put aside for Africans
In school even as a adult and i think back all my Indian friend generally their parent were self employed mostly in farming , merchants that sort of thing and all the Africans had government jobs

It also fed straight into the culture so Indian are now doctors lawyers accounts engineers multimillion dollar businessmen and the African despise them because they didn’t take education seriously because they were in control more a number of years

(Question:) So, the Indians do try (a bit), but are discriminated against. Indians are making the same mistake they made in Kenya and Fiji then.

hmmmm interesting

The rAmacharitamAnasa brAhmaNa mahA sabhA

(A favorable view from Hinduism Today. Comments – The Sat Maharaj he is the head of the sabhaa A very Racist individual. Umesh now is a belong to another sect )

sometime I think Indians suffer from a identity crisis like blacks
what’s this crisis like?
example their is a huge sabha that controls most of the hindu here they say they alone can be brahmin priest and they are descendants of that caste in India
my thing is which bunch of Brahmins would leave India to come here and cut sugar cane
that puzzle me
i see.
they have last name like maharaj mahabhir etc

(Question) so, do other hindu trinidadians resent this?
yes because it excludes a lot of them from being priests and doing ritual for ppl
(Question) what fraction are they? (of hindus there) do they still keep the samskAra-s (like upanayana)? And are they well educated in sanskrit?
hahah
only Brahmin Priest of the line cane do upanayana
Sanskrit is dead to them
I have tried my best to get them to learn it
but I am tried of begging them

i mean is 1 in every 3 hindu trinidadian a member of this sabha?
oh
well no but its the biggest hindu sect on the island
yea in some sense yes

They read mostly the Tulsi das ramchitamanas

local priest tell the myths story and teach them as being literal. I think its another reason hindus convert

Role (or rather, the lack) of sanskrit

(Question) do they tend know a lot of mantra-s (if they’re in the ritual business, that is)?
Every thing is generally done by guess in my opinion
and that observation is based on the little sanskrit i know

(Question) what’s it like in nearby nations like guyana? are race tensions higher there?
not really

(Question) also spoken sanskrit movement is active in trinidad?
only me and hand full of ppl know any sanskrit at all
how did you come to learn it?
I want to get a Samskrit bhaarati centre here

(Question) why dont you start one? (I’m serious)
Me learning sanskrit is more of a far fetched spiritual journey that would lead to another discourse but i didnt ant to know all the spoken sanskrit and grammar just want to learn vedic chanting but since I know how complicated it is I settle for classical sanskrit ……but that what I am working on now with my teachers and the Bangalore branch
We trying to establish a centre here for sanskrit studies and Indian philosophy

(Additional note: They would usually dump Sanskrit for Hindi as singing songs in that language is more popular than chanting Mantras.)

(Question) vey cool! are you an afro?
yes

(Question) are there many afro hindus?
no very few

SS: most came from UP, hence the popularity of ramcharitmanas which was/is the popular text. a few came from tamilnadu to trinidad.

In Martinique most Indians came from tamilnadu and other southern states.

In Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad from UP area.

Its another reason Sanskrit is not important they have no need for it in the way they practice. Very much like fijians, who barely need it

SS:most samskrita knowledge and practice was lost anyway in the north under the heavy muslim pressure and destruction of centers of learning, in part the development of bhakti was a response to these circumstances where in ramayana was taken to the masses through vernacular awadhi by tulasidas.

yeah. and many brahmins in that area had taken up agriculture, even army service. not suprising many of them would have found their way to trinidad.
desperate times.

I called the Hinduism here creole hindus.

SS: i was reading some early indentured accounts, they say the ramcharitmanas was the only thing that kept them going after the back breaking labor and being in a strange land (sometimes the brits lied to the laborers they recruited on where they were going). The early Brahmins used to make them sing the ramcharitmanas as it was already known to them so that they wouldn’t forget.

That is very true
they know the text very well
it kept them sane

 

Mixed race

(Question) i see that 14% are mixed race – they’re mostly afro+indian right?
the mix are mostly indian and african
we call them douglas
(Question) And mostly non-hindus, right?
yea
I have not a clue why douglas but with the mention of the word we know it is indian mix with african
i see.
most douglas are not hindus
hindus easily convert its because there is not a solid base of Indian culture here

Hindu and pagan afros, and sabhA antipathy
(Question) Was http://www.chakranews.com/hindu-temple-in-trinidad-vandalized-with-human-waste-and-its-deities-destroyed-again/5040 big news?
i see.
yes that happens at times
you heard of Jack Warner???
He is a Fifa offical
African Hindu
if he is not a hindu no one does yajnas more than him lol

he was at a temple one time and they almost burnt it down the following day

(Question) wow! when was this? in that case it was indians doing it non-hindu indians?
I have been met with abuse for learning sanskrit
no hindu indians

(Question) weird – why would they burn a temple? and why’ve you been met with abuse for learning sanskrit?
because a african was inside of it

(Question) wow. how stupid. not knowing friends, not knowing enemies. sign of a doomed people.

The monopoly of the temples by the hindu sabhaa is a big money making enterprise
I was told dont learn sanskrit to do rituals. they oppose knowledge for hindus

(Question) the temple which was burnt down was not affiliated with the sabhA?
yes
i see.

(Question) i sort of understand why the sabhA people would burn down a temple they don’t control (destroying competition). But why specially target a temple patronized by afro-s?
They dont really like Africans
I am not allowed to join
yeah – but it’s not even their temple.
my upanayana was done in secret

(Question) roughly what fraction of temples are non-sabhA?
25%or so

(Question) are there other forms of paganism amongst the africans there? is hinduism the most popular among them?
we have orisa
orissa is a west african practice
we have the baptiste they do hindu ritual at times

they are mostly african that would worship shiva and hanuman mostly

They say shiva is a rasta man lol they got that heavy influence from Indian that came here
but they would not admit it. Africans did not bring ganja here the indians did

(Question) would you consider them pagan? (ie are they into the “true religion” vs “false religion” , true god vs false god business?)

They are just a bunch of pot heads looking for something
lost African trying to look for their ownselves
I pity them at times

SS: rastas r abrahamic, they worship Haile Selassie I, emperor of Ethiopia. They have some weird beliefs.
Orisa is west african, according to that ganga teerath pilgrimage article goddess Oshun is identified by them with Ganga, both of them having yellow as their color.
that is them

The madrasi-orisa sympathy
most Indian i was told came from utterpradesh right
but there were some came from Tamil nadu
and Tamil indians are called madras
dont know why but other hindu sect dont like to associate with them
but the mix well with the africans
they also mix with with the orissa

(Question) why don’t they like the madrasis?
because both still do animal sacrifice
So kali and shiva is respected amounfg the baptiste and orissa.

(Additional note: The Kali bhaktas here who do Sacrifice now somewhat do it in hiding because of the scorn shame disgust they are met with by the so called Ahimsa conventional Hindus. Now some temples have converted to do no sacrifice because of this.In the Temples that still do it Goats chickens and for a special type of ritual Pigs/hogs are sacrificed. I personally don’t have anything against Animal sacrifice because the practice is old ancient and pervaded all major cultural groups on the planet and its where Hinduism originated from. Some Hindus don’t really know what the coconut represents or what it replaced and I often have to tell people Shiva’s Trident is not a Agricultural tool for farming.)

(Question) so madrasis mix well with orisa
yea; Is like same force different form

(Question) good. they’re not in the sabhA i suppose.
no they keep to themselves
the sabhaa hate them
due to the animal slaughter
SS: does trinidad have any taino native people?
they were two sect arawaks and caribs
the first were the peaceful type and they died off the their still are caribs arounds
SS:i see thx

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