The Indian community in Barbados: business, religion and race-relations

Submitted by Dr. Kumar Mahabir

Barbados is located in the Caribbean near Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Martinique. It is 34 kilometres (21 miles) in length and up to 23 km (14 miles) in width covering an area of 432 km (167 square miles). The present population of Barbados is 287,000 persons (just more than a quarter-million people) based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.

Five things that have made Barbados world famous: Rihanna, the international singer, songwriter, actress and designer, was born in Barbados; so too is Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest cricket all-rounder of all time. And the Honourable Mia Mottley is the first female Prime Minister of Barbados. Barbados has also produced the oldest rum in the world from its Mount Gay Distillery. There are also its pristine, peaceful beaches.

Barbados has the head office of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) which is under attack these days for its grading system. Prime Minister Mottley is also the Chair of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) which played a critical role in restoring democracy to Guyana during the recounting of votes following the March 2020 elections.

The following are HIGHLIGHTS of an ICC ZOOM public meeting held recently (25/10/20) on the topic “The Indian community in Barbados: business, religion and race-relations.”The Pan-Caribbean meeting was hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC). The meeting was chaired by Sharlene Maharaj of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and moderated by Sadhana Mohan of Surniname.

The speakers where HAJJI SULEIMAN BULBULIA, Secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association and the Muslim Chaplain of the UWI, Cave Hill Campus; and SABIR NAKHUDA, author of the book Bengal to Barbados: A 100-year history of East Indians in Barbados (2013) extracts of which are reproduced below.The discussant was DR KUMAR MAHABIR, an anthropologist from T&T and an Organization of American States (OAS) Former Fellow.

Affectionately called “coolie-man”

East Indians (Indians) have helped shape the social, religious, cultural and economic landscape of Barbados. To understand these impacts, the focus must be on the itinerant traders (affectionately called “coolie-man”).  

For the itinerant trader, the main driver of undertaking an economic enterprise is to generate income. But his business had several unintended consequences, many of which were positive for the Barbadian society for over 100 years.

The “coolie-man” became more than a friendly trader in the neighbourhood; he became a member of the family, a counsellor and an advisor at times. The “coolie-man” in Barbados has many anecdotal stories (positive and negative) which have entered into folklore of the island and have been immortalized in local songs.

The experiences of those who benefited from access to goods on extremely favorable credit terms, at a time when buying cash was the only available option for the poor, is noteworthy. Credit to the average Barbadian was unheard of, and many residents had to struggle on the meagre earnings they received to get along as best as they could.  

In the Foreword to the book Bengal to Barbados, former Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, wrote: “… for many years, I experienced directly, the impact this important group made on the village in which I grew up in the parish of St. Philip. I saw these men alleviate the financial distress of many people who lived in Marchfield, St. Philip.

“They took care of back-to-school requirements for parents who could not afford to buy school uniforms by extending generous credit terms to them. At Christmas, the poorest households benefited from credit terms no less generous.”

Unlike the early Indians in Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent, Grenada and other Caribbean Islands who went to work in the sugar plantations in the 1800s, Indian indentured labourers were not brought to Barbados. Those who came never intended to come to Barbados, but eventually ended up in Barbados and made the country their home.

The early Indians came from three different parts of India. The first Indian came to Barbados circa around 1910 from the Hooghly District in West Bengal: Bashart Ali Dewan initially went to Trinidad from India where his father-in-law was residing. He stayed there for a short while and then – for some unknown reason – moved to Barbados. Other Bengalis followed, and Bashart Ali Dewan and these pioneers stayed in the Bridgetown area of Barbados.

From inception, members of the Indian community have continued to practice their culture and religion. The Sindhi-Hindu community made part of their homes into mandirs [temple] until the opening of the first Hindu temple in Welches, St. Michael on the 22nd of October 1995.

The Muslim community continues to practice their faith individually and collectively. In the early days, the Friday jummah [congregational prayers] were performed at private homes at Wellington Street and Cheapside in the city. In 1951, the first masjid [mosque] was built in Kensington New Road.

330 comments

  • 555

    It is a trait of all with inferiority complexes masquerading as superiority complexes. It seeks to create a clique to exclude others and confer special status on the few. No different really from those they villify.

    Liked by 1 person

  • The Nation newspaper is carrying Kumar’s submission in today’s edition.

    Like

  • DJ Le Roi, Roland Clark
    – I Get Deep (Ed Ed
    Remix)

    I get deep, I get deep, I get deep, I get deeper
    Into this thing
    The deeper I go
    The more knowledge I know
    What to sing
    What to bring
    Wha

    I get deep, I get deep, I get deep, I get deeper, deeper, deeper
    Into the rhyme

    Chillin’ in the corner at the shelter all by myself
    Checkin it out I’m not dancin’ no more but
    Why? why? why? wha

    How on earth are you supposed to vibe around the fake ones
    The one, the ones that say
    They know what is what but they don’t know what is what
    They just strut
    What the fuck?

    I get deep, I get deep, I get deep, I get deep, I get deeper
    Into this thing
    And I pretend that they’re not there
    I just stare
    Up in the booth at the dread man spinnin the song
    Spinnin it strong
    Playing things like
    We cannot house we can
    That’s my shit
    What?
    Whoooooo!

    I get deep, I get deep, I get deeper, I get deeper
    When people start to disappear
    And it’s about six o’clock
    Whoo I’m feelin’ hot
    Take off my sweater and my pants
    And I start to dance
    And all the sweat just goes down my face
    And I pretend that there’s nobody there but me in this place
    I get deep, oh I get deep

    I get deep, I get deep, I get deep, I get deep
    He takes all the bass out of the song
    And all you hear is highs and its like
    Oh, shit!
    Ahh
    I get deeper

    I get deep, I get deep, I get deep, I get deep
    And the rhythm flows through my blood like alcohol
    And I get drunk and I oh all over the place
    And I catch myself
    Right on time
    Right on line
    With the beat
    And its so sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet

    I get deeper
    I get deeper
    I get deeper

    If the house music was ale
    And Doctor love would be my song
    And I would only take deep breaths
    And fill my lungs with the rhythm or the bass
    I get deep

    Now it’s about three and I see people goin’
    Spinnin’ jumpin’ and grindin’
    As if they had wings on their feet
    Raising both hands in the air as if Jesus was the DJ himself
    Spinnin those funky funky funky house beats

    And in this temple we all pray in unity for the same thing
    With matic pause without cause
    Bass from those high definition speakers
    Sitting in the corner on each side of the room
    Givin’ us the boom boom boom
    To our zoom zoom zoom

    The smell of a L lit while walking by
    But the music gets me high
    Saint defy like and old lady in church
    We get happy
    We stomp our feet
    We clap our hands
    We shout
    We cry
    We dance
    And we say
    Sweet Lord, speak to me
    Speak to me, speak to me, speak to me
    Because we love house music
    And on this planet it brings us together
    Like a family reunion every week
    We eat
    We drink
    We laugh
    We play
    And we skate
    So for all you hip hoppers
    You do woppers
    Name droppers
    You bill boppers
    Come into our house
    To get deep

    You guys just keep it rollin’
    You gotta just keep it rollin’
    (x19)

    Sunday, Monday morning (its backwards)

    Out under the big bright yellow sun (x40)

    Eastbound

    Like

  • The Thing About Deep
    (Zepherin Saint Vocal
    Mix)

    Like

  • David
    The Nation is the Express sister. The same Express that up to a few weeks ago had the corporate communications officer of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar writing a weekly column as an independent freelance writer.

    Like

  • The Thing About Deep
    (Can Drum)
    (Roots Mix)

    They Know What Is What
    What The Fuck

    Like

  • “No names mentioned, but why do wannabe revolutionaries and cut and paste rightwing populist bait in the BU tribe need to call out names of other fellow travellers for mutual recognition and self reinforcement of all the points they make.”

    simply because these are some of the names who actually know what the fcuk is going on and most others don’t and would continue their small minded, backward shite of opposing everything even if they did including covering up human rights abuses….and folks like myself who did not even come on the blog for any of this, came with a specific purpose in mind and ended up getting reeled into to all the nasty shit in Barbados, indirectly related to my intent….and felt in my duty to inform those who did not not know, not the wannabes who think they got an answer for everything they can suck salt……but now that duty is over…..and am free to salute those who are actually deserving of salutation…because they too tried to inform, now we don’t owe anyone shit.

    Like

  • Original Mix
    Blaqwell
    Say What

    Holla If You Want

    Like

  • @enuff

    Agree there is a lot of manipulation of public opinion by traditional media. The question therefore – is the public mature enough to filter news to discern truth?

    Like

  • So your “task” is done?

    And you are here for what now?

    🙄

    Like

  • I direct those WHO WERE ON THE BLOG at the time to remember when DLP Cahill scam FELL OFF the BLP truck and the whole of BU had weeks and weeks of fun at the Canadian fraud’s and DLP liar’s expense…….well this one is bigger and sweeter……international arena worthy.

    Miller….ask Fowl Enuff………if ya think am joking…….😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣

    Like

  • WATCH OUT ON THE 2×3 ISLAND

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    How state marijuana legalization became a boon for corruption

    Jasiel Correia’s star was rising.

    The son of Cape Verdean immigrants in the working-class Massachusetts port city of Fall River – famed as the home of Lizzie Borden — Correia was a home-grown prodigy. At 23, he was elected mayor, fielding congratulatory calls from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Joe Kennedy.

    That was in 2015. Four years later, just a week before his re-election race, federal agents ignominiously led him away from his home in handcuffs and charged him with attempting to extort cannabis companies of $600,000 in exchange for granting them lucrative licenses to sell weed in his impoverished city.

    “Mayor Correia has engaged in an outrageous brazen campaign of corruption, which turned his job into a personal ATM,” declared U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling during a press conference announcing the charges.

    The downfall of Fall River’s young mayor wasn’t just a tragedy for the thousands of people who invested their hopes in him: It was emblematic of a rash of cannabis-related corruption across the nation, from Massachusetts to California to Arkansas and beyond.

    In the past decade, 15 states have legalized a regulated marijuana market for adults over 21, and another 17 have legalized medical marijuana. But in their rush to limit the numbers of licensed vendors and give local municipalities control of where to locate dispensaries, they created something else: A market for local corruption.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/state-marijuana-legalization-became-boon-115047968.html

    Like

  • Almost all the states that legalized pot either require the approval of local officials – as in Massachusetts — or impose a statewide limit on the number of licenses, chosen by a politically appointed oversight board, or both. These practices effectively put million-dollar decisions in the hands of relatively small-time political figures – the mayors and councilors of small towns and cities, along with the friends and supporters of politicians who appoint them to boards. And these strictures have given rise to the exact type of corruption that got Correia in trouble with federal prosecutors. They have also created a culture in which would-be cannabis entrepreneurs feel obliged to make large campaign contributions or hire politically connected lobbyists.

    For some entrepreneurs, the payments can seem worth the ticket to cannabis riches.

    For some politicians, the lure of a bribe or favor can be irresistible.

    Correia’s indictment alleges that he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies in exchange for granting them the local approval letters that are necessary prerequisites for obtaining Massachusetts licenses. Correia and his co-conspirators — staffers and friends — accepted a variety of bribes including cash, more than a dozen pounds of marijuana and a “Batman” Rolex watch worth up to $12,000, the indictment charges.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/state-marijuana-legalization-became-boon-115047968.html

    Like

  • It’s not just local officials. Allegations of corruption have reached the state level in numerous marijuana programs, especially ones in which a small group of commissioners are charged with dispensing limited numbers of licenses. Former Maryland state Del. Cheryl Glenn was sentenced to two years in prison in July for taking bribes in exchange for introducing and voting on legislation to benefit medical marijuana companies. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is the target of law enforcement and legislative probes into the rollout of its medical marijuana program.

    “The state Is given full control in an industry where there is so much competition — where everyone realizes how valuable these licenses are,” said Lorenzo Nourafchan, CEO of Northstar Financial Consulting, which works with cannabis businesses.

    Nourafchan cited some friends who submitted “incredible applications” for Missouri medical marijuana licenses only to see the licenses go to large, multi-state operators: “It just seemed to me and many others that it was not fair … people were not given objective and unbiased treatment.”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/state-marijuana-legalization-became-boon-115047968.html

    Like

  • 555 dubstreet
    I get deep isb🔥🔥.

    Like

  • I Get High

    Like

  • WURA
    Salemites, including you, are known for witch-hunts.

    Like

  • Free the Weed
    Cheeba, Ishens, Tea, Holy Herb, Shit, marijuana, cannabis, pot, Sensi, Weed is a plant that grows naturally freely abundantly
    I am from the school of thought that is should be free like God and mother nature planned it.
    It should be decriminalised forthwith.
    Set the prisoners free so they can love up with their loved ones.

    You don’t know me, you don’t know

    Like

  • @WB
    Seasons Greetings.
    The problem is so rampant and widespread, and I mean both geographically, and pervasive through all sectors, that any solution beyond personal standards, has eluded me.
    The challenge becomes greater, when arguments like ‘when was this type of contract ever tendered’, or ‘name a Barbadian company who was qualified’.
    The question should be, how can one justify a ‘success fee’, well into the double digit millions, for executing a plan where the result was guaranteed, based upon the parameters set?
    If Barbados can afford that, it doesn’t need to ask for any type of debt forgiveness.
    Your points system only works to ‘identify bidders’.

    Like

  • “WURA
    Salemites, including you, are known for witch-hunts.”

    ah take it they told you nothing as usual, oh well, guess ya will just have to wait for the fireworks like everybody else, some fowl you are….🤣 locked out as usual…unless it’s you did the deed…

    Like

  • Witch hunts….a new one every few weeks. Grand announcement followed by nothing. Whither the coroner inquest in London? “They” would have to leave me obviously, as I am not a part of “they”.

    Like

  • Leave you huh!!…as soon as ya not sure what’s coming out, suddenly ya separating yaself, no more “we still here”…but the blue print was last updated in 2014, which means it’s been around at least from 1999-2000s, was too busy to check, but will soon

    …..so, who is behind another disenfranchisement of the black majority at the expense of the black majority, no wonder frauds talking about a Caribbean Civilization, yall have no shame……..ya should ask ya friends about the black wicked mindedness at play from the fake pedigrees…..anyway of course we know who, DBLP….ask if they found any backers lately, since the $50 billion reparations FELL THROUGH….now ya have to go looking for the next slave master with Enuff money..

    Like

  • #DANCEAWAY2020

    Let A Bitch Know (Honey Dijon’s That Bitch Knew Extended Remix)

    Not About You (feat. Hadiya George) (Extended Mix)

    Like

  • Wuhloss…fyah in ya wyah….😂🤣🤣🤣..too busy to post the whole barbadostoday article, but’s on FB..for anyone who wants to read….

    “The Government saw it fit to compulsorily acquire property on Bay Street to give to a developer. It must also do the same for the black working class through cooperatives for agriculture, business development, and housing.

    It is hoped that laws which still seem to be derived from the slave codes will be removed from the laws of Barbados. This is in reference to laws being written from the punitive point of view of ‘let us deny them that’ colonial mentality; as though some things are still just too good for the black working class of Barbados.”

    Like

  • Another flop by the Salemite and only a few days ago you were trumpeting your ability to think for yourself. Do some reading before posting nonsense.

    Like

  • Ah did some reading and saw one of the Donville ICBL partners being escorted to court, is it today, looks like it, is that about an international arrest warrant….or is that about something else…..how many more international arrest warrants are out there……🤣🤣🤣

    Fowl…you can never draw me out, ya think i don’t know what that document’s all about, but unfortunately for yall, am now a spectator….too busy to get embroiled in the hot shit about to pour on yall.

    Enchantee.

    Like

  • Ah can’t wait for them to process some international arrest warrants for yardfowls, let’s see what they’re getting up to in US, UK, Canada etc, we done know it’s all criminal.

    Like

  • Just bear in mind, no one gives a shit if tourists kill all of you on the island with the virus, particularly not me, won’t shed a tear either, yall had more than Enuff warnings.

    Like

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