I spent Christmas reading “The Indelible Red Stain”

December 28, 2012 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 

Two weeks before Christmas, my car broke down on the Railway Embankment not far from where I live and fortunately not far from my mechanic. It was raining and my wife and her 87-year-old mother were in the vehicle heading downtown. I put them in a taxi. Since I was going in a different direction I waited for a hire car on the embankment road
A driver pulled up and offered me a ride in his Canter truck with a business licence plate. I would never enter a stranger’s car like that. My policy is if politically-paid goons are going to kill me then I am not going to make it easy for them. I looked at him and judging from his age (over sixty) and considering the random nature of the visit that I was safe. I’m glad I met him.
He immediately asked me how my mother-in-law was. Then he told me he used to sell her stuff when she owned a supermarket in Wortmanville. That made me even more secure with him and he was trying to make me comfortable. He even mentioned that he went to school with a friend of mine from the People’s Parliament, UG lecturer Charlene Wilkinson. He currently manufactures and markets a local beverage. The next step was an engagement of my political activities.
The gentleman then asked me if I read a book titled, “The Indelible Red Stain.” I answered in the negative and he was surprised. He said it was a recent publication on Jagan and Burnham and Guyanese history from the forties onwards. He suggested it was so good that I should not miss getting it. I was taken aback because the Kaieteur News and the Stabroek News didn’t feature this book on the day of publication and even when it was launched.
My research told me why. It came out in October 2011 and that was the time when Guyana was gripped with election fever. Secondly, when you read it you will see that the PPP and PNC will never touch this book. I went home and e-mailed my friend in Florida to send me “The Indelible Red Stain.” It came on December 24 at 3.30 pm.
This book is expensive. It cost $60 American. It consists of books one and two, has one thousand, three hundred and ninety pages, and each volume weighs eight pounds. It was in the front seat, so when my wife entered the car, she picked it up and kept it on her lap. I came out of the car and placed the two volumes in the trunk. If one of them fell on my wife’s toe it would have crushed it.
“The Indelible Red Stain” is written by a top class medical scholar of British Guiana, Dr. Mohan Ragbeer, whose family was extremely close to Dr Cheddi Jagan in the forties after Dr. Jagan returned to British Guiana.
Dr. Ragbeer’s brother-in-law was Dr. Jagan’s mentor and advisor at the time. Incidentally, Dr. Ragbeer was a professor at MacMaster University when I was a post-graduate student there. I only know that from reading the back cover of his book.
Dr. Ragbeer is in his mid-eighties now and may have decided that with advancing age, he should contribute to the dictionary of Guyanese history. And what a phenomenal contribution it is.
Dr. Ragbeer is going to find the marketing of his book problematic because reviewers aren’t going to be easy to find when a book is fourteen hundred pages. But his book has taken its place among the publications that will educate Guyanese on the political evolution of their homeland.
A gem in the book is the reproduction of an interview in 1950 that the author did with Cheddi Jagan when Dr. Ragbeer founded a magazine when he was a senior at Queen’s College titled QC Lictor. Dr. Jagan, in 1950, was unapologetic in denying the atrocities and inhumanities of the Russian dictator, Stalin.
PPP Indian fanatics will get a heart attack with a certain page in the book. These are the people that tell me that I don’t like East Indians and I hate my own ethnicity.
Well they should read “The Indelible Red Stain.” The author contends that both Cheddi Jagan and his father did not like the East Indian race and that Dr. Jagan was particularly contemptuous of East Indian people. He offers snippets of circumstantial evidence to support his claim. He believes that Jagan used Indians for his political ambition.
Joey Jagan threatened to slap me for criticizing his father. Will he now do so to Dr. Ragbeer?

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