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Nov 09, 2015 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
It sickens the mind, numbs the intellect and revolts the stomach when one read the PPP’s adumbration of contemporary Guyanese history as a response to the APNU-AFC-Government’s decision to house the Presidential libraries of all past Presidents at Red House. The masterpiece of that caricatured historiography was Dr. Cheddi Jagan’s phenomenal role as the greatest Guyanese president.
This press release came in the midst of the frenetic decision of the PPP-affiliated church, Dharmic Sabha to celebrate Diwali on November 11 rather than the official day of November 10. Is Dr. Vindya Persaud, Head of the Sabha, being deliberately mischievous and reckless? Did the PPP leadership sit down and tell itself that they are going to readjust Guyanese history to make Jagan, the Demigod and Burnham, the Anti-Christ? I don’t think so. Those decisions were driven by Freudian psychology.
At a deep psychic level, Dr. Persaud is convinced that the Sabha is the true embodiment of Hindu knowledge and culture. It was like this since her father, Reepu Daman Persaud, was gifted a parcel of land by Cheddi Jagan in Seaforth Street, Campbellville to build his own mandir many moons ago.
After 1964 when Jagan lost power, Pandit Persaud lost his leadership role in the Maha Sabha. Dr. Jagan secured the land from a city businessman who donated it through his friendship with the late Boyo Ramsaroop, father of political activist and former executive of the AFC, Gerhard Ramsaroop.
Pandit Persaud and Cheddi Jagan dominated the religious mind of the Hindu community in Guyana. Cheddi Jagan was for Hindus, the Guyanese version of Lord Rama. My mother’s first cousin, Pandit Gowkarran Sharma (the spitting image of my mom) was the PNC’s competitor with Reepu Daman Persaud but yet my mom was a loyal devotee to Pandit Persaud. This is the psychological world Dr. Vindya Persaud inherited.
For her the PPP and the Dharmic Sabha are one. It is no accident she is a PPP Parliamentarian since 2011. At the psychic level, Dr. Persaud only understands the power and the influence of the Dharmic Sabha. It is difficult for her to think outside the box. It is not that she is creating a rivalry with other Hindu churches and the Diwali controversy is one of her weapons.
Dr. Persaud truly believes that the church of her father that served the PPP and Hindus for decades has the correct answer on the Diwali date. The identical psychology exists in the PPP on all historical and political complexities.
The PPP will not accept Guyana’s historiography that puts Desmond Hoyte ahead of Cheddi Jagan. At a profound level of psychic imagining, PPP leaders at both the upper and lower levels, accept Jagan as the greatest Guyanese since the 20th century began. A phantasmagoria of Jagan’s exceptional qualities has long, long ago pervaded the minds of all PPP leaders.
The fictions in Jagan’s career have been neatly and painstakingly woven into a portrait of truths and facts that at the conscious level, PPP leaders would fanatically protect and violently defend. A somewhat similar situation exists with the extremists who see Forbes Burnham as a sagaciously omnipotent leader, one of the best the Third World produced. These hero-worshippers would hate you for showing them that Burnham was instinctively authoritarian and impatient with democratic critics. I have met Burnhamite fanatics who think that those who criticize Burnham know nothing about the great man.
For the PPP, having Jagan’s ghost coexist with others at Red House is tantamount to destroying history. It is tantamount to elevating some past mediocre Minister with Jagan. Jagan’s deification by present and future PPP leaders will go on long after the Red House issue is dead and gone.
What is needed is for time to move on, for the PPP to slide into the oblivion and for Guyana to throw up elegant, people-oriented, humane, transformative leaders. Once that does not happen, Burnham will remain a perfect saint for many of those who hero-worship him. Jagan will remain the human being that became the English- speaking Caribbean equivalent of Mandela.
Unless Guyana is transformed into a modern nation where its governments shape a nationalist blueprint in which modernization is propelled by love of people and love of country and the pursuit of equality and eradication of poverty and mental backwardness, the phantasmagoria that Burnham’s fans and Jagan’s fanatics have built into their fictional minds which they want Guyanese to accept as the history of the nation, will live on.
No amount of hard, incontrovertible facts on their immense faults, egregious mistreatment of their challengers and tragic mistakes will ever be accepted by these victims of groupthink.
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