Kaieteur News – The answer to the question above is that they met in a confluence last Saturday morning in my head. Here is how the story unfolded. On Saturday morning, my wife asked me to skip across to Massy supermarket to buy callaloo and bora.
I picked up a packet of bora. There was no callaloo. I also bought a plastic sack of DDL cherry juice and I grabbed a Massy breakfast of pepper pot with “boil and fry” (a potpourri of boiled and fried ground provisions.) Saturday morning was not the first time I heard the supermarket playing Latin rhythms in the Spanish language.
Since it is one minute’s drive from Massy to Giftland supermarket, I touched down there for the callaloo. Believe it or leave it – Giftland supermarket had loud Spanish music playing. Giftland supermarket plays Spanish music quite often. Now, here is the part where you are going to accuse me of embellishment.
I swear on the life of my two cats and incredibly beautiful dog that the next few words are the truth. There were two men in construction clothes in front of me speaking Spanish. I assume they are petroleum workers. Their trolley was full of goods. I had just two plastic wrappings of callaloo. I didn’t speak to them. I showed them my single item and pointed to the cashier. They said it was alright to go ahead.
I am assuming that Massy and Giftland play Spanish songs because of the influx of Latin people and petroleum workers. In my compound next to the CARICOM Secretariat, there was a Spanish Exxon employee who entertained Latin women on the weekends and his music was loud.
What is wrong with these two retail outlets playing Latin songs? The answer is absolutely nothing. I see nothing wrong with it though I must confess I wish they would play Johnny Mathis, Andre Bocelli and Patrizio Buenna all the time. I mean non-stop. Sorry if Indians and Africans in Guyana do not like that kind of music. I am crazy about these three singers.
So these two supermarkets can play their Latin lyrics as often as they like. But there are more Indians – both Hindu and Muslim – shoppers at these two outlets than our Latin guests. For each Latin shopper you find in a store, there are 20 Indians. The music of the sub-continent has been with Guyana since the indentured system began here.
Why these supermarkets do not play Hindi songs? It has to be a baffling situation. In fact, it is an enigma. Enter Swami Aksharananda. The Swami is one of the willing protectors, defenders and preservers of Hindu culture in Guyana. In such pursuits, he gets it right most of the times with one exception. And that one exception, the Swami has to be careful with.
It relates to his support for the dangerous Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Modi is in the same category of the present leaders of the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, and Brazil. You call them elected oligarchs. This explains why Donald Trump admired him. Modi is fervently anti-Muslim and anti-democratic. If he stays in power, he is going to destroy one of the world’s greatest and beautiful lands – India. I hope Swami studies Modi’s political deportment.
Anyway, Swami needs to tackle this question of the contempt for Indian music in some quarters in Guyana. He needs to confront this cultural assault. As an educated man with a doctorate in sociology, Swami has to know that at a Freudian level, non-Indian folks have a subtle and hidden conceptualisation of the general inferiority of the Indian race in Guyana.
In 2000, I went to South Ruimveldt to have my car stereo system installed. The technician was an African gentleman. I was in the yard and his wife didn’t know I was there and she shouted out, “why deh playing dah ‘collie’ music on de effing radio station.” She was referring to the government owned station. At that time, there were no private radio stations.
Since the March 2020 election, I have published several columns, which analysed why certain civil society groups and women organisations whose leadership is non-Indian have supported election rigging or remained silent. I offered the same analysis about the identical stance of Creole middle class people in and out of Guyana. Their repressed Freudian elements came to the surface. It was better to have rigged elections than have those Indian people come back to power again. I end with a belief that I never expressed publicly before – Indian music can rival any other in this world. Over to you Swami.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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