Theorising about the left-over Freudian Guyanese Indian mind
Kaieteur News – Today is Indian Arrival Day. Let’s discuss Indians. My name is Frederick. My two brothers’ names are Harold and Joseph. I have a cousin whose name is William Cox. My experience with his name is that many persons think he was an African man. My Hindu mother would have turned in her grave had I given my only child a Christian name. Her name is Kavita, in Hindi, it means poetry.
The assignment of Christian/English names to Indians by our grandparents and parents is just one of the many acts of cultural degradations that characterise the sociological evolution of Guyanese Indians.
Those degradations have not ceased since the stoppage of Indian indentureship but what is tragic is that although through modernisation, Indians have claimed their rightful cultural and sociological space in this land, the mind of Indians carry deep, Freudian underpinning that are derived from their fascination with the aesthetics of Creole culture from the early 20th century.
This article here is about three dimensions of the evolution of Indians in this land. With such a ponderous subject matter, a newspaper column becomes an indecent irritation to articulate on these three strands. What follows then are extremely brief notes.
The three dimensions are: (1) – The abominable denial of the right of Indians to vote as pronounced by the 1941 Franchise Commission. (2) – The break-up of the racially united PPP of Jagan and Burnham by the Creole middle class (CMC) to keep Indian organisations from having state power. (3) – The continuing obsession of Indians with light skin that they admired the CMC for.
The final humiliation of Indians by Guyanese society was the declaration by the Franchise Commission that Indians were too illiterate to have the right to vote. The Franchise Commission was one of the most abominable morally depraved moments in the history of this country.
It was set up by the colonial government to examine the extension of the franchise. The first insult is that it was peopled by the CMC and Portuguese businessmen. The second insult was that of the two dozen groups and 50 individuals that testified, a vast majority spoke condescendingly of the cultural and anthropological inferiority of Indians.
The third insult was it lowered property rights to vote thus giving Africans the franchise while imposing language requirement for Indians that essentially denied them the franchise. Important to note – Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow agreed to deny Indians the franchise. Secondly, members of the CMC that opposed the vote for Indians became part of the PPP led by Cheddi Jagan. The biggest example of this was the mullato civil servant, Jocelyn Hubbard. How do you account for humungous ethnic contradiction?
My theory is that the formation of the PPP was a marriage of convenience that could have collapsed any minute and it did when Jagan became premier in 1950. What happened is that the CMC knew that the extension of the franchise was coming. So to prevent an Indian majority government, they joined the PPP only to sabotage it so the PPP could have Creole leadership. They chose Burnham. When he didn’t succeed, they formed their own entity, the National Democratic Party.
Finally, the Indian Freudian mind. The irony of the March 2020 election fiasco was that it was an attempt by the CMC to finally banish the permanency of Indian state power. But despite the cultural brutalisation of Indians throughout modern Guyanese history, propertied, moneyed and educated Hindu and Muslim Indians in Guyana have a Freudian fascination with the aesthetics of the CMC.
The natural Indian ally of the Portuguese ethnic group and CMC from the 1940s onwards was the Christian Indian. This explains the colour obsession of Christian Indians. The irony is that Hindu and Muslim Indians have a similar fascination with clear skin. One of the enduring mysteries of Guyana is that dark-skinned Africans hardly use the colour criterion to marry, while Indians who should emulate this pattern because of their historical, cultural mistreatment, do not.
Light complexioned moneyed Indians do not marry dark-skinned women and men. A simple cursory examination of the society would show you this. What is the explanation for the African and Indian choice? One is that there has always been a Freudian uneasiness between dark-skinned Africans and the CMC. It goes back to the field slave/house slave binary.
In the case of Indians, they have this left-over Freudian yearning to belong. They never belonged and they saw how valuable and privileged light-complexion was. So as they acquired property, money and education, the Freudian mind leads them to seek belonging by acquiring the characteristics of 1950 British Guiana of which whiteness stood out. It is funny that the Hindu and Muslim rich Indians have a close friendship with the CMC who tried to overthrow them on March 3, 2020.