Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
September 3, 1972
completely irregular
Physical Description:
no. : illus. ; 43 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Trinidad and Tobago ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )
periodical ( marcgt )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
no. 1- Sept. 28, 1969-
General Note:
Includes supplements.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Tapia House Pub. Co.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
000329131 ( ALEPH )
03123637 ( OCLC )
ABV8695 ( NOTIS )

Full Text




TAPIA comes out in this issue to mark the nation's
tenth year of political independence. For anyone who _
has lived through 'these years the superficial euphoria
that threatens to swamp the next few days can only be
True enough, the attainment of constitutional
independence was a real advance. The last ten years,
however, can be seen as the period when we began to
come. to terms with the many qualifications of that

Indeed, as we sought
to concretize that step
forward we have realized
how much the past has
contributed to the
structure of the present.
We have seen how
important it is to
understand where exactly
we are at present and to
fortify from here the base
from which we hope to
make that leap into the


If anything we have
gained in self- knowledge.
And for that alone it
would be enough to be
thankful if inherent in it
did not reside the
inadequacy indeed the
futility of gratuitous
Tapia in its nearly four
years of existence has been in
the forefront of those of us
who have been showing up the
deficiencies of the national
condition reflected in the
political and economic
institutions by which our lives
are ordered. If we have
unvaryingly turned out the
unpalatable truths about the
regime it is because we realize
how much by omission or

commission we have all
contributed to its
establishment and
maintenance, how inevitable it
is given the present state of our
evolution as a people.


It is because we see change
as depending on how much we
believe we can truly achieve by'
our own exertions that we have
sought to broaden and deepen
that knowledge of self what
we have done and what
reasonably we are capable of
doing. So that the Tapia House
symbol represents an example
of what our unaided efforts
can achieve.
Admittedly the message is
essentially atavistic. It throws
our minds back to the times
when a people coming out of
slavery and indenture sought
to make an authentic
connection with the
environment. When we first
understood that in ourselves
lay the means of our own
salvation. If we could only find
That the development of
that consciousness was
side-tracked into illusions of
divine deliverance and a
dependence on sources
external to ourselves, we now
know. But we also know that
what happened over the last




Indian Heritage


few years has been for most of
us the realization that our very
survival over centuries of
brutalization and degradation
has given us our most potent
resource our people.
Who are our people? The
1970 census was unreliable
because it was held at a
moment of high drama in the
February Revolution. But in
the 1960 census, 43 per cent of
the population was African, 37
per cent Indian, 16 per cent of
Mixed Race, two per cent
British, French, Spanish and
Portuguese, two per cent
Syrian, Chinese and others.


Yet in a curious way we
are not a nation of fragments.
What all of us in every creed
and race share is the
identical psychology of second
class citizenship.
That is one real legacy of
the history of exploitation and
colonization. And in our
attempts to define a
framework within which all the
groups in the society can relate
to each other on the basis of
recognized equality we are
creating a genuinely new order
of humanity in fact a new
It is not as if we all see
things the same way. If a spirit
of rededication pervades this
occasion it will not make for

any superficial "closing of
ranks'' and sinking of
differences on the grounds that
we all want the same things.


The editor of the
"national newspaper" could
indeed flush our national
aspirations down the cesspit of
self- contempt and impotence.
The Prime Minister could
berate us as a bunch of
transients. Others prefer to see
the society in terms of black
people and white people, of
workers and bourgeois, of
intellectuals and grassroots.
What we know is that the
Caribbean is the only part of
the New World where black
people have political power.
This is a sobering consideration
for it implies a tremendous
responsibility on ourselves to
create an altogether new
Our civilization must be
enriched by the confluence of
the diverse cultural streams of
the peoples brought here in the
enterprise of the Indies.
SThe vision we must have in
any stocktaking at this time
must embrace not merely
Trinidad and Tobago but the
entire West Indian nation
united as much in present
aspirations as in historical

The case for integrating
the Caribbean has often been
based on the economic
advantages'to be realized. We
niust. wonder, however, if this
is not simply the same
rationale traditionally argued
for integration, albeit in an
indirect way. Does not the
argument that united we could
put up a stronger front to the
metropolitan giants not once
again place the motivation
outside the Caribbean?
In other words, if there
-were not metropolitan giants
preying on the region would
we not still have a case for
As indeed material in this
paper amply documents, the
Africans in the 'New World
have made their indelible mark
on the culture here. Save in
Guyana and Trinidad the
Indian descendants of the
indentured servants can claim
no such achievement on
account of their relatively
smaller numbers.
It is clear indeed that to
preserve their distinct identity
within the hemisphere we
need now to create that state
within which cultural and
racial differences are respected
and fully represented. And a
West Indian nation provides
the widest possible basis for



Years of




appointment of the
Constitution Commission
by the Government no
individual or group has
criticized its composition
and procedure more than
Tapia. The record is there
for all to consult.
In issue No. 18 of our
paper we said that the
crisis could not be resolved
by a Commission which
did not involve repre-
sentatives from NJAC,
Tapia. UNIP, DLP and
ACDC/DLP as it was then
We recognized it as
just another political
instrument devised by the
Chief Executive to buy
time, to reinforce Crown
Colony Government, and
to give the semblance of
moral authority to his
party which enjoyed
neither the trust nor
support of the large
majority. of people in the
We even insisted that
unless the sovereignty of the
people were first
acknowledged, "the. more
independent -the Commission
and the more democratic..its
deliberations, th-e .greater
would be the illusion that the


crisis has been resolved in a
democratic manner."
Up to the end of July
1971, the apparent intention
of the Commission was to
receive memoranda, travel to
various countries and draft a
Constitution, for the approval
of the Chief Executive.
Soon, however, there were
signs that the Commission was
becoming sensitive to criticism,
especially to Tapia's. '"After
the memoranda have been
received we shall once again go
out to meet the people. We
shall invite public discussion
with groups being able to
comment on the proposals of
others". (Wooding)

Again, "when our report
goes in, public opinion will see
to it that our report is
published in full. If the
Government should think of
modifying our views the
position would be such that
they would be impelled to have
a public debate as to whether
our views should be accepted".








The Commission was fast
transforming itself into the
symbol of the sovereignty of
the people against the
monarch. It was left to us to
give reality to this symbol.
We must bear in mind that
no monarch ever concedes the

sovereignty of the people
because he is the anti-thesis of
that. It is for the people to
discover the means to assert
their will. In England, France,
America, Russia, Cuba and
many other countries bloody
revolutions have had to be

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But these revolutions have
always been the ultimate
sanction, the last desperate
resort. of the people after all
other-means had failed.
And these failures are
essential to the struggle
because unless they are seen to
be the deliberate doings of the
regime, the mass of the people
will never rise up to claim their
Monarchs are always
equipped for terror. They have
the troops of the state. So it
was with Charles of England
and Louis of France, the Czar
of Russia, Batista of Cuba. A
show of force by itself is
always to their advantage
because they are seen to have
the authority to use it.
Where history repeats
itself is that they never see
their downfall in the move for
constitutional reform. Their
defeat always comes when
their authority, not their force,
is challenged.

Until the revolution shifts
the basis of authority from
under the foot of the King, he
is in the best position to call
the people together. It does
not matter whether he
summons the Estates-General
or appoints a Commission.
When he does that it may spell
his doom.
When the people
assembled in France on
the invitation of the King they
found a forum to express their
grievances over the way the
economy, the society and the
state were organised. They
demanded more bread. Marie
Antoinette replied, "let them
eat cake!". And she paid the
cake with her head.
Soon the guards were to
side with the people against a
unit of cavalry sent by the
King to break up
demonstrations in the streets.
In Russia the Constituent
Assembly was called for by
Lenin after the revolution of
1905. The Czar plugged out his
hearing aid but the Assembly
was instituted later on, until
dispersed by the armed forces
in 1918. But it was there the
Bolsheviks got the upper hand
over their rivals in the vanguard
of the February Revolution.
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the rest tried to settle the crisis
constitutionally in America.
The country had to see the
stubbornness of the King
before it shouted "liberty or


Fidel Castro did not say
no dialogue, no compromise
with the system. He first
attempted to gain power
through elections. He did not
dismiss the courts as a useless
"bourgeois" institution.
Rather, he used that platform
to deliver his famous "History
will absolve me" address in
which he made the case for the
Cuban revolution.


I am making these
observations to emphasise the-
the Constitution Commission is
as essential a part of the
February Revolution as were
the marches and the Teteron
If we were free to oppose
as we liked and to air our
grievances at will there would
be no need for revolutionary
change. The repressive
situation demands that we
invent new methods of
struggle. And it will be


discovered that nothing now is
more inflammatory than the
truth; no weapon more
effective than the rule of law.
That is why the Courts,
representing the people
constitutionally, have scored
victory after victory in their
judgments. Hassanalli ruled
that the detention orders
issued during the 1970 State of
Emergency were illegal. Malone
ordered the immediate release
of Kelshall from detention.
Guerra, second prosecutor in
the Court Martial, was exposed
as a liar in the Blanchfield case.


But the greatest victory of
all has been the Court of
Appeal's reversal of the Court
Martial verdict against the
The Constitution
Commission may be
revolutionary or reactionary,
depending on how it sets about
its business. Th.e Public
Utilities Commission has also
been appointed by the
Government yet it has
conducted its enquiry into the
Telephone Company's
proposed higher rates in such a

manner as to gain the respect
and confidence of the public.
But there are those who
object to the Commissioners
because of their past or present
associations. This obsession
with personality is colonial in
the extreme. Many West
Indians dislike Sobers for his
style of captaincy, for his
Australian wife, for one thing
or another.


The irony is that many
who cast stones at the
Commissioners on grounds of
past association are not
without blame. Robinson has
been a pillar of the PNM for
years, and is on record as
having supported the voting
machines. Now he has the brass
to say that electoral reform is
what is required, and that the
present constitution is alright.


Naturally, because he is an
architect of it. Because the
powers which the Prime
Minister has over the Electoral
and Boundaries Commission

are conferred on him by the
Constitution. So that electoral
reform is a constitutional issue.
Already the Commission
has been a success in that it has
forced every organisation to
take a stand. Its enemies have
not been able to ignore it. The
country knows what are being
offered now Constitution
Reform, People's War,
Electoral Report, even
secession. How else, for

example, would we have
known how strongly
Tobagonians feel about local
Constitution reform that
we support is a sweeping
examination of the society -
the boundaries of the rights
and powers between the people
and the state, the economy and
how it is to be managed in the
interests of the people. If this
involves all the people
participating in the process and
making their voices heard," it is
nothing short of revolution.


THE COURTS have freed
Lasalle, Shah and their brother
soldiers but apparently this
cuts no ice with the police.
How else are we to
interpret the arbitrary raid
made by the police on a tailor
shop in McAllister Street,
As far as the four members
of the tailor shop were able to
find out their only "crime"
was that some three weeks ago
they made some bush-jackets
for the soldiers.
On Wednesday, last week,
about eight policemen swept

into the tailor shop and asked
the amazed tailors whether
they had sewn clothes for the


The youths said that they
had, but apparently
unconvinced, the policemen
demanded to see the book in
which the tailors kept their
measurements. This they seized
in addition to every piece of
clothes in the store.

clico relates to the

objectives of


trinidad and tobago

Prosperity, Happiness and Peace. Our fervent wish

to citizens and policy holders as the 10th year of

\ Independence is celebrated and a new decade

dawns for the Nation.

We understand well

the involvement and hard work required by

all to achieve a better life.

This is the

basis of the success of our indigenous

jnstitution.From our 35 year record,

0 we like to think we are assisting

in the creation of true I nde-

pendence by offering,greater

Head Office: 29 St. Vincent Street, P.O.S.


security for all.

Brandishing a warrant
which they said empowered
them to search for stolen
goods, the lawmen poked into
every corner of the shop and
the roof as well.
This done, they ordered the
tailors into the police van and
carried them down to police
headquarters where they were
kept for the better part of the
"This is independence and
we have a long waiting list of
customers who want to wear
something new for the
occasion. We lost a whole day
when we were guilty of
nothing," one of the tailors


The youths were
particularly hurt since the
tailor shop is only about seven
months old and it was started
in an attempt by them to do
their own thing after years in
the employ of a Port of Spain
clothes establishment.
They can find no reason for
this police harassment since
they argue that the clothes
they made for the soldiers in
no way resembled army
"The cut, colour and
material was completely
different from army uniforms
so they cannot say that they
were worried for security
reasons," the boys said.






110. Eastern Main R"ad



. .... ..

Page 4 Tapia

107year old survivor of slavery,Atilano Cuba, talks of

You were a child many years ago
S. do you remember?

--Well, yes and no. That was a long
time ago. My folks were slaves. But
slavery didn't touch me much, because
my folks bought my freedom, but they
knew the bite of the serpent, all right.
Both of them were brought over from
Africa. My father was a Lucumi, here
his name was Justo Socarras. My mother
was a Macua and here she was called
Paula Aguirre. My name is Atilano
Socarras Aguirre. But everybody calls
me Atilano Cuba. Do you know how we
The slaves of a Spanish sugar mill, San
Caludio? It's not that I remember, but
my folks used to tell me that San
Claudio was hell. Ah! And imagine a kid
in that hell.
It was a dog's life. Today kids play. Ir
those days, they didn't. Thinking back .
. I was never a kid. I was first a little
nigger and then a big one. Do you know
what those days were like?
You never had a childhood. But how
did the young Atilano live?
--It was the same being a kid or a man.
There were masters and slaves, some
lived good and others not so good.
The young Atilano lived working. But,
look, today work means something else,
something not so bad. My first job was
brick-making in Bahia Honda. I dug out
the clay, other people put it to the
oven. It was hard work and many
couldn't take it. 1 saw them get sick
and I saw them die.

How come you survived ?
--You don't know why? Neither do I.
Work and misery is the only thing I
remember, until I came here where I
have rest, care, affection.
Was brick-making your only job?
--It wasn't the only one, or the first or
the last. I also worked on the road con
struction gang in Bahia Honda. Later 1
went to Buenaventura a big farm
where I worked and went hungry, hell!
we had nothing there, everything was
What was wrong with Buenventura?
--They treated me bad there. Listen,
we were one league away from Bahia
Honda, but it seemed to me that we
were in ... well, in the world's end.
Who was boss there?
-The boss was an American .
Griffin, his name was .'.. He was like all
bosses, and a little more, because he
came from the Norte. Imagine how he
would treat a black, the son of slaves.
He did what he liked. He was the boss.
And after Buenaventura, what hap-
--I went to Punta Brava, but
somebody there wanted to make
trouble for me so I went back to Bahia
Honda, for the cane harvest. I worked in
the Gerardo mill, I also cut cane for the
Lincoln mill. That Lincoln guy how
did he turn out in the end? I heard
people talking about whether he was

life and death

good or bad.
What do you think?
--He must have been bad. An
American president a friend of the
blacks? Hah! You can't get me to
swallow that pill! You can't convince
me that five makes a dozen .. but, we
were talking about cane, right?
Yes, you said you had cut cane. That's a
pretty dignified job today. How was it
--Man, what are you saying? Isn't
behind the same thing as in the back? I
cut cane because I had to eat and the
thing I ate was the cane. You had to
bite down hard. You know what a time
it was? Well, I was there, and at the time
I would have eaten a stone.

How many years are you going to live,
--I don't go around doing much
arithmetic with death. I came into this
world by one door and I'll have to leave
it one day by another door. I don 't
think it'll be today though, the day is too

You have a reputation as a lady's man..

--Listen, man, don't go looking for
teeth in a chicken. Before you go on let
me tell you I always had my romantic
adventures and plenty of problems be-
cause of them. But if somebody here
told you some story, don't believe it.
It's too late for two dinners...
Atilano, have you ever had children?
--No. I never spilled the soup outside
the plate but .. let's talkabout
something else, about death ...

What would you do if Fidel came here?
--That won't happen. He has a lot of
speeches to make, a lot of problems in
his,too many to visit an old black
man who's worth nothing.
You underestimate yourself. That
wouldn't be the reason why he wouldn't
come. Today all men are worth more
than the colour of their skin and their
--You can't convince me. You can't
call a pig's ear a silk purse.
If you could have a wish fulfilled, what
would it be?
--I want to see a cane-cutting machine
before I die. I von't believe it until I see
it, that's for sure.
And the tape came to an end.

(Prensa Latina)


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HOW FARES the liberation
of Africa? Tanzanian President,
Julius Nyere gave his own
answer to the question in an
address "Tanzania Ten Years
After Independence" delivered
at TANU's national Conference
in Dar Es Salaam last year.
Speaking on "Foreign
Affairs and Security," Nyerere
refers to the Portuguese
territories in Africa, Rhodesia,
South Africa, Malawi and the
Organisation of African Unity
(OAU). He speaks also of
Tanzania's relations with
Britain, India, Guyana and the
West Indian nations and China.
Of the Portuguese
territories, Nyerere says:
"The people have now
taken up their weapons and are
fighting for their freedom.
Tanzania is proud to give
support to these freedom
fighters diplomatically,
orally, and by allowing them to
receive their supplies through
our territory when necessary.
We look forward to the day
when we are celebrating their
independence with them. That

may yet be a long time ahead,
for the forces against them and
against us, are very powerful.
But we know they will never
give up the fight, and they may
.rest assured that this country
will never draw back either."

On Rhodesia:

"The situation is now, in
many respects worse than it
was 10 years ago. The minority
regime has declared itself
independent and has pi3tsued
the nationalist movement with
great ruthlessness and with



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considerable success. For,
despite great heroism by

individuals and groups, the
liberation forces of Zimbabwe
are 'unfortunately split, and
spend a lot of time and energy
quarrelling among themselves.
Yet it is also clear the the rebel
Rhodesian regime feels very
insecure. It is for this reason
that it depends so heavily on
support from the apartheid
government of South Africa,
and it is for this reason that is
continues to search for what it
calls a "settlement" with the
United Kingdom. One thing is
certain; neither Tanzania nor
the O.A.U. will recognize any
"settlement" until the majority
of the people of that country
have secured their own
On South Africa:
"The nationalist forces
continue to exist despite the
most ruthless and cruel
oppression which can be
imagined. Time and again one
is forced wowards the belief

that organised opposition to
apartheid has been completely
smashed. But then one sees a
new sign that it is not true;
that, on the contrary, there are
some heroic people still living
and working in that country
for the day when the principles
of human equality will be the
policy of a democratic South

African government.
On the O.A.U.
"It may be that our
ambitions were unrealistic in
the sense that they expected
progress too quickly. Africa is
very far from united; even in
the struggle against colonialism
and racialism, it now appears
that different states are

adopting different policies.
"Yet all is not lost. The
Organisation of African Unity
formed in 1963 still exists, and
most African governments at
the very least take note of its
decisions and feel the necessity
to twist and turn in the
pretence that they are
observing -OAU resolutions,
even when most blatantly
ignoring them. Tie name of
the OAU is taken in vain by its
members as often as it is
respected. But the fact that no
African nation is willing to
leave the Organization, or to
ignore it, is a sign that,
however weak it is, the OAU
has a worthwhile function. We
shall continue to work for its
effective greatness.
On Malawi:
"We have continuing
problems with Malawi because
of her Government's friendship
towards South Africa,
Rhodesia and the Portuguese
and since January 1971, the
coup d'etat in Uganda has
brought bilateral co-operation
to a standstill."

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Page 6 TAPIA


THE 1960's will
certainly be remembered
as the decade of the Black
Power Revolution. Once
Nkrumah succeeded
(1957), 10 years after
Gandhi and Nehru, in
bringing Ghana to political
independence, there
started a bush-fire all over
Africa and across the
Middle Passage.
The last decade saw black
America spurred by indi-
viduals such as Martin Luther
King, Stokely Carmichael,
Eldridge Cleaver and organi-
sations like NAACP, SNCC and
the Panthers -- arrive at a
consciousness that had a con-
tinuing impact both in the
United States and across the
world stage.
That the black American
now is not the same man he
was in the years before the 60's
is not to be disputed. But it is
necessary to examine the
economic benefits, if any, that
American Blacks have gained
from the movement.
Following is a summary that
has been abstracted from an
article by a West Indian com-
mentator in The Review of
Black political Economy. We
have separated the discussion
into these five areas: Income
Employment, Occupational
Status, Black Business,
Education, Health,
THE figures show that the decade
of the 60's was one of impressive
economic gains for the black com-
munity. Blacks have raised their
average family income from $3.794
in 1960 to $6,279 in 1970. a rate
of increase slightly better than that





Unlike the black man in Africa, he is in
minority; unlike the European ethnic, he
highly visible; unlike the Jew, he lacks cult
ral cohesiveness; unlike the citizen of a d
veloping country, he lacks sovereign contr,
over his community. He is like all the:
people in some respects, and yet in each ca:
he is significantly different. 9

of wIlte families. In 1960 more
than half of all black families fell
below the poverty line (and here we
are taking a poor household to
mean one that has to spend more
than one-third of its income on a
minimum diet. By 1970 the propor-
tion had been reduced to one-third.
At most times in 1960. thirteen
per cent of the non-white labour
force \\as unemployed. During
1969 the proportion fell belo\ six
percent, the low\\est level since the
Korean War. In 1970 the unem-
ployment figure for non-\whites rose
to 10.5% but this was still far short
of the 177 during the 1957 re-
OVER the last decade, blacks also
substantially improved their job
categories. In 1960 a mere 11'/ of
non-whites were professionals, tech-
nicians or managers. By 1969 the
proportion had risen to 14%, and
the percentage of unskilled non-
whites in the labour force dropped
from 15 to seven per cent.
Vicwsed thus in isolation, the
pi cture appears to be brightening.
BUT compared to the economic
position enjoyed by whites, the
blacks' has not altered, significantly
and this continues to be a major
source of frustration. I-or although

blacks enjoy much higl
than they did forn
average black family in
61' of that for whites
average black family t\
person must be work
family to earn substar
than half the income
parable white family.
And while the o
status of blacks has im
whites still dominate ti
jobs. from which tradit
eluded the non-white
lo\\ing figures are instru
OF WHITES in the 1
27% hold technical, ma
professional positions
14% for blacks. And the
survey released by the
tions Information
September 1970 sho
3,182 senior officers ai
in the nation's top
THREEI were black. Ahi
sponsored less than tw
revealed that of the Ui
100.000 certified publ
ants, 150 at most were
the proportions of
physicians and dentists
black were found to
and 2.5% respectively.
In addition, black
clinging to the lower r
occupational ladder, ha'
larger share, proportic


the less-skilled and therefore
lower-paid jobs. These figures tell
the weary talc.
In 1969, eighteen per cent of
the male black force were
categorised as ordinary labourers as
E S against six percent for whites and a
staggering 20% of the female black
labour force worked as domestics as
opposed to three percent of the
white females employed, and in
spite of the gains in employment
a made by blacks, their rate of unem-
ployment over the past 10 years
is had remained steady where whites
u- have made gains amounting to
about twice as much.
e- But by far the most glaring dis-
o1 crepancy is the wealth positions of
white and black families. In 1966
se black families, comprising 10% of
se the population owned less than two
percent of the $942 billion that was
the nation's net household assets.
Less than two percent of all busi-
ness enterprises were owned by
blacks. Thus, neither as holders of
her incomes assets nor as highly placed managers
nerly, their have blacks been in a position to
come is still influence the major economic deci-
s, and in the sions in the nation.
wo, not one THE PROBLEM, then, is not
ng for that simply one of increasing the econo-
itially more mic welfare of the blacks as seen
of the com- from the percentage increases in
jobs, income, etc., but it is also a
occupational question of improvement in their
proved, the situation RELATIVE to whites.
he top level
tion has ex- BUSINESS
The fol-
abour force,
nagerial and IF WE look at black business en-
as against terprise we see that it is heavily
results of a concentrated in personal services
Race Rela- and that it caters to narrow local
Center in markets. Forty-two percent of all
w that of black businesses offered these types
Id directors of services as opposed to 27% of
firms, only white establishments. What are
other survey these services? A survey of
o years ago Washington D.C. shows the follow-
lited States' ing:
ic account- Of all the black businesses
black, while classified as services, 44% were
f lawyers, barber shops, beauty schools or
Swho were beauty salons while 12% were dry
be one,two cleaning establishments.
The proportion of black
cks remain firms engaged in manufacturing is
ungs of the less than four percent compared
ving a much with seven percent for whites.
onately of Of all the manufacturing
firms, blacks own a mere 1.2 per-
cent and most of these are small
Again, the sales volume of the
typical black firm is also very low
when compared against the average
throughout the nation. A survey by
the National Business League dis-
closed that the average intake of a
black firm engaged in the service
and retail industries was less than
$20,000 compared to the national
average of over $100,000.
Finally, productivity of the
average black firm, when measured
in terms of receipts per employee,
is low relative to the national
standard. In service and retail indus-
tries the receipts per employee for
the average black firm in 1968 was
under $6,000 less than a quarter of
the $24,000 that is the average of
the nation as a whole.




THE position in education has
improved considerably over the
years, But compared to whites,
blacks still have a low level of edu-
cation. The figures speak for them-
Nearly 30% of the black
civilian labour force have only
elementary education as compared
with less than 20% for whites.
Less than 50% of the non-
whites have graduated from high
school as opposed to 70% for
About 15 percent of
employed whites are college gra-
duates compared to less than 10%
for non-whites.
And because of segregation and
the fact that white America invests
less in the education of a black
child than a white child, the black
child achieves less than the white


THIS low rate of investment in
blacks is also reflected in the figures
on health. In 1968, a white person
of 25 could expect to live 5.3 years
longer than a black of the same age.
In the same year the mortality
rate for black infants, less than a
month old, was slightly less than
twice that of white infants and for
infants between one and 12 !month
old, the rate was slightly less than
three to one in favour of white in-

of frederick street

Trinidad's leading family store







of frederick street
Trinidad's leading family store



Frederick St


Warm greetings to the Nation

on its

Tenth A4nniversary of



TAPIA Page 7

available at



TAPIA Page 8
PRAY, play whe whe and
shine shoes. That was my
father. They were his own
shoes that he shone,
shining them until, with a
final rub of the cloth, he
finished, put them on and
went out to see if he had
said the right prayers, if he
or we had been given the
right dreams those that
would lead him to win a
mark that day.
For although my father
never dragged us into his
praying, my two sisters
and I were very much a
part of the whe-whe world
of dream, capriche and
"Bertram wha yuh dream?"
"What about you Joan?"
He would go down the line
my sister Margaret next and
my mother, last of all, and
having gotten from us our
dreams of the night before he
would translate the pictures we
had given him into numbers.
Most times he did not use the
dream books that he had. He
didn't need to. All the nights
spent sitting on the deck chair
that somebody had given him
while he was a messenger at
Queen's Park Hotel paid off
and I am certain he knew the
many dream books that came
into our house by heart.

I have said that we, three
children were part of my
father's whe whe ritual. We had
to be because there was money
in it for us. If one of our
dreams was the cause of my
father winning a mark he or
she was certain to receive at
least a penny from my father's
Naturally we used to lie
about our dreams. Many a time
I didn't dream at all. But to
admit that. vould be to deny
myself a cut in the winnings if
my father was lucky that day.
So dream or no dream, we
always had some story to tell
our father. If he won, we got
our money. Ifhe lost, it. could
always be blamed on some
error in the interpretation of
the dream. Either way we had
nothing to lose.
I have said that my father
included us in his whr-whe and
not in his prayers. Perhaps that
was the measure of whe-whe's
importance in our house. R
kept us going in that little
two-room house in Plaisance
Road, John-John. Winning a
mark was the way many times
for my father to get enough to
buy food for my two sisters,
my mother and myself.

Sometimes my mother was
able to bring in some money
by sewing a dress, but although
she was .a seamstress not many
neighbours brought their
clothes to her door. I have
always wondered\ if it was

because the neighbours knew
that my mother felt that she
was above them.
My mother was obsessed
with this; that somehow in
spite of the fact that we were
all sharing the same poverty,
shitting cock-up like Tarzan up
in John-John we were
different. It was this thing
about her that put her into so
much difficulty with the
Whenever she went out and
my. father was not home she
used to lock us up in the
house. I must have been about
five or six at that time but I
retain distinct impressions of
that house. There were plenty
pictures. Pictures of castles and
monasteries and pictures of the
Sacred Heart. Pictures of
angelic-looking white women
.and one of St. Michael standing
above the devil, both of them
looking like if they come out
for real rope. We used to
escape from the house, of
course. We would climb up on
the wooden chairs, taking care
not to stand on the
criss-crossed cane that formed

the chair bottom, unlatched a
window and were out.
Sometimes we would be caught
and then my mother would
become a walking, screaming
fury. She would beat us until
she became tired, and although
I felt my father disapproved,
he never intervened for he was
one of those short, quiet men
that always seem to be
,attached to women like my
Where my father was
different about things, my
mother was strong. Her only
weakness was religion. I'could
never understand how my
mother who usually made up
her mind quickly about so
many things could be as
confused about religion as she
She belonged to all she,
was in the Baptist faith,
followed the Roman Catholics,
forced me to attend long,

class used to insist that the
boys from the John-John areas
lived in the La-Basse.
Both my parents drank. My
father, outside with his friends,
my mother in the privacy of
Usher home, away from thelsight
of my neighbours. She drank
heavily, though, and there were
times when she and my father
had sustained fights. Young as
we were then, these terrible
scenes for my sisters and
In these fights, my father
always got the worst of it, he
I being much too gentle to hit
back was forced to spend most
/ of the fight trying to ward off
and control my mother in her
anxiety to punish my father
for some real or imagined
That the noise from these
fights reached the ears of our
neighbours didn't seem to
worry my mother although she
took great care. to make
neighbours realize that
everything was prim and
proper in our house. Perhaps
the neighbours accepted fights
between man and wife as
normal in John-John. Or,
perhaps my mother felt that
the neighbours should be
willing to forget the one blot in
boring Pentecostal services up the life of "decency" she had
by the L'Hospice and while my mapped out for us in that small
father never went to these two-room house in John-John.
churches. He was a religious About our keeping ourselves
man always praying, and to ourselves she was firm,
even if his prayers were aimed stubborn. Even when wewere
at winning a mark, it meant relatively grown up, between
that he was praying that he 15 and, say 17, she kept close
would be able to take care of watch and ready hand ove us.
his family that was dependent And it was this that cause me
on the whims of the whe-whe to wait 10 years between the
banker, time I first saw a pan being
I believe I spent the years tuned and the time when I
between my fourth and eight should attempt to tune one
birthday in this manner in myself.
John-John. Yes, I am sure of it, I didn't have to ask my
since I was born in February of mother's permission to play
1936 and I know i was in pan. I knew her well enough to
John-John during the war. At know that I would be able to
that time John-John was a hang around pan and panmen
crowded, barrack-type place, only over her dead body, so I
Plenty people always cussing put the thought out of my
and fighting by the pipe. We mind and interested myself
were situated not far from the instead with boyish pastimes of
La-Basse and I remember that the day with variations that
when I first started going to were all my own and about
school the other fellers in the which I must tell you later.

jS F t-
""' .

Morris Store







TAPIA Page 9

In the New

World, Shango

became St Jerome i[

IT COULD be said that reli-
gious cults in Afroamerica are
drawn from Guinea (Fon, Ewe,
Yoruba, Fanti, Ashanti, Cara-
bali, etc.) and that Afro-
american folklore comes from
the Bantu area (Congo, Angola,
Mozambique, etc.)
The Yoruba people are
known in Cuba by the name
lucumi, and in Brazil they are
called nago; their religion, esta-
blished since very remote
times, is known as Ile-Oricha in
Nigeria, in Cuba, Santeria, and
Candomble in Brazil.
This cult has also been ob-
served in Trinidad.
The deities adored in the
three places mentioned are:
Eshu or Bara or Eleggua, the
messenger of the gods whose
mission it is to ascertain
whether the igbodu (the sacred
room)is well prepared and who
will finally summon the
Orichas to"come down";
Obatala or Orishala god of the
heavens; Shango, god of light-
ning and his three wives; Oya
or Yansan the goddess of
storms; Oshun;, goddess or
rivers and lakes and Obe,
goddess of sensual love.
Ogun, Shango's brother, is
the god of ironworks and war;
Oshossi, god of hunters; Omulu
or Shapanan or Obaluaie, god
of smallpox and medicine:
Yemanya or Yemaya, deity of
the seas and oceans and god-
dess of chaste love;
Oshunmare, the Rainbow.
In Nigeria and in Afro-
america there is a supreme and
incorporeal deity venerated
above all the Orichas but who is
not worshipped according to
any specific rites. His name is
Olorun or Olafi. The religious
ceremony consists of the invo-
cation of the Orichas by the
beating of sacred drums and
the singing of chants in the
Yoruba language, followed by
pantomimic dances which tell
the story of the gods. The

climax is marked by the des-
cent of the gods "riding" on
their sons.
In Cuba the three sacred
drums (bala) are clepsydric in
shape and have two parts.
These drums are called: lya,
Itolele and Okonkolo or
Omele. The chief drummer
(olubata akpualaki) executes
the Iya, its drums heads are
called enu and chacha. In
Brazil the three drums are
called rum, rumpl and le. As a
complement to the drums
there is a metal percussion in-
strument called agogo.
Apart from this important
Afroamerican religion, there is
in Cuba, and only in Cuba, the
nanigo sect known as Abasi
Abakua from Calabar. This
society meets in the temple
(Famba) where the Ekue is
hidden. The participants are
the ecoblos or ukoblos and
little devils (iremes) can be
seen in their processions.

The drums of this cult are:'
Sese, Mpego,Ekuegnon and
Nkrikamo.. These drums are
also classified as consisting of
one bonko and three enkomos:
Oblapa, Kuchi Yerema and
Binkome and the bell Ekon.
This society is divided into two
rival branches: Efik and Efor.

From the ancient kingdom
of Abomey (Dahomey) a
variant of the Yoruba cult
reached Haiti. Voodoo comes
from the arara people (Lower
All these African religions
have been creolizied in
America. For example: Shango
has become St. Jerome or St.
Barbara. In the meantime, in
Africa, some of these religions
have already disappeared in the
course of the four centuries
since they were brought to











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St. Vincent St., P.O.S.
Ph: 62-32186.

Tel: 35665.

61 Queen St., P.O.S.

Page 10 TAPIA




i~s ~'"

THE vast majority of the im-
migrants came from North
India, in particular the United
Provinces of Oudh and Agra,
and Bihar. A smaller percent-
age came from Bengal. The
trickle which originated in
South India, and emigrated
through the port of Madras,
came to be known in Trinidad
as "Madrasis."
The United Provinces
(today known as Uttar
Pradesh) and Bihar occupy for
the most part the vast plain of
the Ganges, flanked on the
north and north-east by the
foothills of the Himalayas.
Many of the place and
street names used in
Trinidad today give evidence of
the origins of the Immigrants
in this heavily-populated north-
central area of India. Lucknow,
Cawnpore and Fyzabad were
important districts of the
United Provinces. Patna was an
important town in Bihar.
By the year 18&C 41.7% of
the total number of Indian
immigrants had come from
Agra and Oudh; 29.3% from
Bihar and 21.9% from Bengal.
Of the 6,384 men, women and
children who came between
1876 and 1879, 46.5% came
from Agra, 27.9% from Oudh,
and 16.2% from Bihar and only
5.4% from Bengal.
What pressures contributed
to this exodus? Already, by the
second half of the nineteenth
century, this area, the seat of
ancient cultures, was feeling
the heavy burden of over-
Climatic factors, such as the
alternating droughts in the
summer and floods in the
moonsoon, leading to whole-
sale destruction of crops, to-

gether with the frequent
famines which resulted, made
life extremely difficult for the
peasants. The consequences
were a high death rate and
widespread rural poverty and
indebtedness. The pursuit of
agriculture as a means of liveli-
hood was a hazardous business.
Socio-political events, such as
the Mutiny of 1857, further
intensified the economic dis-
tress of the region.
Most of the Indian emi-
gration during this period
therefore, occurred from this
area. It is estimated that from
the United Provinces alone,
about 700,000 persons left. It
is estimated that from the
United Provinces alone, about
700,000 persons left for other
parts of India between 1891
and 1901, while more than
100,000 were registered in
1908 as emigrants to the West
Indies, Fiji, and Natal.
The social composition of
the emigrants to Trinidad did
not reflect faithfully the

make-up of North Indian
society. Since they were most
directly threatened by
starvation, it was from among
the lower castes and classes
that the vast majority of emi--
grants came.
It is noteworthy that many
of these emigrants had at some
stage possessed land, and that
they knew the value of money.
Emigration was therefore often
seen asthe opportunity for
accumulating money which
could be used upon return
home for the purchase of land
or bullocks.
Even among those who
elected to remain in the new
country, the choice was for a
simple life, saving and the ac-
quisition of property to be be-
queathed to children. So that it
could be reported that by the
late 1870's the Indians in
Trinidad had good horses
which won prizes at the races,
and kept the best cows, and
that between 1885 and 1909
they had acquired 69,087 acres
of land.



RELIGION has always
been a central feature of
Indian life and culture,
and the 'beliefs and prac-
tices the immigrants
brought with them have
survived as unifying forces
within the community.
While there is evidence of
Christiain having come
from India, especially
from the Malabar Coast, it
is to Hinduism and Islam
that the majority owed



The reading of the Qoran
(Kitab) and the offering of
prayers (namaaz) are important
rituals among devout Muslims.
In addition, the Indian Muslims
brought to Trinidad several
annual rituals such as Eid-1-
-adha, Eid-l-Fitr, Ramadan,
Mohammed's birthday and
Husain. The one which stands
apart and has attracted much
non-Muslim attention and part-
icipation, is Husain or Hosay
the tadjal procession, known
in other countries as Muhar-

legiance. Traditionally, this festival,
or more correctly period of
DIWALI mourning, is celebrated only
by the Shia Muslims. From the
The proportion of 1880's it became the Annual
demonstration of India-i
industo Muslims in the demonstration of Indiat
dus to Muslims in the national feeling, culminating in
st decade of the nine- the Hosay riots of San
enth century was approx- Fernando in 1884.

imately the same as in the
United Provinces and Bihar
it the time. One report, on
the situation in Trinidad in
1891, noted that 85.9% of the
non-Christian Indians were
Hindus and 13.44% Moham-
medans. According to the 1901
census of India, 85% of the po-
pulation in the United Provinces
were Hindus and 14%Muslims,
while in one district of Bihar
92.7% were Hindus and 7.3%

Each community of
Muslims, as soon as it could
afford, built itself a small
mosque. With increasing
means, larger mosques were
built, and today such struc-
tures as the Jinnah Memorial
Mosque in St. Joseph and the
Nur-e-Islam mosque in San
Juan are the religious and cul-
tural centres of the comm-

Also related to the im-
proving economic status of the
Muslim Community, is the ex-
tent to which the pilgrimage to
Mecca (haj) is being under-
taken. Many Muslims consider
it a duty to make this pilgrim-
age, once they can afford it,
and the number ofhajji is in-

Hinduisrn has beer des-
cribed as"a commonwealth of
varying sects and beliefs." The
religious orientation of the
Hindus in Trinidad reflects the
intellectual, metaphysical and
ritualistic traditions of the
United Provinces and Bihar.
However, in the early days of
indenture, therestraints of
poverty and circumstance dic-
tated that the religion be prac-
tised inconspicuously.
There were no large festivals
nor was the birthday of any
God observed on a big scale.
Of the four main sects in
Trinidad, the largest and most
influential is the Sanatan
Dharma. Other sects are the
Arya Samaj. (Arya Pratinidhi
Sabha) Kabirpanth and
The varying manifestations
of Hinduism are a reflection of
its long tradition, going back

even to its ancient roots in the
animism of the Indus Valley
civilization. Today, Hindus in
Trinidad still practise the Vedic
tradition of Yajna (fire
sacrifice); the Upanishadic
(Vedantic) tradition of Jnana
(knowledge through medita-
tion) and the Bhakti (devotion)
tradition of Shrimadbhag
vadgita are also known. The
Puranic belief in the trial of
Gods Brahma, the creator,
Vishnu, the preserver, and
Shiva, the destroyer the
three manifestations of the
Supreme Brahman (God) is
als o retained by the majority
of Hindus.
The most widely practised
ritual is that of puja or prayer
meeting, the main features of
which are the offerings to the
deity and the chanting of the
inantras (hymns). Pujas may be
offered on festival days in
honour of a deity, or as
thanksgiving for the fulfillment
of a wish. Some are offered to
commemorate deceased mem-
bers of the family. Following
the pu/a, a.s all triangular flag
(Jhandi) is placed on a bamboo
pole and erected near the
house. The different colours
signify the various deities to
which the puja was offered -
red for Hamuman, white for

Sat Deo and Surya Narayan, a
yellow one in honour of
Goddess Lakshmi.
Diwali, or the Festival of
the Lights, has become the
most popular festival of the
Hindus in Trinidad. The
festival commemorates the
return of Rama to Ayodhya in
the Fyzabad district after the
slaying of the demon Ravan
and the rescue of Sita. A news-
paper report of the late nine-
teenth century, indicates that
the festival was widely cele-
brated; it refers to 'Dehwarri -
AHAMAWAS (Dewari -
Amawas), a Hindu "feast",
when all.the houses and places
of business "were illuminated
with tiny tapers and Chirag,
and plantain and banana trees
were used in the decorations,
lights being suspended from
the leaves."
Despite the fact that their
new home has no spring
season, the Hindus maintained
the celebration of Phagwa
(Holi), the spring festival of
India. The same songs which
were sung in the United Pro-
vinces or west Bihar, are a co n-
tinuing feature of the festi-
vities, while the Chowtal
singing competition, and the
throwing of coloured water
excite great interest.


THE END of slavery in- the West Indies occasioned
the demand by the planter interests in the region for
an alternative source of cheap labour. The solution to
their problem was found thousands of miles away, in
far-off India.
Between 1845 and 1917, the Indian-sub-continent
contributed some 143,000 indentured labourers to
Trinidad. Today, the descendants of these immigrants
constitute almost 40% of our population.
Where did they come from, and why? What was.
the social composition of these men and women and
children? What customs, habits, values and skills did
they bring with them? What has the Indian comm-
unity retained from its original home-land, and what
has been lost? In short, how shall we assess the Indian
heritage today?

THIS feature "Indian Heritage" was written by
ALLAN HARRIS based on research from the
following sources: J. C. Jha Indian Heritage in
Trinidad; Arthur & Juanita Niehoff East Indians
in the West Indies; Judith Ann Weller The East
Indian Indenture in Trinidad

The history of the Calypso, is that of urbanisation, immigration and
Black reconstruction in post-Emancipation Trinidad. Some commentators
have seen the Calypso as deriving from an older West African traditions of
social commentary, in which praise, blame, or derision were conveyed in
song, or folk tales. (1) While this is not to be denied, what concerns us
here is what happened to that oral tradition in nineteenth and twentieth
century Trinidad, where there was a mixture of peoples, languages, and
customs. How, for example, did the struggle of British colonizers to
anglicize Franco-Spanish Trinidad affect the broad and ever-changing
masses of people at the bottom of the society?How did the people
respond to the quite relentless pressures of Church, State, and
middle-classes: attempts to ban Carnival, bans on the drum, the
tamboo-bamboo bands, Shango, Spiritual Baptists in short just about
every single folk-form?These questions are, to my mind, some of the
most important ones which require to be asked about Trinidad's social
evolution, involving as they do, the whole process of cultural erosion,
change and innovation, and the concern today with identity.

The very name "Calypso" is
something of a mystery, and there has
been a great deal of debate as to the
origin of the term. It seems to have been
an English corruption of a term which
may have been African, French,
Spanish, or even Carib. Dr. Richard
Allsopp, a linguist at present employed
by the University of the West Indies,
assures me that the term derives from an
Efik expression "Kaiso", which is used
to egg on contestants in folk activities
such as wrestling matches or singing
Older calypsonians such as
Raymond Quevedo (Atilla and Hun)
invariably referred to the form as Kaiso,
and audiences, if they approved of a
song, would shout "Kaiso". What is
interesting, is that Trinidad's most
outstanding art form resembles in its
vague cosmopolitanism and richly
incongruous parentage, something of
the manner in which the country was
settled, and eventually became creolised
into something quasi-English


Nor is it solely in the derivation of
the name that the Calypso are also a
mixture of African, French and Spanish
influences, and at different points in its
history, the Calypso has absorbed
melodies and rhythms from just about
every passing phase in popular music -
the meringue,the mambo, English and
American ballads, Rock'n Roll, the
twist and so on. Many of the early
calypsoes were recorded in the USA,
and during the forties, the influence of
jazz on the accompaniment is clear.
Indeed, it was viewed by some
commentators as a sign that the Calyso
was degenerating.


The development of the Calypso
has paralleled that of Carnival, which,
before Emancipation was celebrated by
the whites and free coloureds, but after
Emancipation became the property of
the former slaves. Whereas the French
Creole whites had celebrated Carnival
by visiting, concerts, dinners, balls and
hunting parties, all conducted with
"contagious gaiety, brilliant verbal
sallies and comic buffoonery", the freed
Africans celebrated it with songs,
street-dancing and stick-fighting, which
often became open rioting. Scores were
often evened at Carnival time, houses
stoned or burnt, and scathing criticisms
levelled at the powerful by the
powerless. (2)
The proprietor class in Trinidad
together with British Crown Colony
governments, in order to preserve a
cheap source of labour for the sugar
plantations, made it difficult for the
freed slaves to either acquire land, or
squat. The result was massive migration
to the towns, and equally massive
unemployment. The next expedient




tried by the Crown Colony Government
was immigration. This policy was
pursued with a relentless indifference to
anything except economic gain. The
result was that by 1840, the British
were faced with the necessity of
imposing coherence on an already
incoherent society. A governor of the
period wrote:
In the year 1840, this colony was
Spanish, French and English for it
was governed by the laws of Spain,

the general feeling and languages
were French; and now trial by Jury,
the Criminal and a greater part of
the Civil Code of English, and
language is fast spreading. In short
every nerve has been strained to
reverse the order of nations as
shown above and to render this an
English Colony, not only in name
but in reality.(3)

But the situation was far more
complex than this. Because Trinidad
had been an island of late settlement,
the British had needed to encourage
immigration even before Emancipation,
so that the population was a great deal
more diverse than the Governor was

prepared to state. The English language
wasn't really spreading fast in the
1840's. The British neglected to educate
this cosmopolitan population, and
proceeded to complicate matters even
further by engaging in a massive
importation of indentured labourers
from India, at the expense fo the
Trinidad tax-payer. In 1866, the
language most spoken on the streets was
still French patois, though most people
could understand and speak some
English. (4)

Urban existence was harsh for the
immigrant. Misunderstanding of the law
compounded with unemployment, and
the violence of the disinherited free
Blacks, often converted the immigrant
into a squatter and a law-breaker.
Immigrants, free and indentured,
constituted the largest group of
prisoners. In 1852, there were
1,005 prisoners born in no less than
39 different countries. "Liberated"
Africans number 201, or 19 per
cent. These Africans had either
been enlisted as labourers direct
from West Africa, or had been
landed in Trinidad as cargoes
captured from intercepted
slave-ships. East Indians, 16 per
cent of the offenders, formed the
second largest group. (5)
This was the world out of which the
freed Blacks were compelled to create
coherence. Driven off the land by laws
which militated against the possibility
of an independent peasantry, they
flocked to Port-of-Spain.
On the outer side of the Dry River, the
eastern boundary of the town, an in-
sanitary and crowded slum appeared in
the 1850's, as the ex-apprentices drift-
ed in from the country. The district
gained an unsavoury name for crime; it
was a kind of Alsatia where no con-
stable would dare venture alone. In this
Negro quarter, bands or societies were
formed, perhaps descendants of the
secret societies of West Africa, which
were devoted to signing and dancing.
Their rivalry often led to feuding, and
references to this became .frequent
after the middle of the 1860's. (6)

These were the earliest calypsonians. The
street-bands participated in stick-fighting, an
activity which was carried out to the accom-
paniment of drumming and chanting. Each
band had its lead singer, or chantuel (also
spelt chantwell, shantwell, chantrelle) whose
task was to harangue the stick-fighters into
action, to sustain the courage of his champ-
ion, and to pour scorn on the rival group and
champion. Each lead singer was supported by
a chorus drawn from among the band. The
stick-fight music was called kalinda (also spelt
calinda, callenda, kalenda, etc.), a music, in-
cidentally, which the white planters used to
enjoy as entertainment in pre-emancipation
days. (7).
What used to be pleasure for the whites,
was celebration, ritual and rebellion for the
Blacks though in this nineteenth century
period, rebellion lacked a clearly defined ob-
ject, and was often nothing more than the
debilitating infighting of the oppressed, which
left the power structure intact.
Errol Hill records that the terms most
drequently used in the nineteenth century to
describe Trinidad music were:
bamboula, calinda and belair (or bele),
while insurrectionary songs form a
separate category. All of these and
other religious and work songs of the
Negroes have left their mark on the
calypso of today. The bamboula was a
sort of drum dance accomoanred by
singing of which little is known.The
calinda chants with their litany-like
call-and-resp o nse structure expressed
threats or defiance or boasted of in-
vincibility. They evolved into the tra-
ditional road-march calypso. But the
direct antecedent of the modern
calypso was the bel air, and there are
several interesting references to sub-
stantiate this.
The bamboula is inadequately described by
Hill as "a sort of drum-dance accompanied by
singing." Pearse records that it was one of
those slave dances which the masters used to
enjoy in pre-Emancipation days. (9) Dressed
as field slaves negroes jardins, the masters
would celebrate Canboulay, or the burning of
the canes which for the slave was an act of
rebellion by doing the very dances which
went with and enhanced the spirit of revolt.
The bamboula, like the calinda, was one such
Sophie Lamson notes that the bamboula
existed in the Virgin Islands, where it seems
to have performed a function similar to the
one which the kalinda was then performing in
"As developed in the Virgin Islands the
Bamboula functioned as the eyes and
ears of sicety ... it served as the local
tabloid and scandal sheet rolled into
one." Music for the Bamboula.was pro-
vided by a drum, straddled by the
drummer who beat out the rhythms
with his fingers and his foot; and by
another performer who used two hard-
wood sticks to play a rhythm on the
side of sthe drum. The queen com-
posed songs extemporaneously; she
would sing the verses and the rest of
the dancers and participants would re-
peat them in a call-response pattern (a
feature characteristic of African
After the Abolition of slavery in 1848
the Bamboula dance became urbanised.
Since facilities for entertainment were
meagre, the songs and the Bamboula
gained in popularity; substantial white
citizens often supported a Bamboula
group. However, "after a time the
drum dances became the terror of the
coloured and whity population alike;
for no one ... was altogether free from
their vigilant probe into every line of
conduct. from the well-intentioned
agency of civic and moral conduct as
Continued On Page 2

Page 1



Page 2



From Page 1
they originally were, the Bamboula
dances degenerated into one of the
most effective weapons of the demi-
monde to heap personal abuse, vitu-
peration, scandal and blackmail upon
all and sundry." *[mine.]
With the modification of a few details, this
passage can easily be a description of the
street-bands of nineteenth century Port-of-
Spaip. Given the intense immigration which
Trinidad sustained in the nineteenth century,
the fact that this island was used to absorb
the overflow from several other West Indian
islands, it is possible tht the St. Thomas Bam-
boula and its Trinidadian counterpart, derived
from very much the same sources.

The patronage which rich whites extended
to ex-slaves in St. Thomas, resembles both the
patronage of the French Creole slave masters
in Trinidad towards their African entertainers,
and the twentieth century extension of this
habit in the patronage which white and
coloured "jacket men" extended towards
their social inferiors, the calypsonians of the 1868
1920's and 1930's. come
The so-called "degeneration" of the Bam- age (
boula in St. Thomas is essentially the same as fight
the so-called "deterioration" which the pri- and
vileged classes in Trinidad (the decent Thesi
Trinidadian) observed in Carnival, the mo- perso
ment the Blacks took it over. The corrosive of th
probing of conduct, through scandal and vitu- island
operation which became the spirit of Bamboula purpi
in St. Thomas, parallels similar developments each
in the Trinidad folk-urban responses of the order
mid-nineteenth century. In both cases, the date
Blacks were demanding not patronage, but Carni
social and economic equality, the full free- took
dom and manhood which the Abolitionists disor
had spoken about, but were unable to pro- obsci
vide. these
The bel air, -which Errol Hill sees as the and
direct antecedent of the modern calypso, is while
described by him as having been "a song of enaci
praise or satire plaintive melancholy." yond
(11) Praise, satire and melancholy there cer- beyo
tainly is in those early twentieth century were
a minor key; impe
but there is also picong, abuse, braggadocio
and a host of other traditional stickfighter at- The ent
titudes, which had hardened into ritual, so wildcat imr
that it would, perhaps, be safer to say that a ployment,
number of folk-forms, each containing an and the des
element of social criticism, met and merged in privileged,
the calypso. It is still possible to identify a in song, a
number of traditional poses, masks and atti- scenity, thi
tudes in today's calypsoes, and to trace them
back to their various roots.
The development of the Calypso para-
lleled that of Carnival, which as we have seen Here
out (14) th
creased by
(1871 18
time that th
British straw
overflow fr
as Barbado
of the con.
an easy and
urban lower

K '
\~ \

came to be stigmatized by the privileged
classes as the festival of hooligans. They tried
to have it banned throughout the nineteenth
century, and especially between the 1860W's
and 1880's, when it was called Jamette Carni-
val. The word Jamette is French patois for,
diametre; chantuels and street-bands were con-
sidered to be beneath the diameter of social res-
pectability (12) In 1881, the famous Canbou-
lay riot occurred when it was believed that the
Government had intentions of stopping Carni-
val. An excerpt from the Report of R.C.G.
Hamilton who was sent from England to in-
vestigate the riots, clinches a number of
points which I have so far been making.
Up to this year, although disturbances
from time to time occurred from per-
sons paying off old grudges under
cover of the Carnival, the conduct of
the people generally appears to have
been comparatively harmless, their per-
formance being mainly of a low and
stupid style buffoonary; but since

iel of kalinda

bands was

spokes man

for the group

certain bands of ruffians have
Into existence, who take advant-
of Carnival to muster in force to
with each other, and to carry riot
disorder throughout the town.
e bands, which are composed of
ons of the lowest character, many
hem being immigrants from other
is, appear to exist for no other
ose than that of fighting against
other, and of creating riot and dis-
r. They are thus of quite modern
and have no connection with old
rival. From the time these bands
part in the Carnival, the riot and
der greatly increased as well as the
enity and indecency attending
exhibitions. It is common during
ival for the vilest songs, in which
names of ladies of the island are
duced to be sung in the streets,
the vilest talk to be indulged in
e filthy and disgusting scenes are
ted by both sexes, which are be-
d description and would be almost
nd belief were it not that they
vouched for by witnesses of un-
achable credibility. (13)
:ire scene is there in a nutshell;
migration and its result in unem-
urban overcrowding, street gangs,
;ire to seek a verbal revenge on the
both by scandalising their women
nd by attacking with open ob-
eir sexual prudery and hypocrisy.
we also have the patronising
voice of Hamilton, the English
who somehow manages to point
at according to the last census the
population of Port-of-Spain had in-
5,000 or 100% in the last ten years
881), without noting at the same
lis massive immigration was part of
ategy in anglicising Trinidad, by
out the French element with the
*om English-speaking islands, such
s and St. Vincent. Thus, the roots
flict were, as always, avoided, for
d superficial condemnation of the
r classes.


SIN THAT confused post-Emancipation
period, the problem of identity must
have been acute. How was status to be
determined in a society where groups of
Yorubas, say, fresh from Africa as in-
dentured workers, or taken off slave
ships, were living alongside creolised
Blacks of French, English or Spanish
background, Indian indentured workers,
and a dozen more fragmented racial
groups; all experiencing severe problems
of language in their relation to the
power structure? Clearly, in that melee,
the man who was recognized as a
possessor of the word, and as a
spokesman for the group, occupied a
position of supreme importance. Such a
man would have been the chantuel of
kalinda bands.

The chantuel of calypso legend was
often accredited with supernatural powers
(15) and the whole business of stickfighting
w.s bound up with obeah. It was usual for the
stickfighter to have his bois "mounted" (i.e.
charmed, invested with invincible power). The
role of the chantuel was to reinforce obeah
with verbal magic. He had to inform the rival
champion before the actual contest took
place, of what dire injuries were to be dealt
him. This sort of thing is, of course, common
to a number of heroic traditions all over the


In the case of the stickfighter, it wasn't a
matter of pose. Boasting had its roots in
magic and obeah. By boasting of his power,
the stickfightersought to gain possession of it;
he sought an immunity from his opponent's
blows by proclaiming his invincibility. His
rhetoric was a serious one, a formalized,
almost religious boasting, verbal prelude to a
game in which manhood, status, identity
within the group, and sometimes life itself,
were at stake.
The stickfighter's prowess with his stick
was also connected with an ethic of virility,
sexual mastery. D. J. Crowley records what
must have been a typical stickfighter boast:
"I, Lawa (French: le Roi) with stick,
with fight, with woman, with dance,
with sing, with drum, with every-
thing." (16)
This expresses something of the sense of
mastery over life which these people must
have felt, in spite of the grim conditions of
their daily existence. The Calypso grew out of
this milieu of anarchy and mastery, of violent
self-assertiveness and rhetorical force. It has
always been a male mode, whose themes are
manhood and the identity of the individual
within the group. It differs from other New
World African forms in that it has very few
roots in religion, obeah having lost its
coherence as a folk religion.
The calypsonian, like the old Blues
singer, was regarded by the Christian in his
society as singing devil music. Indeed, a friend
of mine who was educated in a San Fernando
convent from the late 1940's to the mid
1950's, told me that all Convent girls had to
attend a special Retreat before Carnival, to
atone for all the sins that other people would
be committing during the season of license
and festivities. Among these sins, of course,
were the constant blasphemies of calypso-
nians against the name of God. Every calypso
was another wound in Christ's side, and in the
Sacred Heart of his mother.
This piece of information can easily be
substantiated by reading the Catholic News
immediately prior to each Carnival, and by
looking at the scores of letters o the editors
of Trinidad's dailies, for the last thirty years
or so. Calypsonians were regarded by the de-
vout as being the servants of Lucifer. Their
inescapable blackness did not help the matter
either. Yet, surprisingly enough, nineteenth
century stickfighters were pleased that their
Blackness was associated with the diabolical.
It is recorded that during the 1870's, ,a
mulatto Attorney General, Maxwell Philip,
objected to a stickfighting song, which he be-
lieved "stigmatized the Negro race atro-
ciously." (17) The words translated from
French patois read:
The Devil is a Negro
But God is a white man




of the


Bamboula, Bamboula,
Bamboula, Bamboula.
The stickfighters claimed that the words of
the song acted as prayer and charm, infusing
them with the satanic spirit necessary for the
fight they were about to undertake. In a
footnote, the term "Bamboula'. is explained:
The words of this song were earlier as-
sociated with the Bamboula dance,
which is supposed to have originated in
Trinidad during slave days. At certain
stages in the dance the dancers
stamped, went prostrate and beat the
ground, a gesture which was symbolic
of the final victory when the negro
would eventually be able to be the tor-
mentor and not the tormented. (18)
What is ironic about this, is that Black stick-
fighters should be using the traditional words
of racial defiance and wish-fulfilment to con-
jure up inner power to batter, not their
enemies, but each other. True, it was in cele-
bration of an ethic of manhood, but the pass-
age indicates that the impulse towards social
rebellion, was turned inwards quite as much
as it sought release in abuse of the privileged

Calypsonians in the late nineteenth
century were particularly harsh on the rising
mulatto professional class (19) perhaps, with
good reason. The mulattoes, like the Afro-
Saxon Blacks a generation or two later, were
more concerned with their group, than with
true social justice for all. The chantuels sensed
this and attacked the mulatto as a man with-
out legitimacy, striving for promotion to the
white group.
This did not mean, however, that the
chantuels were certain of their own position.
For a long period after the 1880's they were
to manifest a general lack of idea or perspec-
tive. Often, they would attack the results of
colonialism while accepting the supremacy of
the colonizer. Hardly any sang
against the British Empire or the white wo rid
in general during the World Wars. Their
enemies were the opponents of the Mother
Country, chiefly, Hitler and Mussoloni. Of
course, at. these times, a strict censorship was
maintained by the British; but that was not
the whole story.
Calypsonians, until the period from
Cipriani onwards, tended to reflect, rather
than examine, the prejudices, tensions and in-
congruities of their age. In the late nineteenth
century, these tensions and incongruities were
extreme. Mulattoos, for example, could de-
mand a greater say in the running of their
country, and simultaneously want to keep the

Page 3


ill- won

Blacks disenfranchised, while Blacks could
pinpoint the mulatto problem with great ac-
curacy and at the same time castigate each'
other, and accept the context of colonialism
as the only one possible.

The language of Calypso throughout the
nineteenth century remained French patois.
Much more interest was taken in education
after the Keenan Commission of 1869 re-
vealed the incoherence of the primary schools
system in the island. In spite of this, the pro-
blem of language remained acute, for both
teachers and pupils.
In 1886, H. H. Collens, Superintendent of
the Boys' Model and Normal School, Port-of-
Spain, who later became Chief Education
Officer, was still making a point about the
linguistic heterogeneity of the island. Yet, he
did see the larger towns as a trifle more homo-
genous. Obviously. That was where the
schools were, and where the rule about com-
pulsory primary education was first to be en-
forced. (20) Hence the towns were the
greatest centres for creolization in English, a
process which was to continue and which led
first to the modification, then the virtual de-
mise of French Creole culture in Trinidad.

The strain placed on the young colonial in
a society which was simultaneously Victorian
and Crown Colony, was extreme. The struggle
for language was particularlyF painful. Before
the patois-speaking pupi accommodated him-
self to speaking and writing in English, he had
to relate the new language to the rhetorical
traditions of the old one. Collens noted that
many of his secondary school pupils were in-
trigued by the sound rather than by the sense
of words. Indeed, they seemed to be
interested in words for their own sake, rather
than vehicles for communicating meaning.

In my capacity as Dominie I have con-
tinually had to check the disposition of
my pupils in Trinidad to use long-
winded words and high-flown phrases.
Boys and young men spend hours
poring over dictionaries, simply to try
and master the meanings of words
which for length may be measured by
the yard. They positively do not be-
lieve in the sweet simplicity of the
Saxon tongue. (21)

This was one of the results of the anglicising
policy, which a Crown Colony education was
geared to promote. On the other hand,
Trinidadians had inherited from their French
background intricate word games, such as
Dame Lorraine (22) Pierrot Grenade, and
Robber Talk Dame Lorraine a satire on the
school-master/pupil situation. Pierrot
Grenade, a, nineteenth century import from
French-patois speaking Grenada, involved
verbal battle between two sturdy antagonists
armed with whips.

Their form was to prepare and memo-
rise speeches, and when they had met,
they would deliver their speeches and
if one or the other could not respond
with oratorial fluency then a challenge
would be issued and a fight with the
whips would follow. (23)

The emphasis in Pierrot Grenade was on
intricately worked-out puns, and a kind of
charade. "Ole Mas," too, such as it exists
today, is largely based on intricate verbal
puns, which are dramatized by masqueraders,
bearing placards which state the puns that
they are enacting. The emphasis in Robber
Talk was on self-aggrandisement, verbal
magic, and the use of big words, whose sound
was meant to defeat the enemy. Robber Talk
resembles the "Signifying" of the American
Negro, and is related to the calypsoes of the
early twentieth century.

THE PERSON accredited with having
sung the first calypso in English was
Norman le Blanc, Richard the Lion
S Heart. This was in 1898 (24). Le Blanc,
whom J. D. Elder refers to as a French
aristocrat (25) opened the first calypso
"tent" and was charging a small fee by
A major figure in the anglicizing of
Calypso was Philip Garcia, the legendary
Lord Executor. Of Portuguese descent,
Executor had received a secondary edu-
cation, both of which were rare for a
calypsonian. Starting in 1901, he
George Adilla, (the Duke of Marl-
borough), and Norman le Blanc,
(Richard the Lion Heart), displayed
such fluency in the new language, that it
became a challenge to the lesser calypso-
nians to master English. Executor set a
tradition in Calypso by taunting his
rivals about their poor education. Here,
for example, is an excerpt from one of
his picong battles with Atilla the Hun:
I admire your ambition, you'd like to
But you'll never be a Kaiso King
To reach such a height without blemish
or spot

You must study Shakespeare, Byron,
Milton and Scott
But I'm afraid I'm casting pearls before
For you'll never inculcate such
thoughts divine
You really got a good intention, but
poor education.
Of course it was all in the spirit of picong; yet
it did indicate a certain truth about the value
placed on a colonial education and about how
education, and particularly fluency in English,
would become an Afro-Saxon fetish.
Executor and a few others regarded them-
selves as having a duty to raise the standard of
the Calypso, and it was often difficult in their
work to separatethis from patronage. Part of
this process of raising the tone of Calypso was
the choice of heroic high-flown themes and
language, or the acquisition of facts about
British Royalty which was regarded as

Executor was brilliant at both things.
Moreover, he had a social conscience, and
sang at time about the abuses in his society.
Here, for example, he brilliantly defines the
intricate system of nepotism and graft which
was an integral part of the Crown Colony
system, and persists today in the age of

The Government food distribution
Has reached a scandalous situation
If they just give me authority
I'd settle this matter immediately
For it's the essence of commonsense
To dispense with Spence at any ex-
And then I'd appoint a board
What to do? To control the Control
Board (27)
The style of singing in the first twenty
years of the twentieth century has been des-
cribed by Quevedo as "the oratorical pattern
of recitative in song." (28)
From 1903 onwards till about 1921,
the kaiso followed the oratorical
pattern; that is to say, the kaiso was in
the nature of a rhetorical recitative in
song, sung in the minor key, with eight
lines to the stanza. The oratorical
pattern was otherwise called a double
tone. Sometimes singers like Inventor,
Executor and Mentor would actually
lapse for effect into speech rhythms. It
is possible that this period of the kaiso
was influenced by the great public
speakers and inspiring orations of the
epoch of Sir Henry Alcazar, M'Zumbo
Lazare, Maresse Smith, and Bishop
Hayes. (29)

Quevedo also mentions that songs from
several other islands had a minor influence on
the melody of Calypso, and that the French
islands produced songs with a greater measure
of snycopation, a richer tension between
metre and rhythm, than their English counter-
parts, whose "rhythm was too immovably
correct," allowing "no room for ornament-
ation, speech lapse and return to rhythm,
dramatic build-up and verve." (30). Quevedo,
one of the early masters of the oratorical
style, attributes to the French patois back-
ground the calypsonians.'

tendency to have acceleration and dece-
a tempo, a lively vivacious melodic
a certain thythmic unevenness including
from and return to rhythm, breaking
and remeshing
the words with music, a rendering of
the half beat
which makes kaiso music of a certain
type so difficult
to score (no doubt connected with the
drum accompaniment
of a former period also used in kalenda
and congo). (31)

Here one notes again the Calypso's rich
and various roots, and the complexities which
attended the Trinidadian's quest for the word
in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
Despite the presence of reasonably articulate
figures such as Atilla, Executor, and Richard
Lion Heart, the majority of calypsonians still
lacked a formal education, were still the dis-
possessed of the streets, whose only power lay
in their attempts to grasp, to appropriate the
word, to master language, and to twist it to
their own ends of humour, praise, censure or

Atilla's surmise that calypsonians derived
some of their rhetoric from the great orators
of the period, is certainly borne out by the
roles which calypsonians singing in the orator-
ical style sometimes assumed. Their vocabu-
lary is taken from war, astronomy, the Courts
of Law, the schools. They assumed the roles
of all who wielded power over the word: the
priest, the lawyer, the judge in backward
pupils. The schoolmaster role is one that is
deeply embedded in the society. One can still
find Trinidad politicians who see themselves
as schoolmasters upbraiding unruly pupils.
Calypsonians never saw themselves as mer-
chants, or planters, the people who were
really wielding power in the society. It was
the rhetoric of the time which fascinated
them more than any other thing; powerful
sounding words, rather than real power. V. S.
Naipual, in his novel, The Mimic Men, regards
this preoccupation with words rather than or
as a substitute for power, as a feature of all
colonial societies.

The career of the colonial politician is
short and ends brutally. We lack order.
Above all, we lack power, and we do
not understand that we lack power. We
mistake words and the acclamation of
words for power; as soon as our bluff is
called we are lost. Politics for us are
do-or-die once-for-all charge. (32)
According to Naipaul,colonial politics are a
mixture of what in Trinidad is termed "grand-
charge", and the high-flown rhetoric of bluff,
empty rodomontade and attitudinising. There
seems to me to be much to support this view,
especially in the politics of Trinidad.

At present, however, the point I am trying
to make is that attitudes of "grand-charge"
and rhetoric, were the very life-blood of the
Calypso early in the twentieth century. The
calypsonians ritualised a society's quest for
power, direction, and manhood. If one tries
to see their effort as part of a process, a long
slow painful movement, one will be able to
determine the degree to which the society has
altered or retained its traditional features, and
to analyse the elements of social and political
change in the plural society of Trinidad.
A few examples of early twentieth century
oratorical singing in the Calypso serve as an
illustration of what I have been saying so far.
Patrick Jones, one of the earliest devotees to
serious masquerading in the twentieth century
Carnival, and a pyrotechnist of sorts, was also
a calypsonian. Singing under the name of
Chinee Patrick (he was half-Negro, half-
Chinese) he entered serious competition just
before oratorical Calypso, began to wane.
Here, he describes a picong session with
Executor, who, in 1918, was already regarded
as an old-time calypsonian (Executor was to
continue singing until the late forties, when,
almost blind, he retired from the fray).


Jones' calypso-war with Executor, took
place in the early 1920's. According to him, it
required not only two singers but two
choruses, and two different sets of musicians.
In other words, it resembled the verbal and
physical encounters between the traditional
kalinda bands. This indicates the effect of the
calypso tents on the tradition of street bands.
Jones notes that the older tradition of stick-
fighting despite pressures placed on the street
bands by the Police and public from the
1880's, 'died hard, and continued to exist
alongside the new developments in Kaiso
singing. (33)
According to Jones, from 1900 to 1904
Carnival makers used to base their costumes
on the splendid vestments of the priest. The

Church, seeing this as sacrilege, called for a
ban on this kind of mask. Carnival was then
abandoned for a few years to the traditional
kalinda bands, with their tamboo-bamboo ac-
companiment. Calypsonians also reverted to
traditional habits of vituperation:

At that time the Calypso was nothing:
it was obscene. The songsters had re-
tired through the trouble with the
ministers of religion. (33)

This was a period of transition, when the
Calysponians were caught between the older
tradition of singing as chantuels for particular
street bands, and the new one of singing in
the tents. Many of them did both things, com-
posing their songs all through the year, and
assuming the role of travelling minstrels.

Also, for special public events such as
the Siparia fete and race days, many of
the bands would gather at the parti-
cular venue and compete with each
other for public acclaim and, perhaps,
a few free "grogs." (34)
Errol Hill sees the tents as having exerted
their true influence in the thirties, not in the
first quarter of the twentieth century. In the
thirties, chantuels who had formerly been at-
tached to masquerade bands, began to devote
their full energies to singing in the tents.
"Calypso improvisation gave way to pains-
taking rehearsal before performance.

The atmosphere of the tents was charged
with competition as the singers vied with each
other to win personal acclaim from their
audience. "' (35) Such competition has its
parallel in the jazz jam sessions, among Black
American musicians of the thirties and forties
where singers would try to sing each other off
the stage, or soloists would compete to see
who could produce the most fantastic riffs. In
both cases, audience response was regarded as
the ultimate measure of the performer's skill.
Patrick Jones' Calypso War with Executor,
belongs to the earlier period of the improvised
picong, when the traditional rivalry and vio-
lent confrontation of the streetbands were
being gradually converted into a struggle for
verbal mastery in the tents.

Jones's Chorus

They call me name not in vain, not in
vain, not in vain (Repeat)
For the ... minister of education over
all calypsonians,
"In this colony" was an English phrase
substituted for the traditional French
patois termination to a stanza, sans
humanite" Sans humanite itself was a
retention from older chants.


In the extension of this rebellion
We hear the cries of assassination
The extermination of nation by nation
... feeble expostulation
When babes cling to their mothers'
The angel of heaven will confess
For I'm the terror of the land and I have
no compassion (Sans humanite)
Direct Address to Opponent
Before the tribunal bar you stand
Before the Lord Chief Justice of lere-land
[old name
or Trinidad]
For your treasonous and treacherous threat,
On the cross of crucifixion you'll be out-
The jurors gave your verdict unanimously
"Guilty!" Take your stand in eternity
Continued On Page 4

Page 4



From Page 3

And die ignominiously for your low propen-
sity (Sans

You, the Lord Executor
Tonight you have to surrender
Your verses are congest with phrases that are
Your sentences are worthless and grammarless
Now you're condemned I spread the news
For the English language you now abuse
Bad teaching and training have you lamenting.

In the Chorus, the calypsonian makes a
general announcement of his presence. In the
Recitative, which is intoned in the style of a
priest, or Midnight Robber, the calypsonian
signifies, says who he is and why he is to be
feared. He makes allusions to World War I,
hinting to his opponent that he is insomeway
connected with earth-shaki ng disasters. In
other calypsoes in the oratorical tradition, the
singer claims to be related to natural forces
such as earthquakes, hurricanes, thunder, and
so on, harking back to the verbal magic of the
nineteenth century chantuels. After this, he
addresses his opponent directly, and the
picong session, which in some cases went on
for hours, according to Jones, starts in

One notes too, the powerful last line of each
stanza, which became traditional in the
Calypso, so that today, audiences expect the
last line to provide something surprising.In-
deed, in the hands of sophisticated students
of the form of Calypso, such as The Mighty
Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) and Chalkdust
(Hollis Liverpool), the endings of stanzas
often create a chain of ironic surprises
throughout the calypso. (see, for example,
Sparrow's Monica Dou Dou, Obeah Wedding,
Mr. Robinson and Lockjoint, Police Get More
Pay, and Chalkdust's Two Sides of a Shilling).
At times, the last line seems to alter the whole
meaning of the calypso.


Also noteworthy is the length of some of
the lines, where speech rhythms defeat the
metrical pattern of the verse. As we have seen,
Atilla noted this as normal in the oratorical
Calypso. He attributes the frequency of the
"half-beat" to this tendency to cram words
into a line.
This is to put it simply. The reason why
the Calypso is generally difficult to score is

that the bar is divided into sixteen semi-
quavers, which allow the calypsonian to cram
as many syllables (or as few) as he likes, into a
line. The sense of the passage thus becomes
the determinant of how it is to be phrased.
The oratorical calypso taught calypsonians to
explore to the full tensions between the fixed
or understood beat of the passage, and the
often unorthodox stresses which the sense of
the passage required.
Later calypsonians were to refine this
essential jazz art, so that strict justice might
be done to both metre and rhythm. In recent
years, Sparrow has done the most to extend
the rhythmic dimensions of the Calypso. (See
e.g. Sir Garfield Sobers, The Governor's Ball,
Shanty Town People. Other remarkable
achievements in rhythm have been Melody's
The Eyes of Trinidad, Zebra's Carnival Pro-
clamation, and Sparrow's Carnival in '68).


AN EXAMPLE of a more sophisti-
cated Calypso War, recorded sometime
in the thirties, follows. Here, Executor,
Caresser, Atilla and Lion, either com-
ment scathingly on Houdini, a fellow
calypsonian who in 1929 had gone
abroad, or sing choruses signifying who
they are.
This recording has no litany-like incanta-
tory recitative. It shows a greater degree of
verbal sophisitcation than the Jones version.
Its adherence to metre and its simultaneous
rhythmic improvisations, are brilliant. Particu-
larly amazing is Lion's Chorus. He takes en-
jambement to its extremity, starting and

ending phrases in the middle of bars, and thus
establishing a counter-rhythmic pattern,
which plays against the established movement
of the line.
Lion's success depends on his ability to
transpose the distinct tones of Robber Talk
into the lyrics of Calypso. Of course, what is
happening to the rhythm of the calypso can-
not be observed simply by reading the words
on the page. One has to hear the calypso. Here
is an excerpt.

Those who boast Houdini can sing
In my opinion they know nothing.
For it's all propaganda, deceit and
He hasn't got the shadow of intelli-
The money that was spent on his slates
and books
Has not improved his manners and
He has a good inclination but foreign


From the very first day that I was born
Men like Houdini started to mourn,
Monarchs wept and princes cried
When they saw this new star up in the
Astronomers in my horoscope state
He'll be proud illustrious and great,
And they named me Atilla, the terror,
the brutal conqueror,
Master Mi Minor. fie. Master of the
Calypso in E Minor]

The earth is a-trembling and
a- tum bling
And the heavens are falling; and all
Because the Lion is roaring.
My tongue is like the blast of a gun.
When ah frown
Monarchs want to bow down to the
Devastation, destruction, desolation
and damnation
All these I'll inflict on insubordination:
For the Lion in his power is like the
rock of Gibraltar... (36)

A great deal of Sans humanite boasting is
inseparable from the rhetoric of the Carni-
val makers who call themselves the Midnight
Robbers. The Robber had to find language
suitably terrifying to explain to his victim
why he was a man to be feared. Daniel
Crowley, who researched into the Robbers
(37) gives a few examples of Robber Talk:
Stop! Drop your keys and bow your
knees, and call me the Prince of Dark-
ness, Carnival Master, For if I gather
my teeth and stamp my feet it will
cause a disaster. So bow your knees
you infernal traitor, and call me your

There's no gun, no dagger made of
steel can make me feel or heal. My
motto today, is kill, plunder and slay. I
have no sympathy upon human being.
This tradition of rhetoric has become forma-
lised in the society at large, and often, poli-
tical oratory is indistinguishable from Robber
Talk. Sparrow understood the point at which

the two things become the same and/a poli-
tical satire such as Get to Hell Outa Here puts
the language of the hooligan/bad john and
anarchist of the streets into the mouth of a
scholarly politician, indicating that the
society is unified at deeper levels than it cares
to admit
Who's not with me is my enemy
And dust will be their destiny. (Get To
Hell Outa Here)
These are Robber Talk lines. One of the fas-
cinating features about Trinidad, a society
practically founded upon role-playing, is the
way in which the mask and the face become,
at times indistinguishable from each other, so
that what seems to have been said in jest is
often meant in earnest, and vice versa.

To round off what I have been saying
about the Sans humanite Calypso, Robber
Talk, the Oratorical tradition and so on, I'd
like to suggest a comparison between these
forms of rhetoric and the Black American tra-
ditions of the Dozens and Signifying. H. Rap
Browne describes the Dozens as a game of
repartee in which contestants attempt to
humiliate each other in obscene rhymes. Here,
as in so many Black forms, the audience was
the final arbiter. Browne goes on to say that:

In many ways though, the Dozens is a
mean game because what you try to
do is totally destroy somebody else
with words. It is the whole competi-
tion thing again, fighting each other.
There'd be sometimes ifortyr or fifty
dudes standing around and the winner
was determined by the way they res-
ponded to what was said. If you fell all
over each other laughing, then you
knew you'd scored. It was a bad scene
for the dude that was getting humi-
liated .. it was like they were humi-
liated because they were born Black
and then they turned around and got
humiliated by their own people, which
was really all they had left. But that's
the way it is. Those that feel most
humiliated humiliate others. (38)

This statement is completely relevant to
Trinidad, where at times, verbal dexterity is
employed to humiliate an opponent, laughter
growing out of powerlessness and resembling
a tearing out of entrails. Anti-feminist
calypsoes of the Forties and Fifties, for
example, all those ballads abusing Trinidad's
wartime prostitutes for earning a living off
Yankee soldiers, the early work of Sparrow,
same of Melody's picong calypsoes, are
astringent with this quality of abuse. The
1950's were the 1850's in a different key.


Browne describes "Signifying" as a kinder
form of rhetoric, in which the contestant,
though concerned with his own self-
aggrandisement, is not try ing to destroy the
identity or undermine the status of his oppo-
nent. It contains a phallic self-projection
similar to the Calypso, a great deal of which is
about sex.

Man you must don't know I am. I am
sweet peeter jeeter the womb beater,
the baby maker, the cradle shaker, the
deer slayer, the buck binder, the
woman finder. Known from the Gold
Coast to the rocky shores of Maine.
Rap is my name and live is my game.

I'm the man who walked the water and
tied the whale's tail in a knot. Taught
the little fishes how to swim, crossed
the burning sand and shook the devil's
hand (40)

The spirit of these sentences resembles that of
the early Oratorical calypsoes, and that of
Robber Talk. By and large, the Calypso War
seems to have been a test of verbal skill with
no enmity involved, though reputation was at
stake. Such humour existed, not so much
positively to annihilate identity, as to remind
the over-reacher that his identity lay within
the group that, however high he might as-
cend, he could be levelled. Jayawardena
points out that ritual quarrelling performs the
same function among rural Indians in Guyana.
(41) It is a strange egalitarianism of under-
privilege manifesting itself negatively in a
desire to reduce the successful, and positively
in a constant striving for relevance. The social
history of Trinidad from the 1920's to the
1950's is distinguished by this positive and
negative striving.


(1) For general discussions on the origins
of both the name and the form of the
Calypso, see:
(a) Espinet C.S., & Pitts H., Land of the
Calypso: The Origin and Development
of Trinidad's Folksong, Port-of-Spain,
(b) Lamson, S. M., Music and Culture in
the Caribbean, N.A. thesis, Middleton
Connecticut, 1957. Unpublished
(c) Hill E. "Cdlypso," Jamaica Journal,
Vol. 5, No. 1, (March, 1971) pp. 23 -
(d) Hill E. The Trinidad Cam ival, Univer-
sity of Texas Press, 1972.

(2) Descriptions of the connections bet-
ween music and conflict in Trinidad
can be found in the following:
(a) Pearse, A. "Carnival in Nineteenth
Century Trinidad,"
Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 4, Nos. 3
& 4 (March and June, 1956) pp. 175 -
(b) Crowley D. J., "Towards a Definition
of Calypso,"
Journal of the Society for Ethno-
Vol. 111, No. 2, (May 1959) pp. 57
Vol. 111, No. 3, (September, 1959)
pp. 117 121.
(c) Edler J. D., "Cdlor, Music, and Con-
flict: a Study of Aggression in Trinidad
with Reference to the Role of Tradi-
tional Music," Ethnomusicology, Vol.
VIII, No. 2, (1964) pp. 128 136.
(3) Cited in Cuffie D. G., Problems in the
Teaching of English in the Island of
Trinidad from 1797 to the Present
Day, Unpublished Thesis submitted for
the M.A. in Education, University of
London, Institute of Education, 1963,
p. 46.
(4) Gamble, W. H., Trinidad: Historical
and Descriptive, London, 1866, p..39.
(5) cuffie D. G., op. cit., p. 76.
(6) Wood D., Trinidad in Transition, DUP,
London, 1968, pp. 240 241.
(8) Hill E., "On the Origin of the Term
'Calypso' "Ethnomusicology, Vol. IX,
No. 3, (September, 1967), p. 365.
(9) Pearse A., op. cit., pp. 181 182.
(10) Lamson S. M., op. cit., p. 21. The
quotations within the passage were
taken from a pamphlet by Emanuel C.
H., "The Bamboula Dance."
(11) Same as reference No. (8).
(12) Pearse A., op. cit., p. 188. See also J.
H. Collens, A Guide to Trinidad
(London: Elliot Stock, 1888), p. 51
and p. 103.
(13) Report of R.C.G. Hamilton on the
1881 Canboulay Riots in Trinidad, re-
printed as "The History of Canboulay:
The Hamilton Report," Vanguard,
Trinidad, (Saturday February 8, 1969),
p. 5. (14) ibid., para. 39
(15) Pearse A., editor, "Mitto Sampson on
Calypso Legends of the Nineteenth
Century, "Caribbean Quarterly, Vol.
IV, Nos. 3 & 4, (March & June, 1956)
pp. 250 262.
(16) Crowley D. J. "Tdwards a Definition
of Calypso," Journal of the Society for
Ethnomusicology, Vol. III, No. 2, p.
(17) Same article as in reference No. (15),
p. 258. (18) ibid., p. 258 n.
(19) Elder J. D., "Color, Music and Conflict
...", Ethnomusicology, Vol. 8, No. 2,
(1964) p. 132.
(20) Collens J. H., op. cit., p. 200.
(22) Crowley D. J., "The Traditional
Masques of Carnival," Caribbean
Quarterly Vol. IV, Nos. 3 & 4, (1956)
pp. 194 223.
(23) Belgrave J., "Reflections on Carnival,"
The Beacon Vol. II, (May 1932) p. 17
(Trinidad. Editor Albert Gomes)
(24) Hill E., "Calypso," Jamaica Journal,
VOL' V. N6. 1, (March, 1971, p. 24.
(25) Elder J. D., op. cit., p. 131.
(26) Trinidad Guardian, 9.February, 1964.
(27) ibid.
(28) Quevedo R., "History of Calypso,"
This Country of Ours, Trinidad, 1962,
P. 89.
(29) ibid., p.93.
(30) ibid., p. 91
(31) ibid., p. 93.
(32) Nai paul V. S., The Mimic Men
Men, Deutsch, London 1967, pp. 10 -
(33) All quotations from, Calypso Lore and
Legend: An Afternoon with Patrick
Jones, Cook 33 r.p.m.'LP 5016
(34 Pitts H., "Calypso, from Patois to the
Present Form," Guardian Supplement
(Trinidad) 26 August, 1962.
(35) Hill E., "Calypso Drama," Caribbean
Quarterly, Vol. XV, Nos. 2 & 3 (June
September, 1969) p. 87.
(36) Excerpt of a Calypso War between
Executor, Caresser, Atilla, and Lion,
transcribed from The Real Calypso,
1927 1946, compiled and annotated
by Samuel Charters. /RBF 13. (33
(37) Crowley D. J., '.'The Midnight
Robbers," Caribbean Quarterly Vol.
IV, Nos. 3 & 4, (1956) pp. 263 274.
(38) Browne H. (Rap), Die Nigger Die, Dial
Press Inc. N.Y. 1969 p. 26.
(39) ibid., p. 27
:40) ibid., p. 28.
Jayawardena C., Conflict and Solid-
arity in a Guianese Plantation, London

Some of our ancestral
I roots lie in Africa. Chalk-
dust has said it and so too
have other African des-
cendants in the Caribbean
who purport to be helping
the black man find his cul-
tural identity.
And yet there are times
when you feel that many of us
interpret these "African roots"
to mean simply that the
'Negro' was brought against his
will from that potent conti-
nent, forgetting that it is not
simply that a large slice of the
population is of African des-
cent but that that fact has sig-
nificantly influenced culture in
-. Trinidad and Tobago.
Maureen Warner in an
,- ^' article "African Feasts in
Trinidad and Tobago," con-
' .AN v, trained in the December 1971
issue of "African Studies Asso-
AT\.J ciation of the West Indies"
a forcibly reminds us that
-' "Africanism" remains a living
Force in the black African
community in the country.


For instance, see if you can
recognize this feast which is
essentially African in origin: It
is sunrise. Prayers have been
said by the father of the family
and an animal has been sacri-
ficed. Before offering the
animal, the father of the family *
digs a hole in the gound and
the blood of the animal is
allowed to run into this hole.
Later, food is distributed, in
accordance with the practice
of all feasts in Trinidad that
have their origin in Africa -



FROM Maureen Warner's
article in A.S.A.W.I.'s '71
'Bulletin', we get a description
of Yoruba dances held earlier
in this century in Tunapuna.
Claiming that such dances are
still held by Yoruba and Congo
descendants, she writes:
"Dancing took place in a
bamboo-framed tent roofed
by carat leaves. There was
also a married ladies tent from
which undesirable females were
excluded for immoral be-
haviour such as 'dealing' or
marital infidelity.
"Judgement was based upon
signs read from a calabash. The
diviner simply looked into the
calabash and from the signs
contained therein was able to
describe the dress that the
wrong-doer was wearing. At
some of the dances a fowl was
sacrificed at the start of the
feast. If it stood up and danced
headless, it was interpreted as a
sign of victory and success for
the proceedings.
Female celebrants dressed in
douilette (a long white under-
skirt over which was draped a
vivid plain cotton overskirt
drawn up to show the lacework
underneath) and carried large
handkerchiefs. Men carried red
handkerchiefs. It was with
these handkerchiefs and even
towels that the best dancers
were garlanded.
At times they were pre-
sented with a bouquet. Music
was provided with drums, as
many as six, among them, th,
akaramum, the jakaron and the
jigoron. Sometimes three cala-
bashes were used, two of which
were decorated outside with
string and shells or beads and
passed from one person to
another as they swayed to the
rhythm. The third calabash was

plain and used as a drum.
Some of the food served at
such dances were: akasan fer-
mented corn ground several
times and strained. The pap
was then put into a leaf and
steamed. Chataigne was made
into a kuku: the slimy oyoyo
leaf (ochro leaf) was used to
make kalulu; rice, black-eye
peas, potato, cassava and farine
also formed part of the menu.
A lot of olive oil was used in
the preparation s.
Some of the food was
cooked with salt, but the
"jumbie food" was unsalted.
This was food for the ancestral
spirits and consisted of a small
part of whatever item was pre-
pared for general use. It was
put on a leaf on a table where
no one could interfere with it.

A lighted candle was also
placed on the table. Next day
this food was shared among
members of the host family.
The Radas, we are given to
understand, held similar
dances. The main difference re-
marked on by Yoruba des-
cendants is that the Radas beat
steel and shook the shekbe or
boli a large netted calabash.
Sometimes they used a number
of shekbe alone as accompani-
ment for their singing. But at
times they used three drums -
a cutter and two smaller
drums. The kongo started off
dictating the rhythm, the
umele took up a counter
rhythm and the bembem event-
ually joined in with strong
syncopating rhythms.
To beat the smallest drum
was to bule; the middle-sized
drum was to fula and to beat
the largest was to cut. The
cutter, therefore, was another
name for the bembem.


force of


i.e. children first (remember
that it may help you to draw
a parallel in the feast being des-
cribed and the one you know).
The food consists of goat,
sheep, and fowl meat. SALT
(remember!) was not used in
the cooking. The first course,
according to Maureen was
always a glass of sweetened
milk and an akara (flour and
water made into balls and
fried). Apart frqm this there
were rice meals: White rice was
soaked overnight. Half of this
was pounded, water mixed into
it, and sweetened with milk
and sugar. This was called
The other half was used to
make waina. It was made by
mixing the soaked rice with
white sugar and keeping the
sugar damp. If was then served
on top of the akara.
Naturally, there were
variation on this theme. And if
you are not yet reminded of
anything, a description of a
variation of the same feats may
help you. Consider this:
One of sister Warner's in-
formants remembered that
food consisted of goat meat,
ground black-eye peas unsalted
and fried in balls to make
akara, black-eye peas boiled
soft with oil and pepper, corn-
meal and cassava kuku, bread-
fruit and banana balls. Drinks
included sorrel and gingerbeer.
By now, of course you are
thinking of two things: the
chilibibi, sweetbread, unsalted
rice, and plantain leaves of the
'thanksgiving' that so many of
us have attended as young
people growing up and the
spilling of blood at the shango
feast which some of us might
have attended.


Given, as time went by, the
fact that tife African comm-
unity became less and less agri-
cultural and, thereby, having
less and less access to goats or
any kind of sacrificial animal
for that matter, it is easy to
understand how the original
'Sakara' feast became in the
hands of the blacks, particular-
ly the more urban blacks the
simple chilibibi, sweetbread
and sugar cake 'THANKS-
GIVING' with which so many
of us are familiar.

The point of course is that
the "thanksgiving" is a hand-
me-down of the"Saraka." The
word derives from the Hausa
sadaka" referring to a ceremony
in which alms were given to the
needy. And says, Kathleen,
"the ceremony was, and still is,
observed by Hausa and Yoruba
descendants and others who
imitate their practice.
She points out in her article
that Yoruba Saraka were held
in Tunapuna, among other
places, in the first two decades
of the century. Some say that
the sakara gave way to the
greater popularity of Shango
feasts which came from
Grenada a moot point since
there were Yoruba comm-
unities in Trinidad who must
have been aware of theYoruba
deities. It appears, however,
that Grenadian immigrants to
Trinidad did at least strengthen
the practice of 'Shango' rites in
the country.


To talk about "Shango"
itself: the word shango is,
Kathleen tells us, a replace-
ment in general parlance for
the Yoruba word for feast -
'Ebo.' The Yoruba word in-
volved a religious sacrifice per-
formed to meet a particular
need. Such needs included
supplication of health, success
or the desire to ward off death.
August and September are,
from Maureen's investigation,
the most popular months for
this ceremony for "reasons
which are yet obscure," but
which may be connected with
the date of the Emancipation
of the slaves, August 1, 1833 -
Apparently, August was the
season for a number of African
celebrations in days gone by.
Why the word 'Ebo' has
been replaced by the word
Shango is not known. In actual
fact Shango is the name of one
of a number of Yoruba deities
but for unknown reasons the
name of this one god has been
applied to a feast in which he
and the other gods are invoked.
This development, Maureen
points out, is a New World
peculiarity in that in Nigeria
from whence these cult
practices sprang, separate ebo
are held for each deity and one
does not, therefore, have a
combination into one

TAPIA Page 11

ceremony of various cult devo-
tions as has taken place in
Trinidad, Grenada, Haiti, Cuba
and Brazil.
The article pinpoints other,
less religion-oriented feasts.
Among them:
in South Trinidad spoke of
Yoruba feasts held for girls
around 14 and 15. At this,
elders discussed the future of
the young ladies, recom-
mending that they should not
marry outside the tribe. They
were anointed with oil and
sometimes given facial
markings and Yoruba names.

MARRIAGE: The Yoruba
wedding in Central Trinidad
was characterized by a long
procession from the church to
the wedding house led by a
drummer. Shac-shac shaking
women brought up the rear,
their busts 'stuffed-to exag-
geration' as fertility symbols.
The procession consisted of
both the witnesses to the
church marriage and those who
assembled at the churchyard or
along the way after hearing the
gunshot that signalled the end
of the church ceremony (and
the modern wedding with its
procession cars, uninvited
unlookers and guests may have
had its origins in this very


Maureen takes care to point
out that her descriptions of the
feasts are descriptions of
aspects of Trinidad's culture in
the latter half of the 19th
century and up to the first
quarter of the present. Which is
not to say, of course, that all
these feasts have been dis-
continued. African dances are
still held from time to time in
South Trinidad at least;
drumming is still done in rural
weddings and indeed, because
of the socio-political upheavals
of the last two years. It is
re-appearing in the urban areas
as well. Shango still persists.
All the same there is no
gainsaying the fact that "new
fashions, new values, different
cultural emphases, the strange-
ness of the language of the old
songs have all combined to
erode this particular way of
But Maureen insists "the
memories and the lingering sur-
vivals remain, however, as posi-
tive evidence of a culture based
largely on a strong sense of
community living and com-
munal cohesion, a society in
which song and dance and
musical skill were among
primary avenues for self-
expression and prestige, where
food, laboriously prepared, re-
flected a reliance on indigenous
sources of production, a
society with a deeply religious
culture where ceremony was
intimately associated with a
keen awareness of an other
world of gods and ancestral

Page 12 TAPIA

1922 report on his Visit to
the West Indies and British
Guiana, describes the
Indians as being "largely il-
literate, speaking some five
or six different languages,"
and existing in self-
contained communities.
In fact, the "illiteracy" of the
Indians was partly a reflection of
their lack of English education,
resulting from their situation in
the early days of indenture as
workers on the sugar plant-
In the first few decades, very
little in the way of educational
facilities had been provided.
Moreover, there had been little
drive on the part of the Indians
to obtain formal education.
Even in the United Provinces
and Bihar there had been resist-
ance in the rural areas to
Western education and influence
as leading to conversion to
These factors account to
some extent for the persistence
of Hindi as a second language in
the rural areas where Indians
live. The Muslims, for their part,
brought Urdu to Trinidad, which
as a spoken language is basically
the same as Hindi, but differs in
the writing system.
While a number of other
languages, such as Bengali of
Bengal, Tamil of Madras and
Magahi of Bihar, ad been
brought to Trinidad, the major


languages have been Hindi and
its dialects of Uttar Pradesh and
Bihar. Among the old surviving
Indians of Trinidad, the
Bhojpuri dialect is the most
popular spoken language.
Because the early indentured
labourers considered their stay
in Trinidad to be a temporary
one, there was little attempt to
adapt to existing conditions
here. Even after the permanent
settlement of large numbers, the
acquisition of property, and the
growth of villages and towns, the
influence of India was
maintained through visiting reli-
gious leaders and diplomatic re-
It was not long before Indians
were providing the bulk of agri-
cultural labour in Trinidad. In
1891, according to one estimate,
78.33% of the Indian population
in Trinidad belonged to the agri-
cultural profession. The 1931
census indicated that among
working Indian males at least
28,000, or 65%, were directly in-
volved in agriculture.
This rural, agricultural bias
has helped to preserve many of
the values and patterns of living
brought from India. The cultiva-
tion of rice and sugar had in fact
been widespread activities in the
United Provinces and Bihar.
In particular, a great deal of
cultural significance is attached
to the cultivation of rice, which



111 Frederick Street & Campus St. Augustine

has always figured prominently
in religious rites.
The idea of a self-sufficient
village community was one of
the important social legacies of
India. One notable feature of
village life which survived was
the Panchayat, or Council of
village elders, which acted as a
tribunal for the settlement of
The immigrants also brought
with them the concept of the ex-
tended family, in which a
number of married couples and
their children live together and
act as one economic unit.
While the process of immi-
gration itself tended to break up
family units, and while the great
disparity in number between
males and females in the early
years was an undermining in-
fluence, yet even to this day
many features of the original
system persist among the Indian

In India the institution of
caste is more highly developed
than anywhere else in the world,
and carries wi t h it such features
as marital exclusiveness, ceremo-
nial cleanliness, with caste and
level of caste being related to
occupation and economic posi-
Brought together from
scattered areas in India, forced
into communal living on the
boats and on the plantations
and performing very similar
manual tasks in the early days,
the immigrants found it difficult
to maintain the exclusiveness of
the caste system.
Some individuals sought to
retain the prestige of their caste
position, especially the
Brahmans, the highest caste. But
the'absence of the old economic
basis, and the lack of under-

standing of the system by the
rest of the society, inhibited the
full regeneration of the system.

Nonetheless, with the passage
of time, and incre asing occupa-
tional specialization, the old
caste distinctions did re-emerge
to some extent with the
brahman taking to his teaching
and the priesthood, the ahir to
cattle-rearing, the bania to store-
keeping, and so on. The ranking
of the castes reflects well the
situation in North India, where
the brahman and the chattri
(landholders) enjoyed great

Much of the music and dance
and drama the immigrants
brought have disappeared.
Classical forms of music such as
the Bhairavi, sung in the early
dawn, dance dramas such as
Ramaleela, Krishnaleela, and
Rasmandal, and other traditional
art forms have been eclipsed by
modern commercialized music
and films, and the imitation of
popular contemporary Hindi
film singers is widespread.
Many of the popular items of
food from North India are still
widely used, so much so that
roti, dal, bhaji, chatni (chutney)
or achar or cuchala, are now a
part of the diet of Trinidadians
of all races.



Haj Pilgrimage to
Hajji one who has made
the pilgrimage to
Imam Priest
Kitab prayer meeting
Namaaz prayer
Tadjah replica of tomb of
Hasan or Husain






Dukhi (Dookie)


Kahar potter
Nau barber
Pratiloma inter-caste
Tilak Caste Mark




- sister
- brother
- sister-in-law
- engagement
- sister
- father's brother
- gift to Muslim
- wife's sister
- wife's brother
- dowry

Sacred fire with camphor
Devotional songs
sacred fire
small flag
religious ascetic

gift to priest (cash)
pottery lamp
knowledge through meditation
fulfilment of desires
prayer meeting
gift to priest (in kind)

Given by Vishnu
one on whom Vishnu is
-- afflicated
given bjy Krishna
at the feetof Rama
one on whom Rama is kind
at the doors of Rama

in the West Indies


independence greetings

1 I I I I I -' r r I



TAPIA Page 13

a Better Life


in your Bank

Countries are well cultivated
Not as they are fertile, But as they are free Montesquieu


Tapia Page 14


A MUSIC of resistance is
pouring forth from he
townships and ghettoes of
the Bantus in racist South
It represents for the
Bantus, an oppressed ethnic
group of the apartheid Cape, a
focal point of identity, the
symbol of kinship with their
Afro-American brothers, and a
passionate expression of a
people's yearning for freedom
and dignity.
Bantu Jazz or Township
Jazz are the names of a distinc-
tive musical form now growing
in popularity both within
Bantu communities and in the
wider South Africa where it
threatens to break down the
cast-iron barriers of apartheid.
Recrossing the Middle
Passage in the 20th century,
black North American jazz, in
the hands of the Bantus,
becomes an electrifying combi-
nation of traditional musical
forms and modern orchestra-
tion and technique.
Bantu folk songs, dances
and syncopated music have
traditionally lent themselves to
masterful improvisation in the
hands of tribal musicians.
BantuJazz, now with the use of
modern jazz instruments -
piano, string base, guitar, saxo-
phone, trumpet, vibes, trap-set
etc. comes across distin-
guished by powerful local

Bantu Jazz musicians have moved easily from the traditional
folk to conventional instruments like the trap-set and the

The most used instrument
are piano, trap-set and cyclone,
but instrumental innovations re
constantly made. Indeed the
Bantus have had to fashion
some of the instruments them-
Bantu Jazz quite dominates
the radio-programmes reserved
for the Bantus under apartheid
restrictions. Such groups as
The Jazz Disciples, The Count
Basie Jazzmen, The Early

Mabuza Trio, the Mankuku
Quartet and The Soul Giants
are household names among
the Bantu people.
Their Jazz has gained fame
beyond South Africa in other
African countries. World-wide
jazz lovers are tuning an in-
terested ear to the sound the
Bantu musicians are making.

In South Africa sales of re-
cordings of Bantu groups,
choirs, solo singers and bands
such as African Jammer Kids,
Jazz Dazzlers and Jazz Preach-
ers have reached millions.
By allowing some Bantu
jazz groups to perform in cities

like Capetown, Johannesburgh
and Durban, the Pretoria
regime hopes to score propa-
ganda points to impressible
Western newsmen.
But the recent Eartha Kitt
case shows up the true face of
apartheid and sharpens contra-
dictions now being made even
more acute by the success of
Bantu Jazz.




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TAPIA Page 15

Subtle genocide and

WHITE Australia is waging
"subtle genocide" against
that country's black
aborigines. This charge is
solidly backed up by re-
search of an Aborigine
group in Australia where
over 100,000 black natives
exist under conditions
amounting to South
African type apartheid.
Open genocide that resulted
from the rapacity of the white
settlers was brought to a stop
in the late 19th century with
the establistunent of reserves
on whicl Aborigines must stay.
Now, according to an
Aborigine scholar Cheryl
Buchanan, the reserves make
for complete control over the
lives of any Aboriginal under
its jurisdiction.
And governmental neglect,
racial discrimination,
alarmingly high levels of mal-
nutrition and health conditions
generally produce staggering
rates of infant mortality and
disease. Infant mortality
among the aborigines has been
estimated at a shocking 20 per
cent of all births.
Jim Crow Down Under has
produced segregation and bla-
tant economic exploitation of
the aborigines. Where mining
companies are given franchises
to operate on aboriginal re-
serves, wage differentials bet-
ween aboriginal and European
vary from 20 to 35 percent.
In any case, so paternalistic
are the laws that the aborigine
in reservation is not allowed to
collect more than a small per-

centage of his wages. The rest
goes to a "mystical" Aboriginal
Trust Fund.
The racist impression of an
aborigine is that of people "not
capable of looking after them-
selves who drink methylated
spirit all the time."
But, points out Cheryl
Buchanan, "most Aboriginals
are forced to live in poverty.
Full-bloods, half-castes and
quarter-castes are extremely
frustrated and a lot of us start
drinking as a means of escape.
"To be an aborigine in racist
Australia means that people
consider you second-rate, lazy,
shiftless and unintelligent."
It is a medical fact that
Aboriginal babies have brain
damage or defects such as eye
and ear diseases, tuberculosis,
and cases of gastroenteritis and
leprosy have been noted also.
As a tiny minority one
percent of the Australian popu-
lation aborigines have had to
take to publicity winning
agitation to win support to
their cause.
One example was the camp-
in by some Aboriginal acti-
vists on the grounds of the
Australian Parliament Buildings
in Canberra, when a group of
aborigines set up an unofficial
"embassy" in tents and refused
to budge even when winter

came along. That action won
considerable attention and sup-
port to their protest against
denial of land titles to their re-
In every aspect of existence
aborigines are deprived and de-
pressed minority. Iri education,
health, housing, employment
and welfare, aborigines are at
the bottom of the social
ladder. Not surprisingly, only in
crime statistics do the blacks
lead the rest.
Resistance is developing,
however, especially among
young, articulate aborigines
who understand that theirs is a
responsibility to fight for the
right of equality and of self-

'111j1 I ~f~! ~JEP)~ L I

Jim Crow

Down Under


Ten Years of Independence





Tanzania shows Africa the way ahead

From Page 5

On Britain:
"It is true that our relations
with Britain have been through
many periods of difficulty as
we have reacted towards what
we consider to be Britain's
unfriendly actions in relation
to African affairs, or as Britain
has reacted to our opposition

to colonialism. Tanzania has
paid a heavy price in terms of
economic aid for her stand on
these matters; but neither, in
relation to Britain nor any
other country have we ever
wavered in our pursuit of the
policies we believe to be right
because of our desire to
develop the country at
maximum speed. This is
beginning to be understood in



the world and increases the
respect with which our country
is regarded.
"Despite these difficulties
With Britain, however,
Tanzania has been able to
maintain its membership of the
Commonwealth and through
that institution, to rally much
support for the principles we
espouse, as well as to make
new contacts and friendships."





The Nation on its

Tenth Anniversary of Independence
L______- ____

Concluding this section of
his address, President Nyerere
said that his country's natural
ties with India had been
enhanced by their common
membership of the
Commonwealth and that links
with Guyana and with other
West Indian nations had been
facilitated by Commonwealth

membership. He added that
Tanzania's friendship with the
world's small' nations was
growing and that he considered
of particular importance
Tanzania's friendship with
China which had shown a
willingness to help his
country's peaceful revolution.





THE African Studies Association. of the West Indies is a
four year old organisation which has as its aim the fostering
of "a scholarly interest in African studies within the Carib-
bean area."
: Because of the historic West Indian-African ties, the
Association also seeks "in a responsible way to help create
in the community a greater awareness of Africa, African
affairs and things African."
To date, four issues of the Associations Bulletin have
already appeared. Bibliographies for African Studies in West
Indian secondary schools have also been projected.
A.S.A.WI. is open to all members of the public. And
applications should be addressed to: The Secretary,
A.S.A.W.I., P.O. Box 222, Kingston 7, Jamaica, W.I.

-<- 1i --^-- I lll


Dealers in Used Vehicles

& Spare Parts



PHONE: 32819 36774.

This is more than

just a symbol of quality

On the occasion of the Country's 10th year of Independence. The West Indian
Tobacco Company Limited highlights their development and contribution
to the economic growth of the Nation.

An investment of $1/4 million. Opened in 1967, provides additional employment and
valuable saving of foreign exchange.
In 1965, the Company embarked on a 10 year programme for the development of
tobacco farming which at present saves valuable foreign exchange and provides
employment opportunities for some 1500 people in rural areas. At present 30% of the
tobacco used in cigarette manufacture is grown locally.
A $2 million Company expansion programme has been completed. The latest tobacco
drying equipment as well as modern machinery for the manufacture of cigarettes
have been installed.
In 1970, the Company's largest shareholder, the British-American Tobacco Company,
offered a part of its holdings for sale to the public of Trinidad & Tobago and 1,300,000
shares were bought by 1,800 stockholders.
The West Indian Tobacco Company is an important source of Government revenue;
each month it contributes approximately one million dollars to the public purse,
mainly by way of import duties and purchase tax on tobacco products.


____I __l~__C^ ~__~_ __~_II_ ____~_____ ^-l-~---i-Y-~-l^--~rC-

~cLI-----~I, -- --

Tapia Page l7

Where the

mind is without fear

and the heart

held high;



is free;

Where the world has not been

broken up


fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless stirring stretches its arms

towards perfection;

Where the clear

stream of

reason has not

its way

into the

dreary desert sand of


Where the


mind is


led forward t

thought and




Into that heaven of freedom,

my Father,

let my




The Prayer of a Third World poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Fitting reflections,
thoughts for re-dedication as we enter our second decade of Independence,






_ __ I_

I '- ._ L -


The team Santos of Brazil




'Pele' ... Edson Arantes do

COME September 5, we
will go to the Oval in
unprecedented thousands to
witness the brilliance of the
Brazilian footballers and in
particular, the world's greatest
footballer, Pele.
The applause that will meet
Pele's every move will in fact
be the same applause that we
have been giving to Muhammad
Ali, whose boxing ability and
strength of character have
caught the imagination of
people all over the world, to
Garfield Sobers, the cricketers'
cricketer, to the musical giants
- Sparrow, Duke Ellington,
Ella Fitzgerald and the
hundreds of African descent
who, today, dominate in one
field or the other.


The African has made his
mark in the New World and we
in the Caribbean have
contributed to that making.
But because our society is
more than the African we can
never be satisfied until non-
African brothers in the
Caribbean are given the
impetus they require to make
their own particular
contribution to the civilization
in which we live.


If the Afro- American has
made an impact on the New
World it is only because he is
here in vast numbers relative to
the numbers, of, for example,
the Indians whom history has
uprooted and brought across
the seas into the 'West. But
what they have is too special to
be lost to the West simply
because they are small in size,
therefore, we have got to
ensure that any federation of
our territories must have as a
result the strengthening and
projection of minority cultures

Finally an observation
about the match, itself: the
result is not all that important.
But we have to wonder at the
growing insistence that the
country's professionals ought
to be brought back home to
play against the Brazilians.
That people should want our
best team to play is
understandable, but, surely,
the larger question has to do

with the fact that our football
structure still does not effort
our top footballers a chance to
make a living off their skill.
For after the Santos-Trinidad
match and the professionals
leave our side will be as weak
as it was before.
While applauding the
Brazilians we may well
consider this point even if the
applause, in a way, is an
applause of self.

, 0 "4u

.' '. ..* ,
S ,- ;,-' ..



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so here's to

many happy


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make your contribution
towards the real
independence of Trinidad
and Tobago. Take out a
subscription of Tapia.
Make use of our special
offer rates (see form) and
strike a blow for
independent thought and
free expression in the
We are a growing
newspaper, and now that
our press has arrived we
will soon be hitting the
streets weekly. Naturally
the company does not aim
to limit its activities to the
publishing to the
newspaper, important as
that is.


What we plan to do is
to make available to the
people of the Caribbean
low-cost publications of
all kinds of material
bearing particular
relevance to the area.
Already starting in this
issue, we have begun a
serialisation of the
life-story of one of the
leading steelbandsmen in
the country, Bertie
Marshall, captain of
Highlanders. Once the
serialisation is completed
it is to be republished in
book form.
And in response to
requests from people like
writers, printers,
book-sellers and the like
we are offering an
editorial service under
which we will read, edit
and prepare manuscripts
for publication.


Construction of
permanent offices will
begin shortly and since
we expect to be a viable
operation in a relatively
short time we will soon
be able to offer our
supporters an opportunity
to invest in a genuinely
Caribbean printing and
publishing enterprise.
But you certainly do
not have to wait until
then to get involved. You
can subscribe to the paper
simply by filling in the









*iimuuiuimuiiiiimuiiiiiui 1111111


Tapia House Publishing Company Limited,
91, Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna.

Please send TAPIA to me as checked:
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NAM E .......................................... .............

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new bank with a diff-
erent approach to bank- a
ing services in Trinidad
and Tobago. We are
looking for people like
you who want to invest
money at higher interest
rates or who require fi-
nance for business, hou-
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and Management



Restaurant and Bar

The Nation on its


Eastern Main Road, El Dorado,





-- n '*


- --------- ----------


Staf f


Keith Smith
IN THE day, Malik. In
the night, Barnabas. Over
the past months this
double-programme has
been the feature. in the
lives ,of a large cut of
people in this country.
The one, a fictitious
character 'created by
American television with
its eye on the-ratings; the
other, in a sense an
eq-ually fictitious
character created. by the
media here and abroad..
For the Malik, that has
occupied centre-stage, even as
the country struggles to find
out the truth about.itself was
much larger than the life of the
39 year old Trinidadian whose
trial has served to inject the
newspapers with a zeal that as
the issue drags on, begins to-
border on hysteria.
In attempting to explain'
the curious ambivalence that
has marked the attitude- of the
country to .the trial, it is,
necessary to focus on the
society's tendency to create
instant- celebrities, imbuing
them with an' awe that has
little to do with their real
credentials -arid, indeed, that
has little to do with the various
ideas: and positions held by
these men of flesh and blood.


-It is enough that they'
come, bringing with them the
seal of success from the
metropole-. Professionals,
scholars, politicians have, in
the past, sought and gained our.
loyalty simply because they
arrive with honours from a
British university or because
the British press has labelled
them as successes in their
particukr field.
Viewing our unquestoning
minds as virgin terrorr. the',
plant their flag and call upon
us to leave the mapping out of :
the route of our lives in their


If the phenomenon of the
metropolitan "successes" has
been modified, somewhat, in
the sense that more and more
of our overnight "figures"
come from among the resident
population here, the mode of
campaigning remains
We wake up one morning
to find that in the night the
plot has been hatched and we
are asked to let down our
bucket at the side of 'new'
leaders and new political
parties, doctors and doctor
institutions' simply on the basis
of their declarations.
All this, of course, is
understandable. We are a
small, new, migrant society
and in many, indeed most,
ways still a colonial one. As a
constitutional colony, used to
having the English make the
key decisions in our lives we
could get away with the don't
care attitude of suspending our
own judgment.














And if, today we persist in
.throwing up charlatans on the
national stage it is simply
because we want to absolve
ourselves of the responsibility
to make the judgments that we
must make for ourselves. And
we do this, simply because we
lack confidence in our own


That our perversion to call
on a doctor is difficult to shake
off even among those involved
in the process of revolution is
seen from the efforts made by
brothers in the movement to
bring Stokely Carmichael here
at the height of the 1970 crisis.

If Malik's trial lent itself to
these considerations, it lent
itself to ,others as well. For in
the eyes of many people here,
Malik made it and in a sense,
he did. He left here at an early

age a
him i
cdt a
at wo

is th;


Little wonder, then, that as
a reaction to this hypocritical
double-standard, some of our
people have sided with Malik.
Out of this chaos,
MAIhowever, must come order.
That is what the revolution is

S qualities that put them in a In fact, the whole culture
position to make an ho nest of con-men is coming to a
S contribution to themselves and close. And to ensure that the
to the community. And yet the break is a clean one, we have to
society in assessing these men take recourse to our judgment
S is not moved so much by these to our ability to distinguish
S endowments but by the fact between fact and fiction and to
S that they were able to con choose between the comedians
others into believing that they and the committed.
Were much more than in fact But we are well on the
Ba *1* they really were in a phrase way. We, for the most part,
M on their ability to posture. have not fallen for Malik's
0 a militant posturing and the
COMPETENCE grandstand posture that the
-Attorney- General has adopted
S e Perhaps this is because we has been met with deserving
have come to view the society sarcasm by the population at
I as a totally corrupt one, thus large.
the man-of-the moment is he What in fact we are
p y who is more subtle, more demanding are new criteria. So
.'smart' in his corruption. the question in terms of the
,a And Malik has his university ,student or the
p prototypes in the society, of university lecturer becomes not
course. You cannot get away
from them. From the brother BARNABAS
on the block who makes a fine
Sm art of "cutting up" his "What you have" but "What
a colleagues to the politicians you have done", thereby laying
who have achieved national the stress not on the
prominence out of a flair for qualification obtained but on
S gamesmanship, the ability to the contribution made to lift
put one over on the public. the country out of the disorder
It- can be argued, of that prevails.
m course, that such men are To ask ourselves what is
m present in all societies. But the value of 12 '0' levels in
here for too many it is a way terms of the nation's progress;
of life. Hence, the disturbing what is the value of academic
U question: why do so many of honours if the holders merely
our able men degenerate to this subscribe to things as they are,
S negative kind of cleverness, all things being unequal. What,
Sin fact, is the value of
JUSTICE scholarship if it doesn't have at
its aim the finding out of
1 One clear reason arises truths about ourselves and the
from the fact that the society system under which we live.
S still doesn't afford a place to Barnabas persists.
men of real ability. People rise No matter. As the crisis
S on the ladder of achievement approaches its climax, as the
on the basis of contact, party sheeps' clothing falls revealing
s a nobody and, in time loyalties, ass- licking, their the wolves, the Barnabases
ie courted by the British willingness to blindly obey writhe under the glare of the
who in the face of all the instructions from the throne, brightening sun of the new
nce to the contrary made etc. Real competence is rarely order.
nto a black militant with brought into consideration.
kings" from international And the continuing crisis GHOSTS
cities. in the country is, in fact, a
n a society which crisis of competence, of having Soon all the ghouls and
erns itself with success and the wrong men manning the ghosts will be swept away. In
ludes from its key places. So all the their place the reality of
derations of this success institutions are breaking down hard work, from which will
means by which it was the schools, the hospitals, come not 'con' but conscious
ved, Malik was, indeed, a the police service; the roads are men who can function in a
above the ordinary folk. a scandal, the prisons are society that not only affords
re are, of course, hell-holes, necessary foodstuffs but demands from them a level
'dents in the country of are scarce and costly of competence that will keep
who have achieved nothing, in fact, works. at bay, and all those in the
cial, political and social It is clear that the old society whose eminence is
.ss by at best, immoral and order is breaking down. And as based on the fiction that we
,rst, criminal, activities, usual when this happens, have not been and will never be
ludicrousness becomes, the able to do things for ourselves.
REAL ABILITY order of the day. So you have And that, therefore, whatever
an Attorney-General who has little they do, will serve to
The curious aspect of this been responsible for some of satisfy us.
at in most cases these are the most repressive and And if in the event we use
of real ability immoral legislation ever passed a cross, it would serve simply
lligent, articulate, in this country, projected as as backing on which to nail
etic, in fact endowed with this great defender of justice. them.