BEYOND SURVIVAL Indians in Trinidad and Tobago, 1845-2017Product no.: HP220
When Britain ended slavery in Trinidad and introduced a new system of labour using Indians as indentured workers in the plantations, they altered the demographic structure and cultural identity of the island, which resulted in the rich diversity that is today evident in the ethnic and cultural mosaic of the twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago.
Indians were subjected to a terrible form of abuse and occupied low rungs in the social and economic ladder; British bureaucrats and Christian missionaries scorned their dress, languages, religions and culture. But Indians refused to let anyone trample their distinctive lifestyle and fought against all odds to preserve the rich heritage of the motherland and rise to claim their equal place the country they helped build.
Beyond Survival is their story. It is a story of survival through a determination to stand firm and defeat a system of bondage and servitude so future generations could be free in the new land. They preserved their diverse cultural and religious traditions and adopted the best of their new environment. They thrived in the system through education and cultural persistence. Indians created opportunity out of misery, defying colonialism, bigotry, ignorance and persecution through their strong spirit of survival.
This evocative and entertaining pictorial narrative unfolds through the eyes of the grandson of indentured labourers, a master storyteller whose passion is evident in the imagery in these pages. Beyond Survival is the story of Indians in Trinidad and Tobago, a narrative about a people who blended the best of East and West to preserve for themselves and future generations, some of India – its beauty, its culture, its people and its history.
Introduction by Dr Ajay Parasram. Original art by Rudolph Bissessarsingh and Sirju Seeharack Mohan
Jai Parasram is a journalist, author and communications and media specialist, who worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) until his retirement in 2013. He was the Line-up Editor on the pioneering team that inaugurated the CBC’s 24-hour cable news service in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1989, and was privileged to edit the first newscast to air on the service.
Jai's career began in his native Trinidad and Tobago in 1972 and spanned more than four decades, mostly in television, during which he worked as a reporter, editor, producer, interviewer, news anchor, news director and executive producer. He has also trained journalists in Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, and has worked as a consultant for clients in Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States in program development for radio and television, corporate communications, event management and political communication. He has also served as a political and communication adviser to two Prime Ministers of Trinidad and Tobago.
Jai has won several prestigious awards for excellence in journalism. He holds a Master of Journalism degree (MJ) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Jai is also the author of the book Far from the Mountain (2013), which is a series of notes and commentaries on the politics of Trinidad and Tobago between 2007 and 2012.
Jai and his spouse, Sero, live in Toronto, Canada but their cultural roots are firmly planted in Trinidad and Tobago.
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THE SHAPING OF A CULTURE