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Letter to the Editor: Is there an anti-Hindu agenda in mainstream T&T culture?

“I was surprised, though not very, when Hindu leaders sought to criticise the outfit worn by the President during the Carnival revelry. It is my opinion that such instances actually normalise and homogenise the Indian wear in our culture.

“While most of the criticism was focused on the Rudraksha mala in particular, however, I have never heard a word of protest from anyone regarding the use of formal and religious wear by persons performing in various competitions, including Chutney, Chutney Soca, Soca and Calypso.”

The following Letter to the Editor regarding the perceived treatment of Hinduism in popular local culture was submitted by Ravi Balgobin Maharaj:

Photo: Dancers for Massy Trinidad All Stars perform to "Curry Tabanca" during the 2015 International Conference and Panorama at the Grand Stands, Queen's Park Savannah.  (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Dancers for Massy Trinidad All Stars perform to “Curry Tabanca” during the 2015 International Conference and Panorama at the Grand Stands, Queen’s Park Savannah.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

This has not been a particularly good week for Hinduism in Trinidad and Tobago, with Carnival, Calypso and Civil Servants seemingly all adding to the controversy. While many would find themselves agreeing with a law that increases the legal age for marriage to eighteen across the board, there is no denying that it is a privilege that the Hindu community will now have to live without.

And therein lies the grand problem, that Sat Maharaj constantly finds himself embroiled in: How do Hindus find their place in a society that is converting more and more to Christian philosophy?

Because as crass as he may be at times, he may have a point in asking: How much must Hindus sacrifice in order to be accepted by Western culture?

While the issue of child marriage may not have presented the best case for this argument however, Hinduism is losing more of its identity through legislation such as this.

This is why I was surprised, though not very, when Hindu leaders sought to criticise the outfit worn by the President during the Carnival revelry. It is my opinion that such instances actually normalise and homogenise the Indian wear in our culture.

Photo: President Anthony Carmona (right) and his wife Reema enjoy their Carnival in Brian MacFarlane’s 2017 presentation entitled Cazabon—The Art of Living. Carmona, who wore white dhoti, kurta, turban and beads, played in the section called Apna Desh. (Copyright Trinidad Express)
Photo: President Anthony Carmona (right) and his wife Reema enjoy their Carnival in Brian MacFarlane’s 2017 presentation entitled Cazabon—The Art of Living.
Carmona, who wore white dhoti, kurta, turban and beads, played in the section called Apna Desh.
(Copyright Trinidad Express)

While most of the criticism was focused on the Rudraksha mala in particular, however, I have never heard a word of protest from anyone regarding the use of formal and religious wear by persons performing in various competitions, including Chutney, Chutney Soca, Soca and Calypso.

In fact, during Chalkdust’s most recent performance at the Dimanche Gras—in which he was attacking the religion, its followers and one of their leaders—he utilised several dancers who were all draped in customary worshiper garb, sans the holy beads.

Yet not a single person spoke on this, instead choosing to target the President, who—by all appearances—wore the attire with dignity and respect, in a display of national unity and harmony during our largest national celebration.

Had the solitary Hindu member of Cabinet been appointed in time to assist in the drafting of the amended marriage legislation, it may have been handled with more tact and consideration. Instead, what took place was a month’s long process in which Hinduism and its followers were portrayed in the harshest and most perverse context possible.

What this means for the perception and acceptance of Hinduism going forward is left to be seen, but when the lasting impression of this debate will be a single soundbite of “75 can’t go into 14”, it is clear that the damage has already been done.

Photo: Dr Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool performs “Learn from Arithmetic” at the Calypso Monarch final on 26 February 2017 at the Queen's Park Savannah. Chalkdust copped the crown for a record ninth time. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool performs “Learn from Arithmetic” at the Calypso Monarch final on 26 February 2017 at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Chalkdust copped the crown for a record ninth time.
(Courtesy Wired868)

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187 comments

  1. I wonder where they does come out dey eh see how much Indian playing mas

  2. People have recognized the power of being oppressed so today you find that there is a trend where many people claim oppression in attempts to leverage concessions from anyone they believe can afford it, regardless of whether or not those people oppressed them.

  3. So Sat insults Muslims while taking a dig at Chalkie… Theatre of the absurd oui:

    Is he afraid of Muslims?
    by Stories by Camille Hunte, camille.hunte@trinidadexpress.com

    Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) secretary general Sat Maharaj yesterday questioned why calypsonian Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) had not targeted Muslims in his title-winning song “Learn from Arithmetic”.

    He questioned whether it was because Chalkdust was afraid of terrorist group ISIS.

    Maharaj made the query in an interview with TV6 following the Chowtaal Sammelan song festival at the SDMS headquarters in St Augustine.

    Chalkdust’s now controversial calypso earned him the National Calypso Monarch crown, but he has since received criticism from a number of Hindu religious leaders, including Maharaj.

    Maharaj was singled out in the song and chided for his stance in support of child marriage.

    Questioned on the matter yesterday, Maharaj said he felt Hindus were being targeted while other religions also allow child marriage.

    He said Muslims allow the practice as well and questioned why Chalkdust didn’t sing about that.

    “Is he afraid of them? Is he afraid of ISIS and the reaction?” Maharaj questioned.

    “He knows that we will not resort to violence, but we will talk back.”

    Maharaj added figures presented by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi relating to child marriage in Trinidad and Tobago did not paint the full picture.

    He said the figures did not represent child marriages alone, but also teenage marriages.

    “From the time you cross 13, you are no longer a child, you are teenaged,” he said.

    Maharaj said teenagers should be allowed to be married under certain circumstances.

    “If a 15-year-old gets pregnant and that 15-year-old cannot get married and that 15-year old cannot have an abortion, what is the 15-year-old expected to do?

    “In some cases, because they bring shame on the family, they commit suicide. Is that the alternative we want to leave for our children? There must be exceptions.”

    Maharaj added communities must be allowed to make their own changes without intervention from the State.

    He made reference to photos allegedly showing the Attorney General’s children posing with guns that were circulated recently, questioning why a teenage girl was allowed to learn to shoot “big guns” but didn’t have the authority to get married.

    However, Maharaj said he would support the Government on the issue of giving the entire Carnival week as a school holiday.

    He noted many schoolchildren and teachers do not come out during Carnival week, and valuable teaching and learning time is lost.

    He said the entire week should be declared a holiday, and the days taken back from either the Easter, Christmas or August vacation period.

  4. Just wondering if in order to me a good Hindu or Muslim female one needs to be able to marry under the age of 18. In other words does the religion say this? Or is there a confusion between the practice and during a period of time and the teachings of a religion. Once upon a time Jews and Christians wed little girls too.

    I wonder whether the push to change the age of marriage is really a Christian move or a move motivated by persons who understand the hardship such persons face (particularly females) marrying so young in today’s world.

  5. As Justin N C Pablo rightly pointed out, the Hindu Marriage Act was passed in 1945. The PNM didn’t even exist then and it was not until 1962 that their then political leader, Dr Eric Williams, became Prime Minister…

  6. I think this could be a good topic for discussion just like you say Kriss Marcus. Problem is sometimes the people who claim to be defending good values have ulterior motives themselves.
    Judging from the direction the conversation has gone, I think some people who claim to be defending the Hindu religion are just trying to make a name for themselves or use the issue for political mileage.
    Sad…

  7. I think I see now that, gauging from Fuad Khan’s statement, some people are trying to use the perceived attack on Hindus as no more than a vehicle to their own ends.
    And it is ironic that these people are accusing Chalkdust of doing precisely that.
    Now Vernal will probably say: “I told you so…”

  8. Someone during the debate in Parliament said it was George Chambers though

  9. Colin James thanks. You’re correct. It was the Eric Williams administration that made the changes

  10. Good afternoon, all. I am very late to the discussion.

    On a point of historical order, George Chambers was appointed Prime Minister in March 1981 by President Ellis Clarke after the passing of Eric Williams. As Political Leader of the victorious PNM in the 1981 General Elections, he was again appointed Prime Minister.

    Hope that helps.

  11. Ravi boy, yuh still chupid I see.

  12. The only persons tying child’s marriage to T&T’s Hinduism is the movement that seeks to always cast the Hindu as the victim of some agenda.

    Muslims have not kept using this as a case of attack against the religion ( I guess they have the claims of terrorims to worry about)

    Child marriage is no longer legal in India. So why is it an issue here? Is it that the diaspora of T&T know more about The religion?

    And the argument that ending child marriage will end child pregnancy and promiscuity is ridiculous. The law that works so that is the Children’s Act, and that created a state agency to treat with those cases.

    Ravi and his ilk must stop seeing everything as an attack on their religion. They have to understand that there IS a distinction between their religion mores and their cultural norms. They have to stop playing the victim. It ingratiates them to no one.

    • I didn’t like Chalkdust’s song. I found that the metaphor didn’t work.

      That being said, I don’t see it as an attack on Hinduism. Sat was the most vocal advocate (of many) to retain child marriages. Thus he was used as a recognizable foil.

      I find it disingenuous for people to say a criticism of Sat is a criticism of Hinduism especially when, in the wake of his unwarranted verbal assault on the Archbishop, there was ready recognition that his role is administrative (thus secular) and not representing the religion as a pundit.

      That vaccillation smacks of disingenuity.

    • That should read “smacks of hypocrisy”

    • When he talking about people getting married in garage, and others lubricating cookbooks with margarine, was that all Sat? Or was that a generalized misrepresentation of Hindus?

    • So myslims doh have garage? Orishas doh use margarine?

    • Did he talk about Muslims? Was he accompanied by any Muslims dancers dressed in burkas on stage? No wait, he only talked about Sat Maharaj while persons in Dhotis and Saris danced behind him

    • Okay. Be the victim. If you so want to be. Nobody is listening.

    • Nobody is listening? So why are you bothering to talk about it?

    • Kwesi I disagree. From the beginning of the debate, I myself spoke about the FB rhetoric which continued to tie child marriage to Hindus and muslims . I can name persons in FB who referred to Hindu and Muslim leaders in very derogatory terms. As an African man who’s a Christian I felt that the conversation was not well had. And chalkdust piece of shit made it worst. It was nit a situation created by Hindus! Here in TT we never treated the discussion with respect nor sensitivity. I’m against child marriages and it is also clear that Child marriages is an issue in many cultures and religions beside Hinduism and Islam. We need to be careful, sensitive and balanced.

    • Sensitive about what ?, We don’t live in a Hindus state, we are a,multicultural society . We have seen Jesus Christ depicted in all sort of manners, in movie sitcoms comedy so what. I know who is my God. What’s all this hogwash and triviality. We have more pressing matters to deal with in this country. As a ‘proud dougla.my father taught me to love and appreciate each other, so i don’t have the baggage expressed by the two dominant groups whose attempts are to stoke racism. I love my country and the diverse beautiful peoples.

    • I never said we live in a Hindu state!!!!! My point is and remains that we have to be culturally sensitive and inclusive !!!!!!!!! That is how multicultural societies work best !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • When the Hindu body en masse says – no demands – that Sat Maharaj apologise to Archbishop Harris, I not tolerating any of that argument that the Hindu under attack. Until they intend to demonstrate sensitivity to others, I could not be bothered about their thin skin.

      The largest symbols of Hindu worship in this country were funded under successive PNM administrations, and they under attack? No other religion has gotten largesse to support the identification of their religious belief. For years Hindu religious festivals got state funding,

      Did Xmas or Easter get state funding to that extent? No.

      So they are not victims and I will validate their arguments which begin with the presumption that they are.

      This is just about positioning to claim victim hood. that is all.

    • The very nature of your argument makes my point. Who says that we are a Christian country? So the Christians are being magnanimous in granting them largesse? Really? Now we getting to the root of the issue. A religion and culture that’s almost half of our nation being granted favors by another . Really? And you come and introduce the pnm piece – so the pnm don’t really represent the Hindus this were quite noble in granting that such privileges . That’s a priceless argument!

    • “Who says that we are a Christian country?”

      Not me. why raise that point?

      ” So the Christians are being magnanimous in granting them largesse?”

      Who said that? not me. I am pointing out a history of the Hindu population receiving particular benefits from a State system (or political party) they constantly decry as victimising them. As the State is not christian, I don’t see where you interpreted the above quoted statement.

      “A religion and culture that’s almost half of our nation being granted favors by another”

      According to the 2011 census, Hindus are 18% of population. Muslims less than 10%. So I don’t know who the half of our nation refers to, and I have already addressed that fact that the State is a-religious.

    • Brian, you can see right here, they don’t treat human beings with respect, far less someone of a culture they know nothing of

    • People have missed the point the 14 is still the legal age in the Catholic Church, they should check with the Archbishop. Seems as if they also missed the full-page ads by the ASJA womens’ Assn after the bill was passed Sat will always take the brunt of this nation’s wrath because of his big mouth, but in the end all sections benefit.

    • who is “they”…sounds pretty bigoted.

      ” People have missed the point the 14 is still the legal age in the Catholic Church”

      well the representative of that Church get cuss by Sat for saying its something to move away from.

      What (other) sections benefit from Sat’s “big mouth”? What dream world you living in?

    • That’s the way the whole debate has been handled and it is implied in your post.

    • No you inferred it from your biases on what you think I was arguing. There is nothing in any of my posts that infers where you went.

      Sun Tzu says the surest way to lose today’s battle is to fight it presuming it is yesterday’s.

    • Otherwise known as projection

    • Ok. I won’t engage you any further. It’s now casting pearls before …..

  13. It is prominent after the voting out of an east indian PM or leader that speaks out for east indians in political /social affairs.

  14. The costumes were beautiful and not at all offensive. Hats off to MacFarlane and Dhisha Moorjani for capturing a significant part of our heritage so well. Years ago it was the same set of foolish criticism with Minshall’s and Rudder’s High Mas and Hallelujah. Camboulay is criticized by some every year (well really one person as far as I know). Look, in this country there is so much rich diversity to celebrate and love. Just look at what is going on in the Middle East, United States and other parts of the world right now. We are indeed fortunate and don’t even know it. So all yuh “we doh bizniss, we jammin still”!

  15. I’m sitting here..seriously in AWE..that men..people..human beings..are defending child marriage. And as I said yst..let’s not act like these young girls are being married off to young boys (which is bad too)..they are being forced to marry these old rusty crusty hard back men. Come on guys..we can do better than this! Surely one cannot defend this madness. I could care less the religion. #InAweOfMyPeople

  16. Earl Best

    There are three elements in this piece that in my view merit further comment. All come towards the end of the letter.

    The first is the issue of the President and his carnival costume which, the writer says, was worn “with dignity and respect, in a display of national unity and harmony during our largest national celebration.”

    Agreed. But question: Given the many issues already swirling around him, was it not at least insensitive for an already embattled (too strong a word?) President to don attire that ran the risk of offending?

    Answer? I, Carmona…

    Issue number 2 comes from this: “Had the solitary Hindu member of Cabinet been appointed in time to assist in the drafting of the amended marriage legislation,”

    Since when does the racial composition of the cabinet or the Parliament determine or even affect the quality of the legislation proposed for passage?

    Good true-true Trinis answer questions with questions so here goes: Hasn’t the AG already addressed that with his proposal for change in the way laws that affect our constitutional rights are passed in the Lower House?

    Finally, this: “…when the lasting impression of this debate will be a single soundbite of “75 can’t go into 14””

    I hope you give Chalkie much too much credit, in my view. “Learn from Arithmetic” diverted us for a season on Dimanche Gras night into Ash Wednesday. In the normal course of things, it should fade into oblivion like My heart and I in short order. But given the bungling that characterises the one-Hindu Rowley Govt, who knows?

  17. Brian what exactly is the alleged percieved treatment of Hinduism in popular local culture?
    Please give examples.

  18. An important discussion devolved into name calling and ‘who chupid’, etc. Yet we wonder why inclusion eludes is as a nation and why meaningful conversation is scarce . Where this post started was a very important place, where it has gone is …… interesting (in the USA sense of the word)

  19. We have an identity crisis in Trinidad where we have not collectively accepted our identity which is characteristically diverse in nature. Our differences are what makes us so special and sadly I remain convinced that we have not embraced our trinidadianism which is the calalloo of all these cultures. If we were to clothe ourself in Indian ,Chinese , African or any other garb being worn in these mother countries today and return, we would stand out. We do not look like them , walk, talk or anything like them.

    So in the discussion of western culture supposedly diluting traditional religious practices will come changes. Hinduism is not singular in this regard. We are seeing traditional Christianity making adjustments and I am not in a position to determine if right or wrong in terms of old Christian values. Religion is man made and presumably can evolve . Again I have no authority .

    The challenge and question our society has to answer in the context of this article and the underlying issue is whether religious rights supersedes human right or in this case , Child Right.

  20. Well why are Hindus comfortable with their young men wearing the rosary chain around their necks. Since when that became a fashion symbol.Just asking. I ain’t hear a catholic murmur.

  21. There are a few anti everything and everybody people in this country. Naming and shaming them not going to change their agenda.

  22. Thank God I read the entire post before deciding to read the letter, because once I saw who submitted it I knew right away it lacked substance.

  23. Passing a law against child marriages is an attack on Hindus, now? What idiocy is this? Chalky’s double entendre skills were on par… 75 cannot go into 14. In fact, 75 should not go into 14. Anyone who does not understand that phrase and considers it an attack on Hindus is a lost case.

  24. I’ll have to re-read this in the morning when I’m sober cause I failed to get the point of this article…my first thought was WTF…but I’m three beers in — yeah I’m a lightweight now — so the writer may be trying to make some point that I missed at first blush:)

  25. “75 can’t go into 14” is simply a dotish calypso that was curry-favoured by the judges to win the Calypso Monarch title.
    That’s all there is to it as far as I am concerned.
    Whatever the intent of the sicko mind who sang about greasing copybooks to engage in his 75-year-old mentally depraved mind, well that’s another story the psycholigists can attempy to analyze!

    • What exactly is it about that line that gets you so mad Siewdath?

    • Honestly, Lasana, what are the stereotypes often used by children etc? That would answer your question .

    • I think that the 75-year-old singer might be giving expression to his own dark desires, while blaming Sat for feeding his imagination.
      Fact is there are no records of any advocacy by Sat for any 75-year-old man to marry any 14-year-old girl, metaphorically speaking or otherwise.
      In fact, there is no known record of any 75-year-old in TT who is or was married to any 14-year-old girl.
      So for Chalkie to conceptualise greasing copybooks to express his sub-conscious feelings can be construed as the machination of a perverted mind.
      But like I said, maybe the psychologists and psychiatrists can better analyse the singer’s psyche and his lyrical expressions.

      • Earl Best

        Gentlemen,
        I hold no brief for Chalkdust but I think we need some perspective here. Let us not make the mistake of taking the song too literally although,Siewdath, it has to be admitted,Chalkdust’s “special verse” makes a one-dimensional interpretation defensible. At its best, the calypso is saying that marrying off young girls to older – not old! – men is wrong.

        I say we give Chalkie the benefit of the doubt in light of his defence that the song is intended -and that is the operative word – to be a defence of young girls and proceed with our arguments on that basis.

        How the song will be interpreted or received is an entirely different matter but I’m sure it’s not fair, Siewdath as you are doing, to draw inferences about Chalkie’s sexual preferences on the basis of this material.

        Even, I hasten to add, in light of his base “special verse.”

    • So if he used himself in the metaphor to make a case for how bad child marriage is, then what’s the issue with that?
      I can see the angst over then portrayal of this as a Hindu issue when obviously it is done by several religious sects.
      But I don’t get why the 75 into 14 line is so offensive.

    • So how then Sat (spokesperson for a leading Hindu Organization) come into the picture as though it is he (Sat) who is advocating (via an imagined convo with Chalkie) for 75-year-old (perceived Hindu) males to marry 14-year-old females?
      Listen carefully to the lyrics and honestly tell me if Chalkie is not trying to demonize Sat, and the Hindu religion, which he singled out to sing about.
      And what is the symbolism and/or meaning of greasing/lubricating copybooks as referenced in the song?
      Could that not be interpreted as figment of a sicko mind – that of the lyrical composer/singer?
      Why try to justify a dotish song?
      In another line in the song, Chalkie sang about 14-year-old (girls) go still be jamming if his 75-year-old male alter ego can’t get it in – can you, on his behalf, explain what he means?
      If you want to know why calypso artform and calypso tents are dying, it is because of the dishonest and prejudicial offering of dinasuor lyricists, who are rewarded in state-sponsored competitions for their perversely divisive lyrics!
      PS: All the 2017 schools calypsoes sung in their competition final were superior to the sh*t for which Chaklie was awarded $700k of tax-payers money.

      • Earl Best

        Ah Siewdath boy, yuh might judge the Calypso Monarch competition next year; at least, if Chalkie is right, you have one of the qualifications. You know about hyperbole.

        “All the 2017 schools calypsoes sung in their competition final were superior to the sh*t for which Chaklie was awarded $700k of tax-payers money.”

        Yuh shoulda add “Every single one” and clinch yuih place.

    • I don’t like Sat Maharaj due to a personal experience with him, but I agree with one line Siewdath,why try to justify a dotish song? If this represents the calyso monarch winner,then it is no longer an artform but rubbish.

    • I don’t even have all the lyrics to the calypso. I didn’t help Chalkdust to write it.
      So it’s silly to ask me to justify anything.
      I just don’t understand your repeated reference to that phrase.
      In terms of singling out Sat, every writer knows that it is more powerful to put a human face to an issue. Whether it is as a victim or the guilty party.
      It will be more striking to speak about Banfield than it is to speak about “women who met violent ends”. The latter is too abstract.
      And since you’re a writer, you would obviously know that Siewdath.
      So the question to me isn’t whether it was the right tactic but whether Sat deserved it.
      And the truth is Sat has been on every radio and television show and newspaper justifying child’s marriage.
      Why didn’t Sat say: Stop asking me about this issue because people will start to see me as a crusader for this cause?
      Of course child marriage isn’t just about Hindus or Indo-Trinis. But I feel it might be stretching it to say Chalkie had all those motives you claimed.

    • For now I’m dealing with the 75 into 14 and I don’t need the whole song for that. But I will listen to the song again later.

    • Lasana more and more yiu are sounding like you defending a very poor calypso

    • Is the calypso or the message behind it people oh geez come on now………sigh

    • Brian I defend his position that child marriage is abhorrent. Otherwise I’m just trying to understand the specific issues they have with the song.
      Some I accept. Some I don’t.

    • Yes I understand that but the issue with the song is that it targets one religion and culture on an issue that cuts across cultures, races and religious. All of the imagery really attacks one group . Chalkie is a brilliant mind that could have spoken to the issue without being polarizing

    • I agree that the presentation focused on one religion. Now to be fair, Sat has made himself a spokesman for child marriage by appearing on every possible media platform to defend it.
      But that doesn’t make it any less inaccurate to say that it is a Hindu thing. I’d agree with you there.

    • Oh btw, over the past few days, I spoke to no less than ten teenaged girls (representing different ethnicities, religions, socio-economic background), who were unanymously of the opinion that Chalkdust is a “stink”, “dirty”, “nasty”, “sicko”, “perverted”, “old fart” to be singing about lubricating copybooks with magarine….
      They all intimated that they don’t need any such advice from a lyrically impotent grandfatherly figure, whom, they said, should sing that song for his own grand-daughters and great grand-daughters, and also provide them the meaning of his perverted expressions.
      Further, they said, for good, bad or indifferent, they would make their own choices in their own adult timing when it comes to marriage, and would seek their parents’ blessings before taking the plunge to tie the knot.
      All in all, they concurred that Chalkie’s calypso is a crappy composition of words that made little sense to them.

    • Really Siewdath? You’re interviewing teenage girls now? And leads you to a conclusive conclusion? Lol.
      How many Calypso Monarchs have your teenaged girls watched prior? What are their calypso credentials? What religion are they?
      I’m hearing too much fury and not enough logic on this song.

    • Brian cite where the song targets any one religion specifically.

      Sieedath, where was this righteous indignation when Sat cuss the archbishop for his position in the issue in its most abstract?

      Hypocrites.

    • I said I “spoke” to no less than ten teenaged girls.
      Chalkie said he spoke to only two.
      In arithmatic terms, I spoke to five times more persons than he did.
      As a fraction, Chalkie spoke to a mere one-fifth of the amount of persons that I spoke with.
      Oh, and, if, according to Chalkie, 75 cannot go into 14, then10 cannot go into 2.
      And if one can accept Chalkie’s explanation that his song was not an attack on Sat or Hinduism (notwithstanding the lyrics and stage depictions), but rather about underage marriage and advice to underage teenaged girls; then by the same token, or logic if one will, one should accept that same thread of reasoning to highlight the amount of gobar that pass for a $700k (of taxpayers’ money) title winning calypso, and advice to young calypsonians that they should reject that status quo.
      This is certainly not meant to be an attack on the bespectacled goateed professor, who prominently demonstrated in front of a near empty QP Grand Stand how to exploit use of Sat, in a shitty excuse for creative license (not a thesis), aided and abbetted by the judges to deprive the younger artistes, whose offerings were far less wordy and much mor worthy of capturing the crown.
      Lol

    • Siewdath, trying to follow your trend of thought in respect to Chalky lyrical content. Despite, the fact that you sampled a few teenagers, what are you real contention with the song. The fact that he specifically zeroed in on Sat or the actual lyrical content of the tune. Since when we take calypsonians so seriously that that specific song warranted you doing a random sampling to establish, what and for what purpose. Finally, why did this specific Calypso seems to be dealt with so much verve and passion. Just trying to understand why this song is so contentious,

    • Siewdath, you do know that calypsos are supposed to rattle right? They are not supposed to be politically correct.
      That doesn’t mean the calypsonian is beyond criticism and can’t be held accountable. But when we want people to give it to us straight, there is a risk that comes with that too.
      Even as you criticise–justly or unjustly–you shouldn’t miss the message.

    • Sio bro, Chalkie said he spoke with two so I decide to speak with ten.
      Also the lyrical content does not add up to his interview expressions of his real meaning the lyrics (incompatible rhyme and reason).
      In my opinion the singers who placed 2nd to 5th in the Calypso Monarch final all had better composed lyrics (resonating rhyme and reason) and better presentation of their respective offerings and were far more deserving of capturing the crown and $700k winnings.
      Sio, can you tell me of any poorer calypso of years past with which the monarch title was won?
      Also, if one look/listen to Chalkie’s entire song, can one not see it blatantly centres around one single individual, Sat, with misrepresentations (75 cyar go into 14) about Sat/SDMS position on the marriage issue.
      Further, how, except fow a twisted mind, did Chalkie come up with lubricating copybooks with magarine etc and what does he mean by that?

    • Lasana who said that they are “supposed” to rattle. Yes sometimes they do but are you suggesting that they should always set out to rattle? Even if so, isn’t there some implied responsibility to be sensitive and thoughtful

    • Lasana buddy, my comments are also meant to rattle. Lol. Hope one does not miss the message here either.

    • The backbone of calypso has always been social commentary to me Brian. Whether it is Three Bo Rats or Poverty is Hell. You have got to be striking.
      Yes that comes with responsibility. But you have to be careful with censorship. Like Parliamentary speech for instance.

    • Ok Siewdath. What’s your kaiso name then? Lol.

    • In all the rattling we still missing the points about nation building and inclusion. This is my last comment as I’m continually left empty by the comments. Our nation will continue to be divided racially! We had a great opportunity during this period of discussion of Chike marriages, to mend some fences and build some nation-shaping coalitions. there was no real attempt to understand the real impact and import of the various commentators. So as usual people take a side. The debate on child marriages in the various houses of government was disappointing and so has been the various FB postings. Our watchwords say DISCIPLINE PRODUCTION & TOLERANCE. The word TOLERANCE in my view has lost its place and is way past its ‘sell by date’. we need something more active and current like “INCLUSIVE” because we’ve grown past the period when those words were offered to us. But we jamming still and we going to hold them and wuk dem. Only problem is that nonsense has held us and is wukking us

    • Yes social commentary but I don’t equate that with the requirement of rattling

    • I won best party song in CCN calypso competition in 2000 – the only time I took chain-up to actually sing in a competition lol.
      Allyson deservingly won the overall competition big prize that year.

    • I think rattling is challenging existing ideas and norms. I’m not talking about being offensive for the sake of it.

    • Who say I am not challenging existing ideas and norms?! My comments are not meant to be offensive nor an attack on anyone. However they may provoke the risk of an individual becoming a casuality of dealing with the issue, not unlike how Sat might gave been a casuality of the issue that Chalkie said he sang about. Lol

    • Lol. Okay ‘The Mighty Siewdath” 🙂

    • My thinking is that I have a fair idea of Chalky over the years, I also have a clear understanding of him and what he stood for as a school teacher. From where I sit he’s not the pillar of morality or high ethical standing. I’m not going to wash anyone’s dirty linen in the public domain. Realistically I didn’t even lend this particular Calypso a listening ear, as I know the history of this Calyposian and his lifestyle. Just wanted to get something clarified Siewdath not sure if your explanation was satisfactory. I would follow the discourse.

  26. I don’t want to derail the wider debate on how we treat with Hinduism, which is important… But one question Ravi Balgobin Maharaj… You said: “While many would find themselves agreeing with a law that increases the legal age for marriage to eighteen across the board, there is no denying that it is a privilege that the Hindu community will now have to live without.”
    Is child marriage really considered a privilege?