Radha and Krsna

Sri-Radha-Govinda-Devau Vijayatam!

Jaya Radhe Shyam!

Welcome to my virtual forest of Vrndavana


My name is Anjani. I am aspiring to be a Vaisnavi, or one who is devoted to Radha and Krishna. I am from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, which has a population of 500,000 people of East Indian origin. This is the highest concentration in the western world, bearing in mind that the island’s size is less than two thousand miles and many had migrated to the US, Canada and Britain during the 1960‘s and 1970‘s. I offer my gratitude to these people who first taught me anything I knew about Radha and Krishna, Ram, puja, bhajan, harinam, etc. They vigilantly maintain allegiance to the Indian traditions although they have been living in an interracial society for about a hundred and fifty years. This would not have been possible without the presence of the Pundit organizations which were formed by Brahmin descendents who came along with the sojourners to the new world. Some persons criticize them for using the pundit profession to make money, but had it not been for them, the Indian migrants would have quickly lost their religious sentiments, as is so obvious in societies where they are absent. Fortunately, some of these critics live abroad, and have given up religious practices themselves. So our pundits must be commended for their efforts. The head of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha in Trinidad is Satnarayan Maharaj who writes a weekly column in the Trinidad Guardian.

I know that people of Indian origin are hardly concerned with their history which might be due to the fact that they had no recorded history apart from the religious epics, until the British came along and got involved. I’ve always been very curious about my past thus I’ll include a bit of history here. It helps me identify myself and I could better access my weaknesses and strengths. The cultural merge in America which causes people to forget their ancestral roots has a very weakening effect I think.

What caused Indians to come to these parts so far from the homeland ? After slavery was abolished in the Caribbean in 1838 it was crucial for the colonial rulers to find some form of labor to save the sugar industry from extinction, so farm workers were recruited on a five year contract from the area of Bihar particularly. I’m sure many of them became lured by sweet talking arkatias, or recruiters, who were handsomely rewarded, I believe four pounds, per head. They could have been tricked into thinking that the islands were closer since they had no other way of confirming anything because of the language barrier. But there were hard times in India. Three major famines struck in 1876, 1896, and 1899, This must have been the main reason that millions left the motherland for destinations like Africa, Mauritius, Fiji. Malaysia, the Caribbean and elsewhere. Migration to the Caribbean took place between the 1840’s and 1930’s mainly.

Bihar lies between Bengal and Orissa, the center of British stronghold in India, at the time. The Brits who controlled the East India Company based in Bengal were able to overthrow the Nawab of Bengal from power in 1757, and within the next hundred years they subdued the area throughout Delhi, Bombay and Bengal. Local rulers were allowed to keep privileges in exchange for supporting British presence. In 1857 a great Mutiny arose in Delhi headed by some of these princes and their chieftains, but it was quickly brought under control by the Brits who employed very cruel means to punish the rebels
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Back to the Caribbean, these "Çhildren of the Ganges" came with the intention of saving money and returning to India to retire. Some of them were also offered land as payment for labor, so since many of them had small children to tend, and they foresaw the danger of taking them back via the terrible two month journey by sea,  they opted to remain in the New World.

In adjoining Guyana the Indic population is almost half a million and in Surinam they are in the majority.. There is a heavy sprinkling in Jamaica, St. Lucia, and the rest of the Caribbean. These people have survived because of their resilience, hard work, and the propensity to look for happiness within themselves, because the prevailing governments of the day are not very happy to see them progress, much less preserve their culture. Since they have uplifted themselves within society through agricultural and business pursuits, and by entering the professions, they have been the sole patrons of  Indian culture and art.

The prevailing governments on the other hand promote and support strictly Calypso, which is Afro based, and sometimes demeaning toward the Indian populace, as the only national culture worthy of worldwide publicity. Hence, before the books of VS Naipaul became popular, no one had known that there were colonies of Indians in the Caribbean. The present Trinidad government is suspected to be behind  rampant kidnappings of Indian businessmen by terrorist groups, in exchange for money or to drive them out the island as happened under the dictator Forbes Burnham in Guyana.I think what makes Indians tolerate oppresion is their humility and belief in the concepts of karma etc, as well as being satisfied in their faith.

My maternal grandparents were farmers who owned land in the countryside, a district called Rio Claro. They lived very austerely without electricity or running water. They subsisted on crops which they grew, mainly rice, and they made money by weaving baskets from Tirit, a kind of straw found in the forest, and selling them in Port of Spain. My grandfather or nana would go every Saturday morning to sell the goods. This would have been the period between the 1920’s and 1940’s. My nani, or grandmother, Sumeria, would, as her weekend recreation, compete at Ramayan recitals which were being be held in nearby villages. Thus instead of reading the newspapers in spare time like we do today, she was busy with the Ramayan, either reading or studying. And there were no prizes for these contests. Everyone was involved merely because of the pleasure factor.
I remember seeing my great aunt carrying her scripture with love and care in the same manner  as we would carry a clutch purse today.

Naturally, they were wary of sending their children to school, lest they would become brainwashed into giving up the Indian ways and this was a valid  fear. My mom, Nanki Bahadur, attended Catholic school at a young age and she was keenly influenced by the religion all her life. My dad on the other hand, who was from Chaguanas, "the Ïndian belt, " never went to school one day of his life. He taught himself reading and writing in English and Hindi, and whatever else he needed to know in order to make a living. He was extremely brilliant in his way of thinking, and he was never swayed by the Christians and the bribes they were offering people to join up. In fact one day he stoned a pastor with huge rocks, calling him devil etc., because he was feverishly visiting our home with the purpose of giving Bible lessons,  My dad’s name was Aniruddh Mathura Rampal Singh. He passed away in 1990 at the age sixty five. My parents were never married legally. They were married under bamboo by pundit Ramlal at night time, in the mid 1940’s. Therefore my birth certificate describes me as illegitimate. So I thank my parents, grandparents and their society as a whole. Today you’ll find their symbols everywhere, the lota, taria, jhandis, books, etc. Now the Indian language and music is being taught practically on every street corner. Has to do with the fact that Mr. Basdeo Pandey of Indian origin was elected as PM for a short period of five years

At some point the Hindu boards had opened their own schools around the island, but I was not fortunate like my nieces and nephews to attend, hence I am brainwashed for the most part. Though my parents knew Hindi and spoke it privately, I never had any attraction for it, because I was bred in schools which looked down on those things as primitive and backward. Whatever I’ve learned is strictly because I’m addicted to movie songs. I am very ashamed of the situation and I would like to correct it. Presently I live in Puerto Rico so there is no opportunity for me to study the language even if I wanted to. My dress code is totally western due to habit. I got used to wearing sari while I was a member of Iskcon. In Trinidad, salwars are more popular, though saris are used by some at weddings or pujas etc. I would like to be involved in restoring the tradition, apart from my vision of becoming a Vaishnavi.

We know that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the giver of prema or love of God in this age, and I must admit that I never heard of his existence from the Indo Caribbean people. That credit I must give to Bhaktivedanta Swami, founder of the Hare Krishna movement, who along with the help of his kind disciples brought the name of Gaura to every town and village. So I now offer them my thanks and respects.

My brother Roodal became attracted to their kirtan and invited them to lunch one day. It was the mid seventies. I had already read the Gita by that time, though not their version, so I had some desire to become a devotee of Krishna. Though we were not vegetarians, we were fasting from flesh for about a month, and had just finished doing yearly puja : Katha, Surujpuran, Gita Path etc., the same day. So I saw the devotees flying down to my house in their robes, looking just like angels. My mom had cooked the usual Indian fare, rice dal, subji, chutney, etc, and she served them on banana leaves as they sat around a table. I was extremely entranced. A few years later, I gave up my government post : I had been recruited to work in the Ministry of Industry, where I took the opportunity to help the devotees in their  import business to the best of my ability. I thus gave up my material future to associate with and help these kind devotees of Gaura in their mission. I thank them for accommodating me, and encouraging me to do Harinam japa on a regular basis. May they be rewarded for their good work.



Yamuna


Short Stories


Here are some of my short stories.  I hope they make you smile.


Short Essays and Thoughts


Fate and Krishna

Goddesses

Bhakti

Other Sites of Interest


See some more beautiful pictures of the their Lordships here.

New On CD

""BLESSED LOVE SONGS TO GOD"" … New cd by rising star artiste  Mala Singh Lawkeran

This is the latest music CD hitting the Caribbean Air waves. I mean it’s raging on the radio over there. This is not something that will put you in slumberland. Its done in lively Indo pop, so forget about the coffee. Sometimes you listen to  some Indian female singers and you end up with sore ear drums from the high screeching pitch.  A pitch is so crystal thin, you could use it for cutting diamond, so the ear wants to go into retreat. It has to rest for a long while. Indian female singing is not meant to be like tha, but since Lata became famous, it has been  accepted as the norm, and it has become more popular for commercial and movie reasons.  But this CD, ladies and gents, is different. Its purpose is to soothe and sweeten, not irritate. Mala Singh’s velvety sweet voice will soothe all your troubles away and take you to the heavenly lokas. It's in English too!  No more moving your lips and tongue, hoping it matches the Hindi words and imagining some meaning!  It's in the language of the West.  Yes, you are now able to sing along and understand what you are saying! The Indian languages are sacred, but how long will you mimic something you can’t understand or pronounce?  Ladies and gents, bhajans must be sung with meaning from the heart to take effect. Dancing, swaying or bobbing to a bhajan or mantra won’t help you develop love of God.

The tracks in this LOVELY CD are

Gananath Invocation (sample mp3)
Hey Govinda (sample mp3)
Wherever you go Guruji
Hanuman my hero
Durga Ma
Come to me my Gopala
Prabhu you are the breath I take
Om Shanti
Ramayan Arti and translation
Ramayan Arti and tribute to Aja

The price is only $12.00, shipping and handling is $3.00 within the US and Canada so order while stocks last.


Outside the US and Canada, please contact me for shipping details. Wholesale orders are being accepted. They are going fast. Please leave your address, and send a check or money order to me at :

Email me at: Drupatisingh@aol.com 

or write to me at:

Drupati R Singh
Hc01 Box 8455
Gurabo
Puerto Rico 00778

Telephone :787 712 0759

I look forward to hearing from you.

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