The recent tributes for a Guyanese sister Mahadai Das has brought a dark, sinister side of our Guyanese past to light once more. First and foremost, one has to ask the question as to why was National Service created in the first place? Was it political and racism, plain and simple? Of course, the Burnhamites are going to scream that it was all about nationalism, etc., etc., and sure enough, Alexander’s letter in K.N today (4/10/21) is proof of this. Was it to simply spite the Indian supporters of Cheddie Jagan? Was it the more sinister plot to stop the Indian youths from furthering their studies? It is a fact that our Indian parents did not want their off spring to end up as labourers like themselves and they sacrificed and toiled to make sure this did not happen. The many brilliant Indian intellectuals can attest to this. It was the common sentiment that Burnham wanted to stop this influx of Indian intellectuals so he introduced National Service to stymie this. Burnhamites can argue nay until they are blue in the face and it will not make an iota of difference to myself and the numerous young Indian females whose lives were affected one way or the other; or to the Indian youths who had to flee their homeland in order to further their studies.
My male cousin was at Kimbia, he was vegetarian and had a horror story for the year he was there. It was he who told me not to even entertain the thought of going to U.G to further my studies. My Dad had the means to finance my studies but that is not the point here. I, and many young females, were not allowed the natural progression to furthering our studies at U.G. as was done in neighbouring Trinidad where students who graduated automatically went onto studying at UWI. Burnham succeeded in his diabolical mission to stymie the Indian youths from accessing higher education in Guyana and at the same time, he inevitably started the brain drain that continues even to this day in Guyana. Burnhamites who want to deny this can also explain why until 1992, most of the scholarships to First World countries were not given to Indians and the latter were mostly sent to either Cuba or Moscow unless they were a supporter of the PNC. As I read about Mahadai Das and her mentor, my stomach churns. Why is this reluctance to investigate and expose the whole story? According to Bisram, Dev knew Mahadai, and he himself knows her. Annan also wrote a letter about her today. Freddie also knows her story. Why on Earth none of these esteemed intellectuals and media personalities not seen it fit to expose the whole truth about the curse of National Service? They owe it to Mahadai in particular and most of all the other victims of National Service rape. They owe it to the present and future generations of Guyanese. It is history.
will not go into the explanations of how important it is to document history, in Guyana’s context, it seems that few are keen to explore and document our history. What is being peddled about are half-truths and personal versions of some people’s attempt to rewrite history. The Wismar Massacre is one great example. Burnham’s purloining the Indian Immigration funds to build what is the National Culture Centre is another example. National Service is another big one. From Alexander’s letter, you can see how one set of people want the World to believe. Maybe it is their way of living with this stain or as we say in common Guyanese parlance; how they stifle their conscience. That is their burden to carry. On the other hand, there is still the truth to be revealed. It is one’s sacred duty to do so, while there are some victims and/or witnesses still alive.
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