February 12, 2010

A Valentines Wish to All

Posted in Poetry tagged at 3:31 pm by randallbutisingh

A VALENTINE’S WISH TO ALL

A Valentines Wish to All, May your hearts be forever filled with Love…
“The essence of motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth;
It is a principle inherent in both women and men. It is an attitude of the mind.
It is LOVE – and LOVE is the very breath of life.”
~ AMMA
An Invitation to share with those you would Love. ( click link here )
www.youtube.com/watch?v=55-OtwnL5Q8
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December 25, 2009

ALL THINGS BELONG TO YOU

Posted in Philosophy, Poetry, Psychology tagged , at 9:23 pm by randallbutisingh

ALL  THINGS  BELONG  TO  YOU

Live in the present moment wherever you are;
It is the only certainty;
Even death cannot steal that moment.
Behind that is history,
Beyond that is uncertainty.
The present moment can mean your eternity
if you hold on to it
and live it as if it were your last.
See God in everything –
the flitting butterfly, the honey bee,
the birds and flowers, the babbling brook,
the stars and planets, the stone.
See the clouds how they change
to bring rain to the earth,
The brook that constantly flows towards its goal – the river,
the river towards the sea.
See the connectedness in all things –
See their interdependence, their interrelatedness.
Hold on to the moment,  don’t let it fly from you.
All things belong to you,  if you belong to all things.

Randall Butisingh

October 26, 2009

Searching For An Answer

Posted in Poetry tagged , at 11:32 am by randallbutisingh

Searching For An Answer

I’ve traveled this world far and wide
Seeking something I thought I could find
Loneliness, solitary companion by my side
I had hopes for answers to things on my mind

O’er the mountains and through deep valleys
Beneath sparkling fountains and in dark alleys
My weary feet have had to toil
As I traversed this earth’s soil
Searching for a reason to live, a hope for tomorrow
A world without sorrow

But more I traveled more I marveled
At a world full of cruelty
At man’s inhumanity

As I look around me
All I can see
Are men yearning to be free
More questions than answers
Violence and pollution
Problems beyond solution
A world full of sin
The world I’m living in

Yet will I trudge on
From dawn till sunset
From sunset till morn
Till I find what I seek
A reason to live
Comfort for the meek
Someone to forgive

“Fore my life comes to an end
There’s something I must find
So I can tell you, my friend
Answers to things on my mind
In a world of futility
A world full of cruelty

September 15, 2009

Anything is possible

Posted in Art : Beauty, Guyana, Poetry tagged , , at 2:45 am by randallbutisingh

“Anything is Possible ” is a poem written by 14 year old Ananta Doodnath, eldest of two daughters of Guyanese Dave and Shani Doodnath,  who had to leave their homeland and come to domicile in a foreign country where they will have an opportunity to bloom and grow.  The poem is taken from her book  “Moments of My Life” which can be purchased at Book Stores in the USA.

Ananta spends her time writing short stories and poems and dreams of one day writing a best seller.  Her poems are about different events in her life about family and friends and baseball.  They will fill you with wonder and touch you.  Ananta is known for her kindness among her family and friends.  Here is her poem:

When I race out on that field, dreams come true.

When my feet touch the bases, I know what I am supposed to do

When people said I wouldn’t make it; when people said I couldn’t win’

It made my guts stronger, I knew I could anything.

I’d never forget what I went through to be here.

I’d never forget when I walked through town and the people

would stare.

I’ll never forget those times.

Now I realize

What has happened to me;

I made it and I wanted  everyone to see;

I want the whole world to know

That anything is possible.

I overcame those challenges, I worked my way through,

And now I can live my life saying my dreams come true;

And now when I am running those bases, I know I can fly,

And now I know anything can happen if you really try.

I’m amazing, I’m fun

And now I believe I’m number one. 

I’ll never forget those times,

Years later when I realize

What has happened to me.

I made it and I want everyone to see;

I want the whole world to know

That anything is possible!

Comment;

Another  daughter of  Guyanese achiever.  I am friend of the family.  Ananta must have inherited her talent from her grandfather who was a pupil of mine at Non Pareil dual controlled School.  He dropped out in the middle division of the primary school.  He is now a successful business man in Florida, an ardent gardener and a prolific writter of poetry.  He has produced a book,  Inspirational Poems and has another large collection, yet unpublished.

– Randall Butisingh 

August 10, 2009

Deaf-Mutes Perform:Thousand-Hand Guan Yin

Posted in Art : Beauty, Education, Philosophy, Poetry tagged , , , , , , at 2:09 am by randallbutisingh

This video has been submitted by Cyril Bryan – Guest Contributor, for inclusion in the Randall Butisingh Weblog.

This is an awesome dance called the Thousand-Hand Guan Yin, which is very popular on the Internet, with over six million views to date. All the 21 dancers in this troupe are deaf-mutes. Considering the tight coordination required, their accomplishment is nothing short of amazing, even if they were not all deaf. They rely only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring. Its first major international debut was in  Athens at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the repertoire of the Chinese Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe which has traveled to more than 40 countries.
Its lead dancer is 29 year old Tai Lihua, who has a BA from the Hubei Fine Arts Institute.The video was recorded in  Beijing during the Spring Festival in 2006.

I have included this video as it exemplifies the philosophy of this Weblog of personal development irrespective of the setbacks or seeming shortcomings that one may have.

— Cyril Bryan

—————————————————————————————

Please click on the following link to view the video:

Deaf-Mutes Perform \”Thousand-Hand Guan Yin\”

.

As long as you are kind and there is love in your heart
A thousand hands will naturally come to your aid
As long as you are kind and there is love in your heart
You will reach out with a thousand hands to help others.

Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy. Her name is short for Guan Shi Yin. Guan means to observe, watch, or monitor; Shi means the world; Yin means sounds, specifically sounds of those who suffer. Thus, Guan Yin is a compassionate being who watches for, and responds to, the people in the world who cry out for help.

August 8, 2009

art and when time stands still

Posted in Art : Beauty, Poetry tagged , , , , , at 6:27 pm by randallbutisingh

The pursuit of Art, which I am doing, now, is an exercise in creativity. It is when one begins to observe more of the wonders of hature:  the blueness  of the sky, the fleecy clouds, the loveliness of flowers, even the tiniest wild one along the path, the singing  birds and insects, the babbling brook, the murmuring waves of the sea.  One becomes more inquisitive and wants to learn more of the ways of nature

It is sad to know,  how many possesed fully of  all their senses pass by without heeding the beauties around them, their only concern is how much they can wrest from nature to satisfy their greed, even to the extent of destroying her.

The Artist, however, be he painter or sculptor, does not destroy but creates.  In the process,  time stands still;  and  in the height of his creativity, he is out of his body also.  Then he becomes unaware of pain,  hunger and thirst and the world around.  He is focussed until he is brought back to find that time has travelled far, and he begins again to feel   pain,  hunger and thirst

I would like to make a note  here, that this is not only an experience of the Artist where it is more sustained, but with any one who is focussed on doing something he loves, even in the peeling of a wand; or a sick person receiving a visit from a loving friend, or two lovers  in silent communication.  Or it may be in absorption in a game of chess or checkers.  Those who have read the novel “R ip Van Winkle” will know what I am talking about.  Deeply absorbed in a game of draughts, his beard grew to full length; he himself grew very old. When he came back to time he tried to find the home in which he lived and his family but everything had changed and he was lost.

— Randall Butisingh

July 21, 2009

So True!

Posted in Art : Beauty, Education, Poetry, Psychology, Youth tagged , , , at 11:45 am by randallbutisingh

SO TRUE

by: Kimberly Seals Allers

Tuesday I cried watching the Michael Jackson memorial.
I cried for a little black boy who felt the world didn’t understand him.
I cried for a little black boy who spent his adulthood chasing his childhood.
And I thought about all the young black boys out there who may too feel
that the world doesn’t understand them.
The ones who feel that the world does not understand their baggy jeans,
their swagger, their music, their anger, their struggles, their fears or the chip on their shoulder.
I worry that my son, may too, one day will feel lonely in a wide, wide world.
I cried for the young children of all colors who may live their life feeling like a misfit,
feeling like no one understands their perspective, or their soul.
What a burden to carry.

As a mother, I cried for Katherine Jackson because no mother should ever bury a child. Period.
And I think about all the pain, tears and sleepless nights
that she must have endured seeing her baby boy in inner pain,
seeing him struggle with his self-esteem,
and his insecurities and to know he often felt unloved even
while the world loved him deeply.
How does it feel to think that the unconditional love we give as mothers
just isn’t enough to make our children feel whole?
I wonder if she still suffers thinking, “what more could I have done?”
Even moms of music legends aren’t immune to mommy guilt, I suppose.

When Rev. Al Sharpton (who always delivers one hell of a funeral speech)
said to Michael’s children, “Your daddy was not strange…
It was strange what your Daddy had to deal with,” I thought of all the “strange”
things of the world that my children will have to deal with. Better yet,
the things I hope they won’t ever have to deal with anymore.
And as a mother raising a young black boy,

I feel recommitted and yet a little confused as to how to make sure my son is sure enough
within himself to take on the world.
Especially a “strange” one. To love himself enough to know
that even when the world doesn’t understand you,
tries to force you into its mold or treats you unkindly,
you are still beautiful, strong and Black. How do I do that?
Today, I am taking back “childhood” as an inalienable right for every brown little one.

In a world, that makes children into booty-shaking, mini-adults long before their time,
I’m reclaiming the playful, innocent, run-around-outside,
childhood as the key ingredient in raising confident adults.
Second, I will not rest until my little black boy,
MY Michael, knows that his broad nose is beautiful,
his chocolately brown skin is beautiful, and his thick hair is beautiful.And nothing or no one can ever take that away from him.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“Now aint we bad? And ain’t we black? And ain’t we fine?”

— Maya Angelou

May 18, 2009

An Interview with Randall Butisingh 3-3

Posted in Education, Guyana, History, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics tagged , , , at 1:22 am by randallbutisingh

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE POET RANDALL BUTISINGH (Part 3-3)

May 10, 2009 | By knews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, The Arts Forum

“In search of THE FINE THREAD OF TRUTH . . . journeying to the same destination”

Ameena Gafoor (A.G.): You were a member of the Annandale Literary Group. Who were some of its promising writers?
Randall Butisingh (R.B.): There was Rooplall Monar who has a string of National awards; Bramdeo Persaud, poet and short story-writer; Guska, artist and poet; and George Vidyanand, a fledgling poet. The group produced an anthology, Poems from Annandale.

A.G.: What would you say of the poets Guyana has produced? You yourself seem influenced by Tagore and the philosophy of the East.
R.B.: Guyana has produced some good poets, the chief among them being A. J. Seymour. You may call him the poet Laureate of Guyana.
Then there was Martin Carter who was concentrating on a cause. His poems were very much appreciated by the Russians who tried to translate it.
Bramdeo Persaud wrote a few good pieces; I was the only one who kept to the traditional style, and my poems were chiefly about love and compassion, nature and a few philosophical ones.
I was indeed influenced by Tagore. His “Deserted Village” made a deep impression on me. What is happening in the world today reminds me of the first two lines of that poem:

Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.

Here is one of my own poems that was inspired by Eastern thought:

IMPRISONED
Like a song bird in a cage
that longs for the freedom
of field and sky and air,
So doth the soul trapped by the senses
yearn to soar to infinite freedom.
And like the song bird
that beats its wings
against prison bars of cage
and sings not,
but seeks escape to the world beyond,
So doth my soul strive
to break the bond of senses
and find the freedom of eternity.

A.G.: Who among the Guyanese novelists stand(s) out for you?
R.B.: Edgar Mittelholzer, for me, is as good as any. His works impacted me very much.

A.G.: How would you describe 20th century Guyana and how would you describe Guyana since Independence?
R.B.: When you speak of 20th century Guyana, you have to remember there were different periods. The first period up to Independence was, if not one of great prosperity, a time when you could go about without fear at any time of the day, when you could leave your door open and feel safe, when there was justice and security.
The second period up to 1972 was one of prosperity — food was plentiful – but people feared for their lives and doors had to be closed and barred. A dictatorship was creeping up in a beautiful country.
After 1972, there was widespread corruption and persecution and a massive migration from the land – a brain drain that impoverished the country [such that] Guyana was rated the second poorest country in the world, after Haiti.

A.G.: What changes have you observed in the delivery of education in Guyana in the last quarter of the 20th Century?
R.B.: Politics played a crucial role in the delivery of Education in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The administration headed by Burnham inherited certain mistakes.

A.G.: And in the post-Burnham age?
R.B.: The Jagan government, either from lack of vision, or from vain ambition, began building its educational system from the top.
Money could have been better used by starting at the lowest rung of the education ladder, with the training of teachers given top priority, and adequate rewards so that they will remain in the profession and not hop out, after a brief stay, for more lucrative occupations.
The University continues to manufacture brains for export.
All this must have an adverse bearing on the broad population as the values of the society have changed for the worse over time.

A.G.: When you retired from the teaching service what position had you risen to?
R.B.: When I retired my substantive position was Deputy Head [even though] I was Acting Head, on and off, for a period of about 10 years. I never applied to be a Head Teacher as I never wanted to remove far from the area where I was involved in the work of the community. I served as Chairman of the Lusignan Community Centre, Chairman of the Adult Education and the Study Groups, and part-time Welfare Officer.

A.G.: Did you receive any National awards or recognition for nearly 50 years of service to the country?
R.B.: I retired in January 1972 at the age of 59. I did so chiefly because the teaching environment was not conducive to education. It was when I had to supervise a small building and about six bottom house [schools] a quarter mile apart at Mon Repos [East Coast Demerara]. The Ministry had sent eight or nine teachers who were also studying at the University and had no time to teach. They did not put the interest of the child first and I could not stand it.

I did not receive any national awards, but in 2003 CIMBUX (Committee for the improvement of Buxton) an Organization in the USA, recognized me for my contribution to Education at Buxton saying that I had touched the lives of many.

A.G.: Have you any special word of advice for Guyana with respect to education?
R.B.: My word of advice is to put more emphasis on teachers. “The teacher”, according to Buckle, “is the most important person in the whole democratic institution and civilization . . .”. On him or her depends the molding of the nation.

Today large sums are spent on the material fabric of Education and not enough on the human resource.
I wrote a Paper, after a six-week training course for Heads and Senior Assistants on the “Role of the School” which reflects my views and experiences as a teacher. It can be found on my Weblog. Educators [and the general public] are invited to study it.

Weblog address:
http://www.randallbutisingh.wordpress.com

This editor can be contacted at: ameenagf@guyana.net

NOTE to readers:

I will be preparing an Appendix to this published interview that would contain further information that could not be included in the paper due to limited space.

Randall Butisingh

 comment:

I would like readers to know that because of constraints in Knews, my answers were curtailed to some extent.  I would like readers to know in the question on poetry that Tagore was not the poet who wrote  “The Deserted Village.  I t was Oliver Goldsmith. I would also like to add that I read Tagore’s biography, his entire works and the Gitanjali which won him the Nobel prize.  Also the answer dealing with the post Burnham age was irrelevant.  This happened during the editing   

On the whole in this third part there are chronolgical errors and misinformation, some on my part and some on the editors knife.  which needs to be adjusted.  I am hoping that Knews will give me space, so that the true educational situation during the three administrations will be revealed.

May 17, 2009

An Interview with Randall Butisingh 2-3

Posted in Guyana, History, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Religion tagged , , , at 12:07 am by randallbutisingh

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE POET RANDALL BUTISINGH (PART 2-3)

May 3, 2009 | By knews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, The Arts Forum

“In search of THE FINE THREAD OF TRUTH . . . journeying to the same destination”

Ameena Gafoor (A.G.): There are many Guyanese writers living abroad who are writing on issues of dislocation and exile and the problematic nature of race and cultural identity. As a writer in exile yourself, what are your thoughts on these issues?
Randall Butisingh (R.B.): There are many writers like myself living abroad, who rue the conditions which have caused a massive migration of the cream of the population, and would like to see a stable society where they can return and contribute to the prosperity of their homeland which, by all standards, has the resources to make it a great country.
The dislocation of families is one of the chief grievances. Families scattered [all over the globe] rarely have the opportunity to meet, especially on occasions as births and deaths and religious festivals. The generation born abroad is adopting the ways of a strange culture which has transformed behavioural patterns. It has made them cultural hybrids who cannot really find a secure position in societies of ethnic and cultural diversities.

A.G.: You were raised as a Christian from birth by Hindu parents and in 1940 you were appointed Lay Reader of St. Augustine’s Church where you served for 18 years. In an exchange with a correspondent at your blog site you stated that you “separated from the Church as I saw it as exclusive and divisive and I wanted to be involved in all mankind”. Tell us more about your experience with the Church.
R.B.: I separated from the Church because I found it exclusive and divisive. It demanded total loyalty. Fellowshipping, at that time, with other denominations was considered disloyal. In fact, when I took part in an event where another denomination was taking the gospel to the Hindus, the Bishop rebuked me saying that we cannot judge them, but we must be loyal to our own.
The Church could not run without money, so they had to get money through entertainments, teas, dances, raffles and the like. There was no true fellowship in the church; charity was exited. People rubbed shoulders at the alter rail but they hardly knew one another.

In the case of an altercation between two members, the priest would not try to settle the matter before it reached the Court. Members would spy on each other to see how they lived and report to the priest who would then exclude them from Holy Communion.
If a child of a member died before it was baptised, the child was considered a sinner and could not be buried in consecrated ground.
A little girl of five was not allowed by a female teacher to enter the church during a children’s service because she had nothing to cover her head and had to remain outside, alone and disconsolate, until the end of the service.

Only the priest had the authority of absolving the [perceived] sinner through confession.
When I was a teacher, the school kept a school garden. There was a youth who was recalcitrant. The other teachers could not discipline him. I befriended him and succeeded in changing his behaviour. One day, he was working in the garden with me when the vicar’s maid sent a boy for some beans. Charlie, my convert, turned him away. The vicar was livid. He exclaimed, “Has no one ever heard of a vicar’s glebe?” He came there and then ordered Charlie to be suspended from school for two weeks.
Then, there was the instance of the lady, a visitor to the Church from the U.S.A. who was denied entrance to the communion rail because she did not have the communion card – a humiliating and embarrassing occasion.

After witnessing all these things contrary to the teachings of Christ, which are to love one another, to go the second mile and to reconcile with your adversary before you reach the courthouse, I felt I had outgrown the narrowness and decided to find somewhere [where] I could grow.
I still reverence the Church because it is the place where, from the beginning, I found the Master who was to be my Role Model. It was there I learnt the Lord’s Prayer, the twenty- third Psalm and some of the inspiring hymns I resort to in times of personal conflict. And whenever I visit the Church, that is, the building, I feel a little nostalgia. I see there is nothing wrong with the Church, but what is wrong is fallible man. They fail to find the fine thread of truth woven in its fabric. [Instead] they flaunt and worship the fabric.

A.G.: Did you turn to another religion after you left the established Church? Where did you grope to find the “fine thread of truth” you were seeking.
R.B.: I began to study comparative Religions and Philosophies. I believe there is a fine thread of truth woven into the fabric of all of religions, but very few are able to find it. Those who find it, the mystics, although their source may be different, find themselves in the same brotherhood journeying to the same destination. Those who [mis]take the fabric for the truth become exclusive and divisive, and therein [lies] the cause for conflicts. Many conflicts, brutalities and wars often have their roots in those who fail to see beyond the fabric.

A.G.: You seem influenced by Islam and its teachings. How do you now see yourself as a person who has transcended institutionalized religion?
R.B.: I had some Muslim friends and I happened to read the life of the Prophet and some of his sayings in the Hadith which I thought to be consistent with the gospel of Jesus. A Moulvi helped me to learn Urdu.
Later when I came to the United States of America, I learnt to read and write the Arabic script together with my son-in-law who is a Muslim. Now I can read from the Holy Qur’an from which I memorised some of the short Suras (chapters). I like the beautiful cadence of the Suras and also the elegant calligraphy of the script. I have read the Qur’an in English translations. Muhammad was a great Prophet, but some of his followers have strayed from his glorious example.

I also read the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayan and I was attracted to their philosophy of Monism which sees God in everything, and their lofty concept of Brahman, the Absolute, the incomprehensible, sheer consciousness and bliss and I have written articles on it.
I also studied Buddhism and found some of its teachings parallel to that of Christianity. You may call me a Universalist, if you like. The true followers of every faith have had their inspiration from the one Source that has created and sustains every thing.

A.G.: What year did you leave Guyana and why did you leave?
R.B.: Apart from visits to my daughter from 1985 I spent most of my time in Guyana up to 1997.

This editor can be contacted on E-mail: ameenagf@guyana.net.gy

May 14, 2009

An Interview with Randall Butisingh 1-3

Posted in Education, Guyana, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:29 am by randallbutisingh

http://www.kaieteurnews.com/2009/04/26/an-interview-with-the-poet-randall-butisingh-part-one-of-three/

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE POET RANDALL BUTISINGH (Part 1-3)

From: Kaieteur News -April 26, 2009 | By knews : The Arts Forum

THE ARTS FORUM offers an occasional page of critical perspectives on the literature, art, culture and social history of Guyana and the Caribbean. Our objective is to critically examine neglected issues and lives that call for greater attention.

We bring you a recent INTERVIEW (in three parts) with the poet, RANDALL BUTISINGH.
Butisingh, who is 96 years of age and now lives in Florida, shares his experiences with us of life and culture in twentieth century Guyana.

LANDMARK AT CHATEAU MARGOT

u stand
defiant of wind and weather
a monument
dwarfing the tall green trees around;
Innumerable bricks labouriously laid
fashioned your form so straight and strong.
Where is the being that gave you shape?
If you could answer, you would tell:
“His bones are hidden in the dust
and time has dulled the scroll of memory”
Yet, in your form and bearing there exudes
the spirit of your maker long deceased.

Once your hollow symmetry
like a giant sky-trained gun
belched forth munitions of black dust
that seemed to drown high heaven
and hide the sun;
But now, your sooty task, complete
You remain serene, majestic,
enveloped in earth and sky and air
a monument to your designer
gladdening eyes at sea.
So, like you,
when my brief task of rhyming is complete
and the dark dust of my musings to earth subsides,
May my soul’s song survive:
a time defying monument in VERSE.

Randall Butisingh

“In search of THE FINE THREAD OF TRUTH . . .
journeying to the same destination”

Ameena Gafoor (A.G.): It is remarkable that at 96, you are documenting your life story, playing the keyboard and learning Spanish to crown a very active life of dedication to society, particularly in the field of education, in post-colonial Guyana. You grew up in Buxton, a village noted for many outstanding thinkers and activists. Give us some highlights of your early years of growing up in Buxton.

Randall Butisingh (R.B.): My father was a Buxtonian, but my mother was born in the neighbouring estate, Annandale. For a while, my parents lived in Alexander Ville, Kitty, where I was born and baptised [in 1913]. We returned to Buxton while I was yet an infant.

At the age of twelve, in 1925, I was runner up in the first Buxton Scholarship Examination. The winner was Balbir Ballgreene Nehaul, son of a merchant at Buxton. He got a place at Queen’s College where he did exceeding well. He later became a doctor of Bacteriology and Pathology and worked for a while in Guyana before joining the WHO.
The second runner up was one Claude Holder who was the son of Head teacher C.T. Holder. He was the youngest at 11 years, and the villagers of Buxton subscribed to give him a special scholarship while I remained in school. In 1927, I passed the School Leaving Examination and was appointed Pupil Teacher.

A.G.: Around 1930, you became a member of the Buxton Literary Institute, one of many such Institutes along the East Coast of Demerara. What inspired you towards the Institute and who were some of your contemporaries attending?

R.B.: I was an avid reader and I had a penchant for oratory. I was fortunate to find the company of teachers of my age who were interested in discussions and debates and were all members of the Buxton Literary Institute, so I became one, too.
My colleagues were, first and foremost, Daniel Victor Seaforth, a chivalrous and pious African whom I loved . . . very articulate and a good impromptu speaker who later became a lay preacher for the Methodist Church.
Then there was Claude Easton Holder, Queen’s College trained and a Trained teacher.
Felix Austin, who later became Commissioner of Police, also attended, as well as Stanley Albert Truman, a head teacher who was brilliant.

A.G.: How long did this institute run? Was there a leader who held the group together or was it a loose group of persons who met and shared intellectual interests?

R.B.: My greatest inspiration at the Institute was the Chairman, G. H. A. Bunyan, headmaster and also chairman of the British Guiana Teachers’ Association . . . a great role model.
The Institute ran for a number of years under his chairmanship; we elected him over and over again, until he retired. I cannot now recall who took his place but I have a feeling it was one, Cyril Willis, who was the village Postmaster.
The group was held together for a long time by the enthusiasm and commitment of the members who always looked forward to the day of meeting.

A.G.: What were some of the burning issues of the day?

R.B.: There was the problem of prejudice and segregation. The Indians, after indentureship, came to the neighbouring village to live. They rented lands from the Africans and built their mud huts in the front of the village, bordering the sea. They and their children, boys and girls, continued to work in the adjoining sugar estate. Africans and Indians in the village tended not to mix with each other.
Indians wanted their children to work to augment their income, but after compulsory education was introduced, they were forced to send them to school or suffer a fine or imprisonment. Some, who couldn’t pay the fine, did go to prison, but Indian girls were taken out of school before they reached the age of puberty.
The Buxton Literary Institute was established at a time when Indians were beginning to see the value of education for their children. Papers were read on various topics of social interest.

A.G.: You also attended the Guianese Art Group led by Magistrate Gui Sharples at the Vigilance Courtroom. Who were some of your contemporaries?

R.B.: Two of my contemporaries I clearly remember were Mr. Burrowes and Aubrey Williams. There was a lady who posed for the group and I did a sketch in charcoal and was commended by Magistrate Sharples. It was somewhere in the [nineteen] forties.

A.G.: What do you think of a statement attributed to Denis Williams (c. 1972) that “Indians in Guyana have remained aloof of the mainstream” and had made no notable contribution to the visual arts up to the 1970s? Did you happen to know (or know of) Cyril Kanhai, David Singh and Rip Persaud (Indian Guyanese artists of your time who possibly attended the Guianese Art Group)? We know that Rip did attend and produced a few pieces that spoke to the social history of the colony.

R.B.: Denis Williams was not correct to say that Indians remained aloof of the mainstream in art. I heard of Cyril Kanhai. I cannot remember David Singh and Rip Persaud. I, however, know of a contemporary of mine, a head teacher, James Jeboud, who did excellent pencil sketching and painting. He painted the “Kissing Bridge” in the Botanic Gardens. Another contemporary, Pam Dinally who married a Taharally, did sceneries of Guyana. A friend in Florida has a few of her paintings – good ones.

This editor can be contacted on E-mail: ameenagf@guyana.net.gy

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