BARBADOS BOOK PUBLISHED: BENGAL TO BARBADOS
- Published 05/12/2013
The answer in most cases would be, not too many. It would appear that most associate East Indians in Barbados with the business or itinerant traders. One leader in the Muslim and East Indian community is on a mission however, to further educate Barbadians, and by extension the world, about the relationship with exists between the communities.
Barbados' Sabir Nakhuda .
In an interview (with Barbados TODAY) from the balcony of his Husbands Gardens, St. James home, overlooking the beautiful west coast, he stressed that his book was needed. He explained it was well known that the majority of East Indians entering the region went to countries like Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana as indentured labourers but those who came to Barbados did so on their own.
Nevertheless, during research at the Public Library and the Barbados Archives to dig deeper, there was hardly anything on East Indians apart from an interview here or there. Dissatisfied and wanting additional information, the former newspaper columnist and marketing manager took his tape recorder, notebook, and a lot of enthusiasm and started the journey through oral culture to find out more.
He said: “My main purpose was to create a better understanding between the two communities, East Indians and the local Barbadian, because sometimes we don’t make a special effort to learn about people who are living among us. So I want to have some type of historical document to create awareness between both communities, to build bridges. We have been building bridges but this book would help with that…”
The book chronicles the 100-year history of East Indians in Barbados, beginning with Bashart Ali Dewan, who was believed to be the first Indian to arrive in Barbados in 1910. Later Hafez Suleiman Kasooji, Moosa Patel and Ebrahim Bulbulia, the first Gujrati Indians arrived and in 1932 Jivatram Thani from Sindhi (now Pakistan) came to the island.
It gave a detailed overview on the hospitality met to the first immigrant by Barbadians and how each other was able to co-exist and assist one another. One of the main example was through business. At that time of their arrival in the early 20th century, local Barbadians were unable to get credit from the established†stores†in Broad Street.
Seeing a niche market, they came and provided that service and merchandised on a credit basis. Nakhuda, who came to the island more than half century ago, said they established that relationship where both benefited and it continues even up to today. Nowadays there is no party without somosas and rotis are second nature. “We want to educate not only Barbadians but the people of the world to show how we as East Indians and Barbadians live. I think there is a lot to be learned from us,” he added.
“We have problems within the world to do with race and colour, even religion especially, but if they could only know how we as Barbadians live we — hardly have any differences. If I have to tell you where you come from in two words I would tell you, but that is it and we back to normal again.
“We don’t have that animosity; we live as one people, Barbadians. Of course I would have my own concerns or preferences and you would have your own but difference is good because that just shows that people although we have our own cultural differences at the end of it I will still be eating flying fish and cou cou and I could still invite you home by me to eat dhali biryani rice, so we become richer.”.
In the foreword of the book, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart thanked†and congratulated Nakhuda for documenting†the “impressive contribution” over the last 100 years the East Indian society made.
He wrote: “The Indian community has contributed much therefore to the economic and social development of this country. They have felt safe here in Barbados and have helped to keep Barbados a safe place in which to live and do business. A study of this story will contribute greatly to a deeper understanding of a community that has, by its presence, both diversified and enriched our culture.”
As he thanked all the individuals who helped with the compilation of the book, Nakhuda said he was hoping the Minister of Education would take a look at it† to see whether it was worth distributing into secondary schools, since “such documentation augurs well for the entire community”.
“I have dedicated this book to the future generations of Barbados, irrespective of colour or race. This book has to do with educating Barbadians of the connection between the two and have a better understanding of East Indian culture.
“It has already started but this is an added impetus, there is a need to have a particular understanding about a people so there won’t be any misunderstanding.†”You would get one or two in the local community that would make a negative comment, ‘Go back to where you come from’ but 80 to 90 per cent of all the East Indians are born here — their navel string is buried here, so go where? Go from St. Lucy to St. Michael?
“But now they are understanding there is no difference; it is just a matter of colour or hair. We hope that
both communities can touch each other.”
Bengal To Barbados will be available at all books shops or obtained by contacting email@example.com for copies.
Caribbean Delegate attends Interfaith Conference in Doha, Qatar
- Published 05/12/2013
With these words the Declaration of the tenth Doha Conference for Inter-faith Dialogue began, bringing to conclusion three days of consultations between participants on several topics under the theme “Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue”.
The Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID), headed by Professor Ibrahim Al-Naimi was established as a result of a recommendation of the Fifth Doha Interfaith Conference in May 2007 in Doha. The center was opened officially in May 2008. The main role of the centre is to spread the culture of dialogue, the peaceful coexistence of humanity and the acceptance of others. While its mission is striving for constructive dialogue between followers of different faiths towards better understanding and harnessing of distinct religious principles and teachings to the benefit of all humanity, on the basis of mutual respect and acknowledgement of differences and through cooperation with related individuals and organizations.
Barbados Suleiman Bulbulia with Yahya Suqillo of Ecuador at Conference.
The first Muslim delegate from the Caribbean to attend the conference, Suleiman Bulbulia of Barbados, highlighted that the event was certainly an eye opener to the several activities happening across the globe in inter-faith dialogue and action. He was extremely pleased to be there and to interact with Muslims, Jews and Christians all working together for the betterment of humanity. Several Christian and Jewish representatives attended from Latin America along with Sh. Imam Yahya Suqillo of Quito, Ecuador.
The Conference addressed four main themes, Academic, Justice, Conflict Resolution and Peace and Media Culture. In the Declaration of the Conference several important points under each of these themes were proposed.
- In the academic sessions, it was suggested that the search for common ground comes alongside the acknowledgement of difference and that the development of dialogical skills is not the same as development of debating skills. Teachers and families both have a crucial role in raising the youth with this interfaith spirit. Universities and general education authorities are encouraged to include interfaith education in their curricula.
- The speakers in the sessions on Justice presented new and important initiatives geared towards establishing social, environmental, economic and medical justice on different levels ranging from initiatives based in one part of a city to prospective global partnerships with the United Nations for protection - among other rights - of rights of religious minorities and their sacred symbols.
- All reports called for interfaith communities to continue cooperating constructively to find common ground in the creation of just societies through capacity building of religious and civic leaders for inspiring responsible male and female leadership. This can lead not only towards resolving conflicts in their own communities, but also towards rising above narrow tribal interests and contributing to resolving conflicts of other communities as well.
- With the penetration of media into our everyday lives, especially over the past decade, the power of harnessing personal stories in the public sphere has become increasingly important for promoting symbiotic coexistence in modern societies. One should recognize the usefulness of some technological tools when they are integrated into school teaching for raising interfaith sensibility and presenting a fair, truthful and attractive image of religions.
One of the highlights of the Conference was the address by Mr. Rashad Hussein, President Obama's special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the invitation from OIC to organize a follow-up meeting on UN Human Rights resolution 16/18. DICID said it hoped to host this meeting in the near future on the theme of "The protection of religious communities and their sacred symbols".
The Declaration ended: “We urge the world community to denounce strongly any form of violence and persecution against religious scholars and leaders. The conference notes with great concern the ongoing violence against civilians and places of worship in Syria especially the abduction of Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim both of whom had intended to take part in this conference and who have made such important contributions to interfaith dialogue in the region and beyond.”
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On the 18th of February 2012, Assembly of Intellectual Muslim (HAKIM) have sent six of their members to a lecture organized by Dar al-Andalus, Suffah Study Circle of Singapore at Orchard Parade Hotel. The lecture entitled “The Meaning and Experience of Happiness in Islām” was delivered none other than Malaysian-based scholar, the honourable Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas.
Right from the start, Prof. Al-Attas had confined his lecture upon two questions raised with regard to the topic of meaning of happiness in Islām as he brilliantly wrote in a monograph and included as the second chapter of his magnum opus – Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islam. He mentioned before this topic cannot be elaborated succinctly in 2 hours as it took him one whole semester at ISTAC before to lecture on this in detail and at length. He intended on that day to touch basic matters pertaining to the topic.
The first question touched upon whether is it necessary for the Muslim to understand the Western conception of tragedy before we could understand the meaning of happiness in Islām.
Prof. Al-Attas stressed that though it is not necessary to understand the Western conception of tragedy that flourished in their great works since the Iliad of Homer, Poetics of Aristotle, it is pertinent for the Muslims of today to understand the exact opposite of saʿādah as alluded in Qurʾān – which is shaqawāh rendered into English approximately equivalent of ‘great misfortune’, ‘misery’, ‘straitness of circumstance’, ‘distress’, ‘disquietude’, ‘despair’, ‘adversity’, ‘suffering’.
- By His Eminence Maulana Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqi (R.A.)
- Published 03/19/2013
- Ihsan -The Path to Excellence
(excerpt from Tareef-E-Khuda, Zikray Rasool published 1989)
The Holy Quran emphatically states:
SALUTATION.” Qur’an 33:56
Here, ALLAH, The Mighty, The Wise makes this important revelation that, HE, The Great God, sends blessings along with His Angels to the Holy Prophet and He has further instructed us in His Infinite Wisdom to honour the blessed Prophet in a worthy manner.
For this reason, MEELAD SHAREEF Functions have been widespread throughout the Muslim world, bringing to light the value of sending Daroods and Salaams to the Best of the Created, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha (upon whom be peace). Most surely, in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala and of His Prophet whose life and deeds are recounted on such occasions, is a source of inspiration and in it there are great blessings.
The advantages of a Meelad Shareef Function are many, all depending to what extent and in what form it is conducted. It has played an important part in the social life of Muslims and is observed on any happy occasion to mark the event. It is a commendable feature that such functions are held in the Muslim community on social occasions instead of un-Islamic practices.
ADAB MEHFIL MEELAD SHAREEF (MANNERS FOR MEELAD SHAREEF)
Those participating should prepare for such a function by making Wudhu and must sit in humility and respect. There should be no gossiping, laughter or any such thing done to cause distraction while the function is in progress. The reading of Darood Shareef is highly recommended. All talks delivered should be based on Allah Ta’ala and on the life and deeds of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and on the religion of Islam, free from personal aspirations and political views.
Meelad Shareef is a religious function with the aim and purpose of inspiring understanding of the great role the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) played in the Universe, so that we may benefit our souls. Meelad Shareef functions conducted in a proper manner, delight the soul and exalt the mind into the realms of peace and happiness and of love for the greatest benefactor of humanity, Hazrat Muhammad (upon whom be peace).