Guyana: The early Guyanese tadjah festival + related articles

01The now dormant tadjah festival of Guyana had its origins in the Islamic religion of the Indian Shia Muslims who arrived as indentured workers in British Guiana almost two centuries ago which later came to include non-Muslims.

Ironically, it was this national inclusion,to the disapproval of colonial authorities, which would lead to the festival becoming extinct on the local religious calendar today.

The history of the tadjah

The Guyanese tadjah was a procession of mourners marking the anniversary of the assassination of Hussain, who was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed.

The first month of the Islamic New Year, Muharram, is one of the four sacred months in Islam. The tenth day of Muharram is the day of Ashura, which is considered to be a very important day in the Islamic calendar.  

Read more: Guyana: The early Guyanese tadjah festival


More links are available here from the St. Stanislaus College Blog:
Tadjah Festival

Posted: 27 Feb 2016 07:40 AM PST



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  • demerwater  On 03/01/2016 at 11:29 am

    “…The last procession was held in 1917.” ???
    I remember seeing (and being frightened by) a ‘Tadjah’ procession along James Street in Albuoystown – long after 1917! I was disappointed to hear that the fear-inspiring structure was rather ignominiously discarded in the punt trench. The fear was encouraged by my Hindu elders. It reinforced an almost primeval barrier between Hindus and Mohammedans. Other symbols were the beard and an implied cruelty surrounding Halal meat and the butcher’s trade.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On 03/02/2016 at 1:50 pm

    Further to my last post, I am miffed why “Peter Halder, in his article on guyanathenandnow website, states that in British Guiana the festival was eventually assumed by Hindus, to the disapproval of the Muslims.” Hindus have an extraordinarily ancient and rich heritage including the numerous subplots in the huge Mahabharata (Sharon Westmaas’ Sons of Gods) and the Ramayana epics. Why would they ‘assume a festival’ from their detested conquerors? Halder should state his source and rationale

    Veda Nath Mohabir.

  • guyaneseonline  On 03/02/2016 at 11:15 pm

    From: VEDA MOHABIR – Tuesday, March 1, 2016 11:30 PM
    Subject: Sent to Guyanese Online as response to Tajah comment

    There is no ” primeval barrier between Hindus and Mohammedans”. The barrier has a history. It began when Islamic invaders barged into India as early as 712AD and and ruled India for close to 1,000 years. – A Study in Diversity – News, Views, Analysis, Literature, Poetry, Features – Express Yourself . To understand this ‘barrier’ just the name Hindu Kush (referring to a mountain range in the Himalayas) means “death of Hindus” as enslaved Hindus were taken to central and Western Asia and many died as they crossed the treacherous mountains barefooted and barely clothed in winter. Hindu Kush means Hindu Slaughter . It might surprise you that the so-called Gypsies (Roma/Romani) people are part of the forced emigration. They have since become personae non gratae across West Asia/Europe. Furthermore, the destruction of Hindu peoples resulted in the decline of the population of India by 50 (fifty) million (by one scholarly estimate) in just about 300 of that 1,000 years. Was There an Islamic “Genocide” of Hindus? . Koenraad Elst writes as one example of genocide of Hindus:
    ‘Hindus too experienced this treatment (beheading of 700 male Jews in Medina by Muhammad) at the hands of Islamic conquerors, e.g. when Mohammed bin Qasim conquered the lower Indus basin in 712 CE. Thus, in Multan, according to the Chach-Nama, “six thousand warriors were put to death, and all their relations and dependents were taken as slaves”. This is why Rajput women committed mass suicide to save their honour (avoid rape/concubinage) in the face of the imminent entry of victorious Muslim armies, e.g. 8,000 women immolated themselves during Akbar’s capture of Chittorgarh in 1568 (where this most enlightened ruler also killed 30,000 non-combatants). During the Partition pogroms and the East Bengali genocide, mass rape of Hindu women after the slaughter of their fathers and husbands was a frequent event.’
    And, he continues: ‘as Fernand Braudel wrote in A History of Civilizations (Penguin 1988/1963, p.232-236), Islamic rule in India as a “colonial experiment” was “extremely violent”, and “the Muslims could not rule the country except by systematic terror. Cruelty was the norm — burnings, summary executions, crucifixions or impalements, inventive tortures. Hindu temples were destroyed to make way for mosques. On occasion there were forced conversions. If ever there were an uprising, it was instantly and savagely repressed: houses were burned, the countryside was laid waste, men were slaughtered and women were taken as slaves.”

    So, people do have memories, no matter how long, especially when that ‘people’ has been subjected to genocidal treatment by outsiders, as ‘kaffirs’ for their primeval religion, in their motherland.

    Veda Nath Mohabir – A Study in Diversity – News, Views, Analysis, Literature, Poetry, Features – Express Yo… is a portal dealing with weekly opinions on current affairs, social ethos, parenting, poetry, and a study of the diversity of India. The topics covered are Architecture, Astrology, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Dances, Festivals, Hinduism, Indian History, Literature, Places, etc.
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    Hindu Kush means Hindu Slaughter

    Hindu Kush means Hindu Slaughter By Shrinandan Vyas All the Encyclopedias and National Geographic agree that Hindu Kush region is a place of Hindu genocide (similar to Dakau and Auschwitz).
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    Was There an Islamic “Genocide” of Hindus?
    “The Partition Holocaust”: the term is frequently used in Hindu pamphlets concerning Islam and the birth of its modern political embodiment in the Subco…
    View on koenraadelst.bharatva…
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  • demerwater  On 03/04/2016 at 6:15 am

    I am still wading through all the references; but I am glad – more than ever – that history has been my least favorite subject.
    It has been all too difficult for me to discern between history and experience – and baggage!
    I can recall my grandparents’ generation dismissing “Jinnah” as a scamp and traitor. I was too young to understand what it was all about. I do remember waving the flag of India and singing the Indian National Anthem on August 15, 1947.
    Because I was not encumbered by the grim and gruesome “historic” events, I could form such long lasting and enriching relationships as; with Mohamed Haniff, the Senior Field Lab. Assistant (and my immediate Supervisor) at Uitvlugt, back in 1961. He was a devout Muslim who showed me what Faith and fortitude could be – as he and his family went through the pain of his little daughter’s battle with polio; and his serene acceptance of his own illness later.
    With Mohammed Saffie, a daily paid employee at LBI Field Lab. who kept “Roza” to the last detail; and asked no ‘consideration’ (which I was prepared to grant) in view of the rigors of daily labor on a sugar estate. He would tend a kitchen garden for me (an agriculturist!) when I was too busy or plain lazy. He loved my daughter as his own grand-daughter. Here was a man who lived his daily life in sync with his Faith; something that I still had to learn how to do.
    There was Mohamed Yar who surprised me – pleasantly – by singing the Ramayan with the best of Hindus. There are others – too numerous to mention.
    And that is the Guyana that I like to remember – queh-queh, obeah, tadja, kali-mai and calypso – a time in my life before racial and cultural consciousness was morphed into racial and cultural conflicts – by lesser men and women with less lofty ideals..

  • demerwater  On 03/05/2016 at 3:46 am

    Evidently, Dr. Kean Gibson has written about East Indians in Guyana and Barbados from a point of view that others, equally knowledgeable on the subject, disagree.
    Emphatically, I have not read anything written by Dr. Kean.
    Nor have I read anything written by Mr. Veda Mohabir, except at this forum.
    But I did find this:

    I am a very slow thinker.

  • demerwater  On 03/05/2016 at 4:13 am

    This is meant to point out ONE out of many facets to the “condition” of the Guyanese nation. I would caution the reader to particularly take note of the disclosure statement at the end.

    Click to access BewareFinal.pdf

  • demerwater  On 03/06/2016 at 5:44 am

    And here is another facet.
    At first the piece would anger me. Now I read it and think, “With friends like these, you don’t need enemies!”

  • demerwater  On 03/07/2016 at 1:10 pm

    And here is a report on the “Wismar-ethnic-cleansing-attempt”. I remember it for the rage it spawned; and for the humanity of the “A H & L Kissoon” firm that made its bond and new mattresses available to the “refugees”.
    East Indians passed on this provocation to retaliate.

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