How Indian Music Served as a Good Dose of Medicine for TT’s Positive Development

It wasn’t by chance that Indian music  featured prominently in the recent 60th Anniversary of Independence celebrations here.

That’s because the Indians who came here as indentured labourers – which some say was a “milder” form of slavery- brought their music with them as one of the foundation tools for preserving their culture which would last through the centuries in a tremendous display of how well a people can adapt to suit their new environment.

So, alongside the raunchy calypsos sung by Sparrow and others, you ca easily hear naughty Chutney compositions such as this one by Sybil Bridgelal::

Mih husband have a fowl cock

It does it wake him up

When yuh see is four o’clock

Is time to go to wock!

Or what about the African bard Lord Shorty who re-christened himself Ras Shorty 1 and sang about 

Indrani, mih old Indian chick

She so bony, skinny like a whip

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In this regard, one recalls how, at one south Trinidad government office  with a proliferation of Indian employees in the mid-1960s, work would be disrupted  when this song was played on the radio. That was one of the few times – part from cricket – when  all workers gathered to relish Shorty celebrating the 80 year old grannie’s capacity to absorb Laidlow – the local equivalent of the  proverbial  African Wood.

Meanwhile Soondar Popo received what would have been among his highest honours when in 1995, his old friend Black Stalin won the Trinidad and Tobago National Calypso Monarch crown with  a song titled Tribute to Soondar Popo.

Soondar – as he was affectionately known by all – gave this nation a huge body  of Indian songs including  Nani and Nana  and 

Give me the number of yuh plane , 

Mih darlin

And when will I see you again

A scorpion sting mih

Ah feelin ah go dead

Darlin if yuh love me

Come lie dong in mih bed

As Trinidad and Tobago moves forward on its journey towards a wealthy and healthy future, it will serve the children well to reflect on the role played by the Indians and their music to ensure that this country stays on a positive path on the road to health and wealth in the material, intellectual and spiritual realms.

In this vein, we can take a fine example from Calypso Monarch Brother Marvin who so beautifully sang:

Unity of the Boat Jhaji Bhai!

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