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Highway in the Sun
The first Indian indentured labourers arrived in the Caribbean over 150 years ago. But how are the Indian characters in these plays to live in 20th century Trinidad?
Trinidad and Tobago
01 Dec 1991
These plays explore their experiences as traditional values confront a rapidly changing world. Highway in the Sun tells the story of Tiger's and Urmilla's first year of marriage away from their extended family. How are they to relate to Joe and Rita, their new Afro-Creole neighbours? In Home Sweet India, Johnny, dismayed by his and his family's loss of culture, plans to return to India. But will this solve his problems? In Turn Again Tiger, Tiger learns that he cannot turn his back on the Indian past if he is to lay the ghosts of the past to rest and face the future whole. In Harvest in Wilderness, the traditional cane-cutting world of Balgobin confronts the new technology of his creolised nephew, Romesh, but the past continues to spring surprises.
These plays, originally broadcast by the BBC in the 1970s, bring together Selvon's most focused attention to the choices Indians in the Caribbean must make between tradition and creolisation.
Samuel (Sam) Selvon was born in San Fernando in 1923. He is the author of eleven novels, set both in Trinidad and London. He lived in London and Canada for many years. He died on a return visit to Trinidad in 1994.
Samuel (Sam) Selvon was born in San Fernando in 1923 into a Christian Indian family which was ‘neither prosperous nor poor’. His grandfather (from Madras) was an interpreter and his father the manager of a dry goods store. His maternal grandfather was Scottish. It was a creolised family and Selvon reports little involvement with the rituals of a more Hindu life. He reports that his cultural influences were the American films showing at the local cinemas, and that as a child he was not going to ‘bother with any stupid "kar-har-jar".’ He attended Naparima College in San Fernando, before leaving at fifteen to work. From 1940-1945 he was a wireless operator with the Royal Naval Reserve, and as such closely involved with the war-time American presence which provides the backdrop for A Brighter Sun (1952).