India and the Shaping of the Indo-Guyanese Imagination
When the first East Indian intellectuals emerged in British Guiana at the end of the nineteenth century, most of their compatriots were still working as indentured or free labourers on the colony's sugar estates.
Clem Seecharan
ISBN number
Cultural Studies
Country setting
Publication date
01 Dec 1993

Indians were conscious that they were looked down on as barbarous 'coolies' by other sections of the population. In response, the intellectual elite constructed a view of India, drawn from the writings of Max Muller and Tagore, which provided the Indo-Guyanese community with a sustaining sense of self-esteem and the sources of its resistance to colonialism. 

Focusing on individuals such as Joseph and Peter Ruhomon, JA Luckhoo and WH Wharton, the study looks at the way the beginnings of the nationalist movement in India stimulated such individuals to start defining the nature of their presence in the New World. Seecharan argues that while the vision of ‘Mother India’ stimulated the community's cultural revival, it constrained the way it thought about Guyana. 

'Dr. Seecharan’s research is meticulous and his analysis penetrating. This is why, despite its specific Indian focus and slender look, India offers much insight into the broader history of Guyanese society as a whole.' - Frank Birbalsingh.


Clem Seecharan

Professor Clem Seecharan, BA, MA, PhD is a writer and historian of the Indo-Caribbean experience, as well as a historian of West Indies cricket. He was born at Palmyra, East Canje, Berbice, Guyana, in 1950. He attended the Sheet Anchor Anglican School, Berbice Educational Institute and Queen’s College. He studied at McMaster University in Canada; and taught Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana before completing his doctorate in History at the University of Warwick in 1990. He joined the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) in 1993 and was the Head of Caribbean Studies there for nearly 20 years. In 2002 Clem was awarded a Professorship in History at the London Metropolitan University where he is now Emeritus Professor of History. He is the only person to have taught courses, in the UK, on the Intellectual History of the Caribbean, the History of Indians in the Caribbean and the History of West Indies Cricket. In 2003 he was awarded a Certificate of Distinction by the Guyana High Commission (London) ‘in recognition of his achievement in his profession in the United Kingdom’.
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