When Devan leaves his village and his wife and children behind, he finds urban, cosmopolitan Georgetown, with its wealthy and politically cynical Indian elite, an experience frequently at odds with the ardent simplicities of his teaching. In the tragi-comic absurdities of Devan's career, Dabydeen reveals powerfully the dangers to a religion's truths when it is made to serve the needs of ethnic assertion. But in becoming the Wizard Swami in charge of Mr Bhairam's prize racehorse Destiny, Devan not only reaches his lowest point, but also begins to discover truths of a much more tentative but enlightening kind. The Wizard Swami is a finely observed comedy of manners, but it is much more than that in its imaginative and poetic play with the symbols of Hinduism in a secular and cosmopolitan society.
The Wizard Swami
When Devan, the awkward boy from Providence Village, finds his vocation as a teacher of Hinduism to the rural Indians of the Corentyne Coast of Guyana, his life and his troubles begin. In this richly comic novel, Cyril Dabydeen creates a vibrant picture of the Guyanese Hindu community struggling for a place in what is for Devan a confusingly multi-racial country.
01 Nov 1988