About my self and why I write
My name is Robert H. Mahesh, and I am an Indo-Guyanese immigrant of New York for the past twenty-four years. I have been looking a bit more closely at our Indo-Guyanese story as dislocated immigrants, because we have been living witnesses of that dislocation, which came about because of circumstances beyond our control in our Motherland of Guyana.
Fortunately, we have not been completely destroyed, but we have survived despite the several wrong-doings that confronted our community. If we do not tell and document our story from our perspective, no one will do so for us. In my humble way, I have been writing pieces of our story under the heading, “Glimpses of Living Indo-Guyanese History,” in prose, poetry and prayers, reflecting some of my personal experiences on that living road of ‘Dislocation and Survival.’
My true-to-life story “A Pilgrimage to the Place of his Birth in Guyana,” (self-published in New York in 1995) is a living example of my abiding interest in our living story, which keeps unfolding before our very eyes. Who are better qualified than us to write our story from our perspectives? Is it not true too that that writing was often over-looked by us? You be the judge.
I am the only son of an illiterate indentured East Indian immigrant. My father went to Guyana in 1909 on the Sutlej, and I myself have become an Indo-Guyanese immigrant in the United States in 1979. My book tells about my difficulty of getting a teaching job, because I was not a Christian but a Hindu. Although I was qualified, I was turned away by the Christian manager from my own school at De-Willem, West Coast Demerara, Guyana, but was fortunately employed by a goodly Catholic priest in the Pomeroon River, Essequibo, far away from my home at De-Kinderen, West Coast Demerara, Guyana.
I journeyed in the teaching profession for twenty-five years (1954-1979) and rose from a Pupil Teacher to Deputy Headmaster and after working in six schools. I graduated from the Government Teachers’ Training College (1961-1962 batch) and from the University of Guyana in 1970 with a BA, DipEd., and without a high school education. My parents could not afford to send me to high school, but I moved on academically by self-study, determination and perseverance, which have been documented in my book.
I know that every Guyanese ethnic group also has its story and each group must begin to write its story from its perspective as I have done. But it is important to do that writing truthfully, otherwise it will bring discredit to its writers. Our writings will help to build our young Guyanese store-houses of History and Literature collections for posterity, otherwise we will continue to read stories about other peoples and their countries. Such a situation will only help to continue to enslave us. Our writings will liberate us and give us confidence and a boldness which will build true independence.
Join me in writing and sharing. I truly believe that when we write our stories truthfully, it will help to liberate us from our hurts. We have the power through our pen and independent thinking, and that power can truly liberate and free us from the so many injustices that were committed against our community. Only our truthful documentations will bring closure and healing to the injuries caused by many against us. Our writings will expose those injustices and draw them to the attention of the reading world, who may raise their voices in condemnation, so that those wrongs may not be repeated against others. While our truthful writings will liberate us, the opposite will serve to enslave us and perpetuate the hurt.
Let us liberate ourselves through our writings and thereby, teach some very valuable lessons about our ‘Dislocation and Survival,’ to our generations yet to come, and to others who may wish to read them. It is my understanding that ‘Literature is Life,’ and all its writings are either true or false stories, about people of all ages and nationalities. I know too, that those stories are expressed through the written word either by prose or poetry, and they reflect defeats, victories, falsehood, truth, pain, sadness and many other human qualities, in a sharing educational way. Tagore said that the written word crosses oceans and mountains and is never changed. It helps to unite not only minds of the present, but also the minds of the present with those of the remote past.
(Written: Thursday February 9, 2006).
I will be very happy to receive any feedback on the thoughts that I have expressed above. You can communicate with me by telephone or email, which are as follows:
Tel: (718) 835 – 4989.