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general these families form a strongly-knit bourgeoisie, unconcerned with the political advancement of the Colony, or in the creation of an efficient moderate party to oppose the extremism of the People's Progressive Party. This bourgeoisie prefers to continue under the protection of British administration, to ally itself as far as possible with the British outlook. It remains, however, socially a self-sufficient unit."

The shop-assistants in the large stores are always high-colour girls, who speak to you in a charming, slow sing-song voice rooted in the Creole accent but distinct from it. Georgetown is proud of the beauty of its girls and it is in this class that the beauty is found. They are pleasure-loving girls who delight in Well; European magazines are inspected for each new fashion trend, and the number of dressmakers in Georgetown is reputedly higher per head of population than anywhere else in the world. The girls and their dressmakers plan their variants of Dior and Fath with such success that they turn the Saturday night revels at the Carib nightclub by the Sea Wall into a concours d'élégance, although, for my taste, they are just a little too fond of tulle.

Saturday night at the Carib is a ritual social occasion in which all races and all classes take part, although it is dominated by the high-colour class. Dimly lit tables surround a large dance-floor; a band plays a staid form of jazz; beer, spirits, lemonade and coca-cola are drunk, and the room hums with animated conversation. There is no sense of racial distinction; one night at the Carib I was in a party which consisted of our host, Mr. McDonald Bailey, who organizes sports for Bookers, his English wife, an Indian girl, a half-Chinese half-Negro girl and a young man from the high-colour class.

East Indians in British Guiana live mainly in the country districts of the coast and the Indian community in Georgetown is small, composed largely of rich merchants, cinema owners, garage proprietors, doctors, lawyers and others in responsible positions in the community. Although many specifically Indian customs have vanished down the years the Indians have kept their racial identity and in the past held themselves somewhat apart from the rest of the community, resisting the pressure of Western civilization and showing little desire to become integrated into Guianese society. But having, during the last

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twenty years, become larger than the Negro population, the Indian community has gradually lost its traditional aloofness. The Indian, seeing his economic power on the increase, has naturally been encouraged to take more part in Guianese life in order to protect his interests. Literacy among Indians, which was at one time lower than among the Negroes, is increasing as

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Indians realize the uses of education. The granting of independence to India in 1947 has been a strong psychological encouragement to these feelings of ascendancy and Indians who are settled outside India-in East Africa, Trinidad and Mauritius as well as British Guiana-have tended to look towards Mr. Nehru as their leader and to have a natural sense of pride in the freedom of their home-country. In most Indian households in British Guiana books by Mr. Nehru will be found,

usually taking pride of place in the shelves beside the collected works of Marie Corelli. Mr. Nehru has, however, said that he discourages this Indian nationalism, believing that Indians in British possessions must make their choice between Indian and local nationality and 'cannot enjoy the privileges of both nationalities'. Since 1947 there has been a renewed desire to return to India among Guianese Indians, but this is discouraged by the Indian Government, and those who have returned have found themselves unwanted and their life hard. In 1955 the British Government chartered a ship to return more than 3oo Indians to their home country under the terms of their original indentures as immigrant labourers, but when the time came for embarkation only 243 took passage.

Nothing can be said against Indians in British Guiana preserving their racial identity, their religion and cultural traditions—even their language so long as they speak English, the language of the Colony, as well. Indeed any movement to deprive any people of a fine cultural heritage must be, intrinsically, wrong. There are indications that in the past the British administration was prepared to do this, but there are few signs that this is being contemplated today, although efforts are being made to make all Indians speak English as their first language. The British Government's attitude is that if Indians are to participate freely and equally in the life of the Colony some part of their identity as Indians must be sacrificed in order to create a Guianese outlook. There are those who fear that Indians may not only participate but, by sheer weight of numbers and economic power, become dominant in the community while still retaining their racial identity untouched, and without reaching the state of being Guianese first and Indian second. 'We are confident', said the authors of the Waddington Report (1951), ‘that this comprehensive loyalty will be fostered in British Guiana by the challenge of responsibility and that the handicap of racialism can be diminished as the people of British Guiana devote their energies to the manifold problems of the country.'

This deep concern that the increasing power of the Indians should not create a situation of racial tension has caused the British to be accused by both races of intending deliberately to foster racial tension, on the old principle of 'divide and rule'.

Nothing caused more anger among Indians and Negroes than the following passage in the Robertson Report: "Their [the Indians'] very success in these spheres [of commerce] has begun to awaken the fears of the African section of the population... Guianese of African extraction were not afraid to tell us that many Indians in British Guiana look forward to the day when British Guiana would be a part not of the British Commonwealth but of an East Indian Empire. The result has been a tendency for racial tension to increase, and we have reluctantly reached the conclusion that the "amity with which", as the Waddington Report said, "the people of all races live side by side in the villages" existed more in the past; today the relationships are strained, they present an outward appearance which masks feelings of suspicion and distrust.'

The members of the Commission clearly had reason for speaking so strongly, but from my own experience, and this was a matter I was particularly interested in, it seems to me that the case has been overstated. I came across no instances of overt racial tension and in talking to Indians and Negroes, often in heated discussion, little racial suspicion appeared. I was, in fact, impressed by the apparent ease with which Indian and Negro could live side by side. Nevertheless, there is ground for feelings of uncertainty about the Indian role in the Colony's development, and the British have diagnosed the possibilities of strong tension in the future.

While the cultural heritage of the Indians has been preserved, the heritage of the Slave Coast of West Africa has more or less completely vanished, except for a few religious vestiges, and all that remains of Africa among the African community are the various atavisms which no loss of culture can eradicate. The Negro has customs and conventions which are particularly his own but his manner of living is, basically, that of the white man. The way of life of the Negroes in a French Caribbean island is noticeably French and in the Spanish islands the adopted culture takes a Spanish complexion. In British Guiana the British have provided the pattern, and this has helped to ma make the link between the English and the Negroes much stronger than that between the English and the Indians. The Negro's open character arouses an Englishman's affection more


easily than the quiet, sometimes furtive nature of the uneducated Indian-educated Indians are among the most articulate and extroverted people in the Colony. Where the Indian is provident and saves his money cent by cent the African is improvident, spending his money as it comes; where the Indian is gregarious mainly in the market-place the African loves to sit talking or singing all night in a rum-shop; where the Indian cares little about his clothes the African will spend his last

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penny on a new white shirt or a shiny blue satin dress for his daughter. One Sunday, in an Afro-Indian area outside Georgetown, I walked behind three little African girls, with bows in their hair, bright dresses, white socks and sparkling white shoes; they were leaping happily along while, near them, a small Indian boy with ragged shirt and trousers was struggling home with a basket of plantains and sweet cassava. He was being taught from an early age that every day was a day of toil and that the smart clothing of the body was foolish vanity.

After talking with African Guianese of all classes it is impossible not to feel that they have a special charm and easiness of manner which is general to them. There is warmth and intelligence in their speech; a superb loquacity among the

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