Global Politics & Cultures (formerly Independent Thought & Freedom)
Episode 5

4: Basdeo Panday | An Epic Trinidadian Adventure from Radical Outsider to Prime Minister, Part 3

Kirk Meighoo published on

The Audacity of Basdeo Panday, Part 3: Staying for the Struggle, Radical Trade Unionism, the Heartbreaking Death of Bhadase Maraj, Black Power, the Army Mutiny, Bloody Tuesday 

We continue our discussion with former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday, radical trade unionist and first PM from the country's very large Indiian community. 

Panday's life is entwined with the most important global issues of the 20th and 21st century: colonialism, decolonisation, socialism vs. capitalism and the Cold War, the rise and fall of trade unionism, race relations, poverty and development, Black Power, African-Indian relations, the nature of political power

He overcame the disadvantages of his poor village background, faced his personal fears, and took strong stands on these major issues for his whole life, ready to pay the price when necessary.

His personal story is important for the world.

In Episodes 2 and 3, we spoke about his background in the poor, agricultural village of St. Julien in Trinidad, his going to London to become a lawyer and his subsequent acting career in major films and television in the 1950s and 1960s, and how he gave up his Commonwealth scholarship in Law to dive into politics for the first time, in a radical new party that was challenging the neo-colonial status quo that was emerging in Trinidad and Tobago just three years after Independence from Britain.

We re-join the interview when Panday takes the stage in a small village meeting in Trinidad with the world renowned intellectual and writer, CLR James, his first unsuccessful stint in politics, joining the radical trade union movement, and confronting neo-colonialism, anti-unionism, and racial division in newly independent Trinidad and Tobago.

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