Against the Grain: Balram Singh Rai and the Politics of Guyana

9789769504912: Against the Grain: Balram Singh Rai and the Politics of Guyana
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Balram Singh Rai was a leading figure in Guyanese politics. His involvement in the political life of the nation dates back to the pre-independence period, when Guyana was still a British colony. Rai's most significant impact took place during the late 1950s and early 1960s when he joined the People's Progressive Party (PPP) in the struggle for an independent Guyana. Between 1959 and 1961 he was the Minister of Community Development and Education and between 1961 and 1962, he was the Minister of Home Affairs. His role in government allowed him to support and promote many reforms, including policies that led to an Indian-African balance in the police force. Rai is remembered for his fairness and his ability to get things done. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Rai's views were steeped in political realism. He was opposed to Marxism and its utopian ideals, and he fully understood the implications of ethnic politics in Guyanese society. His cultural background and his political views led him into open conflict with Cheddi Jagan and the PPP in 1962 when he questioned the fraudulent election for Party Chairman, and again, in 1964, when he formed the Justice Party and ran for political office. Rai's political contributions, and the significant role he played in Guyanese politics offer important lessons in Guyanese political history, and his legacy exposes the Jagan years as a series of missed opportunities and contradictions. Against the Grain chronicles the political involvement of Balram Singh Rai in Guyanese politics. Well researched and written in simple language, Against the Grain makes a significant contribution to the growing Indo-Caribbean historiography. This book is also important because it offers valuable insights into modern Guyanese political history and its critical pre-independence politics.

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