I REFER to Mr. Vincent Alexander’s recent letters on race and racial conflicts in Guyana. Mr. Alexander always talks of racial conflicts within the paradigm of the plural society. In his letter to the editor of 30th December, he gives quotes on descriptions of plural societies, beginning with Furnivall’s observations in the Dutch East Indies. He then invites public debate and discussion on the issue.
Alexander, Dr. David Hinds and other such intellectuals describe the plural society with its various different elements, and they all conclude that almost insoluble conflict is in-built in such societies. Their solution is to engineer the plural society within itself, and set it again like a jigsaw puzzle, and expect thereafter that conflict would be minimised or disappear. I am emphasising that these intellectuals are operating solely within the paradigm or confines of the plural society.
Actually, their attempted engineering is always met with opposition and failure in real life, and this is so because they are operating, as it were, within the lifeless snapshot of the plural society. The solution lies in if the concept of Pluralism is applied to the Plural Society. When pluralism is applied to the Plural Society, it injects movement, and the various different elements of the Plural Society begin to move towards each other in their own organic way, leading to compatible meetings of these elements, resulting in the beginning of natural growth towards unity.
In modern societies such as the USA, the elements of their plural society are allowed to grow naturally and organically, and coalesce and work together towards unison. India, which is the world’s plural society par excellence, allows the myriads of elements of its plural society to grow naturally and organically, and as such they move towards unity. From being a Culture Nation, plural India is moving towards a modern pluralist state.
Guyana is indeed a plural society, but its plural nature and its plural elements are not as sharp in Old World countries. If the plural elements are left undisturbed, they will move naturally and organically towards unity, though not in uniformity. This movement towards unity is, of course, the play of pluralism on the Plural Society. But Guyanese pluralism is subject to the regular disturbance of politicians who would stimulate race and racism as a means of political mobilisation; they would also try to remove democracy with un-democracy in its different manifestations, since they could see political gain from destroying democracy.
Guyana’s movement towards a democratic, pluralist and unified country is inexorable, and the defeat of the massive attempt to cause an explosion of racism and un-democracy during the season of the last elections is a clear indication that political-inspired racism had met its Waterloo. Racism and un-democracy will continue to survive for some time, but they are becoming weaker and weaker with the passing of each year. In less than a decade, Guyana will be a rich, unified, pluralist state, and no notice would be taken of any politician trying race-talk.
Paul Validum Ramlochan