Cultural Persistence: 50 years of the National Council of Indian Culture

“The National Council for Indian Culture (NCIC) saved traditional folk and classical music and dance from being erased by filmi entertainment, preserving them as a rich source of inspiration for new indigenous forms. It was founded, significantly, two years into Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence. Dr. Primnath Gooptar’s detailed and readable account of fifty years of the NCIC creates background and context and follows the evolution of the organization that became the primary institution for the celebration of a culture and a way of life. This was signaled by its change in name from NICMD to NCIC in 1974.

The NCIC has also become, without exception, the most influential exponent of cultural diversity and social inclusiveness in Trinidad and Tobago. This book (including the photographs) provides an excellent introduction to the cultural activities, educational programmes, and sense of community fostered by the NCIC. It also recognizes the people who created it and keep it alive. If it had done nothing more than making Divali an inclusive national celebration, in an increasingly uncomfortable society, the NCIC would have made an unforgettable mark.

Dr. Gooptar reminds us, however, that while Divali Nagar is the sun and moon in the NCIC’s glorious legacy, there are many other stars in this firmament. This book opens our eyes to the NCIC’s various achievements and its possibilities and is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the development of Indian culture in Trinidad and Tobago during the last five decades.

This book examines the story of the NCIC in the development of Indian culture in Trinidad from 1964 and presents some extraordinary experiences of ordinary people who spent their lifetime promoting Indian culture in the country. Cultural Persistence also chronicles the birth and development of Divali Nagar and the transformation of the NCIC into the foremost Indian cultural organization in the Western hemisphere.

This is a unique and fascinating journey into understanding Indian culture in Trinidad and the inner working of the NCIC in its quest to bring Indian culture closer to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Kenneth Ramchand