Republic Day 2020!
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
Photo credit: Sir Reshard Khan
On this our 44th year as a Republic Nation, may we be reminded of all that we have to be thankful for and remain united through it all.
On August 1, 1962, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) attained full independence from the United Kingdom as a Commonwealth realm.
At the time, Queen Elizabeth II was the country's titular head of state. She was represented by a Governor-General, but it was the country's Prime Minister who held power.
In the year 1976, T&T decided to abolish the monarchy and become a republic within the Commonwealth.
On August 1, 1976, the new constitution was publicized, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was born.
So why do we commemorate Republic Day on September 24th?
Republic Day Fact!
Republic Day is celebrated on September 24 to celebrate the date the country's Parliament had its first session. This date was chosen to avoid clashing with Independence Day and to give citizens two public holidays instead of one holiday.
"United we stand, divided we fall." - John Dickinson
Emanating from Trinidad and Tobago is a culture like no other, a culture that is rich, diverse and multicultural diaspora, and this country can be described as a melting pot of culture, race and diversity.
✨Have you ever truly listened to the words of the popular calypso “Ganges and the Nile” by David Rudder? Let’s take a look into what this song symbolizes… UNITY!
In the song “Ganges and the Nile” Trinidad and Tobago is depicted as a naked island that has been clothed by two different races, the Indians and the Africans. The two mighty hands which refer to the two rivers, one stream from Africa and one from India. Rudder claims that there is no escaping for the two races, therefore we have to co- exist and remain united. As the river flows there are those who would change its course in a positive manner; such as Basdeo Panday, Eric Williams, Raffique Shah and Makandal Daaga just to name a few. In Rudder's attempts to highlight his nation he mentions the forward movement of the society and the constant development of the land as a sign of progress which the citizens are making.
Additionally with the reference of the Ganges meeting the Nile, we can literally see the merging of two expansive bodies of water and figuratively, with the song in mind we can see the merging of two different races, cultures and beliefs.
Lines 27 and 28 ‘Differences, there will always be. So let you be you, and I’ll be me.’ denotes the watch words of Trinidad and Tobago: discipline, tolerance and production; discipline of the mind to live in harmony with persons of other races, tolerance of the cultures and beliefs of the other race and being able to work together with other races – production. "Ganges and the Nile" seeks to promote and encourage racial comradery, fellowship and pushes forward the notion to be our brother's keeper. In this song we can see an equal balance in the description of our country, Rudder highlights both the bad and good of the country.
To be able to express one’s thoughts about their country in such a skillful and poetic form truly displays how David Rudder views and loves his country despite all the ills. He describes the country in all its splendor and glory, however he does not forget to mention the societal ills in his song. May we stand united as we navigate our way through these uncertain times.
Happy Republic Day Trinidad and Tobago!
Click here for a beautiful steelpan rendition of the song, Ganges and the Nile.
- Miss Ramlogan
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