Kean Gibson, a professor of linguistics in the Caribbeans, has published a number of insulting commentaries on certain aspects of Hinduism and the Hindus of Guyana. This article shows that her work is deeply flawed as it lacks intellectual honesty as well as academic depth.
Kean Gibson, a University of the West Indies (UWI) professor in Linguistics, has published writings impugning, denigrating, and demonizing Hinduism and East Indians of Guyana, and by extension, all global Indians. She has described Hindus, whom she refers to as all Indians in Guyana, as a misguided polity driven by a sacred duty to exterminate Black people in the country. She further argues that Blacks attacking or killing Indians is “sacrificial” because it is a salutary “resistance violence” that would have the effect of proactively limiting ‘sacred duty’ attacks by Hindus/Indians. She further argues that “dysfunctional deflective violence” where a “surrogate victim” is chosen – in lieu of, say, a security-sheltered Indian leader or politician – because the hapless victim is “vulnerable and close at hand” is also sacrificial.
These pronouncements have an eerie resonance with a stunning incident that followed the publication of Gibson’s book. This incident took place on January 26, 2008, at Lusignan, Guyana, where eleven Indians – children and their parents – were massacred by a Black para-militia opposed to the Indian-led government of Guyana. Coincidentally, Dr. Gibson was in Guyana on sabbatical at the time of the massacre.
The publications in question are The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana , Sacred Duty – Hinduism & Violence in Guyana , and The Dualism of Good and Evil and East Indian Insecurity in Guyana . Now retired, she has continued her anti-Hindu diatribe through inflammatory letters to newspapers [4,5].
Here we take note of some examples of how Gibson has unfairly and maliciously described Hinduism in her writings:
- ”In the Hindu scriptures, the caste system is called ‘Chatur Varna’ meaning four ‘colors’- it is color-coded like Western racism.” Thus, the “priestly class…are white; the Kshatriyas – royal and fighter class to rule and defend society – are red; the Vaishyas – business class…. are yellow; the Shudras – to help all other classes in their respective duties – are black…..The color association with each caste was introduced to identify the moral value associated with each caste and thus used to determine a person’s character. In the system, ‘white’ is pure, and ‘black’ is least pure.” [Reference 1, p. 26]
- “There are no Ten Commandments as in Christianity which may control our primordial instincts and provide a set of principles for living well with others.” [Reference 1, pp. 28-29]
- “Right and wrong are not absolute in this [dharma] system but are decided according to social rank, kinship, and stage of life. This relativity of values means that there is no concept of egalitarianism….. in Hinduism, the ultimate concern is moral order or inequality, and the content of that concern would be violence to one’s neighbor (sic) since inequality implies the creation of enemies and, therefore a relationship of violence.” [Reference 2, p. 24]
- Since the Bhagavad Gita sermon was on a battlefield, Gibson suggests: “The site for the sermon indicated that violence is sacred. Violence, therefore, is the heart and soul of Hinduism.” [Reference 2, p. 24]
- “While the lower castes were embraced by the Brahmins, among themselves they reclassified as Brahmins and Kshatriyas. This is significant….the occupational duty of Kshatriya caste involve killing as part of their moral obligation.” [Reference 2, p. 33]
Since Gibson’s misinformed views and questionable scholarship have the potential to negatively impact the lives of people of Indian ancestry in Guyana and the Caribbean, I have written this article to subject her writings to critical but unbiased academic scrutiny. It was originally published in “Caribbean Issues in The Indian Diaspora”  and subsequently appeared in “Man in India” , a South Asia-focused journal of anthropology.
The article demonstrates that her work is deeply flawed as it comprises distortions of Hindu scriptures, and misstatements of historical, political, and social dynamics of the Indian society vis a vis Blacks.
- Gibson, Kean; The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana, University Press of America, 2003
- Gibson, Kean; Sacred Duty – Hinduism & Violence in Guyana, GroupFive, Inc., 2005
- Gibson, Kean; The Dualism of Good and Evil and East Indian Insecurity in Guyana, Journal of Black Studies (Sage Publications), Jan 2006
- Kumar Mohabir, Caribbean Issues in The Indian Diaspora, Serials Publications (January 1, 2013)
- Veda Nath Mohabir; Dr. Kean Gibson’s Provoking Ploemic on Hinduism and Indians in Guyana, Man In India, 93 (1), pp.57-74; available online at https://serialsjournals.com/abstract/66200_4.pdf