edge

The Temple across the Sea

My name is Pulwaty Beepath and I’m the president of the Tobago Hindu Society.


I come from Trinidad to Tobago to work in the year 1987 and I never went back. I build my home in Tobago. I do go back to Trinidad, off and on, but my three children are Tobagonian and I consider myself Tobagonian.

My eldest daughter is Geeta Beepath-Baboolal. Then I have Seeta Beepath. And my son is Bhesham Beepath. My husband and I separated about 13 years ago. We both came to Tobago to work and then he decided he wanted to go on his own. I remained with the children. Send them to school and all of that. And I am still here with them. They’re all married.

I have two grandchildren, Mia Beepath, four years, and Jaden Beepath, two-and-a-half. Mia goes to school and is learning to sing. We take Mia along to temple with us on Saturday and she is coming along very well, at a young age [as a singer]. We just have to keep on pushing her a little bit.

My boss in 1987 had a business in Tobago and he had a real problem with people working on the island. The cash not balancing and all of that. So he asked me to come to Tobago. After I started working, I got to like Tobago very much.

It was very, very difficult when I first came to Tobago. I used to cry a lot. I wasn’t able to talk to my parents and it was very hard, leaving all my family behind. It was just me and my husband came and we didn’t know anybody in Tobago. Where we first lived, I did not know anybody. My father came at where we were [and was saddened to see] we were in a small, little place. We wasn’t accustomed to that!

When I first came to Tobago, in the days of [former Tobago House of Assembly leader] Hochoy Charles, he started making all sorts of remarks and I was really, really uneasy at that time. And then, after elections and Mr [Orville] London had won, they never showed us any [animosity]. They welcomed us!

Being an Indian living on the island of Tobago for the past 32, 33 years, I must say we got a lot of respect from the people of Tobago, up to the present time. We lived a peaceful time with every single person. My daughter went to a Seventh Day Adventist school and church and they never told her anything about her religion, coming from a Hindu family. And the pastors and I do really well.

My experience, as an Indian living in Tobago, has been very, very good. My children have the same experience. And we have a lot of Indians living in Tobago. The business people will tell you that Tobago people support a lot of Indian businesses that came from Trinidad.

We [Indians] in Tobago don’t have this racism. Sometimes people come from Trinidad and find it directed to them. But there are different type people all over Tobago. Some may like you, some may not like you.

We have an Inter-Religious Organisation in Tobago and we all come together and meet as one. The Muslims, the Hindus, the Christians, everybody.

We are in the process of building the first Hindu temple on the island. In Signal Hill. Everything is put in place. We have all the plans and everything approved. We’re just giving WASA a little chance to run the water and the electricity and all them things.

We joined with the the THA and they give us money to hold our Divali programme, our Indian Arrival Day programme. Is the THA that have given us four acres of land to build a temple. In another nutshell, we want to build the temple to accommodate pundits from all different sections to come and keep their prayers in our temple. We don’t want that one there and this one here. Is a small island, Tobago, and we want to welcome everybody.

There are a lot of Indian people living and working on the island, enough to make a Tobago Hindu Society worthwhile, especially business-people. Is because of the contribution business people make to us that the Hindu Society is still standing.

When we came to Tobago, we realised it had no temple on the island. Now, my husband, Manmohan Beepath, everybody know him as Toolsie, his father was a pundit and we were accustomed to going to temple. So he started investigating [and found] there was a Hindu Society which became dormant. He got it activate in 1992. He was really the person responsible for starting back the society. I became president about a year, two years, after. I stood up there until now. I think the Hindu Society kept me busy through this lifestyle.

I went to India to accompany my last daughter, who got a dance scholarship. The THA had bought the ticket and everything for her. I bought my ticket to go with her. I made sure she was settled in the college and then I stayed for a month and travelled to a few places. And then I came back.

India is very different from Trinidad & Tobago. Is very busy, very hectic. I saw the poverty when I went to Bihar. My parents came from that area. I had a good friend living there and I went to visit his parents and them.

In Bihar in India, I saw people planting rice and it really touched my heart when I see these people, how proud they were to be planting rice! And how they had these houses! And all of that! And minding these cows! And all of that! And they were asking me, “You sure you comfortable here?” My ticket was bought for a week but I wanted to go back after two days’ time [because of all the poverty]! But I did not want them to feel that I didn’t appreciate them, so I stayed for the week, visiting temples, visiting places. We went all about.

I love to go to the beach with the children.

My granddaughter, I carry her to the mall. Most of the places, she and I will go. Because she get attached to me and, sometimes, the father will say, “Mom, you take her, because she want to go with you.” I don’t know how it is but there IS a special bond between me and her because she will call me and say, “Grandma, what time you coming home to go to satsang?” I will say, “Mia, I will be home a little after five.” And she will be ready and waiting! That is how children are. Some children. The culture they grow up in.

We had our Indian Arrival Day and Mia went on stage and sang a verse. And we were really surprised to hear a little child like that have a voice [so big]! She made herself comfortable on the stage and she even started dancing. Her mum is not the dancer, though. Mia is my son’s daughter.

I want to thank all visitors who come on the island of Tobago in the August holidays and I want to urge all Trinidadians to come. We in Tobago depend on the Trinidadians. We would have problem with the sea and the airbridge at times but, when coming to the people, we don’t have any problem! So, Trinidadians, don’t worry with what anybody say about Tobago, come and enjoy your holiday. When Tobagonians go to Trinidad, they feel welcome and happy. Same way, Trinidadians should feel welcome when they go to Tobago.

To me, a Tobagonian is, you know, you born, you grow, you know the culture of Tobago, the people. To me, [then,] a Tobagonian knows everything about Tobago.

To me, Trinidad & Tobago is Trinidad AND Tobago. We are one: one people; one family: Trinidad AND Tobago. I was born in Trinidad but I don’t have a home in Trinidad any longer. My home is here in Tobago.

The Temple across the Sea

My name is Pulwaty Beepath and I’m the president of the Tobago Hindu Society.


I come from Trinidad to Tobago to work in the year 1987 and I never went back. I build my home in Tobago. I do go back to Trinidad, off and on, but my three children are Tobagonian and I consider myself Tobagonian.

My eldest daughter is Geeta Beepath-Baboolal. Then I have Seeta Beepath. And my son is Bhesham Beepath. My husband and I separated about 13 years ago. We both came to Tobago to work and then he decided he wanted to go on his own. I remained with the children. Send them to school and all of that. And I am still here with them. They’re all married.

I have two grandchildren, Mia Beepath, four years, and Jaden Beepath, two-and-a-half. Mia goes to school and is learning to sing. We take Mia along to temple with us on Saturday and she is coming along very well, at a young age [as a singer]. We just have to keep on pushing her a little bit.

My boss in 1987 had a business in Tobago and he had a real problem with people working on the island. The cash not balancing and all of that. So he asked me to come to Tobago. After I started working, I got to like Tobago very much.

It was very, very difficult when I first came to Tobago. I used to cry a lot. I wasn’t able to talk to my parents and it was very hard, leaving all my family behind. It was just me and my husband came and we didn’t know anybody in Tobago. Where we first lived, I did not know anybody. My father came at where we were [and was saddened to see] we were in a small, little place. We wasn’t accustomed to that!

When I first came to Tobago, in the days of [former Tobago House of Assembly leader] Hochoy Charles, he started making all sorts of remarks and I was really, really uneasy at that time. And then, after elections and Mr [Orville] London had won, they never showed us any [animosity]. They welcomed us!

Being an Indian living on the island of Tobago for the past 32, 33 years, I must say we got a lot of respect from the people of Tobago, up to the present time. We lived a peaceful time with every single person. My daughter went to a Seventh Day Adventist school and church and they never told her anything about her religion, coming from a Hindu family. And the pastors and I do really well.

My experience, as an Indian living in Tobago, has been very, very good. My children have the same experience. And we have a lot of Indians living in Tobago. The business people will tell you that Tobago people support a lot of Indian businesses that came from Trinidad.

We [Indians] in Tobago don’t have this racism. Sometimes people come from Trinidad and find it directed to them. But there are different type people all over Tobago. Some may like you, some may not like you.

We have an Inter-Religious Organisation in Tobago and we all come together and meet as one. The Muslims, the Hindus, the Christians, everybody.

We are in the process of building the first Hindu temple on the island. In Signal Hill. Everything is put in place. We have all the plans and everything approved. We’re just giving WASA a little chance to run the water and the electricity and all them things.

We joined with the the THA and they give us money to hold our Divali programme, our Indian Arrival Day programme. Is the THA that have given us four acres of land to build a temple. In another nutshell, we want to build the temple to accommodate pundits from all different sections to come and keep their prayers in our temple. We don’t want that one there and this one here. Is a small island, Tobago, and we want to welcome everybody.

There are a lot of Indian people living and working on the island, enough to make a Tobago Hindu Society worthwhile, especially business-people. Is because of the contribution business people make to us that the Hindu Society is still standing.

When we came to Tobago, we realised it had no temple on the island. Now, my husband, Manmohan Beepath, everybody know him as Toolsie, his father was a pundit and we were accustomed to going to temple. So he started investigating [and found] there was a Hindu Society which became dormant. He got it activate in 1992. He was really the person responsible for starting back the society. I became president about a year, two years, after. I stood up there until now. I think the Hindu Society kept me busy through this lifestyle.

I went to India to accompany my last daughter, who got a dance scholarship. The THA had bought the ticket and everything for her. I bought my ticket to go with her. I made sure she was settled in the college and then I stayed for a month and travelled to a few places. And then I came back.

India is very different from Trinidad & Tobago. Is very busy, very hectic. I saw the poverty when I went to Bihar. My parents came from that area. I had a good friend living there and I went to visit his parents and them.

In Bihar in India, I saw people planting rice and it really touched my heart when I see these people, how proud they were to be planting rice! And how they had these houses! And all of that! And minding these cows! And all of that! And they were asking me, “You sure you comfortable here?” My ticket was bought for a week but I wanted to go back after two days’ time [because of all the poverty]! But I did not want them to feel that I didn’t appreciate them, so I stayed for the week, visiting temples, visiting places. We went all about.

I love to go to the beach with the children.

My granddaughter, I carry her to the mall. Most of the places, she and I will go. Because she get attached to me and, sometimes, the father will say, “Mom, you take her, because she want to go with you.” I don’t know how it is but there IS a special bond between me and her because she will call me and say, “Grandma, what time you coming home to go to satsang?” I will say, “Mia, I will be home a little after five.” And she will be ready and waiting! That is how children are. Some children. The culture they grow up in.

We had our Indian Arrival Day and Mia went on stage and sang a verse. And we were really surprised to hear a little child like that have a voice [so big]! She made herself comfortable on the stage and she even started dancing. Her mum is not the dancer, though. Mia is my son’s daughter.

I want to thank all visitors who come on the island of Tobago in the August holidays and I want to urge all Trinidadians to come. We in Tobago depend on the Trinidadians. We would have problem with the sea and the airbridge at times but, when coming to the people, we don’t have any problem! So, Trinidadians, don’t worry with what anybody say about Tobago, come and enjoy your holiday. When Tobagonians go to Trinidad, they feel welcome and happy. Same way, Trinidadians should feel welcome when they go to Tobago.

To me, a Tobagonian is, you know, you born, you grow, you know the culture of Tobago, the people. To me, [then,] a Tobagonian knows everything about Tobago.

To me, Trinidad & Tobago is Trinidad AND Tobago. We are one: one people; one family: Trinidad AND Tobago. I was born in Trinidad but I don’t have a home in Trinidad any longer. My home is here in Tobago.