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The Regulation of Religion and the Making of Hinduism in Colonial Trinidad$
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Alexander Rocklin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648712

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648712.001.0001

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Regulating Religion

Regulating Religion

(p.73) 3 Regulating Religion
The Regulation of Religion and the Making of Hinduism in Colonial Trinidad

Alexander Rocklin

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter analyzes a single set of incidents surrounding the killing of Indian laborers by the police during the commemoration of Hosay in 1884. Hosay was the only official "Indian" holiday in Trinidad, and police and administrators had to allow processions of a religious nature in order to maintain religious toleration in the colony, but such processions had to meet colonial norms for religion. When Indians violated newly enforced regulations for the public processions of Hosay in 1884 and the police opened fire on the crowds, there was a scramble after the fact to justify the killings by categorizing the 1884 Hosay as not-religion. This chapter examines the subtle violence of the imposition of a particular definition of religion on colonized peoples, and looks at a specific example of the overt violence the colonial government resorted to when people acted out dissenting models, defying colonial authority and performing religion differently.

Keywords:   conversion, Protestantism, Ramlila, firepass, fire walking, prisons, plantations, colonialism, secular

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