Download the Opening Chapter of Passaic
BE RIGHTEOUS, by Ravi
Hemnauth Mohabir, the main protagonist in Passaic’s narrative thread, works by day as a commercial refrigeration technician, but by avocation is a musician of exceptional breadth. His stage name, adopted as a youth is Ravi, an identity encouraged by his elders in homage to, among others, Rabindranath Tagore the Indian polymath, Nobelist and himself author of thousands of songs.
Ravi’s musicianship emerged early amid the myriad Caribbean cultural currents: Calypso, “Chutney,” Indian ritual music, etc. As he matured as an artist and joined professional touring bands such as Pete’s Caribbean Fusion, he added other styles including jazz, soul and blues.
His own songs reflect many of these influences, with lyrics inspired by the social struggles of his native country (Guyana) and, in the song above titled Be Righteous, he deplores the violence gripping Trinidad where he now lives.
A Deportee's Music
WORLD IS A GHETTO (Instrumental) by Ravi
I have titled the opening chapter of Passaic "Disbelief" in order to convey both the stunned realization of the narrative's subject that he is about to be tossed into the infernal machinery of American immigration enforcement, as well as my, the author's, equally brutal awakening to the vast web of ramifications spun by our country's immigration laws and practices. Some of them date back to the Chinese Exclusion Decisions of more than a century ago.
So many questions! Their exploration leads Passaic to places few Americans want to go, but most of us should. To moments in our history we would sooner forget; to clauses in our laws we would rather ignore; to exceptions to Constitutional protection we never suspect.
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