Par Jean S. Sahaï


95 years old Mr. Randall Butisingh.

{“I was asked to tell a gathering what I thought was Poetry.

My answer: “Poetry can put in a small capsule what it will take reams of prose to do”

First of all I must tell you that I am a writer of Poetry in the traditional style mainly. There should be no wonder in this as I have now reached my ninety-fifth birthday, and have all along been exposed to the writings of the great traditional poets.

During my ninety-five years of existence, I have felt the impact of two world wars, witnessed the rise and fall of Communism, the almost total disappearance of Colonialism, inventions from the motor to the rocket, and man’s excursion in space.

I have also seen the erosion of moral and spiritual values and their effects in society. All these events and changes have changed concepts and also changed the form of poetry.

I believe in the universality of Poetry. Poetry, in whatever language it is written must be able to reach the civilised human heart regardless of ethnicity or cultural differences. I believe that the themes of Poetry must be lofty if it must play that role, as one writer puts it: “serviceableness for the moral and spiritual needs of men”, and if it must survive…”} - Randall Butisingh, {{on his blog}}

{{Randall Butisingh was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), on December 1, 1912.

He grew up in Buxton, East Coast Demerara, where he received his primary education.}}

In 1925, he qualified and was the first runner-up for the first Buxton Scholarship. In 1927, he passed the School Leaving Examination and became a pupil teacher at the age of 15.
This was the start of a 45 year-long career, with a few short breaks, in which he served as a Class II certified and trained teacher until his retirement in January,1972.

During his career, he taught mainly in Buxton, with short spells in Lusignan, Nonpariel, Ann's Grove and Mon Repos. According to him his best teaching experience was with head teacher Frank H.V. Russell who was supportive of his suggestions to put more importance in activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, and physical education as the majority of the children only attended primary school. He was able to organize exhibitions in these areas at school fairs and the annual May festivals.

Around 1930, he became a member of the Buxton Literary Institute where he read papers, participated in discussions and debates, and served as a delegate to the Plaisance Literary Institute.

In 1940, he was appointed Lay Reader of St. Augustine's Church by Canon William Granville Burgan, where he served for 18 years performing such functions as reading the lessons, preaching at evensong, burying the dead and holding cottage meetings.

He was also treasurer for the Church.

In 1958, he was appointed Senior Assistant of the Lusignan Government School, where later, he became the acting Head-Teacher during the 1962 disturbances. At Lusignan, he served as Chairman for the Adult Education and Study Groups, Chairman of the Community Centre and part time Welfare Officer, during which time youths from Buxton met for sports and rallies at the Community Centre.
At Lusignan School, he regularly organized fairs, concerts and parent-teacher meetings.

Also working with the staff, he helped to write a textbook for the middle division, and to do a school magazine.

His literary accomplishments include:

* Three books of poems entitled Loves Light, Wild Flowers and Loves Balm which was his whole collection.

* A book of Thoughts entitled "Flashes of Light"

* A series of articles and letters to the press dealing with topics on education, morality and other issues.

* A paper on " Hindi in Guyana."

* A thesis on 'The role of the School in the Estate Community."

* A translation of a biography of Mahatma Gandhi (not published).

* An article in Hindi, jointly written with J.S. Roopchand and published in "Gagan Anchal" a prestigious Indian magazine.

He was awarded a Poet of Merit Certificate by the American Poetry Association.IN 1976, He became a member of the Guyana Hindi Prachar Sabha, an organisation which sought to propagate Hindi in Guyana. He was the organization's Hindi correspondent and editor of its Journal, "GYANDA."

Now in the evening of his years, his thirst for knowledge and service has not diminished.

Among the areas of his interest are; Comparative Religion, Eastern Philosophy, the Computer, and teaching Hindi.

At age 89, he began learning to play the Recorder and according to him has acquired some degree of proficiency.

He also practices on the keyboard. This, his 95th year, he is studying Spanish.

Currently, he is working on documenting his life story 'My Story' which hopefully, will be of historic interest when completed, as it dates back to 1914, the beginning of World War I.

Please visit his {{blog}} and read his poems and articles ..

They are quite inspiring


Mr. Butisingh's e-mail address is: [>].

Drop him a line anytime. He would be glad to hear from you.

{{INFO}} : courtesy {{M'lilwana Osanku}}.

IMAGE 1 : Marvelous old man, croquis du peintre Mishi Bellamy. Source [ICI-> ].

IMAGE 2: The Elusive El Dorado, Essays on the Indian Experience in Guyana, ouvrage de Basdeo Mangru. Description [ICI-> ].