Editor’s Note: The photo above shows Guyana’s president Irfaan Ali having a lick of the traditional seven curry dish during Hindu’s observation of Navaratri.Photo thanks to Tourism Guyana.
A European social media influencer made a brief tour of Guyana a few days ago. He stopped at a few local spots to showcase Guyana’s rich cultural heritage including Guyanese cuisine. However, one of his videos depicting seven curry has drawn a negative reaction from a section of the Guyanese population – emotions ranging from disgust to anger. According to people who know better, the traditional, famous seven curry – has been grossly misrepresented – not by the European influencer who is helplessly ignorant of the correct ingredients, but by the Guyanese restaurant owner who was introducing the dish to him.
Seven curry has its roots in Indo-Guyanese tradition as it was brought to Guyana by the East Indian indentured laborers. It is often served at Hindu religious functions and weddings, but it can be served on non-religious occasions as well. The backlash drawn from the Indo-Guyanese community tells us that the East Indians are very particular and possessive of this dish.
While any dish can be modified to suit one’s likings, the argument here is that this misrepresentation should not have been portrayed as the “Traditional Seven Curry” from Guyana, because it is not. A popular Guyanese medical professional, Dr. Josh Kanhai, made the following statement with regards to the influencer’s 7-curry video.
Statement by Dr. Josh Kanhai
Who is this that goes around manipulating 7 curry, manipulating a traditional dish ?
How is this acceptable? Why is a second tourist being led the wrong way? Where are the organizations to speak on this ?
It is unacceptable and an eyepass to the traditions of a Culture that has been around for centuries, hence this individual should apologize and change the way he serves 7 curry to that which respects traditions OR he can stop serving that corruption all together. The related Religious and Indo-Guyanese associations should also raise their voices and add pressure to this individual.
No tradition should ever be manipulated to suit selfish needs. This manipulation can bring negative judgement from fellow Caribbean countries (Trinidadians already started in the comments) to Guyana’s heritage and make us to be the nail which sticks out.
It’s time we stand in solidarity to preserve our traditional values, principles and foods. We are moving towards our #OneGuyana and we wish to do so without corrupting and manipulating our history. Just cook the 7 curry the right way champ!
End of Statement
Below is the video which is being referred to in this article.
One of Guyana’s most popular journalists, Neil Marks, made the following comments via his Facebook Page.
So, what’s your opinion on this whole 7 curry mix up business? Tell us in the comments.