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She airs all things Indian, all the time

Chicken prices in Trinidad are soaring.

The parents of an Indian movie star are being extorted.

So goes the news at WE Indians radio.

"As long as your origin is Indian, we got something for you," founder Ronica Jaipershad says into a microphone. She reaches toward a tall stack of compact discs.

Sweet Chutney's Caribbean rhythms.

Singer Lata Mangeshkar's hit songs from India.

Bhangra dance tracks from the United Kingdom.

She plays them all _ in a tiny radio room with wood panel walls and a cork bulletin board in downtown Oldsmar.

In the sometimes divisive Indian community, where historical differences play out in America, Jaipershad is trying to bridge the gap between East and West Indians.

She has a radio program Friday evenings on community radio WXYB-AM 1520 and a glossy magazine. Both are called WE Indians.

It is her mantra.

The "W" for West Indian and the "E" for East Indian, she explains. Together, the two form "WE."

If only it were that easy. The divisions between East and West Indians are historical, dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the British Empire ruled India and much of the Caribbean.

Many Indians from mainland India were shipped to the Caribbean colonies _ to Trinidad and Guyana _ as indentured laborers. They worked on sugar planations, in rice fields and copper and gold mines.

They kept Indian customs _ as much as they could. But distance created differences in cultural evolution. In America, the two immigrant groups met again.

Both groups brought along their historical baggage. Flare-ups occurred, such as the rift last year at Vishnu Mandir, a Hindu temple on Palm Avenue in Ybor City.

A mainland Indian made a comment: "Non-Indians cannot manage this temple."

West Indians took offense. The West Indian Hindu priest ended up holding service on the street. He has since established a new temple in a small house on Lynn Road in Carrollwood.

Jaipershad _ a West Indian trying to bridge the gap _ felt caught in the middle, she said.

"It got to the stage where you couldn't solve it," she said.

Jaipershad, 50, was born in Guyana, a country the size of Idaho, rich in rivers and rain forests, poor in economy. Donkey carts and dirt roads are familiar sights.

With her father a manager of a sugar plantation, Jaipershad grew up upper-middle class, with indoor running water and a crank-up telephone. But still no TV, washer or dryer. She was the 10th of 12 children, a tomboy and adventure seeker.

At age 20, in 1973, she went by herself to Toronto to study computers. She borrowed a suit for her job interview with IBM, where she stayed for more than 20 years. In 1995, she left Canada for Tampa to start her own business.

She became involved in the community immediately, meeting East and West Indians at business gatherings and religious functions.

Here, and in Canada, she noticed divisions.

Trinidad Indians kept to themselves. Gujarati immigrants from Northern India huddled together. South Indians made up another group. Punjabi Indians formed yet another.

They all spoke their own dialects, their own languages.

Jaipershad grew frustrated.

"I knew none of those languages," she said. "I speak English. Talk to me in a language I understand."

While sustaining culture is important to her, she also wanted unity. And so, in June 2001, she launched WE Indians magazine. It's self-published in Town 'N Country, with a nationwide circulation now at 25,000.

The radio program began June 6. It broadcasts on Fridays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., from community radio WXYB-AM 1520 in Oldsmar.

Feedback has been good on the WE Indians concept. But not always. Trinidad Indians have complained that coverage is slim. Mainland Indians say the venture looks too Caribbean.

"How do you win this battle?" said Jaipershad.

She pops in another CD. Music fills the air, and the phone lines light up with requests.

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