Local Hindus urged to ‘stop being cynical and start developing small projects.’

Saumitra Gokhale is a pracharak (full-time volunteer) with the Ratriya Swayamsevak Sangh of India and has the special role to coordinate with Hindu organizations outside of India. “My work entails plenty of travelling. There are forty-five countries under my watch,” said Gokhale, who has been visiting Trinidad for the past fifteen years. 

Local Hindus urged to ‘stop being cynical and start developing small projects.’
Photo : Saumitra Gokhale (L) listens to a contribution from another member.

“Hindus are 16% of the global population and control only 5% of the global wealth,” said Saumitra Gokhale at a meeting with local Hindus last Friday at the Bamboo No 1 Mandir.

Saumitra Gokhale is a pracharak (full-time volunteer) with the Ratriya Swayamsevak Sangh of India and has the special role to coordinate with Hindu organizations outside of India. “My work entails plenty of travelling. There are forty-five countries under my watch,” said Gokhale, who has been visiting Trinidad for the past fifteen years. 

Gokhale outlined areas where work is being done for the uplift of the global Hindu community. These include education, media, politics, leadership, women affairs, seva and proselytization, etc.

“In the past people from other parts of the world travel to India for education. Today our people travel abroad for education. We are working harder to improve our institutions so that they can become world class,” said Gokhale.

Gokhale continued: “In the area of media Hindus are under-represented and misrepresented. Though a large population our lack of self- confidence works against us.” 

He added: “Much work needs to be done in the field of politics. Politics should be seen as public service; unfortunately, most go into politics with their personal agenda.”

“We need leaders to take the community forward,” said Gokhale.  He emphasized that the future leadership must come from our youths and asked that forums be established to debate social issues.  Gokhale lamented that our youths confine their discussion to peer pressure as the sole issue while ignoring global challenges such as human rights, poverty eradication, etc.

“We are working to get women more active in the organization of Hindu society, “said Gokhale and asked that women “must not confine their thoughts and discussions to domestic violence but should embrace global challenges.”

 He asked that “more need to be done to look at existing institutions such as mandirs and other organizations. He said that in the US a Temple Associate has been able to “update the way the mandirs are functioning.

The Global Hindu Forum which meets every four years has delegates from 50 countries attending its last gathering at Chicago, USA. Gokhale lamented the absence of delegates from Trinidad. “Papers were presented by Jwala Rambarran and Prashanta Singh but no delegates were present. Suriname had a delegation of nine, led by its Vice President,” said Gokhale.

“We have been successful in getting spiritual organizations to meet once per year in India to discuss issues. Gokhale reiterated that “some of these problems will be solved only when we work together.”

Shuddhi or homing is a growing success in India. “In India we have many success stories of home coming,” said Gokhale. ‘We need to have similar success in Trinidad and the diaspora.”

Members were critical of what is not being done but Gokhale appealed to them to “stop being cynical and start focusing on developing small projects to move the community forward.”

The locals spoke about the many projects that they are engaged in. For example, ICDN was identified as a work that has been started two years ago. A request was made to Gokhale to provide us with other writers from the diaspora to share their social and cultural activities in their respective communities.

The President of the Bamboo No 1 Organization spoke about plans of the mandir to complete the   educational structure in collaboration with the Sri Satya Sai Baba Education Board to open an EEC Center.

A former chair of the Sai EEC Board and an official of the Sai Center of Port of Spain spoke of the ongoing feeding of the homeless of Port of Spain every day for the past three years. This seva project is opened to the public and attracts people from all social and ethnic backgrounds.