A culture of discipline and hard work always wins

A culture of discipline and hard work always wins

Photo : Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj

The victory of local contractor SIS in the Privy Council against NGC for its failure to have a case management conference take place within a specified time with reference to the Beetham Water Treatment Plant is a demonstration of the ability and commitment of Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, legal representative of SIS, to use the law as a tool to strengthen our democracy. The ruling of the Privy Council is an indictment against the political directorate which, if not checked, would use the long arm of the State to undermine democracy and the rule of law.

The victory demonstrates that one person with a culture of discipline and hard work always wins.  Once again Maharaj has proven that he would represent his clients in court without fear of victimisation. Definitely, he has once again proven that he is no weakling but a man of substance. In a society where bullshitting is the norm it is truly heartening to know that there is still an individual who is prepared to stand up against the might of a vindictive government and its agencies.

Indians have a duty to make their rich heritage relevant to the challenges of the time. Currently, most Indians have confined their philosophy to the book without the need to make it relevant to their everyday life. Rama and Krishna, the heroes of the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata respectively, are not viewed as heroes who fought numerous battles against evil forces.  Unfortunately, they are still referred to as mythological characters or distant role models.  Yoga is a science to make our life successful so that we can stand up in the highest court in the land and safeguard our rights and freedoms.

Yoga is defined as excellence in action. It means that we are engaging in yoga when we put out our best efforts in the task at hand. On the obverse it means that mediocrity is not yoga, and therefore, must be shunned. Too many leaders have interpreted Hindu culture as singing bhajans, eating roti and channa with a little pepper sauce. We must stand together to banish these false interpretations.

Boasting and bragging have invaded and captured the Indian psyche. Sadhguru told the story of an old pheasant who befriended a bull. The pheasant would feed on the few ticks on the bull for his meal, while enjoying each other’s company. The pheasant then began complaining how old and weak he had grown and began reminiscing on his adventurous days when he was able to fly to the top of the highest trees. The bull listened to him and suggested to him that ‘you should eat some of my dung and see if it would help to give you the required energy.”

The pheasant ate a little dung every day and after the first week he was able to fly to the first branch of a nearby tree. He continued eating the dung, increasing the amount and by the second week he was able to fly higher. By the third week the pheasant flew to the very top. He was so elated looking at the scenery around and proud of himself. Nearby was a farmer working his field. Seeing a plumb pheasant he hurriedly snatched his rifle and took aim. The pheasant was killed. The moral of the story is: Bull…. can take you to the top but it cannot keep you there for long.

Too many of our people are happy with trappings of power-brand name clothing, latest model vehicles, palatial homes in gated communities and a few degrees and diplomas.  Thus explains that despite the growth in tertiary education, our health, judiciary, police and every facet of our society continue to degenerate.

Many Trinis went to England in the 1950s but one Basdeo Panday returned. With 500 pounds sterling Panday sailed to London, worked and studied.  He was either too poor to afford or too classy to indulge in ‘white trash culture’ that became a feature of most students sent to England in the 1950s. Having a white woman as your spouse after graduating was like winning a trophy for most Caribbean scholars returning to Trinidad. The intellectual capital and personality of these women are well depicted in Naipaul’s Mimic Men.

In addition to Basdeo Panday, the Indian community needs to analyse the success of Bhadase Sagan Maraj, Sat Maharaj, Vijai Narinesingh, Vassant Bharath, Ramesh Maharaj. What are the ingredients that these men are made of? They have not behaved like 16 year old models bedecked with make-up and fashionable clothing and after two years of success fell on the wayside. They are men of substance… 24 carat gold.

Hindus need to resist the Durydhana in us. We need to work hard to earn rather than make false claims to what is not ours. This has become another feature of our community. How many of us have truly added to our inheritance? Sat Maharaj has built on the legacy of Bhadase Sagan Maraj. Basdeo Panday came into a political arena that was in disarray. The DLP was plagued with intra personnel conflict and had squandered its earlier success in building alliances across ethnic divides that defeated the PNM in the Federal Elections of 1958 and the Local Government of 1959.

Our people must aspire for real power and not office, jacket and tie and wild consumptions. We must begin to think like a ruling class. We must determine who we want for Prime Minister, Commissioner of Police and Governor of the Central Bank. We need to build our financial institutions such as banking and insurance.  If we don’t we would continue to discuss politics in rum shops and retreat to Caura to drink rum, eat duck and habour diabetes.  

We will continue to push and drive our children to win scholarships and graduate as professionals only to sit at home and hope that Keith Rowley would open the Couva Children’s Hospital and kick start the economy. We would continue to lock ourselves in our home fortresses calling the Panchayat every morning and complaining about everything wrong in this country. Unless we overcome this paraplegic paralysis we would have to continue hiding in bars and indulging in curry duck cook outs.

The solution to the present crisis is in our hands. It is up to us to make the necessary changes we so desire.  We can pretend that all is well, that is, engaging in idle bragging about car, brand name clothing, travels on cruise liners to destinations around the world, etc. The solution is to muster the courage to hold the bull by its horn and stop indulging in this culture of bragging to booster our frail egos.