“Batty shorts” woman exposes herself in a temple
Photo : Ashyanna Ali and her Mother
I watched with interest a news report on CNC3 last week in which a young woman, Ashyanna Ali, 18, claimed that she was “insulted and felt unsafe” when she was threatened by a man in a car at the 84-foot tall Hanuman murti in Carapichaima. The woman, accompanied by her mother, was dressed in “pom pom” or “batty” pants and a sleeveless top. She claimed that the man in question told her that she was “inappropriately dressed and that they have no class.” She went on to charge that he was “that type of Indian men who felt they could tell women anything.”
Akash Samaroo who did the video report sought a comment from a one Rennelle White who claimed to be an educator. Ms White said that “men use religion to control women,” such as “covering of the head and not being allowed to do pujas and make parsad when they are menstruating.” Akash Samaroo concluded that he made an attempt to contact an official of the temple at Carapichaima but was unsuccessful.
Why was no effort made to contact someone who is an authority on Hinduism such as a senior pandit? As a news agency CNC3 is supposed to have a listing of personnel they can call upon e.g.-Raviji, Sat Maharaj, Dharmacharya Uttam Maharaj, Swami Prakashananda, Pandit Hardeo Persad, etc. Unfortunately, that was not done. It appears that Rennelle White is a figure of authority on Hinduism in the eyes of Akash Samaroo and his editor, and hence the reason why such shabby coverage of such a sensitive issue.
Am I to blame the young lady or Ms Rennelle White? It is not they that presented the story. It was Akash Samaroo and therefore he should have displayed a sense of balance and more so pride in what he put out for public consumption.
But if I am to assume that Akash Samaroo is a Hindu, then I may be able to understand why such a shabby reporting on such a sensitive issue. In T&T’s society and main stream media, reporting of Indian and Hindu events are supposed to be done flippantly and not with in-depth research and investigation. Akash Samaroo went along that route and had he done otherwise he might have been branded “Hindu fundamentalist and a disciple of Sat Maharaj.” Now that his report has put Hindus and Indian men in poor light, he would have passed the test… “ Akash is not a follower of Sat Maharaj…he is not a Hindu fanatic...Akash did an excellent job…”
I want the two young women to understand that Julia Roberts visits the temple with her family and she does not dress in pom pom shorts but in a sari. There are millions of devotees from the West and across the world that visit Hindu temples on a daily basis. There are thousands that live in Ashrams across India and also in the USA, Holland, and even Trinidad and they are aware of the dress code.
Photo : Hanuman Temple Trinidad and Tobago
Hanuman is a deity who is a celibate and as such the young woman in question should have accepted the admonishing by the gentleman and apologise. Instead, she appears to have no remorse and has resorted to blaming it on “that type of Indian men who felt they could tell women anything.” Any intelligent tourist would have done some background research to know what was the appropriate dress code and other restrictions such as eating on the compound. But being a Trinidadian she ought to know better except that she chose to be deliberately mischievous.
It would be interesting to know if the young woman in question can visit a mosque or a church in that attire. I dare her to do so. Also, I would also like to see how Akash Samaroo would put together a story should such incident takes place. Maybe Akash Samaroo could begin by challenging the restrictions at Mecca! Are these restrictions necessary? And why are non-Muslims not allowed to visit Mecca? I hope that Akash Samaroo can raise those issues someday!
Ms Ashyanna Ali and Renelle White must appreciate that Hinduism is not a religion that is seeking converts and that the strength of the faith is not in numbers. Hinduism is an experience and it is because men and women are seekers and not accepting blindly the words of a Prophet or a Son of God that it continues to survive the ages. In a nutshell, Hinduism is a “feel good experience” rather than a body of doctrines and beliefs.
I wish to inform young 18 year old Ashyanna Ali that the Kama Sutra or the art of love is a Hindu text and that there are numerous temples dedicated to sex or tantra as a pathway to salvation. In those temples, there are stone carvings of men, women and animals engaging in sex. In those temples sex is the pathway to salvation. The priests and the devotees worship by engaging in sex, offering their passion to the Higher Self.
It would be interesting for Hindus to have such a temple in Trinidad so that those with such inclination would find a place to worship. Many such temples exist in India and are visited daily by prostitutes, homosexual and the entire alphabet of sexual variations. I am certain that there would be a place for locals with such inclinations. And certainly, there would not be “that type of Indian men who felt they could tell women anything” to constrain your search for divinity. Instead, you would find men more than willing to facilitate you, to put you on an altar and worship you and your mother. And Akash Samaroo can come along and do a story for CNC3!