Blue Bird Sports and Cultural Organization supports Hindu Mandirs’ Conference 2018

Blue Bird Sports and Cultural Organization supports Hindu Mandirs’ Conference 2018
Photo : Gowtam Maharaj

For the first time in the history of the country, the executives and members of Hindu mandirs will be coming together in a three-day Hindu Mandirs’ Conference of Trinidad and Tobago (HMCTT2018) to discuss issues and challenges facing Hindu society. The event, carded for 7-9 December, 2018, will be held at the Bisram Gopie Hall, Divali Nagar, Chaguanas. The Chairman of the HMCTT 2018 is Deoroop Teemal, the President of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-Trinidad and Chairman of Divali Nagar 2018.

Poverty, illiteracy and conversion continue to plague pockets of our population. Divorce, separation and drug addiction have invaded the average household. Hindus are not isolated or immune from these problems. These issues are at our doorsteps and we have to address them.

Gowtam Maharaj, a Committee Member of the Conference Organisation Committee of HMCTT 2018, is the President of the Blue Bird Sporting & Cultural Organization (BBCO). The BBSCO has been serving the community of Rochard Douglass Road and the neighbouring communities for the past 30 years. Known for its delightful and delicious pepper roti at the Divali Nagar, the Blue Bird is also engaged in Bal Vihar, a weekly program engaging children in Hindu dharma through sports, Know Your Dharma classes and other outdoor activities.

BBSCO, located at Rochard Douglas Road, has been hosting its annual Ramayan Yagya and Ram Leela.   With the elders to the background, the youths are the ones that take the initiatives in these projects. “The major objective of our organization is to empower the people,” said Gowtam.

Not confining its activities to Barackpore, the BBSCO has collaborated with other organizations to construct the Sundar Popo Statue located at Debe. When a Committee was established to execute the project, Gowtam was elected Chairman. The name Sundar Popo and his music continue to be integral to the cultural landscape of T&T. Not surprisingly, when the South Academy for the Performing Arts was constructed the government saw it fitting to name the amphitheatre after Sundar Popo.

The BBSCO also works with the Chinmaya Mission of Trinidad and Tobago and runs a pre-school on the Chinmaya model at its Headquarters. Gowtam is proud to identify with Chinmaya Mission. “Its spiritual leader, Swami Prakashananda, grew up in the district and it is only right that we support the noble work he is doing,” said Gowtam.

A major event of the BBSCO was a yatra connecting nine communities.  “The yatra took along a Shiv murti and wherever we stopped we had satsangh for seven nights. During the course of the seven nights we trained someone to do Shiv Pooja.  At Platinite, an isolated place in the forest, we stayed seven nights. “Out of this experience evolved the Naada Shiva Tassa. We are happy to get a sponsor in L&R Rajaram. Seeing the enthusiasm of the youths, Rajaram readily volunteered to pay the cost of the instruments and costumes for the players,” said Gowtam.

A director of the newly formed Hindu Credit Union (HPCU), Gowtam is eager to mobilise the people of Barrackpore and environ to rally with the Credit Union. “This Parivaar Credit Union provides an avenue for the people of Barrackpore to have access to credit. In the traditional banking-system they are only statistics; in the HPCU they are the shareholders and can influence policies and make decisions,” said Gowtam.

 Blue Bird is happy to be affiliated with the initiative to host the first HMCTT 2018. The HMCTT provides a forum for Hindus to come together and discuss common issues through presentation of papers and discussions. “Personally, I believe that spirituality is only one aspect of Hindu dharma; our mandirs need a more holistic approach to address other issues,” said Gowtam.

One of the aims of the HMCTT 2018 is to build collaboration and networking amongst mandirs to connect, share ideas and inspire one another thorough common programs and activities. “The success of the BBSCO in the cultural landscape is because it embodies this spirit of collaboration and networking,” said Gowtam Maharaj. “This spirit of collaboration and networking needs to be encourage among all Hindus and Hindu organisations.”