Fight back to protect your murtis!
Photo : Bhadase Sagan Maraj
The vandalising of our murtis is cause for concern. Within the last three months three mandirs were attacked in central Trinidad. In one mandir the pandit and his family were tied up and robbed of money and jewellery. In another mandir gold ornaments adorning the murtis were stolen. In the last mandir to suffer such a fate, one murti was vandalized.
Such behaviour had taken place in the past. However, in the current spate of attacks Hindus are left to wonder if these are organised attacks by religious fundamentalists. With fundamentalism on the rise globally even Hindus are attacked in regions of India where they are a minority. The best example is the expulsion of 20,000 Kashmir Pandits from their homes in Kashmir by Muslim mobs.
The rise of fundamentalism is a threat to religious pluralism and diversity. It is a poisoning of the culture of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Imperialist powers are engaged in geopolitical manoeuvres to expand their sphere of influence. Billions of dollars are poured into the coffers of religious leaders in local communities across the globe including the Caribbean region. While kidnapping, rape and forced conversion are executed, other methods including propaganda using social media are on the rise. Today televangelism is a powerful medium used by religious fundamentalists to spread their propaganda.
Indians are a strong and resilient people with a long history of struggle against all odds and have always triumphed in the end. Indians came in 1845 and rescued this nation after the economy had collapsed. In 1884 Indians were killed on the streets by the colonial authority while fighting for the right to celebrate their festivals. It was this culture of resistance that provided the atmosphere for the striving of a kaleidoscope of diverse cultures that we now boast about in Trinidad and Tobago.
Indians cannot afford to rest for one second. The evil forces are ever active threatening the democracy of this nation. Our right and freedom must be guarded zealously every second of the day. Hindus should never forget the social upheavals of the 1970 and 1990 where a reckless few caused chaos, destruction and death. Hindus were never part of those anti-democratic forces. Instead, we stood on the side of law and order.
The diversity that our forefathers died for are now being undermined by these consistent attacks on our murtis. The indirect assault of missionaries on our homes and communities, the targeting of our less fortunate Hindu families for conversion through hand outs needs to be addressed. Such sinister and devious plans must he fought head on.
The enemies must not be allowed to succeed. We must stop them on their tracks. Similar situations we have fought in the past. We need to rekindle the heroic pride of Simbhonath Capildeo, Bhadase Maraj, Chanka Maharaj, Doon Pandit, Pandit Jankie Persad Sharma et al and confront the enemies at the gates. We have never hesitated to fight the aggressors in the past and we should not today. We must stand united and rise to the challenge fearlessly!
When the Canadian missionaries arrived and infiltrated the villages with the tacit support of the colonial state, Hindus resisted. Our leaders refused to abandon their dharma. Had they succumbed to this imperialist wave, T&T would have been a culturally barren land. The missionaries did not only ridicule and deride our customs and religious practices but also our fundamental values. Vicious propaganda was painted of the Indians as cheats, misers, wife-beaters, liars, and prone to violence, etc. Despite these negative labelling we survived to fight another day.
Hindus rallied together, mobilised their resources and built schools and mandirs to preserve and propagate their dharma. The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha built more than 34 schools between 1952 and 1956. The opening of these school resulted in the death of the missionaries. They had to pack their bags and return to Canada. Such is the dynamism and heroism of our people. Today the Maha Sabha boasts of being among the better denominational board in the country with reference to education. In the recent Secondary Entrance Examination (SEA) the Maha Sabha with only 16% enrolment, got 32 children in the top 200. Interestingly, the two students –Jada Ramnath and Saish Rampersad- that came first and second in this year’s SEA came from Gandhi Memorial Vedic School of Aranguez of the Arya Pritiniddhi Sabha, another Hindu denomination. A few years ago, the said Gandhi Memorial won the first place with Ajay Rameshwarsingh.
In a level playing field Hindus are always going to be among the top achievers. The recent search for a Commissioner of Police resulted in Deodath Doolalchan emerging as the first choice. The political directorate used its majority in Parliament to veto the appointment of Doolalchan as the new Commissioner of Police. But the PNM and its cronies cannot stop the rising Hindu tide. The initial discrimination launched against Hindus since 1845 has resolved in them the determination and insatiable appetite to excel in their chosen fields. It is not uncommon to see many Hindus in the public service and Corporate Trinidad and Tobago, working in acting positions, that is, literally running the offices.
Hindus must not live like the proverbial jackal that settled for leftovers. It is time for us to focus on the lion share. We are capable of hunting our games independently and should have the right to enjoy the fruits of our labour. More so we must refrain from putting our life in the hands of individuals who are incompetent and incapable. The present runaway crime and the poor state of the economy are challenges that Hindus must confront. It is time that the Hindu community starts viewing themselves as leaders.
Young Hindus must change their attitude from employee to employer; from follower to leader; from tenant to landlord and from creditor to supplier. If we have to move T&T out of this morass we have to have a mental shift. We can no longer spend money on alcohol and not on shares in these beverage companies. If we have to participate in j’ouvert and fetes, then we must be the investors and owners in this entertainment industry.
It is time for us to shed this paraplegic alarmist self-pity and stand up on our legs. We need to start discovering our true identity. We need to awaken the lion in us to banish from our psyche our jackalish brown nosing self. If we continue to bootlick hoping that pity and compassion are going to come our way, then we are being foolish. We need to stand up and take charge to let the others understand that they have failed miserably. It is time for us to take charge!