Handing Over the Yellow Sari
You can pour scorn over me with insult and cuss. You can steal from me, strip me naked in public. You can rape me, too. One thing, I know for certain is that you cannot have me.
I am an inner being that dwells in my soul. This body is but clothing for my soul to travel.
It is the lesson derived from the story of Drupadi contained in the Mahabharat and one which women of the faith hold dearly.
In the Indo-Trinidadian community where the struggle continues for simple rights that others take for granted, we stumble upon this valuable lesson that will, without doubt leave an indelible mark on the populace, for a long time to come.
The story of Drupadi, now out in the open, will serve the women of other communities as well.
She stood still and drew upon her faith in her hour of need.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago has a lot to learn from Hindu literature. Never mind those few blinded by ignorance. They are doomed never to learn.
Photo : Ariti Jankie
Apart from the fortitude of Drupadi, there is the courage of Sita who walked through the fire to prove her innocence time and again. Hindu women, some who survived disastrous illnesses like cancer or emerge survivors of domestic abuse liken the ordeal to walking through the fire. As a result, the women are stronger and better equipped to face the challenges in society.
Men too, are raised to lift mountains like Hanuman.
The struggle for respect in the Indo-Trinidadian community merely continues from the early days. From the struggles for the legalization of Hindu and Muslim marriages to the cremation of the dead; from the battle for Divali and Indian Arrival Day to be declared public holidays to the wearing of the Raksha, Indians have always displayed a rare determination and courage unparalleled in the history of the Caribbean. We just happen to know the meaning of the term balidaan!
Similarly, the marginalization of the Indo-Trinidadian community sharpens the voice to be heard above the noise of the corrupt few who continue to behave as if the island was a personal property passed on to them for their own needs.
Hand over the yellow sari with the gift of wisdom to those who need it most. May it cover the virtues of the women of the nation.