Hindus must not tolerate monolithic ideologies that breed a culture of hate and terrorism.
Photo : Karl Marx
The Caribbean has been a theatre of wars where the First People have experienced genocide and near complete annihilation of their culture. Nevertheless, despite their few numbers, these people have refused to embrace their conquerors and hero-worship them. They refused to endorse Christopher Columbus as a Prophet or Saviour but view him as a man hungry for gold, a terrorist.
The Caribbean is today a cultural melting pot whereby most of the people have fallen victims to the European/North American cultural influence. Christianity and western values have come to dominate the landscape. The evangelical church is working feverishly to uproot any vestiges of indigenous culture. Multi-national food chains are spreading their influence and alien values continue to stifle indigenous growth and self-reliance.
What is emerging is a syncretic culture that combines Christianity with Afro-Caribbean music and customs. Caribbean governments such as in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are using State funds to heavily subsidise black artistic expressions while the Indo Caribbean culture is underfunded.
Indo-Caribbean cultural expressions such the Phagwa, Ram Leela, Divali or Baal Vikas are generally blanked by mainstream media. Indian music, cuisine and languages are denied a place in the school’s curriculum. Even Indo Caribbean leaders are easily forgotten such as Cheddi Jagan (1918-2018) whose 100th birth anniversary went unnoticed even in academic circles.
Recently I heard Sat Maharaj, Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, calling for equity in the teaching of music in the schools. He was commenting on the appeal of Pan Trinbago to the Ministry of Education for the steelpan to be taught in all schools. As far as I know that is already being done. However, Sat Maharaj made an appeal for the introduction of all musical instruments including the piano, sitar and harmonium.
Hindus Must Fight Back
While Hindus have never aggressed against other nations, we have always been prepared to resist the enemies. Throughout our long history we have produced renowned warriors - Rana Partap, Guru Gobind Singh and Sivaji -who shed their blood in battle to foil the sinister and nefarious ambition of the invaders and the missionaries.
The British were welcome as trader but they had their ulterior motives. While the previous invaders used the sword, the British decided that they would use their ideas to acculturate Hindus into their world view. Everything British was lauded as superior while everything Indian was relegated as inferior. The Mahabharata and the other scriptures no longer informed and guided our newly educated class. Valmiki, Tulsidas and Kalidas were replaced by Charles Dickens, Chaucer and Shakespeare. Cambridge University and London University were the new centres of learning; no longer Varanasi and Rishikesh. The Communist Manifesto became the new ideology and Karl Marx and Max Muller the modern day Adi Sankara and Chanakya.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
The arrival of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the Indian political scene challenged those foreign and alien ideologies. Gandhiji was not only a British trained lawyer; more importantly, he saw beyond what the British were offering. While he was opened to all faiths Gandhi was an uncompromising Hindu who abhorred conversion. Never mind he read from the Bible and the Quran; he understood the dangers of Hindus converting to other faiths. He remarked that every convert is an enemy of India.
Gandhi renounced jacket and tie and knife and fork. Instead he opted to dress in traditional dhoti and to eat with his fingers the simple meals prepared in his ashram. Gandhi was not a bhakta of Karl Marx but hailed Sri Ram as his hero. He endorsed British legal system and saw credibility in the British parliamentary system. This, however, did not make him renounce his Indian identity. His utopia was Ram Raj, the reign of Sri Ram.
Throughout his life Gandhiji was a pakka (100%) Hindu, uncompromising in his Hindu values. His spinning wheel (charka) became a dagger at the heart of the British economic system. It carried the message that India must consume what it produces. His message of swadeshi was not confined to material goods but also political and social ideas such as the panchayat or local courts.
Gandhi remains a symbol of resistance against imperialism. His life inspired oppressed people all over the world to fight for their freedom. Both Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther testified to the inspiration Gandhi played in their struggles for freedom among their people. His indomitable will to fight for justice remains unsurpassed to this day. Not surprisingly, his name and teachings still resonate in the minds of oppressed people and leaders alike across the world.
Bhadase Sagan Maraj
In Trinidad and Tobago when the Canadian Missionaries and the Colonial Government conspired to plant Church schools in the rural districts to convert Hindu children, the Maha Sabha was born. Its first President, Bhadase Sagan Maraj, reversed the aggression of the church. The first six schools built by the Maha Sabha in 1952 resulted in the Canadian Missionaries packing their bags and returning to Canada.
Photo : First People
Indians must not make their minds garbage bins for others to pour their rotten propaganda. We must resist ideologies of bigotry and hate so that they would not find fertile soil in our minds. Hindus must join hands to fight this propaganda directed to destroy us.
Earlier, Hindus allowed class divisions to divide them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism globally, the ideology shifted to gender. It was common to see Indian women talking about equal rights for women. Today, the new ideology is LGBTQ… (and growing to the entire alphabet). Regrettably, many Hindus are subscribing to such propaganda.
Indian society has never persecuted people for their sexual orientation. Homosexuals have always been part of village life in Trinidad. And if it was talked about it was done in hush tones. But today, this social issue is being brought into the fore by the media. Homosexuality and sex on the whole has been a taboo in the west. Instead of accepting reality, the west drove homosexuality underground. Had the west been more opened about sex, it would have been saved from the sexual perversity that continues to plague the church.
Hindus don’t need the embellishment of borrowed feathers and cosmetics from other cultures to enhance our beauty. Our ancestors have provided us with all that we need. However, if we are to borrow from other cultures we must exercise discrimination and discretion as we make our choices. And, for certain, we do not have to tolerate monolithic ideologies that breed a culture of hate and terrorism. Such culture must be banished. They are not to be given a space to strive and spread their poisonous tentacle. Such ideologies are a threat to our civilization and must be checked and eliminated.