Santa Claus vs Mother Lakshmi
Maria was raped by her neighbour. She was 19 years old and had registered to start undergraduate studies. Her mother did not report the crime to the police for fear of reprisal from the family of the rapist. That family had a history of crime and the jail was their second home. The rapist offered to marry her.
“I was not going to marry a man who raped me,” Maria reiterated. “My mother supported me because I was the victim here. I wanted to report the matter to the police but my mother begged me not to.”
The culture of embracing the invaders and conquerors is fast becoming the norm. We appear to be indifferent to our history. We fail to see it as a tool to inform us to avoid pitfalls in the future. The attitude of Maria is scorned. More are subscribing to the belief that might is right and the majority view is legitimate. Individuals like Maria are becoming a rarity.
The culture of rape is used to demoralise a people and the sanctity of marriage is then offered to restore pride dignity. Maria did not fall into that trap. Maria was lucky to be living in a culture where women have rights and kidnapping a woman and raping her is a sex crime. However, in some parts of the world-Central Asia and the Caucasus- women are denied that right and kidnapping and raping a woman before marriage is socially acceptable.
Without a sense of history, many of the practitioners of this barbaric culture do not know that their ancestors were victims of such cruelties by their conquerors and masters. The humiliation they suffered has now been adopted as the norm and is now practiced as culture. The evils of our conquerors, their culture and values should never be the standard for us to follow. We must not reduce ourselves to become the footnotes of history. We must strive to be the shapers of our destiny and resist such temptations to cohabitate with rapists, to give our children their names and despise our ancestral culture to embrace theirs including their religious dogmas.
The American Indians are the gold standard where cultural pride and resistance is concerned. When the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the New World was celebrated by Whites, the Red Indians boycott it. They viewed it as a celebration of their genocide. For them Columbus and the Whites were not heroes but mass murderers. The American Indians continue to cherish their indigenous beliefs and are not crazy for Jesus.
Priyanka Chopra revealed how she was pressured by her peers at school in the USA because of her ethnicity. “I was called Brownie and Curry. I hid and ate my lunch in the bathroom. I was bullied for being Indian and violently attacked,” she said.
Priyanka did not fall apart but decided to fight back. “I began to believe in myself and my talent. I felt ugly all my life but I fought back that negative feeling, began believing in myself and entered and won the Miss India World.”
As Hindus we must resist the imposition of western values. Christmas with its wild spending, consumption of alcohol and the killing of animals to satisfy our gluttonous appetites must be shunned. Today Christmas is being shoved down our throats. Many Hindu homes have more decorations for Christmas than they had for Divali. Hindu children know more about Santa Claus than Mother Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
Shopping in malls owned by the 1% is the accepted culture. Many no longer shop on High Street in Princes Town or San Fernando or Chaguanas Main Road. They have chosen to identify success with shopping in malls and partying in Marriot. Hanging out in such places like a village bar risks being labelled drunkards, hence the mad rush to party in the ballrooms and pool sides of the hotels in Port of Spain for Old Year Night Fetes. Undoubtedly, the rise to fame of a proletariat (chamaar) class with money in their pockets and power in their heads, has now placed on jeopardy much of our cherished ancestral values.
Maria was raped because she was powerless. Her rapist knew that the support of his criminal family was behind him. Her hapless mother did not protest; more so fight for her.
Today the 1% is allowed to have a field day. The Maria of today is allowing herself to be the concubine of the 1% and their servants and overseers. The sense of dignity and pride to stand up when transgressions have taken place has abandoned many. The 1% does not drag us into their malls; we willingly go in droves, not bothering to examine the price tags. And all this wild consumption despite the fact that 41% of the employed population earn less than $6,000 TT per month. May be all we want to have as valuables are a Santa Claus hat, a Christmas tree and a ham to feel wealthy…and Jesus in our hearts!