I am not going to use the term culture vultures to describe those who exploit Indian culture to line their pockets. Such a reference is too obscene and inappropriate because it implies that Indian culture is dead- a carcass. I prefer to use this analogy-drinking milk from the cow but not cutting a bundle of grass, notwithstanding the calf being denied its right to suckle.
Too many are making a livelihood from this culture without giving back something. For example, one can run a magazine collecting full paid ads for more than two decades without the responsibility to account to anyone.
But there is always the obverse. A few individuals ran newspapers and magazines for several years with money from their pockets. For example, Kamal Persad funded the production of the Indian Review from the mid- 1970s into the 1990s and continues to publish occasional issues as late as March 2006 and until recently.
The Indian Review did not get patronage from state enterprises and other private companies because it was bold and fearless in raising issues such as an ethnic imbalance in the professions. In fact, the Office of President of the Republic and the Ministry of Culture had frowned on this publication. Even academics from the UWI distanced themselves from such a publication publicly but were happy to shower praise on the editor privately.
The secret is don’t be controversial- no raising of ethnic discrimination in the senior ranks of the police and public service, or crimes suffered by Indo families. If the content is non-controversial, propagating a narrative of ethnic harmony across the land, it would definitely qualify for funding both by state and private entities.
Many of our pandits only find time to serve where there is seedha and dakshina to be gained. It is now the norm to have the so-called non-Brahmin pandits visiting the bereaved families to recite the Ramayana during the year following a death because there is usually no seedha or gift to collect.
Wherever one turns, there is an insatiable appetite of many to drain the people who cherish and uphold this dharma or way of life. Since time immemorial invaders have stormed into India to loot and plunder its wealth. Hindus cannot forget Mahmud of Ghazni’s plundering of the wealth of the Somnath temple in Gujarat, India in the 11th century. One would have thought that such an act is haram or forbidden-stealing the wealth offered to a Hindu deity. But such behavior has become the norm over the millennium and continued to prevail and flourish.
Today, more than 44,000 mandirs in the southern state of Tamil Nadu are under the control of the state government which has a communist ideology. The wealth of the temples is used by the State to build flyovers, subsidize pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Mecca but not for the Hindu community and the upkeep of the mandirs.
It is now safe to say that the ideology of theft perpetrated by Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century has now been adopted by Hindus today in collaboration with non-Hindus. Interestingly, the state government does not exercise such control over mosques and churches. Where churches and mosques are concerned secularism has one meaning and where Hindu temples are concerned there is another!
Hindus need to be aware of One-Man Rambo Style organizations individuals that cry ‘dharma under threat’ to collect money for themselves. Those individuals must be identified and exposed. They need to know that those they besieged to solicit funds from are aware of their greed.
I know of several individuals who have labored for Sanatan Dharma selflessly such as Haripersad Harikissoon, Beeshram Seedath, Wayne Lalchan, Lalchan Dookie, Parbatie Babwah, Ramcharan Motilal, Gowtam Maharaj, Sonah Seepersad, the late Mungal Chattergoon and Ramsewak Ramphalie etc. and continue to do so with funds from their pockets.
These Mahmuds of Ghazni must be exposed for their greed. Their activism is nothing more than throwing bait to haul big fish. Raising alarm about discrimination in private but taking no public stand against it is hinging on fraud.
It is not that some don’t understand injustice. They do when it affects them- ready to fight with their bare hands but not with the same commitment for the community which they view as a cow- only valued for its milk. To drink as much milk is the privilege of the Mahmuds of Ghaznis while the curse on Kamal Persad is to cut the grass and clean the pen.