Budget 2022 is scheduled for October 04, 2021 and is preceded by the announcement of the dreaded property tax. Is this proposed tax going to stir the Hindu professional and business classes or would they dig deeper into their pretentious world to survive the economic onslaught?
Hindus must not mask their economic challenges and discrimination with idle boast. I recalled my niece asking me whether a certain family was wealthy. My niece was tired of this idle boast by her class mate. I was taken aback, not believing what I was hearing. The student’s father was a primary school teacher and the mother was a public servant. Where can the wealth of this family come from? Have they won the lotto or discovered an oil well at the back of their house?
The wealthy Indian community in Trinidad is a myth, a slice of propaganda generated by the ruling class to mask the inequality in the society. Nevertheless, the average Indian has fallen for such propaganda even after research by Trevor Sudama and other scholars revealed otherwise.
I don’t share the view that people are miserly. I think that people are not generous because their incomes are very low and it is a challenge for them to take care of their extended families, far more to have extras for donations. Most families with businesses have to contend with overheads and competition that narrows their profit margin. In most cases, workers who toil in family businesses are not paid salaries but provided with food, shelter and pocket change.
Our business men do not have the wherewithal to challenge these inequalities in the society. Such challenges should be undertaken by our astute academics and intellectuals. Unfortunately, our Hindu intellectuals and academics are afraid to speak out on this subject though they privately acknowledge that there are negative forces working against the welfare of the community.
Today, wars are ideological in nature; winners or losers are shaped by the contents of the syllabi and media houses. If that is so, the question must be asked: Are our academics playing their roles to win this ideological war?
Why our young entrepreneurs should not know about Ram Kirpalani and his business acumen? It would be an enlightening experience for all to learn about the rise of Ram Kirpalani as a business tycoon long before the advent of the 1%. Not only the highlights of his life need to be underlined but also his mistakes that led to the collapse of his business empire. A similar conference can be sponsored on Bhadase Sagan Maharaj and his contribution to sports, business, education, trade unionism, politics and religion. A more multi-faceted Caribbean man is yet to be born!
Regretfully, our fixation has not gone beyond indentureship-1845 to 1920, the celebration of bound coolie history. Our academics feel safe not talking about those events to avoid criticisms and confrontations.
So, Budget Day is not an opportunity for the Hindu community to demand from the government the allocation of funds for public works to alleviate flooding in Barrackpore. It is a day for us to pretend that we are princes and princesses like our calypsonians who gave themselves sobriquets like Lord Kitchener, Duke, Barron, Prince, Mighty etc. It’s like a young man I knew who was lazy and never bothered to find a job but called his daughter Princess, thus arrogating unto himself the title of Raja. Now that the Raja is no more, Princess is now left to play the game she knows well-pretending to be a princess… and in this land appearance is reality (whatever it means-you just use it to sound intelligent).