“Let a man raise himself by himself for he is his friend and he is his enemy.” -Bhagavad Gita
In the Indian diaspora, few projects are attempted beyond the story of Hanuman ji flying with the mountain and chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa. Most Hindus have forgotten that after the Gita was spoken Arjuna defeated his enemies in the battlefield of Kurushetra and that Hanuman ji flew to Lanka in search of Sita and returned with good news after overcoming numerous obstacles on his mission.
Where are the success stories in the diaspora? There are numerous in the past and we must constantly remind ourselves of them. One of the great feats the Hindu community accomplished was the formation of the Maha Sabha in 1952 and the construction of several schools that took Hindu boys and girls out of the cane fields. The Maha Sabha schools did not only give Hindus an education but also ended proselytization by the Presbyterian Church. Hindus no longer had to convert for a place in a school or a teaching job. This is an achievement that has been underplayed.
However, for the past twenty-five years Hindus have become easy target for proselytizers. Large sections of the Hindu population have uprooted their jhandi in exchange for a seat in the Pentecostal Church. In most mixed (racial or religious) the Hindus usually surrender his identity. It is shameful that so many Hindus who once worshipped the cow participate in eating beef and have contempt for everything Hindu and Indian including their history and the observance of Indian Arrival Day.
Unfortunately, nothing is being done to arrest this decline in the Hindu community. With the demise of Sat Maharaj one would have expected greater cooperation among Maha Sabha’s pandits and a united front to fight discrimination and proselytization. Instead we are witnessing a few former pandits and executive members of the Maha Sabha rivalling the current leadership. None has so far provided a critical review of the Maha Sabha-its past achievements, challenges and solutions. Instead we are witnessing a naked grab for power by pandits who control mandirs on their private compounds with accountability to none. Yet, when these men were working with Sat Maharaj there was not an iota of protest. Interestingly, some of these dissenters found their voices only when they were approaching their retirement age and could no longer enjoy promotions as teachers and principals.
Who is addressing poverty in the Hindu community in an organized manner? While some individuals and business houses engage in some degree of social services, there is a lack of professionalism in its approach. Firstly, there is no data base to work with. This would mean that the little work that is being done is like shooting in the dark.
The Political Leader of the UNC revealed in the last Monday Night Forum the increased number of temporary food cards that were distributed in 2020—from 4,000 in 2019 the number of cards increased to almost 80,000. She was unable to get from the Minster of Social Welfare to reveal the beneficiaries of those cards but was able to identify the areas that got the majority of CEPEP gangs-not the UNC constituencies where the bulk of the Hindus live but the PNM ones.
The revelation by Suzette Louwe that WASA discriminates against UNC constituencies by deliberately shutting off water so that private contractors can sell water to families and make money was not the hallucination of the social activist but the findings of a special report on WASA that was compiled in 2009 but never saw the light of day.
Hindus are losing their spirit to fight the enemies. They are not raising issues of discrimination but engaging in personal conflicts and sexual escapades. Some rather be seen in the company of non-Indians and avoid discussions on race relations and discrimination. Are they skeptical that the comforts they enjoy are too much to risk? Or, do they reason ‘better they and not me” and ignore the sufferings of their brethren.
I recently went through about 20 copies of the dailies to cut clippings and there was only one article on agriculture. Only recently the front page of a daily carried a picture of a farmer from Penal in waist height water holding up a water melon in each hand. Our famers continue to produce despite little to no help from the government. Worse, they have to contend with low prices, praedial larceny and floods.
Are our technical experts highlighting the plight of the farming community? My appeals to qualified people to have them write for ICDN.TODAY on agricultural issues, have failed. I certainly have to reconsider my strategies to get these technical personnel to write on agriculture.
Chanting Hanuman Chalisa and eating mohanbhog are not enough. The Hindu community has a moral duty to look out for the weaker sections of the community. Their membership of the community acts as a buffer and grant the middle class the safety and rights they enjoy. The day the number of Hindus is reduced to 7-10% of the population, the middle class Hindus would be exposed and vulnerable like those in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hindu women would be easy victims to kidnappers and rapists, temples would be desecrated and razed to the ground and Hindus would be unofficially second class citizens.
Instead of addressing these issues Hindus are busy envying each other. History has revealed that civilizations and culture are not destroyed by external threats but by internal rivalries and squabbling. If today the Hindu community is playing on its back foot it is only because it has chosen to be so.