If critics of Pandit Satyanand’s remarks on crime are serious, they would have been forthright in addressing this social scourge. They are individuals who are neither here nor there and should be ignored. Trevor Sudama, a former Member of Parliament and Minister of Government and an academic par excellence, has questioned the failure of the critics of the pandits from addressing the issues raised.
Trevor Sudama has raised the bogey of race in a regular weekly column in Trinidad Express Newspaper between January 1991 and October 1991. These columns were later compiled and published in a text titled The Political Uses of Myths or Discrimination Rationalized. It is an individual like Trevor Sudama who provides comprehensive data who should be taken seriously and not those who are more interested in grabbing headlines and defending racial turf.
Pandit Satyanand Maharaj argues that his critics are not providing data when they charged that his statement that in Aranguez only Indian homes are under attack by bandits. Several individuals have gone on to describe his statement as divisive and may lead to racial strife. No one, not even the police, has seen it fit to provide racial profiles of the criminals and their victims despite the availability of this data. Instead of calling on the police to reveal the statistics, these opinion makers are happy to peddle lullabies with the optimism that the bandits would behave themselves.
When Arjuna, the great warrior of the Mahabharata, wanted to flee the battlefield, it took a Sri Krishna to convince him of his duty to truth (dharma) and to fight as a warrior. I am certainly no Sri Krishna and critics of Pandit Satyanand are certainly no Arjuna!
Facing reality calls for courage and hence the reason why the setting for the delivery of the Bhagavad Gita was a battlefield. Too many of us are afraid to speak truth to power because it may jeopardize the future of our children and grandchildren and our chance of winning a contract or a promotion. Arjuna had to fight to kill his kith and kin and those who were dear to him. He had a choice to make between what he perceives as right from wrong, and he had difficulties in doing so.
It is much easier for Hindu leaders to crow about India as a rising power and our academics to talk about the social conditions under which the Indian lived in the barracks during indentureship than to ask the Prime Minister why he has failed after 8 years to open the Reform Hindu School and the Ramai Trace Hindu School. Both schools were constructed under the UNC government, but the PNM government has not open them and our academics and Hindu leaders and Clyde Weatherhead have failed to question the government. Are children of Ramai Trace, Reform and Rousillac not entitled to equal educational opportunities? Or is it that the newly constructed schools are too good for them?
Indians have always been at the receiving end of PNM governance except for a Kamal Mohammed and a Rohan Sinananan and a few contractors. While in the past this number supporting the PNM has been few, today we are witnessing many more forming a beeline before Balishier House. Regrettably, this number has grown to include our academics and religious and cultural leaders. The truth is that too many of our ‘soft heads’ have tabanca for Dr. Keith Rowley. They simply do not have the fortitude to stand on their two feet as they have developed the habit of crawling on their knees for favors and pittance from the State.
Pandit Satyanand has two businesses- a tent rental and Bhakti TV- and both were at the disposal of the Bamboo No 1 Mandir fundraising Bhajan Mala. It is this type of involvement that is needed to strengthen the Hindu community, not bowing before power to get handouts from the treasury. If Hinduism must survive in this country, our mandirs must strive to develop independently of Balishier House.