Dr. Somdath Mohabir said he was honored to meet and interact with Dr. Yesu Persaud Ji a couple of times at Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) graduation ceremonies. He was a lovely and accommodating gentleman with a sharp intellect. I am sharing a few pictures here as we reflect on the great man.
Many a glowing, beautiful, and well-deserving tribute is being paid to two of Guyana’s illustrious sons, Balram Singh Rai, and Dr. Yesu Persaud, a personal mentor, and inspiration. I would like to add these few thoughts of my own to all that has been already said, and to do this I wish to locate their lives and achievement in an historical context. First of all, Balram Singh Rai by us undaunting courage and perhaps true to his Rajput heritage abolished Christian control of the schools of Guyana, including my own, Cornelia Ida Church of Scotland Primary, thereby liberating all subsequent generations from the tentacles of the Christian church. Added to this, by his peerless, fearless, and indomitable will he demonstrated that Indians were not averse to joining the disciplined forces. He put a lie to the myth perpetrated for many decades by politicians and every administration that Indians do not want to join the forces, a myth that unfortunately persists even today, hence the ethnic imbalance in the police force and in the army.
With respect to Dr. Yesu Persaud, like Rai and J.B.Singh, we honour him for remaining steadfast in his loyalty to his ancestral Sanatana Dharma defying the church pressure that was undoubtedly exerted on him to conform to the well-advertised view that Christianity would ensure his social mobility and of course, “save his soul.” One can only marvel at his moral rectitude as he stood against the might of the Christian church aided by British imperial power.
If for nothing else, we have to honour and cherish the memory these Guyanese mahāpurṣas for their dignity, strength, and unflinching courage in upholding their Hindu values as a result of which they were able to uplift the entire nation. They will remain great Guyanese heroes.
I turn to the Hindu culture to provide me with the vocabulary worthy enough for their praise.
रत्नाकरः किं करोति स्वरत्नैः विन्ध्याचलः किं करिभिः करोति ।
श्रीखण्डखण्डैर्मलयाचलः किं परोपकाराय सतां विभूतयः ॥
ratnākaraḥ kiṃ karoti svaratnaiḥ vindhyācalaḥ kiṃ karibhiḥ karoti
śrīkhaṇḍa khaṇḍair malayācalaḥ kiṃ paropakārāya satāṃ vibhūtayaḥ
What will the ocean do with its own gems? What will the Vindhyā Mountains do with the elephants (dwelling) there? Of what use are the sandal trees to the Malaya Mountains? The wealth of the noble is for the benefaction of others.
स्वभावसुन्दरं वस्तु न संस्कारमपेक्षते ।
मुक्तारत्नस्य शाणाश्मघर्षणं नोपयुज्यते ॥
svabhāva sundaraṃ vastu na saṃskāram apekṣate
muktāratnasya śāṇāśmagharṣaṇaṃ nopayujyate
That which is beautiful by nature does not need further refinement. For a pearl, grinding on a touchstone will do no good!
वरमेको गुणी पुत्रः न च मुर्खश्शतान्यपि ।
एकश्चन्द्रस्तमो हन्ति न च तारा गणोऽपि च ॥
varameko guṇī putraḥ na ca murkhaś śatānyapi
ekaś candras tamo hanti na ca tārā gaṇo’pi ca
A single child endowed with virtue is a blessing, not a hundred foolish ones. It is the single moon that banishes darkness, not a whole constellation of stars.
कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः ।
लोकसङ्ग्रहमेवापि सम्पश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि ॥भ.गी.३.२०॥
karmaṇaiva hi saṃsiddhim āsthitā janakādayaḥ
lokasaṅgraham evāpi sampaśyan kartum arhasi
[Bhagavad Gītā 3.20]
By action alone Janaka and others attained perfection. Keeping in view only the welfare of the world, even so, you too [Arjuna] should act. [Bhagavad Gītā 3.20]