I was happy to hear Vijay Maharaj, Secretary General of the Maha Sabha, calling on Dr. Keith Rowley to shine some light on the nation. This was an obvious reference to the claim by Senator Renuka Sagram-Sooklal that Dr Rowley was a shining light in reference to his birthday falling on Divali Day this year. Vijay Maharaj was speaking on the program Maha Sabha Strikes Back on Jagriti TV and Radio live last Friday.
Vijay Maharaj did not stop there but also lamented the regular flooding that disrupts classes at the Debe Hindu School. Flood is a reality, and it impacts negatively on the lives of citizens and its is the moral duty of anyone who styles himself a leader to raise these issues. Maharaj went on to comment on the increased number of murders this year and called upon the government to act.
While Vijay Maharaj speaks out on issues, other leaders have chosen to remain silent. They do not bother to bring to the attention of the government any issues affecting the people. The modus operandi of these fly wight leaders is to parrot a few Sanskrit verses. The reality is that these leaders have their eyes in the cookie jar. It is now for the Prime Minister to see through these opportunists!
These opportunists have now extended their hands to receive handouts from the State to build mandirs. Giving money to build places of worship is not a policy of the State but a secretive arrangement between those ‘Sponge Bobs” who present themselves as leaders and influencers when they are dead beats. I am of the view that these vampires insult Hindu dharma when they extort taxpayers’ dollars for their narrow agenda.
The Deity in a mandir is for personal worship. It is a Being that is dear to the devotees and not necessarily the taxpayers. I think the same can be applied to all faiths. It should be left to the devotees to take their hard-earned cash and contribute toward building a house for their Deity.
I recall as a boy growing up that when my family was having a pooja, I was given 25 cents to give to the neighbor for the few paan leaves because it was understood that all that are offered in pooja must be paid for.
I am not against asking the government to provide financial assistance for festivals including Phagwa, Divali or concerts featuring songs, music, dance and tassa. In fact, the Hindu community needs to be more vocal and aggressive in its demands for funding from the State. After all, Hindus are taxpayers also. Unfortunately, these self-style leaders have opted to negotiate for the roti on the back step of the Ministry of Culture and wipe their mouths clean before leaving the compound.
A mandir must have programs to reach out to the poorer sections of the community. Sri Ramakrishna and his disciple Swami Vivekananda have espoused the philosophy of Daridra Narayan or seeing God in the poor. Once Sri Ramakrishna was so moved by the poverty of the people that he insisted that the land lady feed and clothe them.
In Trinidad and Tobago worship is fast becoming an exclusive club for the members to worship and socialize, not batting an eyelid in relation to the plight of farmers and the poor. Nevertheless, there are still a few devotees who engage in seva in a big way that make the community proud.
This culture of ‘freeness’ has integrated into the culture of the society. It is now the norm to see Hindus with basket walking about the neighborhood picking flowers for worship, not bothering to plant a flower plant. Even the mandirs are bereft of flower plants! It is time that the public shame those individuals who perpetuate a culture of dependency and thievery that is alien to Sanatan Dharma. Hindu Dharma exhorts its followers to be self-sufficient-atmanibhaar. If to worship our deity we are found wanting, what is there for us as Hindus to contribute to the world?