Hindu society has not rolled over and died, succumbing to the threat of westernization and religious bigotry. Resilience is ingrained in the heart of the community and this has been demonstrated in the legal recognition by the Supreme Court of India that the Ram Janmabhoomi is the birthplace of the Lord Ram of Ayodha.
After 500 years, no one would have thought that Hindus would have kept on pursuing the restoration of this religious site. 1n 1992 the Vishwa Hindu Parshad (World Hindu Organization) had a national yatra to awaken Hindus to rally for the restoration of the mandir. Lal Advani, the chief organizer witnessed a band of sadhus alighted on the mosque and with their bare hands tore the structure apart. One eye witness said that in less than half an hour the tiniest rubble was moved, leaving no evidence that a structure once existed at that spot.
Hindus have embraced the divine as the highest goal of life and have never compromised or debated that truism. The Hindu drunk, prostitute, swindler, etcetera, are conscious of that goal of life, thus explaining why sadhus, sanyasins and other men and women of the cloth, however, they may choose to perceive the divine, were never disrespected but always saluted. If Hindus are being disrespected today, it is not by fellow Hindus but by iconoclastic bigots.
In Trinidad and Tobago our Hindu calendar has festivals that boldly rival the other cultures. When Carnival is celebrated, Shiv Ratri is observed. Lord Shiva, the god with the matted lock, led the first J’ouvert band. He is the god of the despised-homeless, vagrants, handicapped, drug addicts. They were the types that comprised the procession to marry his spouse. They were jubilant, playing drums, dancing, singing, smoking ganja and drinking bush rum-not whiskey and vodka, French wines and tonics.
Again, when Easter comes along there is Phagwa, a festival that welcomes spring. It also celebrates the killing of a tyrant king named Hiranksahipu who declared himself a god and banned Hindu worship. Bhagavan Vishnu did not forgive his arrogance and took incarnation as Narasingh-half lion, half man – and killed him mercilessly, drinking his blood in the process.
In Guyana, the annual celebration of Phagwa, a public holiday, provided an inner strength to the Indian community to resist the dictatorship of Forbes Burnham. “The faith that young Prahalad displayed became a pillar of strength for the Hindus in their struggles against the PNC regime…remember it was 28 years and we could not have done it without the conviction that this tyrant will soon fall,” said Anand Kawalsingh.
Gita Jayanti- the anniversary of the communication of the Bhagavad Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjuna- coincides with Christmas. This is no coincident but a direct call upon devout Hindus to take a stand-choose dharmic living and abandon the culture of kaye, piye maujh karo-eat, drink and merry.
The Carnival bacchanal culture has infiltrated Christmas and it appears that the devout Christians are overwhelmed. The task is too much for them and it is now the duty of our pandits to rescue Jesus from a culture of debauchery and gay abandon. With the church and western society now officially recognizing all sexual orientations, the culture of worship involving sacrifice is lost.
Hindu leaders and parents must recognize the big responsibility that the Divine is putting on their shoulders. They must not shun it but embrace the task. The need to resist the temptation of the capitalist interest class to foist on us a culture of excessive indulgence in the name of human rights and free choices. As Hindus, we have the right to live by our standard and not allow advertising agencies and business houses to dictate “what is a having a good time.” We must stand strong and resist others telling us how to run our lives. It is time for us to wake up and take charge of our lives.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and Political Leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is a beacon of hope for Hindus across the world. His fearlessness and determination to confront an issue and deal with it is unprecedented. His current encounter with the farmers of Punjab would be sorted out to the benefit of not just the farmers of Punjab but all farmers. and the entire population of India.
Hindus in Trinidad can learn from Narendra Modi-walk into the crowd like a lion and take charge and the masses are there to follow. Imagine, in the recently concluded municipal elections of Hyderabad the BJP increased their seats from 4 to 44. Who would have imagined that the BJP would have made such inroads into the stronghold of the regional parties? But Modi is on a mission to awaken the Hindus to remind them of their dharmic duty to rescue the world from the mire of unrestrained indulgence and to realign with their role as global thinkers and leaders, not followers.
Gita Jayanti falling on Christmas Day is a call for Hindus to rally with their dharma, to heed the message of Sri Krishna and work selflessly for the greater good of humanity. The culture of gay abandon and wanton wastage is now being challenged. We now have to make a decision!