Bhano had his limb amputated. He was diabetic. When I learned about his calamity, I paid him a visit and he went on to provide me with a series of activities that led to his condition.
Bhano told me that his friends came to his house and invited him for a lime (party) at Caura River. He quickly cancelled all he had scheduled for the day, informed his wife and left for Caura. “I came home about 8:00 p.m. properly drunk, went and showered and took my bed.”
The next morning another group of friends came to his house inviting him to Caura. A diabetic, Bhano did not find time to look at his foot where he was nursing an injury. Bhano left for Caura. Again, it was the full round of music and “good food.” Bhano said: “Doolar, I had a ball.”
He continued: “It was only the next day when I look at my foot, it was turning green. I informed my wife and went to the doctor. As soon as the doctor looked at my foot, he said “I have to cut” and that was it.”
Bhano would have been in his mid-50s. After part of his limb was removed, he was able to move about but much slower. His struggle with diabetes continued and he finally succumbed a few years later.
Having a nice time is central to the culture of our society but becomes dangerous when it is associated with lavish eating and drinking of excessive alcohol. This culture is reflected in the increasing number of food-outlets and bars at every corner of the country.
Getting a few people together to chant Hanuman Chalisa or sing a few bhajans is a challenge. After the first meeting, the few that came begin making excuses- “I have to go to the grocery and I would be late.”
It is certain that arth (wealth) and (kaam) pleasure are given top priorities in the lives of most. Not surprisingly, there are always larger audiences at weddings and birthday parties. I recalled the trend to prepare meat dishes to take to weddings. It was clear that they did not relish the vegetarian meals prepared by their hosts.
I am certainly not against having a nice time or accumulating wealth and living in mansions. However, if these are not based on a foundation of dharma or righteousness and a goal in salvation or moksa, these pleasures and comforts would be unchecked and very painful in the long term.
I have been a witness to many heads of households succumbing to life-style diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases that are avoidable. These parents became liabilities and the children are denied a proper education.
Rohit was only 10 years of age when his father suffered a stroke. He and his younger siblings began coming to school irregularly. Rohit’s mother began working as a maid and he was forced to stay away from school to take care of his younger siblings and his sick father.
Today, it is fanciful and a sign of success to take a bottle of whiskey and serve to guests. It appears to be making a statement that “we are no longer poor.”
Shanti told me that “I would not say Sita Ram to my neighbors and relatives because I get a dumb response. Sita Ram is only said in the mandir or in the home when there is a pooja and poojas are done only when we are sick or examinations are to be written,” Shanti concluded.
Sai Baba said that if walls are constructed without strong foundations they are going to collapse. Too many of our homes do not give priority to dharma-pojas, satsangh, charity. There is definitely a greater tendency to go after the celebration of birthdays and wedding anniversaries where meat and alcohol can be served and music can be played loudly to announce our “success,”
The Hindu community has endorsed a culture of self-denial. It has failed to acknowledge the many forces that are working to destroy it; more so, to devise a plan to respond to those threats. Non-Hindus have no respect for our dharma as conversion go about unchecked. Had they any respect for our Sanatan Dharma, they would not have engaged in such low, immoral and despicable act.
Despite Hindus excellence in academia, their presence is not reflected in the senior ranks of the state bureaucracy and the private sector where policies are made. It is common to find Indians working in offices in this country where their seniors are less qualified than they. Not surprisingly, we celebrate our success at the SEA, CSEC and CAPE with so much pump and pageantry!
Like my friend Bhano who traded his limb in exchange for paratha, curry duck and whiskey at Caura Valley, so Indians have surrendered to inequality in exchange for mansions and luxury vehicles and excellence in academia.
Are Hindus going to take up the challenges to fight against the dreaded property tax? So long as Hindus avoid challenging social injustices and discrimination, their love-affair with diabetes, amputations, blindness, kidney failures, high blood pressure and strokes are going to flourish unabated.