Ravana had ten heads because a single head was not enough to accommodate the volume of knowledge he had acquired. While the artiste has chosen to depict Ravana as having many heads, contemporary Ravanas loaded with degrees can go about life without any visibility until they become engaged in a conflict. Instead of trying to resolve the misunderstanding, their egos take over.
Ravana was the grandson of Pulastya, one of the sapta or seven rishis that live in the celestial region. His father Vishravana was a sage, and his mother was of the asura or demonic race. Ravana’s knowledge was so vast that it could not be accommodated in a single head and hence the need for him to grow more heads for storage capacity. It’s like expanding bookshelves to accommodate an increasing number of books that are more hoarded than read.
Like Ravana, we in the diaspora have an insatiable appetite to accumulate degrees, if not learning. If degrees are an instrument for measuring intelligence, then our children are brighter that VS Naipaul who only had a bachelor in English Literature. And if qualification matters, then we can conclude that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature by accident.
One writer surmised that Ravana’s heads were like voices that were disturbing his peace and quiet. These voices began to haunt him, and his arrogance grew. Surrounded by ‘yes men’ and sycophants. Ravana hated any opposition and would run into a rage whenever his point of view was questioned. His men learned to turn a blind eye to his arrogance, but his younger brother felt otherwise and was rebuked and kicked out the kingdom.
Cult leaders epitomize the qualities of Ravana. Their ideas must prevail, and no one must oppose or be indifferent to them as Gail Ann Benson was in her relationship with the Abdool Malick cult. This ravanic leadership does not attract followers of substance but school dropouts, absconders, and ex-prisoners, people who cannot think for themselves and are totally dependent on the leader.
I was hoping to hear the announcement of an institution to serve the community this Indian Arrival Day but there was none. But what must be expected from a people whose knowledge of their history does not go beyond the Fatal Rozack and the plantations. Is it that Indians are too scared to think for fear that they would offend the enemies? Pandit Satyanand Maharaj dared to speak out against the invasion of Indian homes by criminals and he was shouted down by not only the creoles but by the Indians that are afraid to think for themselves.
Why are Indians not the major share holders in the commanding heights of the economy? We are not in control of the financial institutions- saving banks, insurance companies, credit unions, mutual funds, micro- financing institutions, investment banks etc. The only explanation is that our community spirit is weakened by our egos. Ravana has knowledge no doubt, but it was his ego that brought him down and the same can be said for Indians in the diaspora.
I am happy that there are a few families that have pooled their resources to compete with the conglomerates. If more of that is not done, we may see Indians as managers, supervisors, cashiers and janitors, areas that are already filled by creoles and not owners of capitals. With the French Creoles and Syrians controlling the major private companies and blacks in charge of state enterprises such as WASA, T&TEC and the petroleum industry, we must ask: where are the Indians?
Our answer is reflected in the number of Indians who are CEOs of large billion-dollar companies – Facebook, Microsoft, Google- but not as the owners of capital and directors. Is it that Indians can only work well when we are directed by others to do so? Is it that we lack the self-confidence to go for the proverbial whole hog?
Like Ravana, Indians in the diaspora are on the road to marginalization, if not already there because of their diseased egos. In fact, our pandits are in the habit of giving discourses on the ego and our scriptures are littered with examples of kings and leaders including Ravana who fell victims to their egos. But such lessons are not important to learn because they are not examinable and would not provide you a certificate, diploma, or degree.
We need to curb our egos to respect and work with others. We need to ‘hide’ our intelligence and become more street smart and emotionally intelligent if we want to win the trust and confidence of others. If Prime Minister Modi can do it, why can’t we?