Nawratri or nine nights of worship dedicated to the worship of Mother is presently being observed across the Hindu world including Trinidad and Tobago and the diaspora.
Durga, the Goddess of Protection, is worshipped during the first three-night; Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth during the second three-night and Saraswati, the Goddess of the Arts and Learning during the last three nights.
In the development of an individual or a nation, protection is foremost. Without protection, society would be unable to pursue wealth to satisfy its basic needs-food, clothing, and shelter. And without the latter, it would be impossible to pursue the arts- music, song, dances, and general learning.
If one were to look at the nations of the world, one would notice that the nations with the top military apparatus are also wealthy and has innovative and creative population. The USA has the number one military in the world. Its borders are well secured and any threat to the security of the nation is met with swift justice.
The US economy remains strong and so is its education system. Students from all over the world flock to the USA for higher education. Hollywood continues to be the most creative place on earth. More so, the USA is also the most innovative and continues to lead among the top brands in the world- Nike, Google, Facebook Twitter, Netflix, Silicon Valley etc.
The Indian community has a major health challenge in diabetes and heart diseases. With these diseases comes a train of other diseases- strokes, glaucoma, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, etc. If the Indian community has to realize its fullest potential it would have to address these health issues.
I saw a report on Gravitas that said that diabetes is a legacy of the British Raj. The report went on to say that British policies during its rule of India resulted in many famines and death. To cope with food scarcity and starvation the biology adjusted itself to conserve energy. This memory of our genes to conserve because of scarcities of the past has now become a liability. Whatever it is, the Indian community has a problem in its hands and must deal with it.
Physical fitness and self-defense must be made a priority among Indians. A cursory glance at the people engaging in sporting activities would see fewer Indians compared to Africans. Also, sports are a prerequisite to physical fitness which is necessary for seeking a career in the defense services.
Academically, a small group of Indians are excelling but more needs to be done to create a more all-around individual. Individuals must always strive pursue a career and accumulate wealth- car, house, and travel- legitimately but not at the expense of health and the arts.
Who is the Saraswati force in the Indian community? Where is the creative force? Is it Big Rich, Ravi B, and Raymond Ramnarine? Like them or hate them they are definitely doing a bit of creative stuff and they must be acknowledged for it. But there are others who must step out of their comfort zones and deal with the challenges confronting the community. Wearing a long face, and staying aloof and apart is not an expression of intelligence but a sure sign of ossification and death.
If quick actions are not taken, the fervor of offering dhaar and chanting a few mantras, singing two bhajans, and eating suharee would continue to dictate the content of the Hindu society but would not address the issues in the community.
So, let us resolve to manifest in our daily life this Durga power by engaging in sports and increasing our presence in the various arms of the defense forces. This Naw Ratri offers an opportunity for us to make a resolution to lower diabetes among us by changing our lifestyles.
Our ancestors have faced challenges but they have never surrendered. They found their strength by standing together and not apart. Whatever can be done to bring people together remains the surest way .to victory.
So, as we worship the Goddesses during the nine nights, let us resolve to work together to overcome our setbacks so that the community can march forward into a brighter future.
May Durga Ma shower her blessings on you and your family and the entire nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
By Dool Hanomansing