While deceased Basdeo Panday was the center of attention, there was also the subtle and discreet manuvres by political pimps to bring attention to their leaders.
I was happy that the Panday family had the foresight to keep the politicians out and confine the speakers to President Kangalloo, his brother Subhash and his daughter Mickela who read the eulogy.
I was at the Creek and was satisfied with the detailed arrangements including the several tents with chairs, park disposal outlets, and doubles and water for all.
The police presence ensured proper parking of vehicles and management of the crowd without demonstrating any hostility.
The most unique arrangement for me was the bhajan group led by Rana and Susan Mohip. They started singing as early as 10 am until the arrival of the body.
Panday’s strength and identity was brought out in the uncompromisingly Hindu content of the funeral. The jacket that outfitted Panday when his body lied in State was replaced with traditional Hindu attire and the family and close relations were all decked in traditional clothing.
This bond with Hindu dharma had been the underlying strength of Mr. Panday. The rough and tumble nature of politics did not overcome him because of his firm faith in Hindu Dharma though he did not wear it on his sleeve.
Panday’s funeral has demonstrated that one can strive for the highest office in this land without having to juggle one’s faith – Hindu now, Baptist and Presbindu tomorrow while alive, and in death embracing all the trappings of colonial Christianity as though one’s ancestors were savages to be thankful to the colonial elite for civilizing us.
Basdeo Panday has set a high standard for us both in life and death. He never apologized for his beliefs and convictions during his life and his family ensured that this legacy was displayed in his funeral rites.
Panday knew himself and hence his excellence in social skills. His life has debunked the myth that to be a leader and socially acceptable one must become calalooised- standing for nothing and falling for everything. This is the major failing in our community as a large section of our professional class holds the view that identifying with Hindu dharma is a setback. Panday, in life and death, has destroyed that myth. He is now the bench mark of human excellence, at least for me.
( Basdeo Panday does not have to RIP but to return to continue the struggle.)