(If you are challenged to pronounce the world “Kumkaran” you can replace it with Dukhoo.)
(If you are challenged to pronounce the word “Kumkaran” you can replace it with Dukhoo.)
Where are our aspiring leaders in this country? Our young bright boys and girls are seen in pubs and at the oval with coolers supporting T20 cricket but are absent from meaningful social and community projects. Is it that our education system has failed us? Or, have we allowed the middle class comforts that have come to us recently after decades of hardships to over-power our social responsibilities? Where are the debates on agriculture, poverty, crime and the so many social ills? Apart from our talk shows and social media where “loose and ill-informed” opinions are farted, there is little being done to shed light on the social ills of our society.
Too many of our young people are living like pigs, just eating and sleeping. Our saints and sages recognized this human trait and identified it as tamas -complacency, laziness, sloth, etc. Indian civilization went further and depicted this trait in literature and is best portrayed in Kumkaran, a character in the Ramayana.
Kumkaran was a younger brother of Ravan. He ate and drank for six months of the year and rested for the other six. When the war between Rama and Ravan began Kumkaran was deeply asleep. Ravan began suffering loses in the battlefield and in desperation sent his soldiers to wake up Kumkaran from his slumber and to summon him to the battlefield.
To wake Kumkaran was a huge challenge. He was poked with the sharp points of spears and swords; drums were beaten in his ears but to no avail. It was only the aroma from food that woke him. He was one INDIAN who did not make joke with his belly!
Ignorant of his social world, when Kumkaran learned that an army had invaded Lanka and a war was raging he could not believe what he was hearing. Anxiety overtook him but he did not dash to the battlefield immediately. He first had to have his fill. He ate and drank indiscriminately. Depicted as a huge giant, his meal was a few elephants, huge cauldrons of rice and beans and basins of desserts. It was only after he belched and farted that he stood up, put on his armor and marched to the battlefield..
Not knowing the reason for the war, Kumkaran enquired from Ravan. When Kumkaran learned that his brother had kidnapped Sita, he was very upset and scolded Ravan but quickly realized that it was too late to complain. He readily accepted to lay down his life to defend Lanka. Kumkaran was killed and Ravana’s army was defeated and Sita was rescued. But the Kumkaran nature- tamas and laziness -continues to haunt us.
Kumkaran is not simply laziness and indulgence; it is complacency…an inability to be vigilant and conscious of our social environment. Had Kumkaran been alert, the wrongs that Ravan committed might not have been done.
Today T&T is in social and political chaos because there are too many Kumkarans who were fast asleep when the Ravans were running havoc. More so, when the election bells were rung they were always ready to fight for the PNM. So many are eating and drinking ravenously from the State kitchen that they have turned a blind eye to the wrongs of this government.
The steelpan, calypso and now Ramleela fraternity have assembled in the court of Rowley to receive a few dollars. Some enjoy invitations to State dinners and appointments to State enterprises, thus making them immune to social injustices.
I have always thought that with the demise of Winston Mahabir from the PNM, that Indo-Trinidadians would have gained a clearer vison of the beast called the PNM. The reality is that the tamasic-kumkaranic nature in man lives on. Imagine that you can land a cushy job in a state enterprise by just displaying a party card! Or your low-achieving sons and daughters can be placed in a pretige secondary school without attaining the entrance mark!
The Kumkarans continue to enjoy the comforts and luxurious life-style. They continue to feel immune and impervious to the assault on our ethnic and plural diversity. And like I said before, they have landed well-paying jobs in State enterprises and monopolistic private enterprises with their “Mary had a little lamb” education. And you cannot blame them. These Kumkarans continue to mismanage but their association with Ravana is intact and when the election bell is rung, just like Kumkaran, they are going to walk to the ballot boxes and vote the balishier.