I was happy to hear the Secretary General of the Maha Sabha announcing that the newly constructed Arima Hindu School at its new location will be officially handed over the following week to the Maha Sabha by the Minister of Education. He went on to add that the next step is the three Rs – Rousillac Hindu, Ramai Trace Hindu and Reform Hindu. These schools have been inaccessible to students and teaching had to be held in very cramped surroundings. It is clear to me that the Maha Sabha is fighting its battles not with cutlasses and guns but with advocacy. I sincerely appeal to other leaders to speak out on social issues affecting the people.
Throughout the south where large concentration of Hindus reside the roads are slipping away, and many houses are being destroyed. This problem is most pronounced in areas such as Garth Road, Naparima Mayaro Road, Realize Road, Mandingo Road, St Croix Road, and the list goes on and on. Why is there so limited awareness of these disasters that are affecting so many communities?
Our farmers are under stress. In addition to the lack of access roads and high cost of inputs, farmers must battle with praedial larceny, floods, and drought. Again, there are few people advocating on behalf of the farming community. Would any of our famers say, “I am proud to be a farmer and I would like my children to continue my legacy?”
Sat Maharaj has said that Trinidad is Ramayana country and some of us have taken that literally. They have imbibed the Ramayana like a drug, thus numbing their spirits and giving them limited goals to aspire toward. Nevertheless, one must feel proud of the work that the Chinmaya Mission is doing in the field of education and in particular the recent launch of its paperless Tulsidas Campus at Mc Bean, the first of its kind in the Caribbean. This organization has certainly put the Ramayana into action.
I believe the Ramayana should inspire greatness. I would like to think that Shiv Chanderpaul, the former West Indian cricketer, embodies the teachings of the Ramayana when he excelled in the cricket field. Unfortunately, the propagators of Ramayana do not inspire such excellence but remain steeped in parroting of chowpais and doha routinely night after night, not forgetting the few who have grown into habitual liars.
Is it too much for some of us to adopt one needy Hindu and help him to stand on his feet. I am proud to say that I brought a friend from a rural community in the south at my home who was seeking a job in a security firm. By providing him with a shelter, food, and a few dollars for emergency he completed his training in north Trinidad, and he is currently employed in a permanent job.
If we believe that reaching out to a stranger is too much, can we look at a poor cousin who may be in need. Simbhoonath Capildeo did it for his young relatives when he brought his nephews and nieces from the corners of the country to his home in St James, Port of Spain to access education in Port of Spain. Had that charity not been done, would Sir V. S. Naipaul had gone on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
I am amazed at the progress young people in a few families have made in the field of education in my village. In most cases these students had the wherewithal to study and excel. However, I am advocating for those who are brilliant and need a gentle push. Can someone with an MBA come up with a proposal to raise funds to provide bursaries to assist with financing the education of less fortunate students?
I know of children in a family who have passed for full five-year places in secondary schools and had to drop out because of lack of basic resources. If there were organized programs to assist these children, they would have been professionals today, possibly medical doctors saving lives.
Can we rule out that some of us like to have a sea of poor people around us so that relatively we can appear wealthy? Or do we subscribe to the culture of one-eye man leadership in blind man country? Or is it a feel-good experience to see our fellow men suffering while we wallow in luxury?