The Ramayan is not only a text to read but to inspire us to action. Sadly, too many of our leaders continue to narrate the story of Sri Ram while not batting an eyelid to solve social issues affecting the people. One such issue is the lack of equity in the distribution of funds by government for culture. Throughout the history of this country the State has always been biased toward creole culture while marginalizing Indian culture and no government has ever taken corrective remedies to bring an end to this naked injustice.
What I find most irritable is the singing of the glories of Sri Ram in a sedative and effeminate tone of voice by some exponents of the Ramayan. The Ramayan is an epic, a story of heroic men and women engaging in battles with evil forces that threaten their very existence. To ignore those threat and go about life is an insult to Sri Ram whose singular message is to stand up for justice.
One strategy to fight injustice is uniting the people. From Chanakya’s struggles to uproot the Greeks from India in 300 BCE to the struggle to defeat the PNM the strategy was always the formation of broad alliances.
Sri Ram formed an alliance with Sugrim, the vanaar king to search and find Seeta and bring about the final destruction of the evil Ravan. Had Ram not formed that alliance with Sugrim and decided to go alone, he would have failed. His life would have been ruined and erased from history.
Even in the heavens the gods must unite to defeat the evil forces that threaten their existence. When Mahishasura was threatening the heavens, the gods merged their energies to form Goddess Durga who finally brought an end to this evil.
I admire those leaders who have performed heroic act that brought benefits to the masses. Doon Pandit and Bhadase Sagan Maharaj were two tall leaders that united the Hindus in Trinidad to form the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha that went on to build schools to educate young Hindu boys and girls from a community that had a 60% illiteracy rate.
Basdeo Panday’s political career was always focused on uniting the people. In 1986 the formation of the NAR saw the defeat of the PNM for the first time in thirty years. In 1995 Panday united with the people of Tobago to again defeat the PNM. In 2010 K amla Persad-Bissessar joined hands with forces that successfully defeated the PNM.
The opposite is also true. When there is bickering and petty quarrels, the forces of good are always defeated. This happens when the leadership placed their egos above the people’s welfare. If today the PNM continues to mismanage this country, it is because our leaders have big egos and are unwilling to surrender their personal powers to form a united front to defeat Keith Rowley.
I admire Dr. Roodal Moonilal who continues to take the fight the PNM in the Parliament. His ability to debate is par excellence. I hope that other youths would be prepared to so prepare themselves to defend and save our democracy. I must also congratulate Anand Ramlogan for fighting the battles in the courts. He has certainly given the people the confidence to use judicial review to fight arbitrary decisions by the executive.
Our society don’t need more exponents of the Ramayan but individuals who can fight the dark forces of floods, ill-health, poverty, illiteracy, and inflation. It is time for those leaders to take a single social issue and work toward resolving it.