Sat had a long life with a list of tall achievements. Definitely, he was the strongest Hindu leader in the western hemisphere for the past three decades and won the respect, love and admiration of Hindus globally.
Sat inherited the Maha Sabha from Bhadase Sagan Maraj and expanded it by leaps and bounds. Sat had an open door policy that welcomed all who were willing to work with the Maha Sabha. He embraced the Jawaan Sangh and absorbed its chowtal and Phagwa venues. When Ramdath Jagessar and his Indian Arrival Day Committee approached him with the idea to commemorate the anniversary of Indian Arrival Day, Sat embraced them.
Never afraid to fight the State when it was unjust to the community, Sat challenged the State’s right to have the Trinity Cross, a Christian symbol, as the highest national award. Strategically, Sat worked with the Muslim community to challenge the State through the court and was successful in removing the Trinity Cross and replacing it with the Order of Trinity.
Fearless, Sat fought the Patrick Manning government when its application for a radio license was denied. He did not go to the Prime Minister pleading his case but instructed his legal team headed by Anand Ramlogan to challenge the ruling in court. The matter reached the Privy Council which ruled that the State discriminated against the Maha Sabha.
Sat was a Maharaj -great king-in the truest sense. He never let petty differences of the past cloud his thinking and was always ready to work with all for a better Trinidad and Tobago. His conversation was always on the welfare of the Hindu community.
In the 1990s Sat embraced a group of writers headed by Devant Maharaj and pledged his fullest support for the work that they were doing. This was a bold step because few leaders and individuals want to associate with individuals that challenge the status quo!
The organization structure that Sat Maharaj inherited was not tampered with. The brainchild of Simbhoonath Calpildeo, this organization structure-Pandits’ Parishad (Sabha) and an Executive (Samhiti)- is taken from the ancient Hindu kingdoms that ruled over India and successfully expanded their reign throughout south-east Asia. The Samhiti, headed by the king is concerned about law and order, defense, taxation, etc while the Sabha set the moral tone, that is, ensure that dharma prevails. Even the king would bow his head to dharma and accepts that when he breaches dharma, dharma would punish him.
Secular power and religious power are integrated into the ideology of the Maha Sabha. So it was well within dharma and the constitution of the land for Sat Maharaj to articulate on behalf of the Hindu community the removal of certain wrongs and injustices. Such action is again being witnessed in the Maha Sabha’s current challenge in court to the Sedition Act. This challenge came on the heel of police raiding the Maha Sabha’s Jagriti Radio and TV station without presenting a warrant. Again, in true Sat Maharaj style, Sat challenged the State, arguing that the Sedition Act is unjust and a breach of citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of expression.
Sat Maharaj had a very liberal mind and did not tinker with a structure that was producing results. He never micro-managed the Pandits’ Parishad or the Education Board but gave them their space and resources to work. His modus operandi were always to build, to expand; not to destroy and contract.
He was fortunate to be born and lived among the great Hindu leaders- Bhadase Sagan Maharaj, Simbhoonath Capildeo, Ram Suratsingh, Chanka Maharaj, Jang Bahadoorsingh, Rampersad Bolai, S. B Dolsingh, men who rallied their energies and resources for a stronger community. When Sat was handed the baton of leadership, he did not look back, but gave his best.
Sat has demonstrated that NGOs can be efficiently managed and result oriented. With no idle boast and academic posturing, Sat has lifted the status of the Maha Sabha to the number one NGO in the country. And this has only come to past because of his single minded devotion to his task-the improvement of the Hindu community.