We need to brighten our lives not by having more money and recognition but by respecting one another.
Gossip is defined as ‘casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.’ Gossip is present in all cultures and a major pass time in Trinidad and Tobago.
It is not uncommon for individuals to chat online for hours on the private life and idiosyncrasies of others. Many will be shocked to discover that people know more about them than they know about themselves
These gossipers are generally idle and not focused. Their private life is a failure as they waste their precious time minding other people’s business.
This weakness for gossip has infiltrated the family. The extended family is imploding even though the members are not under the same roof. They remain envious of one another. Their perception of an ‘enemy’ is not the State institutions that continue to fail them or the lethargic public service or hospital but generally a brother or a sister-in-law. Whatever difficulties they experience in life are usually blamed on someone in the extended family.
Discrimination against Hindus is rampant in our society. The recent removal of 300 scholarships to be replaced by 400 bursaries is the latest example. But, instead of the Hindu addresses this issue he camouflages his cowardice and insecurities with a charade of success. He parks the latest model vehicle in his garage and changes his windows. He brags about his travels to exotic destinations. The last thing he wants to do is to address injustice. Living in a 1.4 million-dollar mansion means the end of worries.
The legitimizing of alcohol in the homes is another opportunity for gossip. It is an escape valve to mask their helplessness. Not bold to address blatant discrimination by the state, the Indian masks his pain with a display of bravado like a pothound threatening to bite in the safety of his compound but not venturing into the public space.
Usually, they associate with a cosmopolitan crowd, endorse creole and western prejudices, and dare not utter a word of protest. His wife and children are exposed to a culture of ‘all of us are one family” but excludes all that is Indian and Hindu. He endorses the false propaganda that there is no Mother India or Mother Africa and dare not critique Dr. Eric Williams or the politics of the PNM.
Most disastrously, he asserts his individual rights and always quick to distance himself from the Maha Sabha and UNC and endorses the rhetoric that the UNC is corrupt and cannot be trusted to run this country. His individual identity and rights is emphasized as he is too embarrassed to have a collective social identity as a Hindu or Indian, never mind his friends are proud Catholics or Presbyterians or Muslims.
The Hindu Indian has run himself out. It is his foolishness that has him walking back to the pavilion. He is the maker of his own destiny and he needs to assert his rights and freedoms and not go ahead with others setting his agenda. Gossip must be replaced with an intelligence cap that generates meaningful conversations. Social issues must be confronted and not ignored. He definitely can learn from Sadguru Vasudeva who not only talks on social media but also engages in social and cultural rehabilitation programs that impact millions. We are too intelligent a people to indulge in gossip about people and their idiosyncrasies. Let our focus be directed at spiritual and cultural regeneration of the community so that our lives would reflect all round success. And that success can only be experienced when we learn the true meaning of the words self-respect-pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.