In Trinidad and Tobago, anti-Hindu bullies are at work to discredit and label Hindu society racist and unpatriotic. The most recent is Bernard Yawching who wrote a book -Hidden Agenda of Race Relations in Trinidad and Tobago branding the UNC and the Maha Sabha racist institutions.
Only two weeks ago an editorial of the Newsday labeled the BJP government fascist charging that it denies minorities their constitutional rights and freedoms. But this was all done to give justification for the PNM’s failure to secure vaccines from India.
Back to Bernard Yawching! He is certainly a colonial experiment gone wrong. Bernard Yawchinng! What is his identity! He certainly has none-what part of him is Bernard and what part of him is Yawching? If Bernard Yawching wants to really experience racism, he should visit China to claim his Chinese heritage, or the USA for his Bernard part- not hiding in the Bronx but to go out into the corporate world and experience success.
The Hindu community has come a long way and thanks to their hard work. Though denied education during the colonial era but finally granted permission in 1952, the PNM stopped it when it came into power in 1956. It was only under the NAR that Hindu schools were first modernized-Mohess Road and Tunapuna Hindu- and the El Dorado North Hindu School was opened.
It was only when the UNC came to power in 1995 and the Concordat was revisited to expand school places that the Maha Sabha benefitted from four secondary schools -Vishnu Boys, Saraswati Girls, Parbatie Girls, and Siva Boys. Luckily, secondary schools were built in Hindu catchment areas such as Waterloo, Tableland and Sangre Grande where the SWAHA College was built. But the worst was the deliberate effort of the PNM to sabotage the opening of Biche High school by making false claims of the risk of gas leaks. This denial of our youths the right to an education is a sad episode in the history of education in this country. Luckily, the UNC return to power in 2010 and the school was opened.
But the discrimination continued under the Keith Rowley’s administration. The newly constructed Ramai Trace and the Reform Hindu remain shut; so are The Couva Children’s Hospital and the Debe Campus. This spiteful government can find the money for Carnival, paintings and repairs to historical buildings like the White House and President House, Brian Lara Stadium and other public facilities none for Hindu schools.
The story of Phagwa is a lesson to help us to stand up against tyrants and dictators. As we reminisce on Phagwa (with COVID 19 we cannot celebrate), let us not lose sight of the significance of this colorful festival. It is the triumph of a seven-year-old boy named Prahalad over a tyrannical ruler who had declared himself God.
One day a potter, after lighting her kiln to bake her earthenwares, realized that her kittens were asleep amongst the pots. Desperate to save the kittens, the potter was chanting “Dear Vishnu Bhagwan, please save my kittens.” Prahalad came upon the lady and enquired about her problem, and asked: “Who is Vishnu Bhagavan? Why are you worshipping him?”
The old lady responded: “Son, he is God and takes care of the world.”
“But my father, the king, is God,” Prahalad retorted.
“No son, only Vishnu is God.”
After the fire came to an end and the kiln was cooled, the lady searched desperately for the kittens and found them alive and safe. “Jai Bhagavan Vishnu!” the old lady thundered.
Returning to the palace and now seated on his fathers’ lap, Prahalad asked the king: “Pa, tell me…who is Bhagwan Vishnu?” The king was dumbstruck and immediately summoned the queen, and instructed her to “get this rubbish out of your son’s head.”
The queen’s arguments did not convince young Prahalad. The high priest -the Pope- tried to convince Prahalad that his father was the supreme God. After all attempts had failed to convince Prahalad, the king decided that this son would have to be destroyed. But each attempt failed to the consternation of the king. Finally, he decided to get the job done himself. He took out his sword, anger raging in his heart, his eyes red with rage, he looked at a pillar and asked: “Is your God present in this pillar?” and struck it a heavy blow. Lo and behold! Out of the pillar came forth Narsingh (man-lion) that destroyed the king. Young Prahalad went on to smear his body with the blood of the tyrant.
As Hindus, we have been fighting tyrants for millenniums and will not be demoralized by a few cocks and pullets strutting about the place. They will soon find themselves steaming in curry masala.