I put out this question-What strategy can be employed for Hindus to rise above survival mode? – and got the following answer from Dr. Kirk Meighoo: “There needs to be a Hindu project that will capture the imagination and participation -a building, a complex, a commemoration, etc. as Naipaul said, people, don’t get together just to get together. They get together to do something.”
Sad Guru Jaggi Vasudev has said that for anything to catch on in India it must be a movement. One can only look at the politics of the BJP to understand the mass awakening and mobilization of the people by the building of huge statues- Netaji Subhash Bose, Sardar Patel Archarya Ramanuja etc, and buildings including the Kashi Project, the Rama Mandir, the Central Vista that accommodates Parliament, the offices of the President and Parliament, etc.
People need to think and act big. What we are experiencing in T&T is a tendency to talk ‘pusur pusur’-hush tones – and stay in our respective corners. When Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago stand together, they always win. For example, Hindus have been dragging their feet on the government’s ban on open-air cremation until recently when they said ‘enough is enough.’ With the Maha Sabha finally putting down its feet, the campaign of Anand Ramlogan and his client in the courts, and the general outrage of the public in social media, all combined to force the Attorney General to lift the ban.
A few years aback hundred gathered at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair to protest the staging of a skit at a PNM Family Day with a woman dressed in a yellow sari being disrobed by men dressed as gorillas. Pandit Satyanand Maharaj sounded the alarm, calling for an apology from the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister ignored the appeal but after hundreds camped at his office, he had no choice but to apologize.
Several social issues are crippling the community-alcoholism, poverty, low income of farmers, crime, etc, and nothing is being done to resolve them. The majority of our social and community leaders are happy to stand aloof and apart rather than coming together. It is akin to each farting in silence, causing a small stink rather than farting together to create thunder!
The failure of the government to open the newly constructed Reform Hindu and the Ramai Hindu schools in south Trinidad is because of this inability to create a big bang. The protest for the opening of these schools was kept small – only a few mothers and their children. Had the Maha Sabha formed a special committee to mobilize support from across the country, utilizing the media and all forms of communications, the Rowley government would have had no choice but to open these schools. But for reasons well-known to the leadership of the Maha Sabha, these ‘protests’ have really been cries and lamentations, a kind of pleading and petitioning rather than being disruptive to bring national focus on this grave injustice against children of the nation.
This Tarzan, Jane, and Chetah leadership style need to be disturbed. Swinging on a vine in a jungle with a howl rather than a proper organization and communication apparatus is a good fantasy for cinema but not to tackle real social issues. Too many once-upon-a-time leaders have left no legacy. The minions they have cultivated around them have all run off looking after expanding their nests and caring for their little ones and investing their resources in acquiring a good ride… it is a new identity today!
Who is there to ask the people to apply brake? Look around and you would see that chronic diseases are ravaging the community. Are we applying the dharma and the yoga that we so boastfully speak about to our daily lives? I am not at all advocating that people should not get sick. I strongly believe that sickness is part of life. However, being sick should not mean being down and out. I know several people who live normal lives with high blood pressure and diabetes by regulating their diets and engaging in daily exercise.
How do I bring these social issues to the attention of the nation? It cannot be by writing articles in a blog or talking in the radio only? It must be done in a massive scale- rallies, concerts, walk-a-thons, mike-o-rama, tassarama, a marrying of religious and political leaders, all hands-on deck, creating a platform for all…no exclusion and one man-up-ship, the bridging of gaps and burying of hatchets…
If we cannot come together to resolve pressing issues it would only mean that death is around the corner. A healthy organism must respond to threats to stay alive, multiply and flourish. Are we ably responding to threats to our existence?