Hinduism is not a corporation but a cooperation or the coming together of people to care for one another. But cooperation appears to be a far cry for Hindu mandirs and their leaders. Regrettably, I have noted that Hindu leaders are bent on projecting themselves and their organizations without bothering to look out for the welfare of the entire community. I recalled the formation of NCHO-National Council of Hindu Organization in the 1980s to bring Hindu leaders together and it was a failure.
If the world is to be bountiful, it would be necessary to encourage free trade and shun protectionism. During the colonial era when the Europeans had their colonies in the New World, the concept of mercantilism enforced trade between the mother country and her colonies. The British passed the Navigation Act and was ruthless in enforcing it. The consequences were that the colonies across the new world suffered. The prices of goods remained exorbitant and in short supply and the entire region remained underdeveloped.
The prosperous countries of the world today are those that encourage free enterprise. All market barriers are lowered if not removed altogether. Today the world is more prosperous than before and more of humanity enjoy a higher standard of living than their brethren in the days gone by.
Hindu mandirs can enjoy greater prosperity if their leaders can reach out to other mandirs. Not many years ago a Hanuman Yatra was held in central Trinidad, and it was a grand success. The Yatra visited several mandirs and culminated at the Hanuman Murti in Carapichaima. Why has this project not been repeated? A Hindu conference was held at the Divali Nagar and again I would say it was a big success. Unfortunately, a follow-up to that conference is yet to be staged and why? I think that it is the curse of the Hindu leaders who have refused to look beyond the four walls of their mandirs.
Can someone point out to me two mandirs that cooperate with each other? I don’t know of any, but I do know of new mandirs constructed by break away factions because of failure of leaders to curb their egos. This failure is not confined to Trinidad but is also found in Guyana and has now migrated to New York where large Hindu population from the Caribbean diaspora now resides.
What has become of the National Federation of Hindu Organization? This organization existed in central Trinidad until recently but has now gone dormant. The concept of a federation is ideal for mandirs as the identity of the individual mandir is not lost when there is a joint project.
I am not at all saying that Hindus are lazy. They have a series of activities including weekly satsanghs, yagya, Ramleela and the list goes on and on. My concern is the failure of Hindu leadership to come together to work on common projects to help the entire Hindu community. This remains a challenge and it would take the coming of an avatar to bring about such unity. Not even Forbes Burnham was successful in bringing Guyanese Hindus together. It is one of the biggest stains on the legacy of Burnham! I was hoping that the malicious vandals that are desecrating our murtis would bring together Hindus in Trinidad, but they also are failing. Is Hindu unity only a dream for the Hindu community?