Trinidad and Tobago’s secularism is not fully rooted nor appreciated in the minds and consciences of the national populace. Put politics aside, we now focus on the religious diversity and multiculturalism of our 1.4 million human species.
On March 30, the nation state of TT will celebrate the Spiritual Baptists’ Day of freedom. And despite several requests had been made over the several decades in the days of colonial management, and several decades after Independence, the Basdeo Panday Administration saw it fitting to declare March 30 annually as the Baptists’ Liberation Day; and now it is celebrated with great fanfare throughout the length and breadth of this nation.
The Baptists’ were one of the founding fathers of our nation, and whilst they were not aware, probably fully, they injected themselves in the march for Independence for our country, and yet no special significance was being paid to them. Every year, as March 30 heralds itself, we hear Government pronouncements of some sort of gifts or plans, but as the day passes all plans and program were stacked on the shelves only to be renewed or fitted for the next year.
Our diversity knows no boundaries. This week the Christian community observes Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Then from April 12, Hindus begin a nine-day observance of Nau Raatri in honour of the Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Sarsawati. Hindus cherish this period as they pay obeisance to these pivotal Hindu goddesses.
And in the midst of this religious period, Hindus also celebrate Holi or Phagwa, the festival of colour.
The total ramifications or meanings of these religious observances are well documented and practiced.
Each of these observances generate messages and thoughts aimed at taking the human being to a higher level of spirituality. This nation must not scorn any of these observances for each of them is here to lead us to become a people stained with serious or deep human values to enrichen our purpose on Planet Earth.
With Covid 19 hovering in the airways, and yet no definitive measure to bring to closure, the people of this country, as indeed the rest of the world, now have this insurmountable task to begin a new trek to save ourselves from any catastrophe that could probably wipe out mankind from this planet. The time is now…not tomorrow, as there may not be a one.
According to religious leaders, thinkers and philosophers, doomsday is now within our fold. We have seen evidence of this from all quarters of the world—climate change, weather changes, diseases like Covid 19, world disunity at all levels as the United Nations, mankind’s hope at one time, has now grown obsolete as it fails to resolve outstanding issues among nations.
Probably, a new statement on culture and religion would make a difference as politics is now thrown in the waste baskets of history. We have not learnt the lessons of history over the many, many millennia. Let us give ourselves a second try in our quest to sustain life on this planet.