Saturday 10th June, 2006



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Do Christians have equal rights in T&T?

By Bishop Dr Ramlal Balgobin

SAT MAHARAJ, the secretary-general of the Maha Sabha, fresh from success in his $10,000 media blitz against a servant of God whose sole intent was to help sick souls and sick bodies get healed, has now added the UNC to his bandwagon, preaching discrimination against anything Christian in this country. Just mention the word “Christian” or “cross” and Sat and his followers cry “discrimination!”

It now seems popular to cleanse the country of anything Christian. This is the plain truth and nothing but the truth. No one seems to remember that it was Christians who first brought education for the poor children of this country.

The Catholics (St Mary’s, Fatima, Presentation, St Benedict’s, 29 secondary schools and 120 primary school), Anglicans (QRC), Presbyterians (Naparima), Methodists, Moravians—to name a few—were the first to introduce education so children of slaves and indentured labourers, whose parents were too poor to pay for private tuition, could learn to read and write and use their education as the means to facilitate their upward mobility in this society.

Hindu schools came afterwards in the 1950s. Were it not for the Presbyterians I would not be in a position to be writing this today. I am a product of Reform CM School and Naparima College.

My parents were from the Vaisya caste in the Hindu structure which meant that we were relegated to “cattle rearing and agriculture and honest exchange of merchandise as our inborn, natural duty.

The service of the top three classes is the natural order of the Sudras or labouring class” (Bhagavad Gita 18; 41-45). According to this, I should be “rearing cattle and working in agriculture.”

The Brahmins and Shatriyas had the means to maintain their status at the top of the ladder because of our toil and sweat. Not to mention the untold suffering of the “untouchables” and the “sudras.”

The third and fourth castes of Hindu societies are ordained by the Hindu gods to perform all the functions necessary to maintain the good living of the Brahmins and the Shatriyas.

It is natural for the Maharajs to seek to maintain their stranglehold of the masses and thus maintain their status in society, just as it is quite natural for the masses to seek a better life for themselves and their children.

A look at the 213 indentured labourers who came from India aboard the Fatel Rozack in 1845 does not show the name of a single Maharaj! How ironic that now, after the blood, toil and sweat of our ancestors, a Maharaj claims to represent us!

In my opinion, Sat Maharaj does not represent the majority of the Hindus but only himself and the monied, privileged few. He should be the last person to truthfully claim to represent the children and grandchildren of indentured labourers because he is not one of us. He does not and cannot represent us—in truth.

I am surprised at Kamla Persad-Bissessar—and disappointed—and Winston Dookeran and all those who are the recipients of Christian charity and education. Everyone who benefited from education provided by Christians owe a debt of gratitude, for had it not been for Christians and the cross, many of us, including myself, would still be stuck at the bottom, “performing our God-given duties to work and support the Maharajs” (Bhagavad Gita 18; 45-48).

Maharaj wants to take us back to all the ills and evils of the caste system in India. This system is largely responsible for the plight of the Harjans, the untouchables, the illiterate, the oppressive poverty of the masses and the lack of social mobility in the society which leads to hopelessness and the law of karma and fate.

Who wants this for T&T? Only Sat Maharaj and his converts.

Looking into the crystal ball, the UNC has alienated its Christian-educated base and has lost its way. “Without a vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). “If the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14). “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

I am calling for all true descendants of indentured labourers to arise and shake off the shackles of the Maharajs, to claim their true Hindu/Christian heritage and strike a blow once and for all for their liberation and the end to all forms of discrimination, including against Christianity and the cross upon which Jesus died for the sins of the whole world that all who believe in him would be set free from sin, oppression and bondage.

Long live freedom, liberation and true Christianity in T&T.




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