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posted 9 Nov 2015, 18:47 by Gerry Kangalee
Fellow Hindus, the Nagar has collapsed into another commercial opportunity for all sorts of products: from household items, to insurance, clothes, electronics, knick-knacks etc - a sort of variety-mart plus food. The Cultural/ religious significance of the Divali event at the Nagar has retreated over the years, giving way in 2015 to businesses and yet another opportunity for materialism. There is apparently no escape!

The supposed "enlightenment" symbolism of Divali is overshadowed by the "darkness" of attachment, the desire for worldly things, even junk things you do not really need, plastic throw-away toys, overly priced and useless in a few days. Corporate logos compete with Murtis to, in the end, give us a "Nagar Murti-Mall". In this sense the Nagar is an abject failure which speaks to a wider societal-cultural failure. If it were not for the Hari-Krishnas, there would be little left of the Nagar's original intention.

Trini mainstream Hindus, however, appear unfazed by the collapse of the Nagar into materialism, rationalizing that it needs to "pay for itself". They are happy enough to show up in their shalwars and kurtas, buy a trinket, eat something and go home.

Outside the Nagar walls, year round, money rules power - rules the logic of decision makers. This "power" then trumps truth, knowledge, wisdom, justice, equity - being able to "see the light" - back to "capitalism" again, the system of "profit over people". The failure of the Nagar to insulate itself from this 'system' demonstrates proof of a failed Hindu politics and a failed society.

The philosophical underpinnings of Hinduism sought to provide humanity with one of the richest, most thorough and deeply profound explanations for why "power" should always submit to "wisdom" and why the reverse would lead to materialism, attachment, suffering and misery (capitalism again).

On the political front Hindu ex-PM and current political leader of the UNC recently claimed to supporters that her bid to be re-elected as political leader was indeed a "Holy War". Keeping a straight face we see Kamla desperately mixing-up politics with religion as she has little pure political capital left. She is hoping that her Hindu supporters are unwise enough to associate her remaining in power with some sort of religious (read righteous) struggle (of light-over-darkness, of good-over- evil).

Trini Hindu leaders are comfortable mixing their religion with both politics and commerce. This vulgarity is evidence of a degradation in cultural self-awareness and self-understanding, and an absolute loss of the appreciation of the mighty philosophical architecture that gave rise to Hinduism and its ability to discern reality, purpose and the meaning of existence.

But these losses no longer appear to matter to mainstream Hindus. They are prepared to endure such vulgarity, prepared to accept a political party which is nothing else but a huge apparatus-opportunity for corruption and cronyism. Bag men, special interests, business class, financiers, sex, drink, drugs, lies, murder, intrigue, scandal, fast cars and near-billionaire politicians is what has become of the UNC - all half-heartedly disguised as a "partnership" of the people. And even with a fallen veil, Hindus prefer this vulgarity to the PNM. As a consequence, we are now back where we started. Unsurprisingly, the UNC is looking for a leader in its failed cabinet.

This Divali, I hope Hindus everywhere renounce all that is making us unwell and come back out next year seeking to reclaim and value that cornerstone, that kernel of wisdom that teaches that in order for Order to prevail, for prosperity and peace to take over the land, wisdom must guide leaders not power, for power can be bought but wisdom never! Shubh Divali!