By Laurel V Williams
Tuesday, May 31 2016 – newsday.co.tt
That was the “message” Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Satnarayan ‘Sat’ Maharaj sent publicly for Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris in light of the controversial debate on child marriage and the law.
“Mr Archbishop and all you other people, look at the mote in your own eye before you point out the mote in the eye of the Hindu.
If I have to leave one message, the message is ‘Allyuh go to hell’. This is a business of the Hindu community and the State. If we require a change in the law, we will invite the government to speak to us and change the law,” Maharaj said.
He was delivering the feature address yesterday at the Indian Arrival Day celebrations held at Parvati Girls’ Hindu College, Debe.
He supports child marriage while Roman Catholic Archbishop Harris views it as “legalised statutory rape”.
Referring to the controversial debate as a “spectacle in Trinidad in recent years”, Maharaj accused the RC officials of “corrupting more young children more than anyone else”. Describing himself as a aging warrior, Maharaj charged that RC has the most corrupt church in the whole world and called for Harris to mind his own “ damn” business.
“The Pope in Rome had to pay tens of millions of dollars for corrupting the children of the world.
And here we have a Catholic Archbishop telling us how to get our girls married. ‘Mind yuh own damn business. Archbishop, mind yuh own damn business,” Maharaj repeated. For the third time he called on the Archbishop to mind his own ‘damn’ business saying that children are having babies for old men in TT.
“No body locking up the ole men.
Mt Hope reported last year that 74 teens between the ages of 12 and 14 made child and they eh know who the father is. But you have an archbishop who want to tell us how to get married, how to make children.
I say Archbishop, Mind yuh own damn business.” Not one “Hindu girl” under the age of 18 has gotten married within the last two years, Maharaj charged.
Maharaj also threw jabs at ambassadors who are in the country, accusing them too of telling Hindus at what age devotees should get married.
Maharaj charged: “They want to tell us when to get married, how to get married, how to dance, how to make love. They might even give you a license when to make love to your wife, how many days a week, or how many days a month. As soon as you give them an opening, they would want to enter your bedroom.” Although he did not referr to any of the ambassadors my name, he noted that in each State in the US there is a different age for marriages.
A person as young as 13 years old can be married in the US. US Ambassador to this country John Estrada had weighed in on the debate of child marriage and was reported as saying: “Let the child be a child,” Maharaj said: “Mr Ambassador, cure your own evil before you come to tell us how to cure our evil.
We don’t instruct anybody at what age your daughter should make ah child. We don’t tell them that. We leave that up to the parents, parental control.” The Hindu leader added that three-quarter of the problems in the nation’s schools is not delinquent children but rather delinquent parents. Parents, he said, have lost control or not interested in their children.
He emphasised that the issue of child marriage is the business of the “Hindu community and the State”. Maharaj explained: “ It is only there as a safety net. When you are young , you take chances and if a girl at the age of 14 took a chance and get pregnant, the two sets of parents would come together and they will give support. They will send them back to school and they will take charge of the child.
This is the culture of our community.
So don’t discuss our business out there.” He suggested that both the State and media should discuss the business of the Hindus with the Hindus.
Maharaj reminsced that from 1845 to 1945, Hindus got married with parental consent and the the entire village attended the ceremony.
But that marriage was not recognised by the State and it was only in 1945 that the Hindu Marriage law was passed. To Hindus, a marriage is not a secular event, it is a religious event, he noted.
Maharaj further criticised Canadian missionaries accusing the foreigners of viewing Hindus as animals as well as for trying to convert them to Christianity.
In a fiery mode, Maharaj said “English education had its price.
The price was conversion. They did not leave Canada and came here to educate us out of the goodness of their hearts. They regarded us as animals to be converted into Christianity.” Speaking about the arrival of East Indians to this country , 171 years ago, he said they came with their jahaji bundles which contained, pieces of scriptures, plants and seeds. Today the products of these jahaji bundles overwhelmed TT and Maharaj estimates that about 40 percent of all the trees and plants in Trinidad were from the bundles.