By Stephen Kangal
June 19, 2012
I wish to congratulate the Hindu Prachar Kendra for using their Indian Arrival Day function to remember and re-kindle the outstanding and unparalleled legacy bequeathed to posterity in T&T by the late Bhadase Sagan Maraj — trade unionist, religious leader, parliamentarian, land-owner and philanthropist par excellence.
The Kendra filled a huge void in our socio-political history by drawing national attention to the unmatched and colossal humanitarian response that a simple man such as Bhadase made in improving the lives of the rurally dispossessed, illiterate and docile.
Bhadase was a seventh-standard Caroni villager who stood up to the intellectual and pedagogic Oxonian credentials and stature of the late Dr. Eric Wiiliams, trounced him in the 1958 Federal Elections and sent him “bazodee” to the extent that the latter had to resort to the introduction of the infamous voting machines to secure his political space.
In the socio-political annals of T&T Bhadase remains the most unsung, unheralded, unappreciated and devoted nation-builder using his own resources and resourcefulness to build schools and mandirs to complement the work of the Canadian Mission in educating and training the rurally-isolated and neglected Indo-T&T communities to achieve social and economic mobility. No single Trinbagonian has done more to emancipate the Indian community from illiteracy, political dormancy, exploitation in the sugar industry, urban discrimination and the ravages of the wrought by the tentacles of post-1956 ethno-nationalism.
Even after his demise the large acreages of land that he acquired in Pasea South, Morang, Enterprise, Maingot Road and elsewhere became home to thousands of poor squatters who today are able to build comfortable homes on these lands and earn the opportunity to be classified among the house–owning landed gentry.
The cow-sheds that Dr Williams called his Hindu Schools have now emerged as high performing production lines for churning out among the best and the brightest students in T&T. The stone that the builders rejected has now been plastered into the corner. The first Government Primary School that Dr. Eric Williams constructed in the rural community is Munroe Road Government School, based on the political intervention of my late friend Councillor Nohar of the area.
I endorse the resolution adopted (Text attached) at the function that having regard to the stewardship of Bhadase, his stellar national achievements in education, trade unionism, religion, culture, wrestling, entrepreneurship and politics that resulted in the accelerated development of the human resource potential of our people during the crucial period of the 50’s and 60’s in T&T. The PPG should look into the feasibility of erecting an appropriate monument to celebrate and consecrate the legacy of the late Bhadase Sagan Maraj for the edification of posterity and as a symbol of our national gratitude to a great, noble, selfless and humble nation-builder.
Adopted by the Hindu Prachar Kendra’s
Indian Arrival Day Celebrations
Taking into account the unparalleled, unmatched and unique legacy bequeathed to T&T by the late nation-builder, Bhadase Sagan Maraj
Appreciative of his critical role in uniting several Hindu organizations to form the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) as a cohesive unit to interface with the Government of the day on undertaking several Hindu-related initiatives
Grateful for the aggressive schools building and expansion programme that he undertook post-1953 that contributed to the emancipation, social and economic mobility and literacy among citizens in rural communities
Mindful of his sterling contribution to national development and human welfare in the fields of trade unionism, politics, culture and entrepreneurship
Buoyed up his private passion for large-scale land acquisition and ownership across the country that now provides shelter for under-privileged citizens and prime sites for schools including the Lakshmi Girls High School in St. Augustine
Participants at The Memorial Festival organized by the Hindu Prachar Kendra to celebrate Indian Arrival Day 2012 decided by a unanimous show of hands as follows:
a) Calls upon The Government of the People’s Partnership led by Shrimatee Kamla Persad-Bissessar to establish an ad hoc committee to review the outstanding, unheralded and unsung contribution to national development posthumously made by the late Bhadase Sangan Maraj;
b) To erect a suitable memorial and monument in his honour to bear testimony to this nation-builder’s selfless, devoted and highly patriotic and meritorious service to T&T for the benefit of posterity, and to show our collective gratitude belatedly to compensate for 40 years of indifference accorded to his memory.