I grew up in a home with strong, practicing Hindu parents. My mom had a tiny Hindu altar in the living room. But I strayed far from religion as I went beyond sixteen years of age. By the time I became a UG freshman, I had lost contact with my parent’s religion, but still respectful enough to give my only child a Hindu name – Kavita.
I did not know what the name of the day (yesterday) in the Hindu calendar was, so I had to call up a friend to find out for the purpose of this article. It is “Kartik.” This is the day when Hindus go to the river or ocean and offer prayers. As usual, I was on the Eve Leary beach with my dog and there were dozens of Hindus on the beach with their religious articles offering prayers facing the Atlantic.
Someone threw a beautiful dog right on the beach. It had died and was swelling. How can someone live with such a wonderful pet and not bury it when it passes away. Your pet deserves better when it dies. There is no question, absolutely no question in my mind that the person who did that to their pet is a crude creature far lower than the dead pet.
Let me repeat what I have written twice in these columns. I cannot support the unconditional removal of the death penalty. Some humans are savages who should be put to death by the state for insane murders they have committed. I won’t even think for a fleeting second of ever changing my mind on this subject. I write this sentiment unapologetically.
There are several homeless persons I got to know from my endless visits on the Georgetown seawall. Two of them had gathered around the worshippers hoping to eat the fruits that were left behind. I approached two of them I know well and asked how much they would charge me for burying the animal, because the religious ceremonies were taking place literally yards away.
One of them asked for a $1000 and I agreed. To supplement my $1000, I approached several Hindus who were going toward the water to ask if they could contribute to the cause. I was at pains to explain that the ceremonies should not be done while a swelling dog was nearby. Do you know all of those families chose not to give to those two boys? For a moment, I wondered if it was a racial thing. But I quickly removed that thought from my mind because both homeless fellows were East Indians, though very dark from the sun they live under.
I cannot speculate why they chose not to give. Maybe they didn’t have cash on them. Maybe they feel a dead dog on the beach doesn’t concern them, because they will not see the beach until another year. Maybe they thought that the seawall “bums” didn’t deserve the money. But I heard the angry words, from the two boys, though spoken quietly, each time I was refused.
I honestly was expecting the incoming families to top up my $1000 because of the special day, “Kartik.” I don’t recognize my country anymore now that I am in my sixties. This is not the country I grew up in. In my teenage years, I am certain that there would have been one or two persons that would have added to my $1000.
I have sensed a long time ago, because of the nature of political culture in Guyana and its implications for social and cultural life, people have lost their sense of humanity in this tragic society. An incident occurred the other day and deep, piercing chagrin shook my soul. My psyche was lacerated because this was not the country I knew when I was a UG freshman.
The incident revolved around a fine imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency on a multibillion-dollar, super-rich family company. The family reacted in two ways. First it claimed that it did not have a million Guyanese dollars to pay the fine and asked for time. Secondly, it ceased operation out of vexation, putting over 500 working people out of employment. See my column of Wednesday, July, 24, 2019, “Coconut shells and Movie Towne: This shithole country.”
Not one NGO, political party, newspaper writer, individual politician made a statement on this cruelty and the pomposity, hauteur and hubris shown by these extravagantly rich people. This is not the Guyana I recognize anymore. Back in my days as a UG student, that family would have been picketed with angry denunciation. Really! Why did Walter Rodney give away his life so senselessly?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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