October 29, 2008


Posted in Education, Guyana, Messages, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:31 pm by randallbutisingh

Article by Freddie Kissoon in Kaieteur News – October 28, 2008.


October 28, 2008 | By knews | Filed Under Freddie Kissoon

I have been fortunate to have been a student of history. I still am. All of us who first entered a university to study history never completed our job; we are still studying the past to see what guides it holds for the future. The story of human society is rich indeed and the lessons to be learnt are invaluable.

One of the largest ironies in history is the level of intolerance shown by religion and the cruelty that religion used against those that did not accept its tenets.
The historical landscape is dotted with religious wars. The world may end one day millions of years from now and human beings would never understand why religion has not been the most peaceful campaign of all of human endeavours. It should be.
Religion differs from philosophy because it is value-laden. It instills a deep instinct of forgiveness and redemption. It pierces the soul with the virtues of willingness, humility and service. Religion is the process through which the body becomes secondary to the soul which nourishes the mind of offerings.

But has religion failed us throughout the ages? Maybe two Europeans that lived long ago have the answer.
Did they? Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world…It is the opium of the people.”
Montaigne, in the sixteen century, three hundred years before Marx, observed: “Our religion is made so as to wipe out vices; it covers them up, nourishes them, incites them.”
What has mankind learnt about his/her religion that drives him/her to heights of hypocrisy?

As I write, there is a sad story making the rounds on the international news circuit. In the state of Orissa in India, a Catholic nun told the media that the Hindu policemen watched as Hindu mobs attacked Christians and she was gang-raped in front of these policemen.
India is a land where bestial cruelty occurs in the name of religion. In Gujarat, years ago, Hindu rioters savagely killed Muslims while the State Premier refused to put the security forces out on the streets.

We don’t have to look far to see the failure of religion in today’s world. Our neighbour, the US, is an interesting land. George Bush won re-election because the Religious Right went out in record numbers and voted for him in front of John Kerry, who obviously appeared to be the candidate less inclined to cause war. How can any human see the wisdom in a war?
But George Bush does, and he beat John Kerry with the help of millions of religious people who see nothing wrong with the killing fields of war.

In Guyana today, a large percentage of the population will take to the temples to worship on a day that is a religious one for them. Today is Diwali, and Hindus will spend the day in prayer. This year, Diwali was riveted with controversy. A section of the Hindu community was livid at the intention of a group to stage a Miss Diwali Beauty Contest. The objection was purely religious.
The logic was that the ceremony symbolizes the sanctity and sacredness that inhere in worshipping God. The pressure built and the group conceded. But what remains after the battle was over was a large cloud of hypocrisy.
Conceptually speaking, there is validity in arguing that the observance of Diwali is antithetical to a beauty contest in which the name of the sacred ceremony is irreverently used. Could you have a Miss Christmas, Miss Easter, Miss Eid-ul Fitr?
But basic morality demands that those who want to uphold the sanctity of the Hindu religion should take their advocacy to its logical apogee.

For too long in Guyana (maybe half a century) the Hindu religion has been used by Hindu priests as a vehicle for political and racial purposes. This goes on to this day.
Hindu religious days are celebrated by certain Hindu organizations with the full backing of the state.
Why has there been not one single word from the anti-Miss Diwali protestors about this nasty opportunism? One well known Hindu priest is an unapologetic politician, using his platform in the temples to preach race and political partisanship.
I heard this very priest tell a Hindu gathering of thousands that Mr. Jagdeo is the greatest leader Guyana produced, and he should be given a third presidential term.
He is entitled to his view, but should that be part of his sermon? Where are the voices of protest?

What about a Hindu priest that thousands flock to listen to often? He is Guyana’s biggest exploiter of young Hindu girls, one of whom committed suicide and who spoke to me about him before she died?



Comment by Randall Butisingh:

After reading this article in Kaieteur News,  I am prompted to write my thoughts on Religion.  First of all I would like my readers to understand – many who claim to be Hindus do not know – that Hinduism is not a religion.  It is not even a system, but it is the term given to the various religions that took birth in Hindustan (India), and it ranges from the crudest animism (worship of the inanimate, giving soul to it) to idol worship, to agnosticism as in Budhism which did not survive in India because of the caste system , to the atheism of the Jain, to the worship of the incarnations of Vishnu, an aspect of the trinity, of which the other two are Bramha and Shiva, manifestations of the Supreme invisible Supersoul, to the loftiest concept Brahman, the Absolute without attributes, sheer consciousness and bliss, incomprehensible from which everything arises and the only permanence to which everything must return.  Another thing that most Hindus do not know, and most will be unwilling to accept is that Jesus is accepted as an avatar by enlightened Hindus and has found a place in their pantheon of Gods and Godesses., manifestations of the one God, that preside over their lives.

Hindus, of whatever sect believe in nonviolence, and so are true Christians who follow the teachings of Christ which was read and imbibed by the late Mahatma Gandhi, an exemplary Hindu whose doctrine is Satyagraha (soul force). It was he who said (in my own words that he who dishonours the religion of another, does not understand his own.  but religion which as the word connotes should be a binding force has taken the opposite turn, and as is being practised is exclusive and divisive.  Most of the conflicts in the world and the grossest atrocities have been done in the name of religion.  In Guyana you will hear utterances like “den kristan dawg”, ‘all fullah maan a scamp” , “dem hIndoo a waship wood and stone’. all through lack of knowledge.

I trust my homeland Guyana, the once Magnificent Province, its people, now divided will rally in an ecumenical brotherhood which I am beginning to see in Guyanese abroad and at home and will set up a government that will fully represent its peoples (the whole nation) for we are all one whatever our ethnicity, colour or creed; or as Sir Patrick Renison puts it: “Brotherhood is not a general impulse but a Divine command.”


1 Comment »

  1. Guyana Reality said,

    The last Guyana census (2002) showed that Hindus make up about 30% of the population. Christians (all denominations ) are about 57% and Muslims about 7%. See the link below for population and religion statistics:


    The main problem in Guyana is one of racial division for political gain. East Indians now make up 43%, Africans 30%; Mixed 17% Amerindian 10%. The Mixed and Amerindian are the largest growing category. In religion the Indians are becoming more Christians, embracing teh Pentecostal faiths.

    In 2003, the census reported that Hindus were the largest religion in Guyana. Actually this is incorrect as the Christians are with 57%. This reporting error is typical as Indian Hindus want the world to think that Guyana is a Hindu country. Hindus would like to attract Hindus to Guyana to build a Hindu state in South America – however this may nor happen as Guyana is about to explode at any time – the way Fiji exploded with indigenous people refusing the “foreign” control of people who do not assimilate within the society.

    Religion ans government does not mix, especially in a country with a diverse population.

    Sri Lanka has proven how a people (The Tamils) can be misled, take up arms against their government, and then be totally destroyed, losing face and further possibility for advancement.

    Guyana could prove this as well even though the Indians are statistically larger… the Africans and mixed people have little to lose. They control the Army and Police and they are being systematically marginalized so they do not care if everything is destroyed. History will tell!

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