By PARAS RAMOUTAR–Port-of-Spain
Because of the unpredictably of the Covid 19 spread, Hindu major organizations have cancelled all religious and social observances starting with Nau Raatri, Lord Rama Naumi and Lord Hanuman Jayanti.Spokesman for the major Hindu organization, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha(SDMS) has ordered all mandirs under its jurisdiction to cease holding their weekly and daily religious services to the general public with immediate effect, following the announcement by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that there must not be any gathering of more than ten persons.Devotees are urged to perform their religious services in the privacy of their homes or mandirs in order to ward off the potential of the spread of Covid 19, and there has been police surveillance at several religious organizations in order to obey the injunctions of the Government as the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is leaving no stone unturned to contain its spread.
This is one of several orders calling on the national populace to keep in mind the seriousness of the pandemic.The usual observance of Nau Raatri which starts on Tuesday March 24 and which will last for a nine-day period has hit Hindu women seriously as they are accustomed to keep vigil at mandirs paying obeisance to Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and finally to Mother Sarsawati.Then Lord Rama Naumi will take place on April 1, followed by Lord Hanuman Jayanti on April 7.All schools and tertiary educational services are closed to April 20, in the first instance.Scores of weddings, including Hindu weddings and similar public functions have been postponed.Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, one of the dynamic mandirs, has commended the Government for being proactive in this international issue and Covid 19 will spare in person who comes in its pathway.
The Government announced a series of activities to be curtailed including the opening of bars, restaurants, and that all public offices and transport facilities must be properly sanitized.There are over 400 mandirs dotting the Trinidad landscape, and which host daily and weekly religious services.Other religious organizations like the Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptists, Anglican, among several others are following the directives of the Government, and the Government has announced a network of economic and financial issues in order to help the vunerable in this distressing times.Additionally, all religious groups have been offering special prayers and benediction to stop Covid 19 as a nightmare to the populations of 1.4 million people, of which 44 per cent are of East Indian stock, but approximately 25 per cent are devout Hindus.
Pundit Tiwari has issued a clarion call, “to the national society to go down on your knees and seek Mother Durga’s obeisance in this Nau Raatri to ward off Covid 19 from all corners of the globe.””Covid 19 has become a very serious challenge to the health, safety and economic prosperity of the global society as no one can discern it total ravages. We must always pray and live by the injunctions of their religious and spiritual charters. Eventually, mankind will come out of this debacle, I hope”, Pundit Tiwari added.