When the concept of Indian Arrival Day was in its conceptual stage, I recall discussing it with one Ramdath Jagessar and others. I at that time made it abundantly clear that the concept of Indian Arrival was without a doubt absolutely inappropriate. Some time later at a conference held at the Hindu Prachar Kendra, I listened with consternation to the spewing of highly emotive platitudes and downright illogical misleading information justifying the celebration of Indian Arrival Day. After about three hours of that type of argumentation I stood up and made my voice heard eloquently in opposition to that concept. I have never at any time attended any function held to celebrate Indian Arrival Day. Instead I had organised the first Indian Heritage Month in 1987 at the Saccidananda Sabha Mandir, Sancho Road. I am opposed to the concept of Indian Arrival Day from the standpoint of a Hindu pandit as a follower of Vedanta.
An enlightened Hindu’s goal of life is emancipation, liberation, freedom, nirvana or moksa. His entire life is lived with eternal blissful freedom as his goal, target, objective, mission of life. Celebrating the commencement of slavery cannot find a place in his plans and programmes for his and other people’s lives. Hindus should look around the world and see which group of enslaved peoples, nations, races etc have celebrated the day on which their ancestors were enslaved. On the contrary, peoples all across the globe have celebrated their freedom from slavery, foreign colonial domination and suppression, independence, the days on which they began governing themselves. Every year many nations gather in Europe in the month of June to celebrate the victory of the allied forces over the forces of Nazi Germany. This position, celebration of freedom and not enslavement, is well documented by Prof Cha-man Lal in a very excellent and diligently researched contribution to the Guardian of October 23 and 24, 2011. The professor’s conclusions are worthy of our consideration and adaptation. Indian indentureship provides us with tales of horrors and despair from the recruitment phase to life on the sugar and other plantations in various parts of the British colonial empire. Those heart-wrenching tales of horror and degradation are well documented by Lal. They are also well documented in the Indian Centenary Review of 1945.
The struggle to bring that iniquitous system to an end was reflected in the work of the Indian National Congress under Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and the great father of the Indian nation, Gandhiji. They steadfastly and relent- lessly challenged the British to abolish and cease the enslavement of our forefathers and mothers. I wish to offer my sincerest thanks, congratulations and best wishes to the courageous and brilliant academician, Prof Lal. May God bless him so that he can continue to speak out against enslavement and inequity of every sort. Let me remind intelligent Hindus that our goal is emancipation, freedom, liberation, nirvana or moksa so amply and profusedly promised by the jagad guru (world teacher) Lord Krishna in Gita XVIII.65-66. Let us rejoice on January 1 every year as liberation day, as Indian indentureship came to an end on January 1, 1920.
One must perforce question the role of the Hindu leadership, its organisations and its priests and gurus. What role are they playing in the celebration of Indian Arrival Day? They are all celebrating this day of shame and disgrace and enslavement. Perhaps the answer lies in their religious practices. The gurus do not teach anything to their chelas (servants). The priests do not study the Vedas. The Rk Veda (VIII.70.30), the Sama Veda (243.1155) and the Atharva Veda (20.92.17) emphatically declare, “rituals do not lead to God-realisation.” The Mundaka Upanishad (I.ii.1-12); the Brihad Upanishad (III.viii.10) all support the Vedas. The Gita (IX.20, 21) are in agreement with the Vedas. Lord Krish-na makes the point clear in Gita (IX.25) when he said the worshippers of the devas (the gods) go to the devas, to the dead ancestors go those who worship the dead, to the elements go the worshippers of the elements, but my worshippers come to me when they die. When therefore the Hindu priests make their followers worship the gods (devatas) they are putting them in eternal bondage. For them Indian enslavement day (May 30) is therefore quite in order.
Pariag R Sookoo (Pandit)