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There must be equity

By DARCEL CHOY Monday, March 10 2014

THERE must be equity in the distribution of State resources especially when it comes to culture, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Sat Maharaj said on Saturday as he referred to the $190 million subvention given by Government to cover Carnival 2014 costs.

Speaking at the SDMS Primary Schools’ Chowtaal Sammelan competition at SDMS’ headquarters in St Augustine, Maharaj said, “They have set the benchmark of $190 million...you are not going to give me $2 million and I would be satisfied. There must be equity in the distribution of state resources. I am not asking for more or less.”

Maharaj noted that for the last 29 years, the Maha Sabha has run the Chowtaal Sammelan programme and have never gotten sponsorship from any Government ministry.

He said for the last five years, a corporate entity Republic Bank Ltd, has stepped in and sponsored the event.

“They (Republic Bank) saw what we were doing...how we were molding the children’s minds and they have come on board and have given us $250,000 every year to ensure the success of this progremme,” Maharaj said.

Maharaj again criticised the vulgarity seen in the recently concluded Carnival saying the conduct of some of the masqueraders especially women, was a poor example for the nation’s children.

He called on Government to engage in dialogue with the Catholic Church and other stakeholders to address the slide of morality in Carnival.

Maharaj said if Carnival was a Hindu event and conduct degenerates as it has now, he would be furious.

“That is why we are spending so much time with our children to ensure they understand what life is about.

We had the same problem with Phagwa. Because at one stage it had reached a point where it was pure alcohol and the most obscene behaviour and dancing was occurring. We stepped in to send it in a different direction. So what you see is a new direction chartered for Phagwa celebrations,” Mahraj said.

Chairman of the Baal Vikaas Committee Ramlogan Palloo also commented on the behaviour seen at Carnival, adding that, that would not be seen at the Chowtaal Sammelan, as “their children will be well dressed and they will perform with dignity.”

Forty-three primary schools participated in the competition.

The winner will be announced tomorrow.

A Chowtaal, is a seasonal festive song which is sung during the festival of Phagwa. It is made up of a chorus and four verses and accompanied by an Ullara and a Kabit.

Maharaj’s first public criticism of vulgarity in Carnival came last Thursday and was in response to an Ash Wednesday homily by Archbis-hop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris who slammed vulgarity in the Mas as being symptomatic of a wider moral decay in TT society.

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