Archive for ‘Georgetown’

March 4, 2011

Interesting article on Hinduism and homosexuality in the context of Guyana

Via CAISO|GSPOTT

One often hears about the Christian religious right and its views on homosexuality and the position of mainstream Islam is fairly obvious too but what of the views of the over one billion Hindus? It seems the complex belief system of Hindus does not offer any easy answer on the subject.

This excellent article in Hinduism Today by Vidyaratha Kissoon takes a rare regional look at the subject in the case of Guyana. It is interesting to note that Trinidad & Tobago also has a sizable Hindu population and recently the Trinidad Express included the thoughts of a local Hindu leader on the matter:

“In response to this, Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Sat Maharaj, said although “the rest of the world is turning upside down to accommodate these people”, Trinidad and Tobago has more important things to address than “the rights of gays and lesbians”.

“We (as a Hindu organisation) recognise that there are these oddities in society that have odd behaviours, but we do not believe that is sufficient grounds to change the laws.

Notwithstanding the idiocly of such local views, the Guyana article notes that there is a diversity of opinion on the matter but many of those voices believe that there is no fundamental conflict between Hinduism and homosexuality:

“But community debate has uncovered a simple truth: there is no unified policy in Hinduism about homosexuality. In general, the matter is ruled by common sense, wisdom and tradition. But tradition can be a fluid concept, widely dependent on regional practices and collective memory; it shifts from generation to generation. One example is the strong influence of prudish British thought on Hindu morals in the last few centuries (see sidebar below).

“Indian culture has always had multiple expressions of gender identity and sexual orientation,” says Pandit Deodat Tillack, priest at the Shri Samayapuran Mariamma Temple. “The major festivals around Lord Aravan and the worship of Bahucharia Mata, called Murgi Mata in Guyana, reflect these views,” he claims. The festivals to Lord Aravan, are a favorite of the third-sex hijra in India, who attend en masse; Lord Krishna is believed to have assumed the form of Mohini to marry Aravan as a reward for his dedication. Bahucharia Mata is a patron Goddess of the hijra community.

Pandit Tillack’s views are echoed by many in Guyana. His colleague Pandit Rajin Balgobind feels that non-heterosexuals, who often question why they were born that way, should recognize that their sexual orientation is part of who they are. “Hindu scriptures do not discriminate against people; we are to be respected as our own decision makers. Everyone, including homosexual people, should lead disciplined lives that fulfill dharma, contribute to the well being of their society and do no harm to anyone.” In Balgobind’s opinion, sexual orientation falls into the category of kama (pleasure), one of the four goals of life, called purusharthas.

Read the rest of the article in Hinduism Today

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February 24, 2008

Guyana Update 24/02/08

Guyana police have released pictures of 6 of the men wanted in connection with the Bartica and Lusignan massacres. An ieNews television report has been posted on my other site. Click here to see the video ( requires Quicktime)…Guyana news Sunday 

February 22, 2008

A criminal shame

I  had the pleasure of having Professor Ramesh Deosaran on the programme again today. He is a complete gentleman and always an interesting guest. With most of my guests I can get through everything I need to ask in half an hour, sometimes 16 minutes seems too long for some guests but  with Professor Deosaran i always feel there is never enough time. We did two back to back interviews today ( as is our normal custom) and yet afterwards i felt we could have done six back to back interviews and  still  kept it interesting.

We spoke for the first half hour about the situation in Guyana which he felt was symptomatic of a lack of government planning and a failure to address the concerns of communities. I am not sure how that fits into dealing with a gang of rampaging murderers but i gather he meant the response to Lusignan should have prevented the second incident. I don’t doubt he has a good point, not because I understand everything he was saying fully, but because the man spends his every waking hour thinking about crime and government.

We spent the second programme discussing how crime leads to a sense of civil powerlessness and how the Westminister system contributes to the state of affairs. As he rightly pointed out, in our present system the Prime Minister is essentially an elected dictator who is under no obligation to heed the concerns of the public for his 5 year term. He is hoping that we will one day have constitutional reform to allow for a dissemination of power throughout parliament. As I told him, though, it is unlikely anyone who has unbridled power will give up some of it for the greater good.

My second interview subject was a complete change of pace in every imaginable way. Peter Elias is National Director of the Miss Universe/Miss World. My views on beauty pageants is well known but I will say he answered my questions with good humour. If nothing else he is certainly the most energetic guest i have ever had on the programme.

So thanks to Heidi artfully arranging 3 interviews I have programmes to cover me till Tuesday next week which also means I can take tomorrow off. That should give me a chance to take my time at the gym and also do some house cleaning.


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February 21, 2008

Latest news from Georgetown, Guyana.

Despite having serious problems getting video from our team in Guyana yesterday we managed to get a report today. A 19 year old man has been charged with 11 counts of murder. The video is hosted on my alternative site. Click here to see it at: Guyana Report