The Editor: Prior to the 1950s, there were two Hindu organisations. The Sanatan Dharma Board of Control was established in 1932 and was made up of predominantly orthodox pundits. I am proud to say that this organisation was led by my nana pundit Sahadeo Tiwari. The other organisation was the Sanatan Dharma Association led by Sarran Teelucksingh at the time.
In 1952, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha was formed by the late great Bhadase Sagan Maraj. Immediately, Bhadase embarked upon a school building programme that saw the establishment of forty Hindu primary schools almost overnight. By the 1960s, Lakshmi Girls Hindu College was established with Amrika Tiwary as its first principal.
When Bhadase died in 1971, many questioned if the SDMS could survive. Soon after, the SDMS elected Satnarayan Maharaj as its secretary general and what we witnessed was an expansion of the SDMS. Mr Maharaj in time established the Baal Vikaas competition and the Pundits' Parishad. Later, the SDMS would establish its own radio and television stations and be the leading party in getting the name of the highest national award changed.
Today, we have over 50 schools under the control of the SDMS with ECCs, primary and secondary schools. The Pundits' Parishad now has about 200 pundits. The SDMS Pandit Parasram School of Hinduism is responsible for training those who wish to become pundits. Our temples have evolved into majestic structures a far cry from what they were say twenty years ago.
Therefore, the SDMS under Sat Maharaj grew in strength. Yet when Bhadase died, I am sure that there were those who were skeptical.
Today, the SDMS is undergoing yet another transition in terms of its leadership following the death of Sat Maharaj. We have an elected assistant secretary general Vijay Maharaj who has assumed the position of secretary general until elections are due later next year. Now, such is normal in any institution. A principal goes on leave, the vice principal acts, the captain of the cricket team is injured, the vice captain takes over. Quite normal actually. With this, the work of the SDMS continues unabated. However, there are sceptics who are watching from the outside, spreading fake news and propaganda as they seek a footing in the SDMS. These same individuals have said the worst of the secretary general when he was alive. Now, they are focusing their attacks on his sons, on Dinesh Rambally, on the young pundits and who knows, could be anyone else in the future. But why? Why? Why not form your own organisation? And if you have done so, what business is the SDMS of yours? The SDMS has existed for almost 68 years, it has been tried and tested over time yet it became stronger and stronger.
Should we turn over this institution, the premier Hindu organisation to a narcissistic few whose main desire naturally is to serve their own needs? Will the organisation really be better off with men who will put themselves first? The SDMS is strong, it is not in need of fixing. We have new leadership now and there has been a smooth transition. We also have a group of young vibrant pundits and teachers who are more than ready to take Sanatan Dharma forward. We have a dharmacharya whose brilliance and sheer knowledge is second to none. What is their issue then? Think about it.
The time for unity is now and together we must all work to take the SDMS forward as Sat did and Bhadase before him.