(Trinidad Guardian) “Mind yuh damn business and go to hell!” This was the Indian Arrival Day message sent by secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Sat Maharaj on Monday to Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris. He said so in the feature address at the Maha Sabha’s and South Regional Council’s Indian Arrival Day celebrations at the Parvati Girls Hindu College in Debe.
Maharaj, who began by recounting some of the trials East Indian indentured labourers faced when they came to T&T 171 years ago, soon turned child marriage, an issue on which he has been very vocal in recent weeks
“We have a spectacle in Trinidad over the last few years, where you have the leader of a church, the most corrupt church in the whole world, they have corrupted more young children than anyone else, the Pope in Rome had to pay ten of millions of dollars for corrupting the children of the world and here we have a Catholic Archbishop telling us how to get our girls married,” he said. “Mind your damn business, Archbishop, mind your own damn business. This is the business of the Hindu community and the state.”
Turning his anger on the United Nations, Maharaj continued: “You even have ambassadors coming here, telling us we should change because the United Nations passed a resolution that a boy and a girl can’t get married until they reach 18 years old.
“Mt Hope reported last year 74 teenaged girls between 12 and 14 years old make child and they eh know who the father is but you have an archbishop who want to tell us how to get married? How to raise children? I say Archbishop, mind yuh own damn business.”
Maharaj said he had received permission to put full page ads in the daily newspapers with the marriage age in different parts of the United States.
“You have ambassadors coming here telling us what age we can get married I am publishing, I got permission to take full page ads, in the United States of America, where the UN is located, in every state there is a different age (for marriage) and the age is as low as 13, Mr Ambassador, cure your own evil before you come to tell us how to cure our own evil.
“This is my Indian Arrival Day message. Nobody must interfere with the way we worship, the way we raise our families, the way we bring them up.”
He was adamant the current legislation, which allows Hindu girls is get married from as early as age 14, is only a safety net.
“Because when you are young you take chances and if a girl at the age of 14 took a chance and she got pregnant, the two sets of parents will come together, they will offer support and send them back to school and they will take charge of the child.
“This is the culture of our community, so don’t discuss our business out there, we will discuss our business and members of the state and media, we will discuss our business, discuss the business of the Hindus with the Hindus.”
Maharaj’s had a final message to Archbishop Harris and others opposing underage marriage: “Look at the mote in your own eye, before you point out the mote in eye of the Hindu.
“If I had to leave one message, the message is ‘Alyuh go to hell, this is a business of the Hindu community and the state.’ If we require a change in the law, we will invite the government to speak to us and change the law but at this point in time, over the last two years, not a Hindu girl under the age of 18 have gotten married. You ever see any statistics anywhere?”