Blame the system, not the Pandit

Dear Editor,
In Badree Etwaroo’s letter “More respect needs to be shown to Guyana’s oldest organisation” published in sections of the media on July 28, he questioned the competence of the Pandit in charge of the said organisation. In doing so, he has, indeed, touched a very sore point. However, this problem does not only prevail at that Mandir; it is endemic throughout Guyana, the Caribbean and North America.
I do not entirely blame the Pandit; I blame the system. Anyone desirous of becoming a Hindu Priest can do so by merely approaching another ‘Pandit’ who shows him a ‘few things’. The person from whom ‘knowledge’ is sought is himself flawed, and so, for over 60 years, our ‘Pandits’ have been operating with faulty and imperfect information/knowledge. The general Hindu public is no wiser; they accept these persons so long that they don the garment. This faulty system has contributed very much to the production of ‘faulty’ Pandits. Don’t blame the Pandit, rectify the system.
Many Pandits and aspiring Pandits want to improve themselves. They thirst for that knowledge which will enhance their performance. But where can they turn for such knowledge? There is no Hindu College or School – no training institution anywhere. While Christianity and Islam have many such Institutions, there is none for the Hindus. There is urgent need for the setting-up of such a training facility. A course of study that will make for a competent Pandit includes:
English Language;
Hindu Rituals and Ceremonies;
Hindu Theology/Philosophy;
Hindu Astrology;
Public Speaking
The Sanatan Vaidic Dharma Pandits’ Sabha of Region Three has been conducting Training Programmes for Pandits and lay-persons (though in a limited way), for the past 20 years under Pt Balbadar’s bottom house. Is this the best Hindus can offer? There is urgent need to address this situation. Hindu organisations, together with members of the public, should work towards the realisation of this worthwhile undertaking – the setting-up of a Hindu College.

Pt R Balbadar
Sanatan Vaidic Dharma
Pandits’ Sabha
Region Three