SATNARAYAN MAHARAJ – FOUNDER OF THE INDIAN CARIBBEAN MUSEUM OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

In the year 2006 a dream nurtured by Mr. Satnarayan Maharaj came to reality. This dream was the establishment and formal opening of an “Indian Museum” today known by many as the “Indian Caribbean Museum of Trinidad and Tobago.” Located in the rural setting in the village known as Waterloo in central Trinidad, the Indian Caribbean Museum is the only one of its kind dedicated to the preservation of the material history of over one million descendents of East Indian/South Asians in the Caribbean.

The Indian Caribbean Museum, the brainchild of Mr. Sat Maharaj as he is sometimes referred to, sits like a jewel on the crown of the Maha Sabha all because of the continuous dedication, innovation, untiring and selfless service of that one powerful indomitable defender of Dharma. The opening of the museum is the result of continuous collaboration, consultation and cooperation with people whose history has been preserved within its walls. In the words of Dr. Kumar Mahabir, Mr. Satnarayan Maharaj has truly given to this nation of ours “a national treasure, a keeper of culture, a window to the past and an opportunity to see history come alive.”

Sat Maharaj could safely be described as the most dynamic Hindu Leader the country has ever had. He took over the position of Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (S.D.M.S.) from the late Mr. Simbhoonath Capildeo in the year 1977 and he has almost single-handedly transformed this organization into one of the most successful institutions in the country.

Mr. Sat, as he is fondly called, is an astute visionary. He has embarked on the herculean task of re-shaping the Maha Sabha school system from ‘cowsheds to mansions’. Not only can the Maha Sabha boast of its achievements in Primary Education in Trinidad but Secondary and Early Childhood education as well – 43 primary schools, 5 secondary schools and 18 Early Childhood Centres as of 2014.

One cannot help but remember Mr. Maharaj for his victory at the Privy Council which saw the change of the Trinity Cross, the highest National Award in Trinidad and Tobago to the Order of Trinidad and Tobago; his struggle to set up in Trinidad a Hindu radio station which was granted only after the Privy Council ordered that a license be granted to the S.D.M.S. Mr. Maharaj was instrumental in having The Ministry of Arts and Culture changed to The Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism.

Only recently the biography of Sat Maharaj was launched at a large gathering. The writer, Dr. Kumar Mahabir, Anthropologist and author of over nine books and several publications so skillfully penned the life and times of Mr. Maharaj. It is a book that everyone should possess, as it traces the journey of a man who will leave a legacy to the country of his birth.

Author: AN Naidu on

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