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Former PIO minister, MP, musician inducted in T&T Hall of Pioneers

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Port-of-Spain: Eleven persons of Indian origin (PIOs), including a former minister, the youngest MP in the Commonwealth and a musician, have been inducted in the Hall of Pioneers of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Council of Indian Culture(NCIC) here to serve as an inspiration to future generations. hqdefault

These 11 join 80 others who have been inducted in the seven previous editions of the programme and are “models whom all of us and particularly our youth should try to emulate,” NCIC president Deokienanan Sharma said at a ceremony at Divali Nagar, Endeavour, over the weekend.

“They have come up through humble beginnings as you would later hear and also read in their biographies which we have distributed. Success for them came through hard work, honest application of effort and perseverance in whatever they undertook to do,” he added.

Those inducted are: Brinsley Samaroo (historian/professor/former minister), Hansley Hanoomansingh (broadcaster/businessman/former MP who became the youngest parliamentarian in the Commonwealth at the age of 24), Jit Samaroo (steelband pannist ), Helen Bhagwansingh (philanthropist/businesswoman), Sam Boodram (classical Indian singer/musician), Henry Tooloom Dindial (classical Indian singer/musician), Amral Khan(cultural/business pioneer), Muhammad Khan (scouts) Seereeram Maharaj Pandey(businessman/entrepreneur), Ajeet Praimsingh (cultural icon/promoter) and Ramdeen Ramjattan(comedian)

The Hall of Pioneers is aimed at providing a forum “where future generations can come and read and learn about their contributions to nation building”, Sharma noted.

The NCIC was formed on July 19, 1964, to place Indo-Trinidadian culture on a solid footing but faced a number of hiccups, Sharma said, adding that these had been gradually ironed out over the years. Now, it was the leading Indian cultural body.

“The turning point came with the creation of Divali Nagar, that not only took the Indo-Trinidadian population by storm, but the entire country was literally forced to take stock of the presence of a very important culture that went largely ignored and unrecognized for upwards of 150 years,” Sharma said.

“The NCIC is now a well-respected cultural organization that has in the 51 years of its existence grown to a formidable institution. This is due largely to the dedication, loyalty and tireless voluntary labour of its executive, who have not only ensured the growth of the NCIC but also preservation of Indo-Trinidadian culture in our country,” Sharma added.

He said the NCIC had completed the first phase of its Heritage Center which will house an Indo-Caribbean archive, a diaspora library, a cultural research center and an Indian diaspora museum.

“Included in the center will be the long-awaited Hall of Pioneers which will display in one form or other all the biographies of our Pioneers which we have so far compiled and that those will be researched and compiled in the coming years,” Sharma added.

Speaking on behalf of the inductees, Brinsley Samaroo recalled the dismal and inhumane reception the Indian diaspora faced during their arrival in Trinidad and Tobago between 1845 and 1917 when in excess of 148,000 East Indians were brought here from India. They were principally from what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and worked on enhancing the agricultural capacity of the then colony of Trinidad. They were not even given the right to vote until 1946.

Samaroo spoke of the rich philosophical, humanitarian and entrepreneurial capacity of the Indian diaspora, then and even today, where over 45 percent of the population of 1.3 million are of East Indian extraction.

(IANS)

 

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National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) Celebrated 30th Annual Divali Nagar in Trinidad and Tobago

Divali Nagar is the annual exhibition of Hindu and Indo-Trinidadian culture

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Celebration of Divali Nagar. Wikimedia

October 23, 2016: The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) Nagar site has celebrated the 30th annual Divali Nagar in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night. The event began with the lighting of the Nagar’s first ‘Diya’ and performance by Hindu Prachaar Kendra and Munroe Road Hindu School.

According to trinidadexpress.com, Dr. Deokinanan Sharma, president of NCIC, thanked the council’ executive for its support in his opening address. He said, “Divali Nagar celebrations have brought an awareness of the Indo-Trinidadian culture and is an event which is fast growing in popularity. NCIC will partner with other Hindu religious organisations to hold a convention based on the Indian cultural diaspora next year in celebration of Indian Arrival Day (May 30).”

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The opening of Divali Nagar was attended by House Speaker Bridgid Annisette- George, US Ambassador John Estrada, Indian High Commissioner Bishwasdip Dey, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, Members of Parliament Suruj Rambachan, Rudy Indarsingh, Bhoe Tewarie and Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan. The president of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persuad, delivered the feature address, mentioned trinidadexpress.com.

Dr. Nyan Gadsby, Minister of Community Development, said that the event has preserved and promoted the awareness of Indian culture.

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The event included Bhajans by Terance Taran Sookdeo, dances by the Shiv Shakti Dance Group and Khalnayak Dance Academy and tassa by the Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa Academy.  The celebration will continue for nine nights, ending on Diwali morning.

According to Gadsby,“ Through your various themes, attendees have the chance to learn about essential aspects of our Indian culture. This year’s theme, Ganga Maa (Sacred River), focuses on the goddess and symbolises purity. It speaks of cleansing, health and mercy. It reminds us of new life, rejuvenation and victory. They say that it is here, in Trinidad and Tobago, that the Ganges meets the Nile. And so even as we celebrate the sacred river and the festival of lights, we also celebrate our diversity as a people.”

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She added,“ We acknowledge the attributes of our Aripo River in northeast Trinidad, which is believed to have been connected to the Ganges River over 25,000 years ago. With the upcoming observance of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, let us all be reminded of the strength of communal ties, the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and unity over dissension, and the power of love and hope.”

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Worshipping many Gods in Hinduism is a Sin in Christianity: says a newspaper ad in a Trinidad Newspaper

Do you pray to your trinity, Mahatma or Mohammed in a form or a formless way ? What's your battle-side ?

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Idol worship in Hinduism
Idol worship. Image source: WIkimedia common

Trinidad and Tobago: September,08,2016: The Internet is divided into two sects: one the worshipers of Ganesha with pictures of idols swamping their timelines, other the anti-idol worshipers, who condemn bowing down in front of Plaster of Paris (POP). However, it’s not always black and white, there are people standing at the grey lines and they are the one’s who respect the strong emotion behind worshiping an image of God.

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Opinions and pieces of advice come free of cost and are thrown at wholesale prices. Hence, arrives one from Noah Days Ministry (email: ENoah999 (at) gmail.com).  Their recent piece on idol worship included about 8 psalms from the bible and lines that read out “Hindu religion incorporates different forms of idol worships which contravene the first commandment of God and are highly unacceptable to Almighty God”.

Being subtle is certainly not Noah Days Ministry’s strong suit!

Idol worship advertisement from the Noah Days Ministry in Trinidad
Idol worship advertisement from the Noah Days Ministry in Trinidad

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Let’s take an example to understand perceptions here. Sitting in a yoga class, your instructor tells you to shut your eyes and hum ‘Ommm’ while visualizing the Om chakra, which is thought to be an energy point. The instructor tells you that it’ll help you focus instead of letting your thoughts drift away elsewhere. No, Noah Days Ministry is going to raise a hand and question that ideology, simply because it works! But isn’t that the point of worshiping an idol- believing in a physical representation to help focus on an aspect of prayer or meditation.

A Hindu shrine in the yard of a building at Rochard Road, Penal, Trinidad. Penal is a town in South Trinidad with a population of approx 13000. NewsGram thanks Dr. Kumar Mahabir for providing the picture.
A Hindu shrine in the yard of a building at Rochard Road, Penal, Trinidad. Penal is a town in South Trinidad with a population of approx 13000. NewsGram thanks Dr. Kumar Mahabir for providing the picture.

Dr. Kumar Mahabir shared his views with NewsGram regarding the advertisement published in The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. He said that he waits on other Hindu individuals like him, writers and leaders (including the Hindu Women’s Organization) to respond to this Christian’s attack. He will particularly wait for a list of people who are often quick on the draw to attack Sat Maharaj. Although, please wait before you commend the brother to the black side of the debate. His rage over the published piece is not completely irrational. After all, the summary of these 10 passages is notorious- ‘According to the many bible verses cited, all idol worshipers including the Hindus and Jews are guilty of breaking the rules set by the Almighty, the only God to be bowed down to’. Having said that, Noah Days Ministry doesn’t fail to mention how the Roman Catholic organization and many Christians too stand guilty in their eyes for propagating ‘idolatry’. Conclusion? The rage over religion biasing stands invalid.

Fellow brethren! stand at any side of the fence- vehemently oppose statues in a temple or submit your Monday mornings to Hanuman veneration. Pick any side, choose any image but believe in patronage offered to your mind through prayers and meditation.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

 

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Hindus and Muslims at peace in Trinidad and Tobago: Strong need to convey Indian diaspora stories to the world, says Author Aliyyah Eniath

Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians

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Temples in Trinidad Image Source: Wikimedia

New Delhi, September 1, 2016: Debuting with a book that gives voice to the lives of people of Indian origin in Trinidad and Tobago, author Aliyyah Eniath believes there is a strong need to convey the stories of the diaspora to the world.

People in this Caribbean nation- where nearly 40 percent of the 1.3 million population is of Indian origin- “still tightly hold on to a lot of cultural practices. Diwali is a huge festival which is a week-long celebration in Trinidad. There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims back home. Conflicts between India and Pakistan do not affect our lives”, Eniath stated.

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“It is very important that we get our stories to the world. We have so many stories to tell. It is important that our voices are heard, that the world should know about us too because India has a huge population and is a significant part of the world population. And it is not all about American writing — it should be about Indian writing too,” Eniath, the author of “The Yard” (Speaking Tigers, Rs 350, pp 272) told IANS in an interview during a visit here.

Although Eniath was born and brought up in Trinidad and Tobago, her roots lie in Uttar Pradesh.

As an author, she believes it is “unfortunate” that publishers in Britain and the US are not too keen on stories about the Indian diaspora. But the Indian publishing industry is doing its bit to fill the gaps. “When I got the offer from the Indian publishing house, I could not refuse as I see India as a big platform for diaspora writers,” added Eniath, who is director of a lifestyle magazine.

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For her, the book and its characters are a medium for telling the world how the diaspora has been living in Trinidad and Tobago.

“My book focuses on the experience of one family living in The Yard where the characters are compelled to live together. Many Indians living in Trinidad share similar experiences as well. I think that it does convey the emotional and family bonds as well as the culture, especially the Muslims, about whom I have written and how they have different views on religion,” Eniath explained.

Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians. “Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri are writing on the immigrants’ experience, but in Trinidad and Tobago, it is different as we really don’t feel like immigrants since we have been there from the start. So it has always been a British-Indian-African community.

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“The writing is a bit different but is sort of trendsetting because I don’t think such a book has been written before with such a strong T&T and Indian connection. So I think it is a bit new as well,” said the author who wanted to become a writer ever since she read “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.

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Choosing Indian characters was inevitable as it is “easier to relate to characters based on my experience” she said, adding: “I grew up in the close network of an Indian family in Trinidad and Tobago where everyone was involved in everyone’s life. I wanted to write about the extended Indian family.”

And given her fascination with love stories, it was also inevitable that her debut effort is also a love story.

“I am a huge fan of love stories with happy endings, but like them with some layers to it. Mine is a little different; it is mainly a love story but it is also heart-breaking. I do like very much to write about love hoping that it will connect to readers in a big way and it is also what I love to write about,” said the author. (IANS)

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