Page 1

www.horizonsguyana.com


65

Contents Celebrating East Indian Heritage

40

94

19

Editor’s Note

5

Old Mandirs & Mosques

8

Of Guyana

Abbi Shud Go Back to De Ole Days

12

Prashad Nagar

14

Davendra Bishoo

19

A History

Room Attendant to Test Cricketer

25

92

08

2 - Horizons 2012


65 Carambola

23

Pioneering East Indian Women

25

Lyla Kissoon

34

Alana Seebarran

38

Sonu Nigam

40

Judge A.B Majeed

53

Hyderbad - City of Pearls

57

Shiv Chanderpaul

62

The Art of Accessorising

65

Parenting

77

The Star Fruit

The Inspiring Journey of a Humble Essequibian

Eshri Singh & Tanuja Raghoo 80

38

62

Father Daughter Duo

Professor Suresh Narine

84

Giving Back to My Homeland 89 Dr. Hughley Hanoman

91

National Chowtal Samelaan

92

Lentil

94

100 years of Arya Samaj Movement

98

Youth - Their Choices

101

84

57

23

3 - Horizons 2012


Editor’s Note What started out as an ambitious diary of the history of Indentured East Indians and their descendants in Guyana has evolved into so much more. Horizons captures the footsteps of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the Indentured Immigrants as they moved from Guyana further afield breaking new grounds, scaling horizons and leaving indelible imprints on the world stage- Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Eshri Singh, Dr. Suresh Narine, Judge Majeed bound by humble origins, Guyanese parentage and laudable achievements. Who doesn’t want to know the whereabouts of people who created history in their country? Indian women who made life changing decisions to step into male dominated preserves will forever be etched in our minds as the firsts in diverse fields – Ena Luckhoo, Savitri Balbahadur, Seeta Boodhoo, Jean Ramkhellawan….In these exciting times when so many things are changing at a rapid pace, I say to my sisters- ‘Take a page out of these women’s lives and become the unrepentant trendsetters of today! Sonu Nigam!!! One of God’s gifted children, the charismatic Sonu and his compelling performance in Guyana will forever remain appealing memories embedded in our minds perhaps only to be bettered by him in the years ahead - An unforgettable rapport between audience and artiste which accentuated the synergy between an outstanding singer and his music.

A

s Editor of now the seventh issue of Horizons, I have enjoyed fascinating journeys through many peoples’ lives, vicariously travelled to historic sites in far flung corners of Guyana and immersed myself for weeks in history. Compiling this magazine over the years has taught me that yes, deadlines are difficult to meet and pictures that we think would capture the essence of a person or story are rarely unearthed. In spite of all of this, I can say that the entire Horizons’ team feels an immense sense of satisfaction when a smile lights up the face of a reader as they peruse each glossy issue of this magazine filled with moments frozen in time through rare snapshots and the bold strokes of writers’ pens as they chronicle legacies, anguish, successes, memories and countless stories from the past.

No country progresses without the positive input and energies of every one linked to and living in it. Guyana is in an enviable position because Guyanese in and out of Guyana care enough to help where the need arises. I have always felt that therein lies true spirituality. We all share a common history of struggle. Armed with the resolve to conquer the vicissitudes and tear down barriers which divide I can say that without a doubt we are poised on the brink of a brilliant future. As I put this issue together, I learnt how to accessorize, about the challenges of parenting, care and compassion for babies and abused children, that our foreparents had implicit faith in the Supreme, and why young people make their choices as they do but more importantly I learnt the true meaning of ‘Kabhi alvida na kehna (never saying goodbye) when I look at each tangible reminder of our ancestor; their clothing, food, temple or mosque, and each one of us…..

Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud M.P Editor

5 - Horizons 2012


Guyana's East Indian Immigration & Heritage Magazine

Horizons is published annually by: Advertising & Marketing Services 213 B Camp Street, P.O. Box 101582 Georgetown, Guyana. Tel: 225-5384 Fax: 592-225-5383.

Publisher

Lokesh Singh lokesh@amsstlucia.com

Editor

Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud vindhya@rocketmail.com

Advertising Sales Adrian Pryce Amrita Mangal

Graphic Design & Layout Mensah Fox

Contributing Writers

Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud Deomattie Seeram Ananda Latchman Keeran Persaud Leonard Gildharie Tajranie Rampersaud Justice Prem Persaud Chevon Singh

Avenash Ramzan Zahrah Alli Omkaar Tewari Oluatoyin Alleyne Charles Ramson Jr. Pradeep Singh Dr. Narendra Singh

Photography

Fidal Bassier Sandra Prince Tajranie Rampersaud Pradeep Singh Carl Croker Deomattie Seeram Ananda Latchman Troy Parbhoo GINA Tanuja Raghoo Adrian Narine Dr. Suresh Narine Dr. Narendra Singh cricinfo.com

Produced By:

Advertising & Marketing Services 213 B Camp Street, P.O. Box 101582. Georgetown, Guyana. Tel: 592-225-5384 Fax: 592-225-5383 Email: mail@amsguyana.com Website: www.amsguyana.com Š Copyright 2012. Reproduction of any material without the permission of AMS is strictly prohibited. AMS reserves the right to determine the content of this publication. AMS wishes to express sincere thanks and appreciation to all parties who have assisted in making this publication a reality.


Bath Eptute Mandir, West Berbice

Old Mandirs and Mosques of Guyana By Deomattie Seeram

A

drive through many villages in Guyana will yield many sights of interest; one of them, the common occurrence of temples and mosques side by side. Not a common finding in many countries including India where our ancestors came from. Our East Indian ancestors came to Guyana then British Guiana in 1838, 174 years ago, bringing with them their culture, customs and religions. About 84% of the East Indian immigrants were Hindus, of Bihar and North India. Some 30 percent of the East Indians were from agricultural castes and 31 percent were laborers. Brahmins, the highest caste, constituted 14 percent of the East Indian immigrants. About 10 percent of Guyana's population is Muslim, representing 76,528 individuals. So devout in their religious beliefs were our ancestors that they built mandirs and mosques (masjids) to fullfill congregational worship. Today, some of those structures still remain and are being used with some modification being done to the buildings. A count was done in 1917 which revealed that

there were 46 mosques and 43 Hindu temples around the country. Most of these temples were in Georgetown, the East Coast Demerara and Berbice. Only twelve were on the East Bank Demerara, West Bank Demerara, and Essequibo. In Ankerville, Corentyne, Berbice deep in the canefields, there exists and ancient mandir of which only the top is visible. On speaking with the villagers of Ankerville, it was learnt that this mandir was built by the first batch of East Indian immigrants who came to Guyana. A few decades ago, the mandir began to sink. One villager commented that God is powerful because twice the current management of the sugar plantation, Guysuco was unsuccessful in its attempt to destroy the mandir. She said that the mandir suffered a few cracks but did not break. Her grandparents had said that the British took care of the mandir by cleaning the surroundings and lime washing the lingam (representation of Lord Shiva) that was in the mandir. Legend has it that when prasad is offered at the mandir, an alligator with a gold galihaar (necklace) comes out and eats the offering. Bath Back

daam

8 - Horizons 2012


congregation. Presently, a new masjid is being constructed to accommodate the congregation. The sod turning ceremony was held on 1 June, 2008. The Adelphi Masjid which is situated in Canje, East Berbice was constructed over 100 years ago. Today, the foundation of the original masjid remains. However, the walls and floor, ceiling have been redone. People still go to the masjid and pray on a daily basis. VERSAILLES HINDU TEMPLE

Bath Estate, West Berbice boasts another old mandir. This mandir said to be over one hundred years old was built by our East Indian ancestors who lived on the plantation which housed logies, schools, hospitals and their masters’ living quarters back. The lingam which is in the mandir was said to be the size of an egg when the mandir was first built. Today it has increased in size. Recently, villagers of Bath Settlement have recognized the value of this mandir and have begun to upkeep it. Additional works were done at the mandir and a shed was built. Villagers go to the mandir to pray mainly on Maha Shivratri and Indian Arrival Day. Another old mandir that dates back to the indentureship period is situated on Bath Backdam. This mandir is very small and houses a lingam. Villagers paint it and pray mainly at the mandir on Maha Shivratri. Some villagers offer their prayers at the mandir when they are passing daily to go to work. It is said that the first mosque in South America was built in Guyana by the

Around 1920, a group of Hindus living in Versailles approached the Versailles indentured Muslims sometime in the 1860’s in a village named Philadelphia on the East Bank of Essequibo. At first, there was no building on the site, but the area was marked off in the traditional Islamic manner to signify a sacred place where Muslims met in the open to carry out ritual worship. Later, the indentured Muslims constructed the first masjid, which was a structure made of mud and palm leaves. Today, the masjid is no longer there, but a monument was dedicated on 29 August 1999 in remembrance of the first ever masjid that was built in Guyana. The Queenstown Jama Masjid dates back to 147 years ago. It was the principal masjid in the capital city ‘Georgetown’. It is said that in 1890 about 400 Muslims were living in Queenstown and the steady increase of Muslims prompted Moulvi Gool Mohamed Khan to spearhead the move to construct the masjid. The previous Masjid’s foundation which is the original structure became weakened and could not accommodate the growing Adelphi Masjit Canje

9 - Horizons 2012

Ankerville, Corentyne, Berbice


Sugar Estate management for a plot of land to build a temple. Versailles Plantation had bought the Malgre Tout Plantation which was established in the 1800s and operated it as a sugar estate well into the 1900s. However, by 1920 the factory there was in ruins so the request was granted and a wooden structure with a mud floor was built on the abandoned Malgre Tout Plantation. At the same time, a tall conical shaped concrete structure called a Shivala (temple of Lord Shiva) was constructed from the bricks of the abandoned Malgre Tout Sugar Estate. It was plastered with cement, painted in white and a stone lingam was placed nearby surrounded by a jasmine hedge where devotees threw dhar early in the morning to Lord Shiva. The main temple was painted in a dark maroon colour while the inside was whitewashed with lime given by the Versailles Estate management. The Versailles Shivala was one of three such structures built in the colonythe other two were located on the East Coast of Demerara and West Coast of Berbice – all designed by the same architect who hailed from Lucknow in India. However, the chief builder supervising the construction was a holy man from Varanasi (Benares) in India fondly called Banana Sadhu. The name was given since he brought bananas from the local growers as far as Canal # 1 and rewarded every person with one banana for each brick brought to the construction site. When the bananas ran out, legend had it that he carefully collected the bricks, recorded the names of those who

brought them, and ensured that the person received their allotted share of bananas. Several sacred trees to the Hindu were planted at the same: the peepal, bael, neem tree, several types of mangoes, kowa (jack fruit), jack nut (katahar), and bread fruit. The first official priest at the matya was Pandit Loknauth from Lucknow in India. Versailles Hindu Temple, 1900's

Versailles Hindu Temple, today

He had come to the colony in the early 1900s and was assigned to Platation Versailles. Years have passed but the places of worship built by our ancestors still remain as sanctuaries for many as testimony to their faith in the Supreme during their years of hardship.


“Abbi Shud Go Back to De Ole Days” By Pradeep Singh

T

hese striking words were uttered by 94 year old George Bhairo of No. 47 Village, Corentyne, Berbice who was born on March 25th1918.In an interview with Horizon magazine, he related that his Aja Bhairo and Ajie Jasodra originally from Uttar Pradesh came to Guyana as indentured labourers. They landed here in 1889 on the ship “Sheila” with hundreds of others bound for Port Mourant. He noted that his Aja who was already married to Jasodra left his parents’ home in anger after a misunderstanding with his mother. Jasodra followed him. It was during this time that they heard the news about ships taking people to a rich land of new opportunities and they eventually decided to sign their names to take the trip. Mr. George related that after his grandfather emerged from his state of anger and received news that his mother was coming to see him at the Calcutta docks, he tried to withdraw their names and avoid the journey. He was unsuccessful. He boarded the ship with his pregnant wife without getting to meet his mother for the last time. His Aja cried bitterly regretting his hasty action. His Ajie gave birth to her first child (a girl) aboard the ship. The baby died during child birth and her body was thrown into the sea. When they arrived in British Guiana, they had to live ina logie on one of the sugar plantations in Berbice. The couple had six children; two boys Balbadar and Bejai and four girls; Julia, Parvati, Rajpati and Sughee. The children resided in the logie with them until they got married. George related that his grandfather didn’t work in the fields and refused to do so when he was asked to because the work was very hard and they weren’t any incentives. When he was

George and Niraani Bhairo 12 - Horizons 2012


asked what he used to do in India, he told them that “ah does look after dem cows”. He was given the responsibility of looking after the cattle on the estate After some time his Aja received a letter from his Bhowjee (Sister-in-law) in India relating that his brother had passed on and that she wanted him to return to get his brother’s children married. That letter brought tears to his Aja’s eyes because he was so far away from them and he couldn’t go because he had his own responsibilities and family to take care of. George felt that his Aja was a very brave and courageous person and keen on traditions. He used to play 'Kusti' (traditional wrestling on soil), 'Pari' and also sang 'Biraha'. When the five years were up his Aja chose not to return to India. He took all the savings he had and purchased eleven rods of land in Letterkenny, Corentyne where he moved with his family. George was the second of eight siblings. The others are Katherine, Peter, Ajodia (Harold), James, Kedhar, Kisson and Nithaani (Bethya). Of these Katherine was the eldest while Nithaani was the youngest.

They were all given the opportunity to obtain a Primary Education and they attended the Auchlyne Scott School (now Auchlyne Primary). However, only Kedhar and Kisoon went on to Secondary School. Kisoon later wrote his GCE and he excelled. George’s Aja took him out of school at the fifth standard and put him to learn tailoring. He used to sew long pants for twenty cents. In addition he used to helped with tending of the cattle. George got married at the age of 19 to Niraani on April 14th 1946. She was only 16 years old. He vividly recalled the ceremony which was done at night. He brought his Dulhan (bride) home on a donkey cart which was decorated beautifully. He narrated that he did not want to get married but he dare not refuse as all the arrangements had been finalised by the parents of both parties. He said he had no idea of what the discussions were because he was not allowed to be around when the elders were finalising the marriage. He realised one day when his parents told him not to go to the backdam and when he requested the reason, his mother reluctantly informed him that his father-

13 - Horizons 2012

in-law was coming over to 'engage him'. His marriage to Niraani (Didya) lasted for fifty six years but ended in 2002 when she passed away. The union had produced five children; three boys and two girls. He is the grandfather of 23 and a great-grand father of 25. George has no regrets in life, and would not change anything that has made him the person that he is today. He is one of the three surviving children of his parents and enjoys fair health, good speech and still moves around. He still reads a lot and has a good command of the Hindi language When asked about what advice he would give to people today, he replied that “ it would be a waste of time cause nonebody na listen these days, dem young people na get none respect and righteous thinking today”. However, he urged that “ abbi should gu back to de old days; dem should respect their parents; them ah abbi god on earth, abbi neva see god but abbi see abbi motha and fatha every day”.


A History of

Prashad Nagar

Guyana's First Planned Residential Community by Justice Prem Persaud

I

n the 1950’s the city of Georgetown encompassed areas bounded on the east by Irving Street and Cemetery Road, and on the south by LaPenitence. Further on the east were Newtown and what is now Bel Air Park. To the north and west were and still are the Atlantic Ocean and the Demerara River respectively. Sheriff Street was a mud dam and areas to the east were Campbelville, Blygezight, Bel Air, Sophia, Liliendaal, Pattensen, Turkeyen, Cummings Lodge, Industry, Ogle, etc. The Bel Air area was predominantly rice lands owned by Bel Air Estates Ltd. In 1957 Mr. HARI PRASHAD purchased a portion of the Bel Air estate which was referred to and called area “H”. But who is/was Mr. Hari Prashad? Of very humble beginning in the Mahaica Creek area where he was born and grew up, Mr. Prashad joined the local/labouring community in hard work in the fields. He cut logs which he parceled and sold, but still had the time in the evenings to read and study the Ramayana with his relations, the

Mr. Hari Prashad Gossai family, and involved himself in religious, social and cultural activities. He later migrated to Georgetown where the call of the land still echoed. He bought lands and built houses which he sold. But his was a restless soul and in the early fifties he went with his entire family to India where he spent some time. He later returned and devoted his time and energy to the real estate business. In the late 1950’s when Bookers was offering lands in Bel Air

The First House Built in Prashad Nagar 14 - Horizons 2012

Mrs. Amla Devi Prashad for sale he grasped the opportunity and invested his all in the purchase. The plot of land he purchased comprised 76.847 acres and it is bounded on the north by Bel Voir Court, on the west by a reserve between the plot and Campbelville, on the east by Sophia and on the south by the Cummings Canal. Land now south of the Cummings Canal is Lamaha Gardens. The reserve to the


formed themselves into community groups and rebuilt the roads by selfhelp efforts. The original title was obtained from Bookers in the names of Harriprashad, his wife Amla Devi Prashad and a respected physician Dr. Jairam Bissessar. The original transports were passed by them to the several purchasers of lots.

East Georgetown Sunatul Jamaat

Central Vaidik Mandir west was a canal that ran from the then East Coast Railway line south to the Cummings Canal. In or about 1965 that canal was filled up with garbage and became a land-filled area which is still a Government reserve. As hinted earlier, west of this reserve is the Campbelville/Blygezight area. The plot of land purchased by Mr. Prashad, area “H”, was a flat abandoned rice field. He decided to create a housing estate thereon, and had it surveyed and palled in accordance with the layout shown on a drawing dated May 1957, designed by Mr. Aubrey Barker, Town Planner. He named the area PRASHAD NAGAR. NAGAR, a Hindi word meaning a city or town or a division or district. There are 404 house lots , with varying sizes, namely, 120’ x 60’; 124’x 60’;

Sanskritik Kendra of The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha

106’ x 50’; 70’x 47’ and 53’x 80’. The bigger lots were offered for sale at between G$3500.00 and G$4000.00 each. The smaller lots were offered for sale from between G$1800.00 andG$2600.00. Many persons who purchased were farmers who could not pay off immediately and they were allowed to pay G$100.00 per month until final payment. They planted their holdings and sold the produce to meet up with their installments of one hundred dollars per month. Those who purchased and could not complete were refunded their total deposits/payments when the respective lots were resold. And they were resold for the original price. Electricity and water were provided. The roads were originally built with burnt-earth. Mr. Prashad kept maintaining the infrastructure and the plot holders contributed three dollars per month. Later the purchasers 15 - Horizons 2012

PRASHAD NAGAR IS ONE OF, IF NOT THE BEST, HOUSING SCHEME and is within the Greater Georgetown area. There are six (6) primary streets namely, CHANDRANAGAR STREET which is on the north and runs from east to west: DELHI STREET on the west which runs from north to south, and forms the western boundary of the area: GANGES STREET on the east which runs from north to south and forms the eastern boundary of Nagar: KAKA STREET which is the southernmost 10street and abuts the Cummings Canal. This street runs east to west. KAKA is a very dignified and respectful term for a paternal uncle or “CHA-CHA”. This street was named after Dr Kaka Kalilkar, an Indian philosopher who was visiting Guyana at the time and was a houseguest of the Prashads. Some people refer to Kaka Street as OMAI STREET. The significance of this defies understanding. Similarly some people refer to Ganges Street as the “Eastern Highway”. By no stretch of imagination or otherwise is this street a highway, but had probably been so conceptualized by the early town-planners. There are a number of lots north of Chandranagar Street which backed lands on the north which are south of Bel Air Promenade. There are however some other major streets, namely, Bissessar Avenue which runs from east to west, and named after that very good friend of the Prashads, Dr Jairam Bissessar, medical practitioner and famous and caring Gynaecologist who held the first transport with them. Another is Sachibazaar Street, which also runs from east to west, south of Bissessar Avenue. This street was named after one of the daughters of the Prashads. Chandranagar Street, referred to earlier, was named after


Original House Today the eldest child and daughter of the Prashads. Other streets in the district are Shribasant , Deobirana, Munipur and Purshottam, all named after the four sons of the Prashads. Two other streets, SHANTINIKETAN and ROHINITAL, were named after two other daughters of Mr. & Mrs. Prashad. Other streets named after relatives are Nanhooji Terrace, Jasmatbina Terrace and Damanbeer Terrace named after the father, mother and elder brother respectively of the writer of this article. SANTRAM STREET was named after the father of Mr. Hari Prashad , and AMLA AVENUE EAST AND AMLA AVENUE WEST were named after the wife of Mr. Hari Prashad, Amla Devi Prashad. There are some other streets – AGRA STREET, BOMBAY TERRACE and CHEDDI STREET which do not need any explanation. Lest I be accused of shy modesty or concealing the facts a street, PREMNIRANJAN PLACE which runs off Chandranagar Street to the north in a crescent was named after me, the writer hereof. In 1970-1971 when Mr. John Ford was Mayor of Georgetown he initiated a campaign to have the name PRASHAD NAGAR removed and to be renamed by some obscure sounding appellation. I protested and reminded those to

whom it concerned that PRASHAD NAGAR was a privately developed housing estate and no one has the right, authority or else to dictate a name for the project. The Hon Prime Minister, Mr. Forbes Burnham requested that Mr. Ford quietly back away from any intention to change the name. It may not be inappropriate for me to mention that Mr. John Forde later had his name inscribed when the East Street Canal was filled in and then renamed JOHN FORD CAR PARK. Incidentally, I must point out, the owners of the Scheme lost control of the administration of the area when by the Municipal and District Council Act, 1970, the area became vested in the Georgetown City Council. As a matter of fact the boundaries of the city of Georgetown, by that piece of legislation, were extended on the south to cater for all properties up to and including Plantation Rome on the East Bank of Demerara, and on the east up to and including Cummings Lodge on the East Coast of Demerara. Wiser counsel must have prevailed and there was no attempt to extend the boundary northwards or westwards! Six areas of land were reserved and dedicated for social, cultural and religious purposes. Regrettably all the lands were not utilized for 16 - Horizons 2012

the purposes for which they were intended. Sachibazaar Street was identified as the commercial centre of the scheme, but it did not attract entrepreneurs at that early stage in its development. The Georgetown “Green Belt” was violated without objection from the authorities and businesses of all shades and description began to mushroom in areas east of Vlissengen Road, Georgetown. An area, 280 ft x 140 ft – Plot “A” named GANDHI PARK was dedicated as a children’s playground. It is south of Premniranjan Place and was fenced. It is opposite the Vedic Mandir which is on the North side of the street. The public has little or no access to it as it was vandalized and used for pasturing donkeys, horses, and it now appears to be some sort of a parking lot. Plot “B”, an area west of plot “A” measuring 130 ft x 70 ft was identified as a car park, but has since been converted for residential purposes. Plot “C”, an area of 156ft x 140 ft – is a public park and situated in Shribasant Street and bounded on the east and west by Amla Avenue East and Amla Avenue West and on the south by Cede Street.


Plot “D”, an area of .9198 acres is at the junction of Amla Avenue East and on the south by Purshottam Street. It was dedicated as a site for a Church and School, and vested in the Diocese of Guyana. It had remained unoccupied for many years and eventually; quite recently, it was used as a residential complex. Plot “E” is called “Nehru Park”. It runs north to south from Bissessar Avenue to Sachibazaar Street and measures 576 ft x 62 ft. This plot is beautifully kept by residents and a kind-hearted Sheriff Street Business Enterprise and it is serving the purpose for which it was dedicated. Plot “F” is not without considerable interest. It is a plot dedicated for “Local Administration and Community Centre” and it is about 160 ft x about 186 feet. The land immediately south of this plot was reserved for a car park. The land is in Sachibazaar Street, on the south side. This plot was given over to the Mahatma Gandhi Youth Organisation in 1961 and in that year the corner- stone for a huge structure was laid by the then Governor Sir Richard Luyt. (He

had loved his Dal Puri which he called “Flattened Bake”). Scores of steel rods and tons of stone and sand were stored on the grounds for construction to begin. But some residents, three in number and who were very closely related to officials of the Gandhi Youth Organisation protested. The Attorney General’s Office of the day intervened and filed an action in the High Court. A restraining order was granted by the Judge and all operations ceased. The objection taken by the authorities was that the land should not be given to any particular organization and should be reserved for use by members of the public. The matter never went to trial and remained in limbo. Shortly after Mrs. Viola Burnham, wife of the Prime Minister approached me with a request for the land to be given over to her Organization, the WOMEN’S REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST MOVEMENT. (WRSM).They needed a place to house a workplace/factory to produce wares. I respectfully declined on the ground that the matter was pending before the Court, but in any event it was first given to the GYO.

They eventually found a place on the East Bank of Demerara, at Coverden, where a factory was set up and they produced VANCERAM wares, etc. Prashad Nagar is a relatively quiet and peaceful community. There are religious organizations established there, namely, the SANSKRITIK KENDRA of the GUYANA HINDU DHARMIC SABHA in Ganges Street, the ARYA SAMAJ movement with its CENTRAL VEDIC MANDIR in Premniranjan Place, and the MUSLIM COMMUNITY catered for by the EAST GEORGETOWN SUNATUL JAMAAT in Sachibazaar Street. There are also the GEORGETOWN AMERICAN SCHOOL at Delhi & Chandranagar Streets, and the NEW GUYANA SCHOOL in Delhi Street. The foregoing is a short history of Prashad Nagar which I have attempted to do as a result of requests from a number of citizens who wish to be aware of all aspects of life in Guyana, more especially during the “good old days”.


with some local cricketing giants from a very tender age. EARLY YEARS Born to Cousila and the late Mohanlall Bishoo on November 6, 1985, and bred in the sugar cane village of Albion, East Berbice, an area called Doctor Bush to be specific; Bishoo developed an inclination for the game from very early. This was by no means a surprising occurrence, as he was bombarded by the heavy reverberation of ‘willow against leather’ bellowing in his ears from the nearby Albion Community Centre ground. A former student of Cropper Primary School and Lower Corentyne Secondary, Bishoo decided to try his hand at competitive cricket by joining the Albion Sports Club at age 11. However, his first opportunity would come two years after when he was selected as a leg-spinner and lowerorder batsman in the club’s Under-15 team.

Devendra Bishoo From Room Attendant to Test Cricketer

The Story of the Little Leg-spinner from Albion By Avenash Ramzan

A

West Indies leg-spinner, Devendra Bishoo, may be tempted to give you his own version: ‘once you mix with cricketers, you will play cricket.’

Putting that analogy into perspective,

As Horizons traces the career of the 26-year-old, it becomes evidently clear that it’s not just Bishoo’s love for the game that has brought him international acclaim, but moreso, the fact that he started rubbing shoulders

s a journalist covering the cycling beat over the years, I have had cause on many occasions to ask the long-serving national cycling coach, Hassan Mohamed, “what keeps you going?”The response has been the same every time: ‘once you mix with the young, you will always remain young.’

19 - Horizons 2012

Impressive performances at the club level caught the eyes of the Berbice Cricket Board selectors and he was drafted into the County team where he emerged as the leading bowler in 2000. A call up to the national Under-15 team the same year saw him on the standby list, bizarrely, because of him being “small statured”, he tells Horizons. The following year, he made his national Under-15 debut, snaring 2-28 from 10 overs against the Leeward Islands to kick start a three-year stint at the youth level for Guyana. During that time, he was dominant at the InterCounty competition, which is primarily used to select the national team. At the Under-17 level in 2003, he captured a record 23 wickets from a mere two games, including an astonishing 9-44 against Essequibo at the Everest Cricket Club ground. As a young member of the Albion Sports Club, it was mandatory that Bishoo and young cricketers his age do certain errands whenever First-Class cricket was hosted at the venue.


A national player now, Bishoo was assigned the duties of room attendant of the senior Guyana team, affording him the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, whom he would later play Test cricket with, and the phenomenal spin-twins, Mahendra Nagamootoo and Neil McGarrell, who himself and club-mate, left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, would replace on the senior Guyana team. “It was a real great experience being among those players, especially Shiv [Chanderpaul] and Sars [Sarwan]. Just being around them was like a learning curve for me, as I always wanted to be like them you know- play at the highest level,” Bishoo related. Growing up in a single-parent familyhis father passed away a few years after his birth- was tough for Bishoo, but with help from his uncle Munniram Lalbeharry, who gave him his first cricket bat, inspiration from watching the Guyana players in action, and support and motivation from his mother, he was able to graduate into the Under-19 level, and subsequently, into the First-Class arena in the 2007/08 First-Class season against the Combined Campuses and Colleges at the National Stadium, Providence, during the Carib Beer Four-Day Series. “It was tough because it was my mother alone, and all we used to survive on was NIS and Old Age Pension. Whenever I had to travel to Georgetown to play, the club, my uncle and grandmother, and

my first coach, Vemen [Walter] used to take out money from their pocket and help me,” Bishoo revealed. While he is thankful for the support he received from everyone, he is particularly grateful for the role Walter has played in his career. “You know Vemen is like a father, friend, coach, big brother…a real inspiration in my life. He spotted my talent early, and I think he is the one that I should really thank for all that I’ve achieved in cricket so far.” Walter said of Bishoo, “He’s always a very disciplined player, up to this day. When he first joined the club, he was a diminutive guy, but you could see he was tough. He used to run a lot and he was very enthusiastic and I was impressed with his attitude.” BIG LEAGUE In his First-Class debut, Bishoo made an instant impact, bagging 5-29 from 18 overs and 2-18 from 12 overs in a drawn encounter against the CCC- a match in which Chanderpaul made a brilliant 207 not out. That proved to be the start of a sustained run in the national team, as he and Permaul formed a solid partnership, becoming the backbone of Guyana’s bowling after the sudden axing of Nagamootoo and McGarrell. His attacking style of bowling had a major impact in the 2010 Caribbean T20 where he finished with ten wickets

in four games at the mean average of 8.20, conceding just 5.12 runs an over. His Man-of-the-Series award in that tournament tipped him as one of the players to watch out for in the Champions League Twenty20, where he immediately impressed with the prize scalp of Indian master batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, of Indian Premier League franchise team, Mumbai Indians. His boyhood dream and father’s dying wish of his son playing for the West Indies came one step closer to realization when the pint-sized player, who had by then captured 86 wickets from 21 First-Class matches and 29 from 13 regional One-day games, was named in the provisional 30-man squad for the 2011 World Cup in Asia in February-April. Though he didn’t make the final 15 for the trip to India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, Bishoo’s day in the maroon was always imminent for he was one of the few genuinely attacking and wicket-taking spinners in this part of the hemisphere. As destiny would have it, the effervescent all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was injured early in the West Indies’ World Cup campaign; Marlon Samuels refused the offer to return to international cricket, and Bishoo was drafted into the squad, albeit much debate from some quarters of the cricketing circles.

Bishoo being presented with his W.I Cap on debut by Team Manager Richie Richardson 20 - Horizons 2012


In the ill-fated quarter-final against Pakistan, he conceded 24 runs from his five overs as the Asian side romped to a 10-wicket victory. “Obviously, I was nervous when the skipper handed me the ball against England,” he confessed. “But Sars, Shiv and Chris [Gayle] were helping me along, and once I found my line and length, it became easier.” He added, “The experience was good; I enjoyed every moment of it. The atmosphere was electrifying.” Bishoo, who became the 167th West Indian to play ODIs, added that the Indian batsmen were the toughest to bowl against, taking into consideration their proficiency against spin bowling. He arrived in the sub-continent with the burden of expectation and the weight of the critics on his shoulders. Here it is, the humble young man from East Berbice being entrusted with the biggest task of his fledging career on the most colossal of events- the Cricket World Cup. Bishoo‘warmed the benches’ for the clash against Ireland, but was called into action against England in Chennai, India, on March 17. He responded immediately with two wickets in eight miserly overs on the trot, and another in his final two overs for fantastic figures of 3-34. His maiden international wicket was that of Jonathon Trott, followed by Eion Morgan and Luke Wright- all frontline batsmen. Next up was tournament favourites and eventual champions, India. With a powerhouse batting line-up featuring Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, GautamGambhir, ViratKohli, Suresh Raina, and Yusuf Pathan, Bishoo bowled with precision and ended with 1-48 from 10 overs, including the wicket of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni- a wicket-keeper batsman with 5,933 ODI runs at an imposing average of 48.23 at the time.

Less than two months later- May 12 to be exact- he was handed a Test debut against Pakistan in the first DigicelTest match, capturing 4-68 from 25 overs in the first innings to play a part in the 40run victory for the West Indies. “While getting Sachin’s wicket was a great feeling, I think the greatest moment was actually playing for the West Indies at the very highest levelthe World Cup,” he reflected. “Getting those three keys wicket in my first game against England gave me a lot of confidence, and also the motivation to keep working hard to stay on top of my game.” Work hard he did, and the extra effort and dedication did not go unnoticed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as he was voted Emerging Playerof-the-Year 2011 at the ICC Annual Awards ceremony in London last September. Bishoo had played five Tests in the voting period - August 11, 2010 to August 3, 2011 - and took 21 wickets at an average of 35.42. He also picked up 19 wickets at 21.57 each in 11 ODIs. "I could not believe it when I was nominated for the ICC Emerging Player-of-the-Year, but to win it feels great," he said upon winning the

21 - Horizons 2012

accolade. "I would like to dedicate the award to my father. He played a great role in my life and encouraged me to play cricket. After he died I made a promise to always give my best and reach for the top. "I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me along the way and also a special 'thank you' to the fans who have supported me. I hope I can continue to represent the West Indies with pride and improve my bowling and keep taking as many international wickets as I can. I'd like to thank the support staff and my teammates of the West Indies and Guyana for all the support and guidance." Previous winners of the Emerging Player Award are IrfanPathan (2004), Kevin Pietersen (2005), Ian Bell (2006), Shaun Tait (2007), AjanthaMendis (2008), Peter Siddle (2009) and Steven Finn (2010). TOUGH TIMES A year after making his international debut and competing on the world stage, Bishoohas been put through his toughest battle yet- being dropped from the West Indies team aftera few poor performances, compounded by the presence of the Trinidad and Tobago’s mystery spinner Sunil Narine and the ever-improving Dominican off-spinner Shane Shillingford. While he is deflated, he is not despondent. He tells Horizons that he is confident of making it back to the top, and what better place to start that journey than the Albion Sports Club where the sound advice of Walter and the love and support of relatives, friends and fans are in abundance. *** At the time of writing,Bishoo had bagged 40 wickets at an average of 39.55 with career-best figures of 5-90, while in the ODI arena he had captured 20 wickets from 13 games at an average of 23.80 and career-best of 3-34. In 36 First-Class outings, he has collected 150 wickets at 29.24 apiece.


Carambola The Star Fruit A

ppropriately named due to its appearance when sliced across the middle, Star Fruit is also known as Carambola. Native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Carambola was brought to our land over 150 years ago. While this name may not be familiar to you, I am referring to the five- finger fruit as it is popularly known here in Guyana. Carambola comes from a tree known as the Averrhoa carambola, which is a slow growing tree can reach up to 30 feet in height. Apart from producing the fruit, the tree produces a small bellshaped flower which is usually a red to purple in colour. The tree thrives in tropical regions, such as Guyana, and can bear flowers year round and fruits 3 to 5 times a year under these conditions. Unlike many other fruits, an entire Carambola can be eaten. Yes, that includes the skin as well. Star fruit’s texture is crunchy, firm and juicy! A ripe carambola will be sweet with a slight sour undertone while a young carmabola will be quite sour. So how can you tell the difference between a young carambola and a ripe one? A young carambola will be green in colour and very firm while a ripe carambola will have yellow colour with brown ridges along the five edges of the fruit. A ripe

By Zahrah Alli carambola will also not be as firm as a young one. Some have compared the taste of a Carambola to that of a pineapple, an orange, an apple and even a lemon! Your taste buds may have a different opinion. Like many other fruits, star fruits provide numerous benefits but there are some risks as will from consuming this fruit. Let’s look at these risks first. Carambola contains oxalic acid which is harmful to kidney patients. Persons with kidney failure, kidney stones, under dialysis treatment and even chronic renal failure should not consume five finger due to the presence of this acid. Consumption can cause hiccups, muscle weakness, seizures, insomnia, vomiting and even mental confusion. Don’t have a kidney problem? Well then the benefits from carambola are numerous for you! Let’s take a look at them: • •

Rich in ascorbic acid, star fruit can help to maintain bones, teeth, skin and your immune system. The little amounts of B vitamins present can help lower cholesterol and reduce risk of stroke and heart attack. Vitamin A aids your vision and appetite 23 - Horizons 2012

Rich in soluble fiber, consumption of the fruit can reduce cholesterol levels and keep your bowels healthy. HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT STAR 1. Rinse/lightly wash the fruit in water. 2. On a cutting board, cut very shallowly along each of the five ridges to remove the brown outer edge, should the fruit be ripe enough to have this. 3. One end of the fruit will be flat and the other will come to a peak. This peak is where the stem was attached and should be cut off. 4. Now you can begin to slice the star fruit. Your slices can be thick or thin, it’s entirely up to you! 5. Using the tip of your knife, discard any seeds which you may come across in cutting your slices. Now that you have the perfect star you can get straight to eating! It may also be used as a garnish for a delicious dish you have prepared, as part of a salad or dessert or I’m even told it makes a great tasting juice. Whichever way you choose to consume your five- finger, ENJOY! Fun Fact: Did you know a single cup of sliced carambola contains 37.2mg of vitamin c.


Celebrating Pioneering East Indian Women From Indentureship to Today By Ananda Latchman

P

arampara!!! Many of us may remember Amitabh Bachchan bellowing this word which means tradition across the big screen in the movie Kabhi Khushi Khabhi Gham. And just as Shah Rukh Khan, broke tradition and made the movie a super hit with unforgettable moments, the same way these independent, spirited and dedicated women broke male dominated career moulds in their time, and paved the way for the present and future generations of women. It was tradition for men to be the bread winner, make up the professional working class, to be educated and independent and for women to be at home. In some parts of India this is still the tradition, the norm. However, 174 years ago women came from India to Guyana and became the strength of their families and the backbone of their culture. The women featured in this article will be remembered as icons by Guyanese as the women who broke Parampara in their time and cemented their place among the independent, educated and respected working class.

25 - Horizons 2012


Pioneering Women

Ena Luckhoo - First Female Lawyer

I

n the matters of truth, law and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, nor is there a difference between men and women, for the law does not discriminate between genders, and neither did Ena Luckhoo. She proved this by becoming the first female lawyer of Indian descent in Guyana. Evelyn Ada Luckhoo, commonly referred to as Ena, was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice on 17th August 1923. She was the youngest of six children to father Edward Alfred Luckhoo, O.B.E. Solicitor and mother Evelyn Maude Luckhoo. Being the youngest in a large family with siblings

Irene, Edward, Lionel, and Lloyd made her completely spoilt, especially by her three older brothers, who were also very protective. She was a student of Ursuline Convent and Berbice Girls’ High School in New Amsterdam until 1931, after which she attended Bishops’ High School, Georgetown, where she completed her secondary education. She was not only successful, but passed with honours at both the Junior and Senior Cambridge Examinations. Even though she was brought up in a prominent legal family, the decision to become a lawyer was not made directly after High School but after deliberating for a few years. Only after witnessing many battles and listening to daily discussions of legal points amongst her brothers, which she found very interesting, did she decide to take up law as her profession. She was articled to Lloyd Luckhoo; she served in his Chambers for four and half years. After this period she was eligible to sit the Law Society Examination, and qualified as a Solicitor in 1949. Thereafter, she joined the Firm of Luckhoo and 26 - Horizons 2012

Luckhoo, Legal Practitioners. At the firm her practice was limited as she did not want to appear in the Magistrate’s Court and thoroughly enjoyed being instructing Solicitor in Criminal cases, preparing pleadings, Conveyance, Divorce and Matrimonial matters. In 1956 she experienced what few persons experience in a lifetime, love at first sight, when she met Dr. Peter Byrne, a Veterinary Surgeon from Ireland. Her feelings of love were reciprocated and they married in 1957. Her marriage brought more happiness to her life as she had her two children, Adrian and Denise, to complete her family. However, being wife and mother did not keep her out of the professional field. She continued to practise law, performed the duties as Mayoress of Georgetown having been designated to do so during her brother Lionel’s term of office as Mayor in 1955 – 1956 and 1960 – 1961 and she also had the privilege of being Honorary Consul for Sweden. Throughout her career, and working at


the Firm of Luckhoo and Luckhoo she achieved significantly. However, she recalls that one of her most memorable moments as a lawyer was the case in which Noor Mohammed was charged with murder. She and her brother represented him. He was convicted of the crime, but they were granted leave to go to the Privy Council where their Appeal was successful. At the prison when she told Noor Mohammed he was a free man he fell on his knees and said “Thank you God, thank you Sir, thank you Missus – I will never do it again!!”

She continued to practice until 1975, but at this time, her husband Peter was desirous of returning to his homeland and so, they decided to take up residence in Dublin, Ireland.

Where can we find her now? Her love and husband, Peter died in 1990 and after much deliberation she decided to return to the warmth of the Caribbean and to Trinidad, since her sister and son reside there. She continues to lead a hectic life there as

Vice-President of the Mayfair Ladies Bridge Club and former Director of Harbour View Ltd – a block of Apartments where she now resides. She attends the Races at Arima Race Course regularly and is always excited when the horses in which she has a share wins. At 89 years old, she is still going strong, pursuing many activities and still makes time for her children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great grand.

Savitri Balbahadur

I

Principal Cyril Potter College of Education

t is said that a child's first teacher is his or her mother. It seems fitting that women should take the leadership role in teacher education; a field that was once dominated by males. The Cyril Potter College (CPC) of Education is the institution which awards the Trained Teachers Certificate in Guyana. In the late 70's, the trend of predominantly male Principals at CPC changed and more women became Principals. Mrs. Savitri Balbahadur was the first woman of Indian descent to head the College. Mrs. Balbahadur, born on October 4th, 1945 attended the Bishops’ High School from 1957-1964 where she wrote her ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels. During her five (5) year stint at the University of Guyana, 1964 – 1969, she pursued a BSc in Biology while working as a teacher at the Rama Krishna Primary School. However, this was not her first job; she started working in the public sector at the Inland Revenue Department but later moved to Rama Krishna Primary when it operated under a shift system. This allowed her to attend night classes at UG and still maintain a full time job. At Rama Krishna she honed her skills in teaching and subsequently went on to achieve her Diploma in Education from the University of Guyana during the period 1969 – 1970. This enabled her to move from the arena of Primary to Secondary education. She taught Biology at Richard Ishmael Secondary School for approximately a year and then moved to South Georgetown Secondary School. In 1971, Mrs.

Balbahadur earned the coveted Government of Guyana /Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Scholarship for the Teachers Supervision program to the University of Western Ontario in Canada. On her return in 1972 she began working at the then Guyana Teachers College in Battery Road, Kingston. However, dedication to her studies and career did not prevent her from having an equally fulfilling family life. On August 20th, 1972, she got married to Mr. Pooran Balbahadur and later went on to earn the most respected title held by all women; that of “mother” when she gave birth to her only child, Avinash in 1973. At the Cyril Potter College of Education, formerly known as Guyana Teachers College, she continued her services as a Science lecturer and was further promoted to Principal in 1995, becoming the first female Principal of Indian descent in Guyana. After six (6) years as Principal, Mrs. Balbahadur retired in September 2001. This did not stop her career in educational development. She went on to work as the field manager for the CIDA funded ‘Distance Education Project’ from October 2001 – 2009. After 47 years of working as a teacher and educator, Mrs. Balbahadur retired from her illustrious career.

Where can we find her now? Mrs. Balbahadur continues to play an active role in her community and in the education field even after retirement. 27 - Horizons 2012

She does voluntary work at the Dharmic Rama Krishna School; she is also a member on the Board of Dharmic Rama Krishna School, Chairperson for Guyana Book Foundation Board of Directors and member of the Bishops’ High School Board of Governors. She also plays an active role in organising her mandir activities. She not only represents Indian women educators of our time, she is truly a woman of who wears many caps and wears them well.


Christina Ramjattan

First Woman In Guyana's Politics

I

n today’s political society, women have an equal role in decision making and policy control. However, were it not for a few women paving the way, having their voices heard, fighting for freedom and standing up on behalf of Guyanese women, then women today would not have the equal opportunity and privileges that they have. Senator Christina Ramjattan, one of the first women in Guyana’s political world and a part of the women’s activist group, was one of the women that paved the way for this equality and women’s influence in politics. Ms. Ramjattan joined the People Progressive Party (PPP) in 1960 at the Grove location; this was headed at that time by Reepu Daman Persaud. In 1961 Dr. Cheddi Jagan appointed her as Senator as she was the representative of the Party in the Linden District and he noticed her dedication towards the fight for Independence. She became a central member of the party and served the PPP for approximately 40 years.

by the police thereafter and became a voice for women and Indians in general having escaped the catastrophe of Wismar. From 1965 women became the visible the live-wires of the PPP party. Home-grown activists had sprung up everywhere with Christina Ramjattan taking the lead in Georgetown.

She was one of the fortunate women who escaped the Wismar tragedy in May 1964 and lived to tell its tale. Unfortunately, while she escaped Wismar, her father died along with many other Indians who suffered as houses at Third Alley, Linden were set on fire and the whole area became an inferno as gangs roamed, looting, burning and terrorizing the 1,600 Indians who lived there. Every man, woman and child was attacked as they tried to escape. She was interrogated

When PPP/C won the 1992 general elections, His Excellency Dr. Cheddi Jagan in his first address as President, publicly spoke of Ms. Ramjattan’s part in achieving independence and progress in our country: “While I congratulate you, let me applaud in our midst today the former Minster, W. M. G Wilson, Senator Christina Ramjattan and Mrs Annelise Kelshall, widow of the late Jack Kelshall, all of whom played such a magnificent role in our struggle for national and social liberation”. Ms. Ramjattan passed away in 2010 after a life of struggles, independence, sorrows, happiness and many years in the political arena.

Dr. Sita Boodhoo - First Medical Doctor

G

rowing up, many little boys and girls want to become doctors. But not many can claim that they were among the select few to achieve this while living in an age where men were the doctors and women were at home. Nor can they claim to be one of the first women of Indian descent to achieve this. However, Sita Boodhoo can make both claims! Sita Boodhoo was born and raised as a Georgetown girl, hailing from Duke Street Kingston. She commenced her secondary education at the then, all girls Bishops’ High School. Upon

completion of her secondary studies, she was determined to study medicine and was awarded a scholarship to Trinity School of Medicine – Dublin, Ireland. On completion of her medical studies, she returned to Guyana where she married Mr. Eustace Hanoman and took up a post at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where she was able to practice medicine and give back to her country. Whilst serving as a doctor to many, she gained another prestigious title; mother to four, three (3) boys and one (1) girl. Unfortunately, Sita Boodhoo succumbed to cancer

28 - Horizons 2012

in 1969 after leading a short but productive life. Sita Boodhoo Hanoman will be remembered as the ‘woman in the sari’, as it is said that she wore her sarees on a regular basis, even for work. But more importantly, she will always be a part of Guyanese history for her work in the medical field, for serving her country in an era when women were not as recognised as they are today for being pillars in the working world and for being one of the first women of Indian descent to earn the designation “Doctor”.


Shakira Baksh

First Guyanese Beauty on the World Stage

W

hen we think of beauty pageants, modelling and acting, not many of us would think of an Indian Guyanese woman choosing that career path in the years gone by and succeeding in the quest. But successful she was! We are referring to none other than Guyanese, born and bred, Shakira Baksh. Born to a Muslim family on February 23rd, 1947, Shakira was the eldest of four children. Unfortunately, at the age of 5 she lost her father. However, her love for fashion and designing was born from that event, as her 23 year old mother started to design and sew stunning dresses in order to take care of her four children. Shakira’s dreams and aspirations of a career in fashion designing were put on hold when she went to work as a secretary in order to assist her family. There, her boss saw her unique features and potential and encouraged her to enter the Miss Guyana contest. Shakira not only won

that contest but she became the first Miss Guyana to place in an International Competition, when on the London stage in 1967, at the tender age of 19, she placed third (second runner-up) in the Miss World Competition. This became her stepping stone into the world of modelling. Thereafter she worked as a professional model in advertisements for four (4) years, becoming well known for her roles in commercials for brands such as Maxwell House Coffee and other popular companies. After her performances as a model and in commercials; her exotic features were noticed by British actor, Michael Caine who dubbed her as “the most beautiful woman in the world”. On January 8th, 1973 Shakira married the man who is known for films such as Alfie, Get Carter, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, among many others. She then went on to act opposite her husband, Michael Caine and Sean Connery in her first and last Hollywood movie “The 29 - Horizons 2012

With Daughter & Husband, Actor Michael Caine

Man Who Would Be King” in 1975. Mrs. Caine, as she is now referred to, decided to give up her acting and modelling career to stay home and take care of her only child and daughter, Natasha, who was born a year earlier in 1974.

Where can we find her now? Shakira resides in London with her husband Michael where they are still going strong after 39 years of marriage. Her initial love for fashion design which was influenced by her mother is being utilised as she works from home designing jewellery. Her pieces are usually made in India and sold in the major Department stores all over England and America. Her current love interest is art a where she is trying her talent in painting landscapes.


Clarissa Riehl - First Female GDF Officer A number of incidents occurred concurrently to shape her life thereafter. In 1969 she resigned from her job at the Inland Revenue Department and in September of the same year, married the love of her life, Mr. Thurston Riehl, an Anglican Priest of German descent. When the time came to make the women’s arm of the Army permanent, she made the decision not to become a permanent officer as she was focusing on other aspects of her life. She has one child, Indranie who was born in 1973.

Where can we find her now? Clarissa leading GDF Women Army Corps in Parade

T

he highest spiritual quality, the noblest property of mind man can have, is that of loyalty. Defending one’s country in a time when there was uncertainty in the future of the country is a brave decision and the first woman of Indian descent who took up the gauntlet and showed her dedication to Guyana by joining the Guyana Defence Force from its inception was Clarissa Riehl. Born Clarissa Sabita Hookumchand in Tempie, West Berbice on March 23rd, 1945 she was the second child of eight siblings to her Berbician parents. At great sacrifice, her parents sent all of their children to school so that they could become educated and independent. In order to fulfil her academic pursuits and complete her secondary studies at Berbice Educational Institute in New Amsterdam, Clarissa left her parents’ home in Tempie, West Berbice to stay with her Nani (maternal grandmother) during her years at school. With this family support, she was able to write the GCE O’ Levels and the Senior Cambridge Certificate and successfully complete both in 1964. Armed with her educational certificates, Clarissa moved to Georgetown where she started her first job at the Inland Revenue Department in 1965. It was during her years of work as a Clerk at Inland Revenue, that Clarissa developed an interest in the army. Still under the British rule, she made

attempts to join the women’s arm of the British army called the Women’s Royal Air Force, but her attempt was met with rejection as they were not enlisting persons from overseas at that time. Shortly after, the British army came to Guyana to quell the racial disturbances and one regime, headed by Colonel Pope, remained to fashion a Defence Force for the newly independent Guyana. They used as a base for the Army, the British Guyana Volunteer Force, and Colonel Stephenson – Inspector of Taxes at Inland Revenue and a colleague of Clarissa was called to serve. He knew of her interest and encouraged her to become part of the women’s arm. She applied and was interviewed by a panel of six British Officers, the “steely blue eyes” as she referred to them and one Guyanese – Colonel Martindale. She joined as a Cadet in 1966 and trained for four months. On completion of her 4 months training, she became the first female of Indian descent and one of the first four women, to become a ranked officer in the Army, earning the rank of second Lieutenant in 1967, with the responsibility to head her own platoon. The women’s arm was a reserve section of the army. For two years, she continued her job at the Inland Revenue Department and was given time off to attend the Army’s one weekend per month military training and their seventeen day “summer” training. 30 - Horizons 2012

After marriage, she began studying law and acquired her legal education from the University of Guyana and University of the West Indies. She obtained an LLB Degree in 1977 from the University of Guyana and her Legal Education Certificate (LEC) from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago in 1979. In 1979, she worked for two and half years at the DPP Chambers. In 1982, she sat on the bench as a Magistrate and then Senior Magistrate and then returned to the DPP Chambers in 1989 as Assistant DPP where she stayed until 1992. She joined the People’s National Congress (PNC) led by Mr. Desmond Hoyte and became a Member of Parliament in 1992, subsequently becoming Deputy Speaker of the House in 1997, where she served until 2011. Now, Mrs. Riehl has her own private law practice where she spends most of her time.


Bernadette Persaud - Professional Painter / Artist and then wrote her GCE ‘A’ Levels at St. Joseph High School in Georgetown in 1965. Subsequently, she returned to her birth place and taught English Language and English Literature for three years at the Bush Lot Secondary School. She was transferred to the Charlestown Secondary School where she continued to teach both subjects along with Art and commenced night classes at the University of Guyana. Bernadette graduated in 1972 with a Major in English and Minor in History. In 1968, she got married to Mr. Byro Persaud and had her first and second son, while teaching and studying.

I

t was once said by the famous painter Pablo Picasso that “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary” and Bernadette Persaud has indeed kept a diary of Guyanese traditions, ancestry, ethnic identity, beauty and the political history of her country. She is not only one of the first women of Indian descent to make paintings and artistry part of Guyana’s culture, but one of the first artists to explore, in depth, East Indian themes, iconography, artifacts and Arabic Calligraphy. It can also be said that she is one of the few Guyanese women artists to have her works showcased on the International art scene. Bernadette Indira Joseph, born on March 17th, 1946 in Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice hailed from a large family with many siblings. Her father, a school teacher from the Essequibo Island, Leguan, travelled due to the nature of his job and met her mother in Berbice while teaching there. Bernadette was the first of nine siblings born to her parents. Her early years were spent in Berbice but by the time she was ready to start Secondary School, her father was relocated to the mining town of Mackenzie/Linden. She spent five (5) years, 1958 – 1963, at the McKenzie High School graduated with her GCE ‘O’ Levels

Mrs. Persaud thinks her passion and talent for the arts was awakened by her father at an early age when he bought paint supplies to encourage creativity in his children. "He was talented at drawing and painting and made very skilful, realistic soft sculptures - as teaching aids." While working at Charlestown Secondary, she attended an Art's Teacher Seminar; her talent was noticed by the Director of Art, Mr. Denis Williams who encouraged her to attend the new Art School he planned to start. In 1974, Mrs. Persaud enrolled as a part time student at the Burrowes School of Arts where she gained a Diploma in the field. She began teaching at the St. Roses High School in 1977. However, that experience was short lived as due to her out-spoken manner and political activism; Mrs. Persaud was dismissed, like many others, in 1980, from not only St. Roses High. She then threw herself into her paintings and developed a career as a serious artist. After painting for a few years and accumulating her art pieces, Mrs. Persaud held her first and very successful exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Centre in Georgetown in 1984. Her career as an artist took off; in 1985 she became the first woman to win the National Visual Arts Exhibition and Competition, sponsored by the Department of Culture; and as they say, the rest is history, and it is indeed; it is Guyanese History. She continued to contribute to the education of Guyanese students 31 - Horizons 2012

and this time in the field she was passionate about, as she joined the Burrowes School of Art once again - at the invitation of Mr. Denis Williams - in 1991, as a teacher. Her contribution to Guyanese history was acknowledged when she received one of Guyana’s National Honours – The Golden Arrow of Achievement, in 1997, for her ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Cultural Mosaic in the field of the Visual Arts.’ After spending eight years at the Burrowes School of Art, she left and joined the University Of Guyana, Creative Arts Department in 2000 to teach Art. She retired after seven years. Her painting career did not suffer as she had many exhibitions, including International exhibitions in India – Triennale in 1997 and again in 2005, Mauritius – 2009, the Five Myles Gallery showcasing “Guyanese Contemporary Expressions” In New York City in 2011. She has exhibited with the Guyana Women’s Artists in England, at the Commonwealth Institute and in Canada. Mrs. Persaud has also had solo exhibitions in Jamaica – 1999 and Trinidad and Tobago – 2004 where her outstanding talent was showcased.

Where can we find her now? Mrs. Persaud still resides in Chateau Margot, Guyana with her husband and sons. She continues to paint with the aim of having another international exhibition next year. She currently holds the position of Art Editor for Guyana’s Arts Journal, a position she has had since its inception in 2004. Mrs. Persaud says that in the long run what fuels her vision is the struggle to “find a new colour and an authentic God”.


Jean Ramdulari Ramkhelawan First Woman Engineer

C

ivil engineers have one of the world's most important jobs: with creativity and technical skill, civil engineers plan, design, construct facilities essential to modern life, ranging from roads, bridges, to highway systems and are responsible for shaping our country’s infrastructure. Jean Ramkhelawan holds not only the title of Civil Engineer, but the coveted title of the first woman engineer of Indian descent in Guyana. With determination and resiliency demanded by this taxing profession Jean has been able to contribute tangibly to Guyana’s development as a civil engineer. On May 13th, 1955, Jean entered the world as the third child of her East Coast Demerara resident parents. There were many rough patches for this large family living in Industry, as her father was a cane cutter and her mother was a housewife. Overcoming those hurdles, she attended Cummings Lodge Secondary School on the East Coast from 1966 – 1972 where she successfully completed four (4) GCE O’ Levels. Her first job was as a typist/ clerk at the Ministry of Public Works in 1974. She took another step in life when she got married in 1975. Shortly after her marriage, in 1976 she was transferred to the Materials Division of the Ministry and started working as a Materials Technician in the lab. Her curiosity about the field was aroused while working in the Civil Engineering Lab at the Ministry of Public. This innate inquisitiveness and quest to learn

more made her join the Government Technical Institute (GTI) in 1978. She graduated in 1980 with her Ordinary Technician Diploma in Building and System Civil Engineering (City and Guilds). Still maintaining her full time job at the Ministry and not satisfied with just a Diploma, she enrolled at the University of Guyana in 1982 to study Civil Engineering. At that time, Engineering, which was her passion was a field dominated by men. In her class, she was the only female among sixteen males. Not intimidated by the male presence she was able to hold her own. As she was treated equally and garnered their respect. After four years of hard work and keeping pace with all the men, she graduated in 1986 with her BSc. in Civil Engineering. While she was breaking barriers in her academic and professional life, she was also a wife and achieved motherhood in 1976 when her first son was born. She has five children.

By this time her contract with the Ministry of Public Works was also up, but she decided to remain there with an upgraded position, that of Foils Engineer. In 1992 she was promoted to Chief Materials Officer and then Deputy Chief Road Officer before resigning from the Ministry in 1994. She left the public service completely in 1994 and started consultancy for a series of private firms. Her first consultant job for E and A Consultant Services entailed supervising construction of roads and minor design works. She worked for a series of companies including Seeram Brothers and DIPCON Engineering Services before returning to the Public Sector in 2000. At the same time she started lecturing at the Faculty of Technology – University of Guyana. In 2005, she simultaneously lectured and did a short course in Project Planning and Project Management at the Critchlow Labour College. She resigned from the University in 2006 and enrolled for the Masters Programme at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Trinidad. Jean graduated in January 32 - Horizons 2012

2009 with a distinction in Construction Management.

Where can we find her now? Mrs. Ramkhelawan’s distinguished career and achievements were augmented with time and she continuously works for the development of Guyana’s infrastructure. Currently, she is working with a consultancy firm, supervising the East Bank of Demerara ‘four lane highway’ Extension Project. From 2010 to March 2012 she served as the President for the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE) and on concluding her 2 year service, she remained as an executive member for GAPE. She is also a member of the IDB Civil Society Consulting Group and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She continues to work in the field she loves and the field she had to overcome many hurdles to conquer. She encourages young women to upgrade themselves and says “if you have a skill then go for it, regardless of age, race, gender and social class”.

T

hese women were born during the years when women had little to no say in the working world, when women were expected to stay home, when they did not have a voice in open society and when they were not treated as equals. They lived through the days when Guyana was ruled by the British, battled for independence, survived racial warfare, lined up for food items, studied via candle light and fought for their place as equals in all fields and areas of work and life. More importantly, they accomplished all this while serving simultaneously as wife, mother, sister, friend and patriot. The women featured today will move on, some have already passed on, but what will never change is the impact they had on Guyana’s society, the influence they had in their professional fields and the way they shaped and paved the way for the present and future Guyanese girls and women!


Lyla Kissoon Imbued With A Fighting Spirit By Oluatoyin Alleyne and suggested on his return that they start making mattresses and furniture. She loved the idea, so initially they gave the jobs to “bottom house people” who made the furniture on order, but later they decided to open their own business. They approached the then Premier of Guyana Dr Cheddi Jagan along with two other business owners to open factories at what is now known as the Ruimveldt Industrial Site, but in those days was canefields. “He said to us, ‘Go ahead, I wish you all the luck, take the land, develop it build factories, find jobs for people and I would be happy,‘” Kissoon recounted. The factory was built in 1960 and her husband invited persons from overseas to teach Guyanese how to make certain kinds of furniture; they have never looked back since.

T

he matriarch of AH &L Kissoon, one of the oldest furniture businesses in Guyana, Lyla Kissoon, has credited the company’s human resources for its endurance, coupled with her fighting spirit. Being widowed in her thirties with five children, Kissoon was forced to battle on and keep the enterprise going through tough times. During an interview at her Main Street home, 82 year old Kissoon recalled that she was 18 years old when she started working in her father’s business – Sankar Brothers Ltd – where she remained for three years. During that time she married Alston Kissoon who was working with his uncle’s business, George Sookhoo’s Ltd.

said, ‘I got thrown out by my uncle and aunt and I can’t go back,’ and I said to him, ‘Ah, don’t worry, if you can work for others then you can work for yourself.’ She approached her dad “who was very kind,” and the couple then began to search for a place to start a dry goods business. They first rented a small space in the Bernard & Company building at the corner of Camp and Robb Streets. That building later became theirs when the owner wanted to sell; they purchased it through the bank. Their business was opened in December of 1951 and according to Mrs Kissoon they did very well, “because my husband knew about dry business and I didn’t know about dry business, but I didn’t take long to catch on.”

“One day I came home and I saw him sitting on the steps looking very sad, and I asked him what was wrong. He

Her husband travelled to purchase items for the store and it was during one of his trips he noticed mattresses 34 - Horizons 2012

“Unfortunate,” is how Kissoon described her husband’s acceptance of an offer in 1966 to travel to India on a mission. She said her husband had hesitated about taking the trip but eventually decided to go. “He went and the plane crashed on January 24, – Air India – and everybody died… he was forty-four,” she said. “I was left with five children… and the reason why I did not go with my husband to India was because Christopher [one of their sons] was taking his Common Entrance in April and I said if I left he wouldn’t do his lessons…” She described the days after her husband’s death as very trying, and for one week after his death she kept “waiting for him to come, and then I realized that I have children, they have to go to school, they have to live, I had to feed them.” In the ensuing weeks she changed her religion to Catholic as her children attended Catholic schools, “and not a day would pass and a Sister or Father would not come and sit and talk with me.” And in the end with grit


Carifesta people coming in and he went and looked at it and said ‘You know, I want to take these houses from you,’ and I asked him why he can’t just use them,” Kissoon said, but he later passed a Compulsory Acquisitions Act. She was paid $30,000 for the twelve villas and $1M for Takuba Lodge, which under the act was at 1936 prices, she said. “But you know the 1936 prices was no price at all, and you look back at these things and say, you know one has to leave it all; you come empty handed and you leave the same way. Now where is Mr Burnham? He is gone; has he taken Takuba Lodge with him?” Plantation Hope Estate was taken away from her mother also under the act, and according to Kissoon her mother was never the same way after because, “she pined away.”

A Young Alston & Lyla Kissoon she did not think she had at the time Kissoon said she took matters into her own hands and started visiting the factory and ensuring the business continued. She also travelled overseas and visited persons who were in the same business. She extended invitations to them and they would holiday in Guyana at her expense and teach her staff about the making of furniture.

Burnham “took it away from us.” “We had Russians living at the top of the Takuba Lodge and he [Burnham] said that the Russians would shoot him and that was one of the reasons he took it.” Kissoon had also built the Echilibar Villas in Campbellville which she had planned to rent, but these were also taken away by Burnham. “He had the

“But that was life for us during the Burnham regime and very often the PPP say that I was very friendly with Burnham, but that is not true. Viola, his wife and I went to school together; her children and my children went to school together, so we were friends still you know, although he did all those things to me I am not a person to keep malice.” When former President Desmond Hoyte took over following the death of Burnham Kissoon described him as being “different; he honoured me, he gave me the Arrow of Achievement and he made me advisor to him for the term he was there.“

“I have discovered in life for me that if I make a decision that I must do something, I must do it; if I only change my mind it goes wrong, and I think that is one of my chief successes in my life personally…” Kissooon said about her successful enterprise. “Moving with the times” was also something that kept her ahead as, “you can’t remain stagnant in my business. She said it was with this in mind she bought Takuba Lodge – which now houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – and she had hoped to rent it out. But the then Prime Minister Forbes

L-R: Dr. Cheddi Jagan Lyla & Alston Kissoon 35 - Horizons 2012


situated. Luckily, she said, they had acquired the building opposite so they quickly began to operate from that location which they still do today. Kissoon said her best business asset has “been the people who work for me,” while pointing out that you must take care of your employees and help them when they need help. Some years after her husband died Kissoon married Hemraj Kissoon with whom she had a daughter. She described her six children as “being well educated and can take care of themselves.” She has 14 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

The Kissoon matriarch said she had approached Presidents Cheddi Jagan and Bharrat Jagdeo in an effort to have Takuba Lodge returned to her, but they both refused. Unfortunate events have followed Kissoon throughout her life, but she quickly pointed out that she has kept going. She recalled that the Park Hotel, which she owned, was destroyed by fire as well as their business at the corner of Robb and Camp Streets, where the Republic Bank is now

In her younger days she hunted, fished and danced in her spare time, but because of failing health she now “listens to beautiful music and I admire dancers.” She was also a great entertainer and the huge dining table in her Main Street home that she has lived in for the last 51 years tells the story. She still has a desk at home from which she works, even though she has been very unwell. If she does no work on any one day she would tell herself at the end of it that she had wasted the day. “I must tell you too that all the people that I have known in my lifetime have either died or gone away. The only two people that are friends with me are Magda Pollard and Carmen Jarvis; those are my only two friends that went to school with me,” she said with a small smile. (First printed by Stabroek News)


Alana Seebarran Miss India Worldwide 2012

B

eautiful and vivacious Alana Seebarran was crowned Miss India Worldwide 2012, from amongst 35 contestants around the world by a panel of judges which included Bollywood actors Aftab Shivdasani and Aarti Chhabria at the 23rd edition of the pageant held in Paramaribo, Suriname. Alana who received her training in dance at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s Sanskritik Kendra and participates annually in the Sabha’s sold-out show dance and drama production Naya Zamana was also the winner of the Best Talent piece for the evening.

Apart from Pageantry, Ms. Seebarran loves nature, acting, dancing, listening to music, and spending time with her close-knit family, especially her brothers. She related, “Growing up as the only girl made me very tough and helped me to hold my own around the boys.” Alana is a final-year student majoring in Marketing at York University in Canada, where she has been an active participant of the York University’s South Asian Alliance dance troupe. She is also a dedicated Sunday school teacher at her Church. Last yea,r she made brief appearance in the movie ‘Breakaway’ which was filmed in Canada. 38 - Horizons 2012

As the reigning Miss India Worldwide 2012, Alana Seebarran has become a motivational speaker, with a focus on providing guidance to less fortunate children and school dropouts throughout Guyana and internationally. Alana hopes to eventually be a spokesperson for Breast Cancer and HIV/Aids awareness campaigns – platforms that are close to her heart. In addition, she is the face of King’s Jewellery World and New GPC Inc. About her Miss India Worldwide success, Alana says this, “Every achievement in life is dependent on hard work and sacrifices. I have learnt to be self-reliant and to believe that I can conquer everything.


Sonu Nigam Captivates Thousands at Guyana National Stadium With Phenomenal Performance By Dr Vindhya V. Persaud 40 - Horizons 2012


Kya hua tera wada/ Woh kasam woh iraada…

T

hat’s where it began as most of his fans know. At four years old, Sonu Nigum was on stage performing the timeless, exquisitely innocent hit from Hum Kisise Kam Nahi. “That promise/ that desire” written into the first lines of the song can capture something of the man. It certainly lends itself to the energy of his recent concert in Guyana. His talent is a promise in itself. The desire? In truly great performances desire and fulfillment are the things exchanged between the artiste and the audience that – even if only for the duration of a show – blurs the lines of where one ends and the other begins. History was made in Guyana when India’s No. 1 singer Sonu Nigam gave a non-stop, energetic and mind blowing three and a half hour performance before a captive audience of thousands at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence on April 28th, 2012. The glittering mega-concert hailed as the

best show ever in Guyana exceeded expectations as Sonu Nigam reached beyond the standard performer’s act to share dimensions of himself; his evolution and passion for music, fully expecting the audience to walk with him as he transcended time and genre. What remains in my mind is that Sonu Nigam gave a performance of a lifetime displaying an unparalleled capability to transform his own songs to reflect where he is now as an artiste. Attuned to his gestures, mood and his innate ability to wrest the best out of any tune, his talented musicians followed the maestro’s skillful direction taking the audience on a musical rollercoaster getting them to sing, clap, dance and to even become gripped in devotion. With his playful encouragement, the audience received critical praise from the superstar for singing a few lines of his song melodiously after a few attempts. Even Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar did not escape and sang a few bars of ‘Suhani raat dhal chuke’ with Sonu, much to the delight of the mammoth crowd. The President emphatically declared after the singer’s electrifying marathon of singing and dancing,

“I want to congratulate you. You are a very strong man. It was the most sustained and best performance that I have ever seen for very long time. And I hope you will come again.” The feverish excitement which gripped the mammoth crowd of fans from every part of Guyana was whetted by vibrant dances from the Dharmic Nritya Sangh and beautiful renderings of yesteryear’s melodies including ‘Bahon mein chali 41 - Horizons 2012

aa’ and the ever popular ‘Piya Tu’ by three-time All India National Award winner for best vocalist, Gunjan Singh. A spell was cast when the voice of world renowned and iconic singing sensation Sonu Nigam reverberated from the depths of the backstage broken only by the frenzied roar of appreciation from fans of all ages as the singer burst onto the stage with electrifying performances of ‘Shukran Allah and Kal Ho Na Ho’. In a virtuoso performance which showcased his range and sent the crowd wild, Sonu belted out hit after hit from a litany of movies including Kabhi Khushi Kabi Gham, Raaz 2, Main Hoon Na, Dabangg, Salam- E- Ishq and Rang de Basanti. His undisputed versatility and perfect control over pitch and voice control came to the fore when he burst into soprano parts of his duet songs and launched into a mesmerizing medley of evergreen hits of Rafi Saab and Kishore Kumar. Ever the consummate performer, Sonu charmingly perched on a monitor and effortlessly recreated the quintessential melodies of Mohd. Rafi-‘Chahunga mein tujhe, Pathar ke Sanam and Madhuban mein Radhika, evoked tears and devotion with bhajan ‘Tum Viniti suno’, and spontaneous singing with ‘Kaise bani’, the applause was prolonged and thunderous. Never at a loss for a rejoinder, Sonu thanked the audience saying, ‘only in Guyana (and the Caribbean) would I get a chance to sing this bhajan.’ Gone were the vestiges of exhaustion which Sonu had exhibited on arrival at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport after the grueling 33 hour trip from India when he performed a hipshaking, showstopping routine for one of the biggest hits of his career ‘Bijuriya’. Every female in the audience was wooed and won when Sonu caught and threw kisses and received corresponding ‘sighs and Hais’ to his own as he sang "Tumse mil ke" from Main Hoon Na. This man who has gifted the world with the timeless beauty of his songs, stated simply that he was useful to the world because he could sing, and who unerringly transmits his passion for his art to his audience and shares his journey through life with every song, nuance and performance has


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – By Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud

Sonu Arrival at CJIA not lost touch with his beginnings as he never forgets to remind all to remain true their roots and to cherish their parents as tomorrow may never come. That thought echoed in my head as he brought the curtain down with a magnificent crescendo of the heart achingly beautiful "Kal ho na ho" baring his soul and saying through music what he believes. Sonu Nigam was in Guyana performing for the first time at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s magnificent event to commemorate 174 years of Indian Arrival and in aid of the construction of the Shelter in Berbice for children who are victims of abuse. The shelter’s building design was unveiled on the eve of the concert by President Donald Ramotar and Sonu Nigam, along with the Executive of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, when the Sabha hosted a gala dinner at the Pegasus Hotel. The Sabha’s Shelter will be named “Dharmic Sabha Baal Nivas”. All the proceeds from the concert will be used in construction of the shelter.

I sat down with the practical, intelligent and immensely talented Sonu Nigam during his whirlwind visit to Guyana and got witty, profound and nostalgic responses on various facets of his life. Though well-known for his humility and altruism, he is, more importantly maybe, honest. He is unpretentious. He is human. Perhaps that is what makes his performances so extraordinary. Greatness, yes. A legend, sure. But all of that and also just a man who lives by a handful of rules: work hard, make time for introspection, kiss your kids, respect the masters on whose shoulders you stand. Enjoy! Vindhya: What motivated you to jump into the arena of singing? Sonu: I was a musician by default. I never decided to become a musician. I am intrinsically a musician. My father and my mother used to perform

42 - Horizons 2012

on stage and when I gained my consciousness I saw them performing on stage and I thought that was the way the world functioned and I understood I could get the notes right, I could play the instrument right, get the beats right and I was good in performance, I was good in playing the keyboard, singing, copying people, imitating, getting the styles of various singers. At that time I used to listen to a lot of Rafi Saab, Kishore Kumarji, Mukeshji, Talat Mahamoodji, Hemant Kumarji, Mahendra Kapoorji, Manna Da, Lataji, Ashaji of course … So I used to study their styles and I realised as I was growing older that besides the fact that I was a topper in my school – I was good academically and also in sports and everything…so everything was happening conveniently but music was part of my life. I have been performing on stage from the age of four years back in 1977. Kya Hua Tere Waada, Woh Kasam Woh Iraada…, that was the song my father


Sonu With Members of the Dharmic Sabha used to sing on stage and I learnt that song without him teaching me and one fine day I just wanted to go on the stage with him and he allowed me to come on stage and that’s where it all started. Vindhya: If you had to look back and pick the most memorable moment in this illustrious career of yours…. Sonu: I don’t know if it has anything to do with anything professional because I do not really consider music as my career. Music is in my system. So I don’t take my career too seriously. I don’t really think that I have to achieve this and that. Yes, of course, we are in this field we want to do our best, we want to sing well, we want to be loved by people but when I go on stage it is a different world all together and when I sing in front of a microphone it is a different world all together. I want to give my best but I do not look at my performance as something which I have to aggressively take care of. So I am not someone who measures life by how much money I made or which are the places I visited or which awards I got. For me the special moments in life are the birth of my son.

Sonu attends Dinner at Pegasus

Vindhya: And he is following in Daddy’s footsteps, I see. Sonu:

He’s got music in his system 43 - Horizons 2012


Sonu With Executive Members of Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha

With President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Pt. Reepu Daman Persaud

too. So for me these things matter, being with my family, being with some good friends, having a lot of good friends around myself… so for me, career is career. Vindhya: You achieved a lot in a very short space of time; in terms of your age and a lot of young people are looking at you and they want to hear what you have to say; what motivates you, what drives you… what do you want to say to the young people especially in Guyana at this point in time?

Treasurer of Sabha Savitri Sukhai Makes a Presentation

44 - Horizons 2012

Sonu: All I can say is hard work never goes waste. Don’t wait for the teacher to turn up and teach you music. I never learnt from anyone personally. I just for a couple of months learnt from Mohammed Saab and a year from Ghulam Mustafa Khan Saab, but most of my work has been done from just listening, analyzing people, and when you analyze people, you don’t criticize them, you don’t judge them. I see a lot of youngsters sometimes wasting time; discussing who’s good and who’s bad. I like him better, he’s not good. For instance, there are people comparing Rafi Saab with Kishore Kumarji wasting their time. You can’t compare Rafi Saab and Kishore Kumarji. You just study them. Respect Kishore Kumarji for what he is, Rafi Sahab for what he is, learn from them. So I’d say keep a positive approach to work and understand that anybody who has made it in this world as a singer, as an


With H.E. Donald Ramotar President of Guyana

afford bicycles, who could not afford expensive toys, video games for me. But we were a close knit family. Of course, I think I have evolved much more than what was given to me by my parents; that is my own journey. But I think the foundation was very good. Vindhya: How have you transferred that to your son? You are a dad now.

actor, as a politician, as a business man has got some acumen. You just don’t become respected in a field if you have nothing. You have to have something. So you are blessed with something. So when you are criticizing someone’s talent or when you are judging two people or when you are calling someone lesser than you, you are disrespecting God’s gift to him or her. So I feel one has to keep a very, very positive approach and it’s crucial. I have seen a lot of talent go waste in being negative and they do not even realize that time just flies by and they have just wasted the time on Facebook criticizing people and the person whom they are criticizing is making money, is doing well, is respected and they feel great just criticizing someone. So, one is hard work and the second thing is that you don’t really have to worry

too much about where you are going or what your goal is, you have to keep working in the present and let work lead you where you want to go because you never know where you reach is better than what you perceived. Vindhya: You seem to be very passionate about what you do, very motivated and very focused. How has the inspiration or influence of your parents played a part in you being you? Sonu: Well they are simple people first of all and that’s important. Not that any other parent who is not simple and who loves luxuries is lesser than us but I love the fact that my parents are simple. They know how to lead life with the least of resources. We have been brought up in a lower middleclass family in India who could not

45 - Horizons 2012

Sonu: The only rule that me and my wife have about raising a kid is don’t wait for him to become older and behave himself. I am saying a lot of people allow their kids to misbehave just on the pretext that he is a small kid he will learn later on. If he is misbehaving whether he is six months old or two months old or four years old or six years old… you’ve got to stop the child at that moment because things go out of your hand. Anyway, he is a very good kid, he seldom troubles us but you know kids are innocent souls and they need to be checked right there that moment. That’s what we do to Nevaan. We do not let him cry unnecessarily. I haven’t seen him sitting and crying like I have seen with other kids. Vindhya: So he is not spoilt at all Sonu: No, Not at all, we let him have lots of fun, I play with him, I kiss him, I smooch him. So that way he is pampered but we do not……… that’s my thumb rule we do not want to wait till he grows older then check him. We check him now!


Vindhya: You mentioned a lot of the Late Greats. I know many people will say you have been most influenced by Rafi Saab, how has he influenced you? Sonu : They are our seniors. They are the reason why I am in this profession. They are the people who have taught me indirectly. They haven’t taught me personally, but I have learnt from them. I have studied their music visited their school of music in terms of all the songs…. how to express in a song how to emote in a song, where to breathe, where not to breathe. Vindhya: You have captured every nuance basically by just listening? Sonu: Yes, I am sure they had their own teachers, they had their own inspirations too and the cycle goes on. Vindhya: You have travelled extensively, in many parts of the world experiences probably differ or vary. What are your thoughts – travelling all over the world; coming to this part of the world being here in Guyana. You haven’t seen much… Sonu: I wish I could have come a bit earlier and seen…….. there was that falls that you mentioned? Vindhya: Kaieteur Falls Sonu: Kaieteur Falls, I wish I could go there… 20 mins…… (smiles). The next time I come, I will come via a shorter route. This time I didn’t have the time. But, yes, I always get fascinated by places where people from India visited and stayed 150 years or 175 years back. One of the first places I visited like that was Fiji Island and I was really fascinated that these are the people whose forefathers came so many years back in Fiji and now they are still in touch with the Indian Culture, the religion, the rituals and of course, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Surinamese in Holland and now Guyana for the first time. I just heard about French Guiana and I want to go there someday probably. So I get fascinated by places like that and I was discussing just now that the people over here are incredibly more connected to the roots than we Indians are because we take it for granted. When you are

too far away from your roots you want to reach out to your roots. I’m really looking forward to the show tomorrow. I have heard so much about this place and hearing good things about all the 46 - Horizons 2012

publicity you all have done and I’m really glad that we did not let people down. It is a responsibility when you commit to a place and of course, when the place is as close as Guyana….


your country… as close as Guyana neighboring country (laughs)

just colleagues and all we meet then with lots of mutual respect.

Vindhya: You have sung various genres of music what would you say is your favourite?

Vindhya: What do you want to say to all your fans and the people who love you so much in Guyana?

Sonu: I don’t categorize music like that, as I said I don’t judge. I don’t judge people, I don’t judge music. I don’t say my music is better than anybody else’s music so I listen to everything and I get inspired by everything whether Indian music or in fashion music.

Sonu: Do they understand Hindi?

Vindhya: You are in the music industry what is it like interacting with your co-stars in the industry? Is it what we read? Sonu: We have our friend circle, but we don’t get opportunities to be with our people so often. I have a couple of friends from the industry but most of my friends are out of the industry. Not because I detest the people from the industry; it is only because all of us are so busy in our lives. If I am performing, if they want me, I’ll be out.., if I want them, they will be out performing somewhere or working or shooting somewhere. So we don’t really get to mingle with our fraternity that much but yes, I have a couple of good friends around me. Of course when we meet; people who are

Vindhya : Thodi si, like me. Sonu : I can just say Guyana – Dekho main aa Guyana.. Look have come Guyana … see I have come…. Every show is a prayer for me whether it is in India, whether it is abroad. The last couple of years I have been travelling and performing like a maniac. Last six months have been very tough and tedious. But there are some places that you really want to touch, you want to be a part of it. Guyana was always on my list. Long time back, about 13 – 14 years back we were touring in America and we had come for a show in Suriname and on the way back we got stranded at the Georgetown airport. I said okay … Guyana! They have Indians why don’t we do a show… Vindhya: Here you are today! Sonu: Finally we are here. Vindhya: You have an extensive tour 47 - Horizons 2012

schedule ahead of you and I am sure you just want to get back home after this trip, rest and prepare for that. Is that what the rest of this year will be like for you? Touring? Or is there some time dedicated to recordings, movies ? Sonu: Things are happening, but work is work. I also want to give some time to myself. So what I am doing, as soon as I land in India I take off to the Himalayas. I am going for a trek of ten days to the mountains of Himalayas. I want to give some time to myself. It has been 6 years since I last went to the


Himalayas, 2006. It is high time that I do this. I love to spend time with myself I don’t want to be just career oriented. I wouldn’t work for too long I realize… I am not the kind of person who will be into the work or into the system. Either I’ll work less or I’ll quit after a bit. Vindhya: What will happen to the fans out there? Sonu : The fans will grow old too… Vindhya: I don’t think they’ll stop listening to your music or loving your voice Sonu : I will keep a balance. These days I am overdoing myself … I am really overdoing myself but I think the rest of the year after July would be better. Vindhya: Heard you are a fitness buff and very much into spirituality. Yes? Sonu: If I say I am into spirituality then I am not spiritual because people who claim the most are the least spiritual. 48 - Horizons 2012


It is not something to claim, it is an internal journey. You don’t need to tell people how much you know about God because if you know about God you don’t tell this to anybody. I feel that my journey within has begun and I don’t

really showcase that. I don’t dress up like someone who is going through a transformation inside, I don’t talk to 49 - Horizons 2012

people like that, I don’t preach I just allow the journey to take place inside me, outside I am the same person.


With sincerity and humility, and clearly touched by the love, warmth and hospitality he received in Guyana, Sonu promised, ‘I will give you something to remember me by for the next few years’…..He did!


From a Memorable Steamer Trip to Florida’s Judiciary - The Inspiring Journey of a Humble Essequibian

F

or most folks, there is a specific time that they could look back on what could be considered the turning point in their life. Their entire perspective would have changed in that moment, at that crossroad leading them forever in a new direction with an invigorating passion. For Alli Baksh Majeed, now known popularly as A.B. Majeed to friends, or Judge A.B. to the legal world in Florida and the USA, his was when some cow droppings fell on his mother’s white ‘orhni’ while on a steamer trip from Anna Regina to Wakenaam, an island in the Essequibo River. In the pecking order of things, even the cows seemed to have been worth more than the little boy and his mother who were relegated to a lower deck of that steamer where persons of a lower economic standing were supposed

By Leonard Gildharie to be. “It was my first awakening to injustice, economic injustice.”

Senate. His is a remarkable story of patience and perseverance.

Young A.B. could not understand it. The despairing image of his mother’s face inflamed both a passion and an anger that led him to fight his way to higher education in the United States. There he clawed his way through college and law school, rose to become a prosecutor, and then resigned to campaign to become a judge. He lost it all, and then won it all.

Humble Beginnings

Alli Baksh Majeed is now the only judge of Guyanese Indian-descent in the State of Florida. A few years ago he was elected by his fellow judges to serve as the President of all the county judges in the State.

Growing up in the 1950s, there were no high schools in the county. Primary school; sixth standard was one’s academic ceiling.

A.B. is now contemplating retirement as a judge and the possibility of another elected office, maybe the Florida 53 - Horizons 2012

Majeed grew up in Anna Regina, a village on the laid-back Essequibo coast, with rice farming being the main source of living for most families. He was the last of four brothers. He remembered all too clearly the fishladen streams, the beautiful birds and the trees full of delicious fruits.

“Whoever wanted to go to high school had to come from a wealthy family to go to Georgetown.” That changed in the mid ‘60’s when


I was intrigued by their way of life; their economic capitalism; their democracy; their freedoms.” But obtaining a visa to the United States was no easy task. “It wasn’t easy for me to get a student visa. When I applied for one I was denied, because my parents lacked the resources to guarantee that I would not become a public charge on the US government. This was a stringent requirement of the US embassy.”

Judge A.B. Majeed & Mrs Majeed (at centre) with President Cheddi Jagan & Mrs Janet Jagan

the then Premier, Dr Cheddi Jagan, converted a government office to a high school at Anna Regina. There were 100 spots available and Majeed made it through an elimination test. “That singular act of going to high school opened the door to the mountaintop for me and my classmates. My whole mental concept of my abilities changed. I began to dream impossible dreams. Had it not been for the Anna Regina Government Secondary School, I and many others would be singing a different song today. “Life, while idyllic in Essequibo, was not without its hardships. The roads were all mud and there was flooding, particularly around Christmas. In our younger days we had no electrical lights; no running water, so we had to wake up early in the morning and fill up the tub with fresh black water from the trench so my mother could use it during the day.” It was also a time when crime was unheard of and people left their doors open. His three years at the high school – 1965-1968 – were marked by some of Guyana’s worst political turbulence. During that time young A.B. was exposed to Guyana’s leading politicians. He was struck by the eloquence and resonant voice of Forbes Burnham, the political theories of Cheddi Jagan and the capitalism of Peter D’Aguiar. “Janet Jagan was also quite impressive,

and represented our district in Anna Regina, and all the ladies used to refer to her as “Bouji (brother’s wife).” It was a struggle for the family to find the $22.50 needed to pay for A.B. to attend the Anna Regina Government Secondary, but his brothers took to the field, determined one of their own would do the family proud. “I am forever grateful to them for this sacrifice. Their job was to come up with the $22.50…what you would call an unbudgeted expense.” During High School, A.B. juggled studies and work. He rose early, milked the cows, cut the grass and went to school. It was juxtaposed with Chaucer, Tennyson, Shakespeare, French, Latin, Algebra and Geometry. With no electricity, the battle was to use the sunshine to ensure that as much studies as possible were pushed in. While quite a few of the 100 students dropped out because of the rigours, the remainder stuck to the tasks. “For a number of us, we did not let go…I was like a drowning man clinging to a raft…It was not if I could afford to hold on…it was I could not afford to let go.” USA Bound It was during this time that Majeed decided that he wanted to go to the United States to further his studies. “I had an opportunity to go to Canada, but I used to read a lot about the USA. 54 - Horizons 2012

His break came when a Peace Corps volunteer from the US, serving in Anna Regina at the time, promised to assist. “He contacted his parents who were wealthy people. They had to sign affidavits, taking the place of my parents, guaranteeing that I will not become a public charge. It was through the generosity of this American family that I got to America. I went with a student visa directly to Howard University in Washington D.C.” Majeed’s immediate goals included earning a degree and returning to Guyana as a social worker. Washington D.C. was a whole new world. Different climate. Different trees. Different birds. Different food…and that new creature called winter. “It took some serious adjustment. In Guyana you have a lot of time with few demands. In America you have a little time and lots of demands.” While at Howard, A.B. did well and qualified for an academic scholarship. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. A.B’s outspokenness and leadership skills caught the attention of his college professors who encouraged him to pursue law. After Howard he enrolled at the Catholic University School of Law, a school that was almost 100 percent non-minority, and graduated with a Juris Doctor Degree. “It was culturally difficult. But we were welcomed by everybody and professors treated us with great dignity


“I served as a prosecutor in front of a most wonderful and kind hearted judge. He knew of my desire to become a judge one day. He motivated and mentored me. For you to become a judge in Florida you must practice law in Florida continuously for more than five years. Immediately after my five years I began investigating the prospect of becoming a judge.”

that I can’t lose.” The veteran judge was subsequently re-elected unopposed for the next six years.

His friends thought he was crazy.

Altruistic by nature the Judge gifted a quantity of school supplies to school children of the Bolans Primary School, Antigua as they reminded him of his dreams years ago. Passionate about nurturing the academic aspirations of the young, he said, "Education is the ultimate equalizer in life,no matter how humble your background. Had I not gone to high school, I would be a dirt farmer today."

“They said they loved and respected me, but I had the wrong name, wrong colour, wrong religion, wrong nationality, wrong accent. Everything was wrong.” To run for the judgeship, Majeed had to quit his job as a prosecutor. “So I had no income. I moved out of my beautiful house into a smaller apartment. I had no job, no income, no house, no health insurance. But I had confidence and a supporting wife. She backed me all the way. Together we agreed that I won’t grow old saying. I could have, should have, might have become a judge. I did not come to America to be told I can’t do it.” His three daughters and wife were good campaigners. He lost that first campaign in 1992, but earned a wide variety of friends and supporters. Lady Luck soon smiled on A.B. Majeed. and respect. Along with me was a black female from Howard, and as life would have it, she also came to Florida. Justice Peggy Quince became the first Black Female Chief Justice in the state of Florida.” Some years later, Majeed took his little son, Noah, to Catholic University School of Law and showed him the name Alli B. Majeed inscribed on a wall especially dedicated to all the law school graduates who became judges. Lost, Won Majeed became a felony prosecutor in Brevard County, Florida, in 1985, having practiced law in Philadelphia for several years. He is a member of the Bars of Florida, Washington D.C. Pennsylvania, and New York

“When I lost the election, one judge got sick and he retired. His seat became eligible for appointment by the Governor.” The jobless Guyanese became one of 21 lawyers who submitted for interviews before a special Judicial Nominating Committee. The list was reduced to four and submitted to the Governor. He was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles as a Brevard county judge in 1993, where he serves to this day. He is the first Guyanese and the only person of Indian origin to currently hold that position in Florida. “I submitted for elections many times after that… the word in 1992 was that I couldn’t win. The word now, in 2011, is 55 - Horizons 2012

“America allowed me to dream dreams I could not dare to dream. America allowed those dreams to come true. I am what I wanted to be. I’ve been there for 18 years; I am looking forward for retirement.”

Undaunted by a terrorist bomb attack in Tajikistan, Judge Majeed along with Judge Gosset of US District Court, Omaha recently visited that country a few days after the incident to train 22 judges to become international teachers at the USAID built training centre there. “They were not accustomed to seeing people of my religion and my colour who were American. And that was a good and positive thing for them to see.” Over the past years, Majeed has received numerous awards, given many speeches, and was the subject of countless articles in the media. “I pride myself in treating every citizen who appeared before me with dignity and respect. I always remember the economic indignity that visited my mother in that steamer on the way to Wakenaam. I never forget that the journey, from the bench where I am sitting to the podium where the defendant is standing is a very short one. As they say in Guyana…”it nah tek laang fuh table tun…” Alli B. Majeed while a proud and patriotic American now, emphatically states that he will never forget that “Guyana is wheh me navel string bury…” First Printed by Kaieteur News


Charminar

Hyderbad - City of Pearls My Journey to India

L

ife is filled with millions of dreams, some are realistic while others are not as attainable. But, if you want to live your dreams, you just have to be brave and take that one little step that can make them come true – take a step forward, face the world and jump. In 2009 I took that jump and applied for a scholarship halfway around the world – destination Bharat (India). When I bid farewell to my parents and took that next step at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Guyana, I was alone after over two decades in this world surrounded by known faces. I didn’t know what to expect. Was I scared? I don’t remember being afraid because I was armed with the most important things my parents could have given me: wisdom, strength and independence. My first couple hours alone were crazy as I traversed major airports, dealt with broken luggage and ran all the

By Tajranie Rampersaud way to check-in so that I wouldn’t miss my next plane. Things were new and wonderful, from the sunset in the sky to the sprawling cities I spied out of my window seat as the plane touched down at different locations. I remember not having much thoughts except that maybe these new experiences were an indication of what the rest of my time would be like: completely contrary to my expectations. So, here is a glimpse into one of my many dreams that I lived… I lived in Hyderabad, fondly referred to as the City of Pearls, for two years. A more diverse place I couldn’t ask for. Members of the Indian society refer to it as the City of the Nawabs but I’d like to think of it as the “Mecca of India” due to its strong Muslim presence. Like the people, the culture was diverse and I was fortunate to be a part of many activities such as Ramadan celebrations (my Muslim friends had 57 - Horizons 2012

me take dinner with them as they broke their fasting), Nowrúz (Iranian New The Author


Golconda - Hyderabad in the background

Chowmahalla Palace Golconda

Hyderabad - Chowmahalla Palace Year also referred to as the Persian New Year) and Pongal (the Telugu celebration for the beginning of spring and kite flying time). One fond memory of Ramadan was being assigned a human alarm clock my Aji (Persian for ‘sister’). She would go to bed at midnight however; she had to be up by four in the morning to get ready for the day. I am a late sleeper and sometimes tend to work through the night as I love the peace and quiet of the night. So, she would knock on my dorm room door and say, “Aji, 4 o’clock.” Another fond memory of Ramadan was breaking fast one night at the In Orbit Mall in Hyderabad with my Aji and Akhi (Arbic for ‘brother’) and my other Persian and Arabic friends. It was the only place that had a wide variety of food to choose from and since we didn’t have kitchens in our dorm rooms, a good common ground to ensure everyone was happy. Even

though I’m a Hindu, I did fast a couple days because I had great respect for the different cultures that surrounded me. Being in the Mecca of India made me more accepting of the Muslim culture, especially since at home I have many Muslim neighbours who would include the entire street in their celebrations through the sharing of food. I mentioned the celebration of the Persian New Year, Nowrúz. It was always a wonderful time for friendship and laughter, for great food and togetherness. Being without our families, we all tend to gather together for each other’s special days. I remember that on the two instances I celebrated with my Aji and other Persian friends we jumped a fire. As we each took a turn to jumped the fire, we said something in Persian (which I could have barely pronounced but I held the meaning in my mind) which basically entailed us saying that we’re 58 - Horizons 2012

cleansing ourselves of the bad deeds of the year past and look forward for a brighter tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll say the right words but I do believe this is something I would like to continue as it’ll keep me close to my Persian friends and memories that I cherish deeply. Pongal was the kite flying celebration in Andhra Pradesh where the dominant local language is Telugu. I tend to refer to the dominant culture in the area as being Telugu; it is really Andhra culture. Pongal is a festival of prosperity celebrated with lots of


colours and happiness. However, what I remember most from this festival was being with my friends, sharing a meal together and then trying to raise our kite on the roof top of my friend’s home. The meal was spicy but superb with so many different flavours that all of my taste buds were satisfied. However, the best part was trying to get that one kite to fly. There were about a dozen of us and one simple, little kite. Some decided to stay in the cool house but some of us were more determined and wanted to see that kite go up. We went to the roof and, looking around, saw so many other children on their roofs with their kites high up. We tried and tried but the wind just wasn’t helping us. Our kite ended up in the surrounding trees several times, took a few nose dives off the roof and got tangled in the clothes lines. The kite didn’t go up but we definitely had fun trying and I think the children on the other roofs felt superior because a bunch of university students couldn’t raise one little kite. However, when I think of sharing my Hyderabadi adventures with you, a one day tour some other firangies (foreigners) and I took around this magnificent place comes to mind. None of us knew the local language, Telugu, or enough Hindi for conversation at that

Charminar Scenes - Hyderabad Mecca Masjid point in time. We were four girls setting out for the day in a land where women are taken care of and often protected by the males in the family. In addition, a city of six million people and hundreds of roads is not easy to traverse. But, what’s the use of letting these minor things stop you from exploring, from learning, from living? So, here is a glimpse into that adventure... Early that morning we four (one American, one French-German, one German and one Guyanese) biked to the main gate of the university campus and easily got into a shared rickshaw which took us to Mehidipatnam, the main bus stop some 45 minutes away. We boarded a bus for the Old City where women were garbed from head to feet, men wore kurtas and long pants and the general thoughts were conservative. We were four young ladies in western garb and not an inkling of what was expected or acceptable. 59 - Horizons 2012

We bravely entered the Old City and were happily surprised. Apparently, when the locals meet foreigners they do their best to help them out; sometimes they help themselves out in the process also by charging high prices for merchandise – hey, everybody has to live and when we converted the money it wasn’t anything significant. We were given directions and were able to enter and explore the architectural wonder Charminar, which means four towers in English. One story states that a former ruler had the structure built in the late 1500’s to celebrate the eradication of the plague in the city. Years later, Charminar is on every tourist map of Hyderabad and the surrounding fruit and vegetable markets and choori bazaar (bangle market) are a never ending wonder for tourists. Having toured this structure and taken our very touristy pictures, we strolled through the markets and had our


he’ll take us around for five hundred rupees (Rs. 500 – about GY $2000). The thing is, we didn’t really want a guide as exploring on our own had proven to be much more entertaining and educational throughout the day. However, he was persistent and didn’t give up with a “nahi bhaiya” from me. He brought his price down to Rs. 125 even when we told him we didn’t have the money to pay. His English was good but I still think the message got lost in translation somewhere.

Dhandia celebrations pictures taken with locals. Well, not me, I look like a local because I’m of East Indian descent. However, my blond hair and blue eyed friends and African looking friend were quite a novelty for the locals. I was happily taking the pictures for those who asked.

made me think of riches and luxury, of a powerful history of the Nawabs. The power this room seemed to possess was truly worthy of a palace of over 200 years old located in an area of Hyderabad where traditions were still held close to the heart.

Having lived the Old City life we decided to go to visit Chowmahalla Palace, which was right around the corner from Charminar. Upon entering the palace gates I was transported back into a time of princes and princesses, kings and queens, royal court and untold. The gardens were well tended and the fountains magnificent. The actual structures were intrinsically designed and made me think of hundreds of people working together to produce this masterpiece. It has been restored wonderfully and even had a little beverage shop where we sat and had lemonade and just gaped in awe at the wonders we were fortunate enough to be surrounded by. The palace was so big that we just gave up on seeing everything that one day. The most impressive room was the throne room. The seat for the ruler was in the middle and there were carvings all around. However, the most awe striking elements were the chandeliers; definitely not more than twenty but their sheer size and wonderful designs

One would think that after visiting two such amazing historical places we would be tired and our adventure would come to an end. Au contraire, we went on to explore the neighbouring museum and walk over the bridge connecting the Old City to the outskirts of the more modern metropolis so we would see the natural life instead of a touristy take. We explored the area and came across the public gardens where we frolicked like children. However, we were determined to end this adventure in a place where we would see the sun setting over this glorious city. We had quite some trouble finding a rickshaw to transport us to our next destination, Golconda Fort. However, after much persistence and bargaining (I do believe that this is a favourite pastime among the locals and tourists) over the fare, we were off. My first memory of Golconda Fort was getting out of our rickshaw and being bombarded by tour guides and post card sellers. One of the guides took one look at my friends and stated that 60 - Horizons 2012

Anyways, we ended up having a guide, whether we wanted one or not or could afford him. He took us through the amazing ruins of what was once a strategically located military base that protected the city. It was designed for function and beauty and boasted of training areas as well as gardens and reservoirs for water. One interesting point was the design of the ‘look-out area’ and the base of the fort. When you clapped at the base the person at the lookout point can hear you loud and clear and vice versa; this was one of the main methods of transmitting information quickly. Another interesting point was the many temples we came across in the fort: there were temples and mosques. Even though Hyderabad is seen as a Muslim area since creation, it is a place that encouraged diversity. Finally, at the top of the fort we were able to look over the City of Pearls as the sun set. The afternoon faded into beautiful colours and finally twilight. This was most definitely a day well spent. Oh! We paid our guide Rs. 500 because he was an entertaining man and rather knowledgeable and he happily posed with my blond hair, blueeyed friends for a picture. I doubt that if I were given a chance to go to India again I’d choose anywhere else as a base. Hyderabad has truly become a part of me and has greatly influenced the person I am today. From the mixture of people to the mixture of cultures and time capsules, it is a place of diversity that makes one feel alive. I don’t know if my friends will support this but I do believe that I am Hyderabadi... at least by two years of association. Until this Hyderabadi’s next adventure...


Shiv Chanderpaul

World's #1 Test Batsman - 10,000 Runs & Counting By Avenash Ramzan

S

hivnarine Chanderpaul has become the 10th batsman and the second West Indian to pass 10,000 runs in Test matches, reaching the mark on the fourth day of the third Test against Australia at Windsor Park in Dominica from April 23-27, 2012. In keeping with much of his career, Chanderpaul passed the landmark in the midst of a desperate Caribbean fight in the fourth innings to stave off defeat at the hands of the Australians on a deteriorating pitch, moving forward from his inimitable stance to push a delivery from Michael Clarke wide of mid-on and go to 14 for his innings. "I have been batting well and spending a lot of time at the crease, and to reach 10,000 Test runs is something special for me. It was one of the goals I set myself and I believe I have reaped for

reward for the hard work I put in over the years,� he said afterwards. "When I go to bat, I know I have a job to do for the team and the people of the West Indies. Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game and this is where you want to perform and give your best. I will keep striving for more." Chanderpaul reached the milestone in his 140th Test, emulating Brian Lara's feat of also passing 10,000 for the West Indies. The possessor of the crabbiest technique in world cricket, Chanderpaul proves there is life beyond the coaching handbook. He never seems to play in the V, or off the front foot, but uses soft hands, canny deflections, and a whiplash pull-shot to maintain a Test average of around 50. While the cricket world was obsessed with Lara's 62 - Horizons 2012

unquestionable talent, Chanderpaul has shown that there are alternate ways to be consistent and prolific in Test cricket over a long period of time. When Chanderpaul started out, he had a couple of problems: first, a low conversion rate of around one hundred to every ten fifties, and secondly, his physical frailty, widely thought to be hypochondria. That myth was exploded when a large piece of floating bone was removed from his foot late in 2000, and, suitably liberated, he set about rectifying his hundreds problems, scoring three in four Tests against India in 2001-02, and two more in the home series against Australia the following year, including 104 as West Indies successfully chased a world-record 418 for victory in the final Test in Antigua. Since then, he has hardly had any


prolonged lean periods, and has managed to keep his own standards at a remarkably high level despite the perennial problems that West Indies have faced. On the few occasions that West Indies have tasted success, Chanderpaul's contributions have been equally vital - in the Champions Trophy triumph in 2004, he contributed greatly with a consistent performances.

the recent series against Australia, in which he got to the elusive 10,000 runs mark: he ran up scores of 103*, 12, 94, 68 and 69, for an aggregate of 346 in five innings. The secondhighest aggregate for West Indies in the series was 186, which amply sums up Chanderpaul's Test career.

A stint as West Indies Captain followed in 2005-06, and though he celebrated with a double-century in front of his home fans in Guyana, it was clear that captaincy was affecting his batting, and in 2006 he gave it up to concentrate on his main job. Perhaps his greatest contribution, though, has been in holding together West Indies' fragile batting line-up after Lara's retirement. With a couple of other senior batsmen, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle, not being available due to various reasons, Chanderpaul's contributions have been immense, as

he has defied bowling attacks in all countries and all conditions, often with minimal support from the other end. One of the best examples of that was


Photos: Fidal Bassier Model: Farzaana A. Khan

The Art of

ACCESSORISING Fashion By Anjee's By Omkar Tewari 65 - Horizons 2012


D

azzling, elegant, chic, sophisticated, casual, fun, artistic, style, glam, beauty, frills, attitude, swank, modern, play, traditional –ACCESSORISE! An accessory to an outfit is like food is to the body, essential! When it comes to accessories, many individuals are unaware of the appropriate items that will work best with their outfit. No matter how much fashion experience you have in the clothing world, even the best of us are at a loss when it comes to adding spunk and pizzazz with accessories. There are so many options available, it is easy to throw up your hands and agree to live a life completely devoid of any accessorie. Instead, examine this article carefully before you swear off these delightful items that will bring life, style and add polish to any outfit. For the women folk accessorizing starts first and foremost with the very important concept of knowing what look you want to sport, your style should be a reflection of what you like and your personal taste; therefore the end result of your completed look will depend greatly on your individual taste. Secondly the most important task of selecting jewelry, hair ornaments, shoes, hand bags and scarves comes into play In fact the broadest definition of accessories includes everything except the outfit itself, which means hair styles, nails and makeup. It’s easy to ruin an otherwise fabulous outfit by choosing the wrong accessories. However, on the flip side, it's easy to make a very simple outfit look great with the right choice of accessories. If you don't know what to do when it comes to accessorising the good news is that it is easy to learn a few simple guidelines to stylishly accessorise and complement your outfit. Acessorising greatly depends on YOUR PERSONAL TASTE! Accessorising your Indian outfits and depends a great deal on the nature of the event, whether it is religious ceremonies, weddings, cocktails or just parties. The timing of the event is also important to consider; whether day 66 - Horizons 2012


Model: Tonya Singh

67 - Horizons 2012


time or night. Depending on the event you can decide whether you want to go simple or heavy on the accessories.

Things You'll Need Imagination Jewelry Clothes to Match

Step One Colours and Clothing The very first step is to know what colours you will be wearing. If you are wearing neutral or darker shades, you may want to accessorize with something colourful. Complement patterns with solids. If you're wearing patterned clothes, then choose solid colours in accessories, and vice versa.Prints and patterns are very important to keep in mind when choosing accessories. What your outfit looks like determines choice of the right accessories. Clothes are an important part of accessorising, so it is best to make them as tasteful and stylish as possible. 68 - Horizons 2012


Model: Taruna Tewari

Step Two

Choosing your accessories Choose accessories which will enhance your outfit. Look at your outfit's colour, feel, and texture when choosing appropriate accessories. Work to find accessories that will successfully benefit a variety of wardrobes, stretch your budget and utilize items available to you. When shopping for accessories, as with clothes, you will find your most flattering looks by understanding the colours and styles that suit you best. The first rule of thumb is choosing colours and themes that go well with your outfit. If you're wearing neutral, plain colors, you can wear almost any colour of jewelry. Shiny or antique gold, silver and bronze are usually the most popular types of Indian jewelry. However, you can spice up your look with more chunky, colourful and contemporary pieces. Bring attention to your best points and minimize your worst - therefore accessorize focal points! Choose a body part to focus on and stick with it. Focal points are those points on the body that attract attention such as the ears, neck, arm/hands or feet. The aim is to attract attention to focal points and detract the same from your figure challenges! The second rule of thumb,if you choose earrings whether baris, barij humkas orjhumkas opt for the elaborate ones when donning a sari,gagrah-choli or Anarkali, leave your neck bare! If you choose to adorn your neck, feel free to load it with necklaces dainty and chunky alike, but wear the tiniest, most understated earrings possible; tiny rhinestone studs or pearls. An arm band/ amulet known as –baaju band in Hindi is an excellent choice to adorn the arm. It is an unusual look. For wrists and hands, do not wear bangles/bracelets and rings at the same time and definitely do not wear on both hands! Don't go overboard!You can wear a few rings on a bare hand for an interesting look. 69 - Horizons 2012

Step Three Hair, hand bags, shoes. Traditionally Indian women love to adorn their heads and foreheads with beautiful jewelry such as jhumars, sir bindis, and various types of hair ornaments. Fresh flowers are also an excellent choice for accessorising your hair especially for those early morning and outdoor functions. You could use flowers behind your ear, around your bun or upswept hairdo or along the length of your braid. Just ensure that you do not look like you have a flowering tree on your head and become an attention grabber at the next event for the wrong reason‌

Step Four Harmonize Accessories with your Outfit When choosing accessories, such as shoes, handbags and clutches to wear with an outfit, the most important thing is to harmonize these with your outfit. By harmonize I mean make sure that there is some common element or


70 - Horizons 2012


theme between the accessory and the outfit. This could be colour (either picking out a similar hue or choosing some other colour element to echo such as: cool or warm; muted, sheen, or shiny; light, medium or dark). For example, if you're wearing a light coloured sari then pair it with contrasting light coloured elegant slippers with rhinestones or beaded work rather than dark coloured, heavy looking shoes, TIP*( be sure to know the height of your slipper or shoe before draping your sari to achieve a classy finish). The same rule applies for yourpurse/clutch; choose a light contrasting elegant looking clutch,if you want to wear the brightly coloured courts or pumps that are in fashion now, wearing a choli (blouse) in a similar color has an "eyes-up" effect that is, when someone's looking at you their eyes are drawn from your feet to your top. This has a lengthening and therefore slimming effect. This is a good thing for most women! Pairing your Anarkalis, shalwar kameez, and gaghrah-cholis with trendy high heels -and pumps is definitely a plus!

Step Five Harmonize Accessories with Each Other In addition it is a good idea to harmonize accessories with each other. For example, choose similar coloured shoes and handbag. However, take care to have some contrast in your look. Complete sameness can be boring and aging.

Dos and don’ts in accessorizing An important rule to keep in mind when selecting accessories would be to select accessories to match the neck line of your blouse or outfit, for example if your blouse carries a wide round neck, it would be more suitable to wear a huge necklace with a more round finish and if your neck line is a deep “v –neck” choosing a necklace with a more pointed finish would be more appropriate, for outfits with high 71 - Horizons 2012


necks and tunic necks, neckwear is a NO!, huge earrings are preferred for this style of neckline. Do strive to follow current trends when accessorising your wardrobe; sport your personal taste. As Fashionist everywhere peruse fashion magazines to determine what is considered “in” or “out” when it comes to accessories. Some of the more popular magazines such as; Femina, Asiana Weddings, Star among others may provide some useful tips for you when accessorizing. Do strive to have a few signature pieces of jewelry. Many individuals work around a particular piece or a theme when it comes to accessorizing their outfits.Look to include a few signature pieces of your choice that can easily be added to any wardrobe. Accessorizing Don'ts Don't get TOO excited with accessorizing. Everything should be worn in moderation. Don't flash all your jewelry at once. Don't choose an accessory that overpowers your outfit. Remember, it is called an accessory because you use it to work with your wardrobe, not completely overshadow you or your clothing. Avoid large, flashy, or brightly colored items that can take the focus away from you. Don't wear every current trend at once. Although it is important to stay up to date with today's hottest trends, it can quickly become “a don't” when worn all at once.

72 - Horizons 2012


73 - Horizons 2012


Don't choose the same, tired pieces each time. If your signature look includes a particular accessory, look to incorporate it in unique ways with each outfit. Work to keep your signature item fresh and innovative. Remember a polished appearance is achieved through balance, so don't go overboard with your accessories and focal points. Too many can appear flashy, overdone or inappropriate. Too few can result in a drab or uninteresting look. As a rule of thumb, three focal points are the maximum, although less may work better for a particular outfit or occasion. If you're in doubt don't wear it! HAPPY ACCESSORISING!!!!

74 - Horizons 2012


75 - Horizons 2012


Parenting A Son’s Reflection By Charles Ramson Jr.

A

ll parents really want to see their children fulfil their potential. Unfortunately, children are not born with an accompanying usermanual or a “How to raise a successful/ productive child” handbook. I know my parents, along with many other parents, certainly wished there was one. This article about parenting is written from a unique perspective, that is, from my reflective perspective of what parenting techniques worked on me when I was growing up and some observations about the current state of general parenting practices.

in-waiting” know very well that the job of parenting is a full-time one. As a parent, you cannot call-in sick; you are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the rest of your life. With our increasingly busy schedule, it now means that we have less time dedicated to the job of parenting. Moreover, children today have their ipods, computers, televisions, video games, and mobile phones etc which compete with a parent’s consequential influence. Some kids even have access to one of these items 24 hours a day while they see their parents for just a couple of hours a day (if they are lucky).

We know enough about the way in which the world works today that education and information are more important than any other asset that one may possess. So with all the distractions and changes facing children today, it is not difficult to see why parents become so frustrated with their children. Parents and “parents

N Learning The Value of ETITIO COMP I think that for far too long the rather damaging argument was allowed to gain currency that competition is unhealthy. I believe that parents should encourage their children to compete in every aspect of life. I am sure that all parents realise or would realise that the

77 - Horizons 2012

world functions as a result of competition and that human beings are inherently competitive individuals. Some children dislike running in a race or sitting exams not because they would not perform well but because they are afraid of losing. My view is that parents should encourage their children to get involved in extra-curricular activities that have some element of regular competition in it. It will allow their child to embrace the act of competing even if only from a sub-conscious angle. Amongst other things, competition teaches children discipline: the discipline to manage their time effectively, the discipline not to succumb to the peer-pressures of smoking, consuming alcohol and drugs, and the discipline to work towards their goals. Reward Outstanding NCES ORMA F R E P Amongst other developments that I have noticed, the one that concerns me deeply is when I see parents rewarding


comprehension, maths, science, and computer education while still encouraging their child to get involved in other group/team activities. With that foundation built solidly, that child could branch off into any career direction that they are interested in while still being able to work with others. LET YOUR CHILDREN LIVE THEIR OWN LIVES I think too many of parents’ expectations are placed on their children at a young age. I always think it is good to push your children and encourage them to be better but do so without imposing your choice of career on the child. There is no career or profession that guarantees employment. There is no career or profession that guarantees a good income. In fact, I know many lawyers around the world who were “laid-off” on account of the global financial crisis and credit crunch. Yes it is true that it would be great to have a doctor or lawyer or engineer in the family but you must allow your children the opportunity to choose. I know of artists, singers, sportsmen etc, who are multi-millionaires. By contrast, I know of doctors, lawyers, and engineers who have not seen their first million dollars and are unlikely to make that type of money because they do not enjoy their job or profession. By allowing your children to choose their own careers, you (the parent) have allowed your children to be happy with that career. lavishly average performances. I think it is a great idea to reward children but only reward them when they have had outstanding performances. The problem with rewarding average performances is that it imbues the child with the belief that they do not need to work hard in order to succeed. This is a problem because the system of the world functions in a very different way. The “working world” has a reward mechanism that encourages workers to work harder so it rewards the people that work the hardest and the people with the best performance indicators. I definitely understand a parent’s desire to give their children the best and wanting their children to have all the items, comforts and opportunities that they (the parent) never had. My view is that the better way to do this would be

for parents to positively reinforce their child’s success by linking that success with a proportionate reward. That would encourage their children to work harder and to make themselves better. BALANCE IS

KEY

While I think school is important, I also think it is important to have a balanced upbringing. I sometimes speak to employers who say, “you could send me the kids with the 14 CXC subjects but if they have no inter-personal skills then there is not much I could do with them”. My opinion is that parents should encourage children to focus on getting the basics at school right, that is, reading, writing (which includes grammar and spelling), speaking, 78 - Horizons 2012

ENCOURAGE ENCOURAGE ENCOURAGE Finally, I think that parents should make it a point of duty to encourage their children. Make your children believe that they can do anything they want once they set their heart and mind to it. Criticism is important because it highlights your shortcomings, but criticism without encouragement can break your spirit. Today, children face a very different world with many different dangers and challenges. Teaching your children that “falling is a part of life and getting back up is a way of life”, will prepare your children to deal with all those dangers and challenges. Maybe children were not born with a usermanual, but the love of a parent for their children could help them to fulfil their potential.


Eshri Singh

T

he journey of father-daughter duo; legendary broadcaster Eshri Singh and trendsetting TV host Tanuja Raghoo spans generations and countries and clearly illustrates a passion for the propagation of culture in all its facets. Tanuja walks in the footsteps of her popular broadcaster father Eshri by taking news, music, the arts and culture in her distinctive style via television not in Guyana but New York. Many Guyanese would have woken up to the familiar voice of Eshri Singh on the airwaves of the then “Radio Demerara” as the sun broke through the clouds. With a broadcasting career that spans 52 years and a presence on earth for 80 years, Eshri is nostalgic when he recalls his days in Guyana. Eshri Singh was born in Adventure Village on the Essequibo Coast of Guyana. His parents, Mahadai and Sahadeo Singh who were indentured from India to British Guiana settled at first at Golden Fleece on the Essequibo Coast. The family then moved to Georgetown while Eshri was still a child. His early education was at the Broad Street Government School and later at the Modern Academy in Albertown. The Principal there was the no-nonsense Mr. R.A Cheeks. After passing his exams, Eshri worked at Booker's Shipping in Georgetown. In 1956, an event occurred that was to change his life. The General Manager

The Indomitable Father Daughter Duo Eshri Singh and Tanuja Raghoo

of the local radio station 'Radio Demerara' was Rafiq Khan. He was a brilliant broadcaster and was the first Guyanese to speak on the BBC World Service. Rafiq Khan was looking for someone to do an Indian program on the station. Ronald Appru, a friend of Eshri, recommended Eshri for the job. Eshri did the audition and was offered a part-time job. Introduced by the immensely popular Ayube Hamid, Eshri began broadcasting on New Year’s Day in 1957. In those days, 'Radio Demerara' was

operating from William Fogarty's Limited. It later moved to South Road opposite the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) and then to High Street. At 'Radio Demerara' Eshri had the good fortune to meet with some of the stalwarts of broadcasting and they included Pat Cameron from “Woman's World” and Olga Lopes-Seale from the “Radio Demerara Needy Children's Fund”, Lloyd Boodram who did 'Man in the Street', Mathew Allen from the 'Oldies' fame and the popular Balwant Singh. In spite, his hectic schedule Eshri found the time to go to London 80 - Horizons 2012


Eshri Singh With Singer Mukesh (Centre) ITV channel 77/503 on Time Warner Cable. Haresh can be seen on 'Aap Ki Khushi' on Saturdays. (Coincidentally that was the name of his father’s radio programme in Guyana) Tanuja's program 'Caribbean Spotlight' is also on Saturdays and there is no doubt that Tanuja is a star in her own right!

to complete his Bachelors of Science Degree. During his tenure at 'Radio Demerara' Eshri was lucky to meet several stars from India who toured Guyana. The first was the inimitable Manna Dey, the playback singer. Manna Dey was followed by other top Indian artistes such as Mohamed Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, and Lata Mangeshkar. Eshri was on hand to greet them all and he was even the Master of Ceremonies at their performances. He recalls that the 'Lata show' at Albion Sports Complex in Berbice attracted such big crowds that people lined along the roadside just to get a glimpse of her. Another artiste who left a great impression on Eshri was the singer Mukesh. He was a perfect gentleman who lived a simple life. Eshri feels, “it will take another 100 years for India to produce the

'

likes of Lata, Kishore, Rafi, Mukesh and Manna Dey. They come only once in a lifetime.” Mohamed Rafi, in particular, was happy to see Muslims and Hindus living in peace in Guyana and this probably inspired him to sing that famous “The World is One” song. In 1957, Eshri married the love of his life; Sindrowtie Singh. He remembers fondly the day of their marriage when 'Radio Demerara' sent a crew to the temple to record their wedding ceremony and the famous Bal Gangadar Tilak sang an appropriate wedding song. Sadly, she passed away two years ago. Their union produced two wonderful children Haresh and Tanuja. Eshri describes Haresh and Tanuja as, “two devoted children. I hope all parents would have children like them. They possess qualities that are indeed exemplary.” Both Haresh and Tanuja produce television shows for

le to p o e p e k li ld I wou

say that

I made a contrib

ution toward

'

the propagation of our culture.

81 - Horizons 2012

Eshri is happy that he left Guyana for New York. In 1984, the then Minister of Home Affairs Yvonne Benn instructed Eshri to play English songs on his early morning radio programme. Eshri vigorously protested and even appealed to the Opposition Leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan. The atmosphere in Guyana was stifling his creativity and he knew that he made the right decision on landing in America. In 1989, Eshri began his television career on Channel 48/88 in New York and a year later he began producing shows for ITV. He has since opened the door for countless independent producers. One day, Tony Shafiek took him to meet a gentleman by the name of Scott Sisskind and a long relationship was forged. Scott Sisskind requested Eshri and Tony to host programs for the First Republic Mortgage Bank on ITV. This lasted for a number of years and Eshri has nothing but gratitude for Scott Sisskind. In 2007, Eshri went on a voyage of self-discovery in India. In the course of his long and distinguished career, Eshri Singh has met many persons who have in some ways influenced his life. He would like to pay tribute to Rafiq Khan who was great to work with and Ayub Hamid whom Eshri describes as a legend. These days Eshri receives the adulation of many admirers and friends. Recently, he was honored in Toronto, Canada, as one of the great celebrities in that community. He is thankful for the love and affection that has been showed to him. How would he like to be remembered? He says with a laugh, “at least they can have a memorial for me!” On a serious note he continues, “I would like people to say that I made a contribution toward the propagation of our culture.”


Tanuja Raghoo

And his daughter Tanuja… Tanuja Raghoo is the only daughter of Sindi and Eshri Singh. As a youngster, Tanuja attended Stella Maris Primary School and then proceeded to St. Joseph’s High School. After graduating, she migrated to the United States in 1983 with her parents and brother Haresh. A New York resident since 1983, Tanuja came with her parents to pursue the American Dream. She holds a BS degree in two majors, Psychology and Business, and an MBA in Business/Finance. Tanuja has worked as a Senior Consultant at Principal Financial Group, a reputable Insurance and Investment company in the Wall Street area, and also held the position of Senior Analyst at Kaye Insurance Brokerage. However it did not take her long to follow the broadcasting trail. Presently, Tanuja is an accomplished, well-respected Guyanese Television Host/Producer. She began her tenure in the television industry nearly 25 years ago. She is the proud Founder and President of Caribbean Spotlight Television Programming, the first full-service Indo-Caribbean Media Network in New York, launched in 1986, which airs several television programs on three channels, Time Warner Channels, Channel 96 and ITV Channel 77 and Cable Vision Channel 242. Tanuja first entered the media business as a co-host with her father, Eshri Singh. You can say that Tanuja was inspired by her father. With unparalleled professionalism, an effervescent personality, and humility as hallmarks of her character, she continues to strive for excellence in broadcasting, and is highly regarded as the best Indo-Guyanese and IndoTanuja with her family

Caribbean broadcaster in New York. She has interviewed many prominent individuals including President Donald Ramotar and First Lady Deolakshmi Ramotar Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Karisma and Kareena Kapoor, Asha Bhosle, Hollywood stars David Hasselhoff, Michael Bolton and Steven Seagal. She is highly regarded by her peers, as an outstanding interviewer and presenter. Tanuja’s goal is to selflessly promote the rich culture of Guyana and the Caribbean across the airways. For 82 - Horizons 2012


her ongoing commitment and service she has earned many awards over the years from various organizations, senators and city council members, including Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg for her outstanding work in the Media and her community. She was most recently was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award, a Proclamation presented by New York State Senator, Joseph Addabbo. Tanuja is married to Vishi Raghoo

and is a dedicated mother to their two children, Ashley and Vinesh. The couple is also the founders of Friends for Charity, a non-profit organization dedicated to the service of poor children around the world. Together Tanuja and Eshri are voices that resonate with passion and enjoyment as they continue to share with us their love and vision for Indian culture, the arts and music.


Professor Suresh Narine Internationally Acclaimed Guyanese Scientist

a need to do something morally and ideologically sound.”

S

ome people continue to dream while others stride confidently up the ladder of success. A high school classmate of Suresh Narine declared emphatically “Suresh is definitely one of the members of our class who is successfully living the dream life.” Professor Suresh Narine is the Director of Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research, and Senior Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Chemistry at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Over the past decade, Dr. Suresh Narine a soughtafter expert and a leader in the field of biomaterials has made it his mission to change the way the world creates and uses everyday materials. As an internationally-renowned biomaterials researcher, he is dedicated to discovering ways to create the same materials we know and rely on, like plastics, and use in a range of products from drug delivery polymers to car

bumpers, from more environmentallyfriendly agricultural oilseed crops such as soy beans and canola, instead of pertroleum.He has written two seminal textbooks in the area of lipid crystallization, and co-authored numerous scientific publications and patents. In a world of finite fossil oil resources, it is a field that is gaining urgency and momentum. “Our research offers an alternate solution – to employ agriculture (fats and oils) to create renewable feed stocks that then can be converted using science to create materials more environmentally benign and more in sync with the natural carbon cycle to abate and combat climate change,” Dr. Narine explains. “This is a way to keep the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed, but without the destructive impacts.” He continues, “At the end of the day, it is research I can be proud of, something I can happily tell my children about as it satisfies 84 - Horizons 2012

Born in 1971 in Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, Guyana, Suresh is the only son and the youngest of four children. His late father worked for the Guyana Sugar Corporation and his mother was a housewife. He attended Providence Primary School and then Queen's College where he was the captain of Moulder House and a member of the Prefect Council body. Suresh also represented Queen’s College in debating and elocution competitions. After completing his “O” and “A” levels at Queen’s College, Dr. Narine migrated to Canada in 1991, to attend Trent University, where he completed a B.Sc. in Physics and Chemistry and an M.Sc. in Condensed Matter Physics. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in Food Science (with an emphasis on Material Physics) at the University of Guelph in 2000. Recruited by prominent food manufacturing company, M&M Mars, straight out of his Ph.D., he first made a name for himself by helping to create a process and technology of printing edible ink on chocolate surfaces. Next was a prestigious role as one of two Alberta Value Added Corporation Chairs with the University of Alberta, where he built the Alberta Lipid Utilization Research Program, focused on the utilization of fats and oils for the production of industrial materials, high value edible applications, and cosmetic ingredients. As an NSERC Industrial Chair in Lipid Utilization, Dr. Narine also built the world’s leading agri-food materials science lab and plant facility and, among other feats, developed the technology to convert canola oil and other vegetable oils to biodegradable plastics. In 2009, Dr Narine was appointed head of Trent University’s Biomaterials


that Dad is cool and what Dad does is good for the world. Although it may sound clichéd, I also find the reverence with which our Guyanese people hold educational accomplishment a great source of inspiration.’

Research Program. A press release from Trent University stated that Dr Narine, an internationally renowned expert in biomaterials, had been awarded one of two chairs by the Ontario Research Chairs Selection Panel. The award, confirmed by Minister of Environment John Gerretsen symbolized and celebrated the scientific expertise emerging at the university with the recent launch of both the Trent Biomaterials Research Program and the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment. Dr Narine said he was honoured by the award, and that the chair not only represented a highly opportune and important addition to the University’s research and development strengths in the areas of Chemistry, Environmental and Resource Science/ Studies, Physics, and Materials Science but it would also assist in creating new pathways for Trent students to learn about and gain important experience in the emerging field of green chemistry. “Instead of looking for minerals in the ground, we look for minerals in plants… we look for gold in plants…‘green gold’ so to speak,” the Professor said. Why science? Suresh feels that being able to do science has been a privilege. “A privilege to help unravel the mysteries of this wonderful world that God has built for us, a privilege to help harness science to ensure a better future for our children, and a privilege to be in charge of the development of young minds.” “I tell my students to be relentless in the pursuit of excellence, and I try

constantly to adhere to my own advice, although I am not so sure I am often successful at this.....actually, I never really wanted to do science - I wanted to major in English and Medieval History. I have a deep love for literature and of this period of history, and spend most of my free time, if I am afforded any, indulging my love for these areas. However, as a person from the third world, I felt that I needed to have a career in science as it is so relevant to development.” Who inspires him? ‘My earliest source of inspiration came from my mother, an amazingly strong woman, who taught me to question authority, to think for myself, and to reach for the stars. I remember her saying to me - "you are the only one who can limit yourself", and....because sometimes I could be rude...."a disciplined tongue can sweeten the entire world." She continues to be a source of inspiration. In addition, I have three wonderful children, who still at the age of 11 believe

Since 2005, Professor Narine has also functioned as the Director of the Guyana National Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), and is recognised in the Caribbean as being a pioneer of biofuels – he is responsible for the design and implementation of biodiesel technology in Guyana which has had significant economic and poverty alleviation impact in this country. He established a commerciallyviable biodiesel production facility in the Northwest District of Guyana, garnering an investment of $4 million and creating employment for 180 people - a boost to Guyana's development. In addition, Dr. Narine is credited with the resuscitation of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology to a state where the institution is once again among the leading applied science institutes in the region. Dr. Narine has implemented a large program at the IAST to bioprospect for pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and cosmoceuticals in the rainforests of Guyana, in keeping with this country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. He opines that 7000 years of anthropological wealth in the form of indigenous medicine can be harnessed from not only the rainforest, but also the variety of flora on the coast of Guyana, to produce cosmoceuticals, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Recently, he was engaged in teaching indigenous women to produce chocolate from cacao grown organically in the North West of


Honda VTX 1300 motorcycle, exploring the back roads around Peterborough, and making cross-country trips every year. With all the accolades and acclaim he has received, what does Suresh cite as his most memorable day? The day before I defended my PhD thesis, I learnt that I was the father-tobe of triplets. This was the single most scary but happiest day of my life.’ Guyana, which led to the launching of the Green Gold Chocolate brand. Dr. Narine is the author of Guyana’s AgroEnergy Strategy. In 2011, Suresh received Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Award. The Top 40 under 40 awards recognize Canada’s most innovative and visionary young leaders. Recipients are selected for their outstanding vision and leadership, innovation and achievement, impact, community involvement and development strategy "I had an opportunity to meet and learn about the other 39 recipients of this award, and am overwhelmingly humbled to be included in such an accomplished group,” said Dr. Narine. “I am also deeply honoured to be so recognized in Canada - a country which seems to have equally adopted me as I have adopted it. I believe that my being chosen as one of the award recipients is an endorsement of the value of global citizenship and of the kind of multi-stakeholder approaches to harnessing science for sustainable development that I have been involved with throughout my career. I feel privileged to enjoy this type of recognition in Canada whilst still being actively committed to and involved in the promulgation of science and technology solutions for development in my home country of Guyana." Later that year, he was also awarded in his homeland by President Bharrat Jagdeo. Present for the awards ceremony were Dr. Steven E. Franklin, Trent University's President and ViceChancellor and Dr. Neil Emery, VicePresident Research & International, who were in Guyana for the purpose

of signing a Letter of Intent regarding collaboration opportunities between Trent University and the Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Guyana. “One of the greatest honours in our lives relates to being recognized by one’s country,” said Professor Narine. “For me, this award from President Jagdeo, with whom I have had the distinct pleasure to work closely on developmental activities related to science and technology in Guyana, is more of an endorsement of the values associated with patriotic duty, global citizenship, and the social responsibility of science, than it is of my person. I believe that this award helps to celebrate and to punctuate the importance of the Guyanese diaspora in the development of our country. Celebrating, as it does, nearly six years of involvement in Guyana, the award also recognizes the value of Canadian - Guyanese partnerships, and the value of an approach which places social development at the forefront of science and technology policy.” Recently, Dr. Narine was appointed as the Chair of the board for CGX Energy Inc., a Canadian company trading on the TSX, which has been prospecting on and offshore Guyana for petroleum, adding yet another dimension to his multifaceted activities and interests. Apart from the world of academia and business, Dr. Narine writes and performs Guyanese dialect poetry and plays Indian drums (tabla and dholak). He is compiling a dictionary of Guyanese Creole. As if life weren’t fast-moving enough, Dr. Narine has been known to speed things up on his 86 - Horizons 2012

Suresh is the proud father of triplets: Vandana, Rudra, and Geetanjali. Awards received:2005 • Growing Alberta Leadership Award for Innovation • University of Alberta’s Student Union Award for Leadership in Undergraduate Teaching • Professor of the Year with the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. 2006 • Trent University Distinguished Alumnus Award 2007 • Special Achievement Guyana/ Canada Award from the Guyanese Diaspora in Canada 2010 • $1.25 M Ontario Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Engineering from the Council of Ontario Universities, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment • $3M Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair in Lipid Derived Biomaterials sponsored by Elevance Renewable Sciences and the Grain Farmers of Ontario 2011 • Named one of the Top 40 Under 40 Leaders in Canada Presidential Award, Hon. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana (For contributions to the field of science and technology in Canada and for contribution in this field to the development of Guyana)


87 - Horizons 2012


Giving Back to My Homeland By Dr Narendra Singh

Dr. Singh with Minister of Culture Youth & Sport Dr. Frank Anthony & Dr. Seepersaud Chatterdeo

Ryan Hinds, Dr M. Rambaran, Dr. N. Singh & Dr Heather Towes

T

hree years ago I travelled to Guyana to be entertained by our beloved West Indies cricket team at the magnificent Providence Stadium. After another crushing defeat, I licked my wounds and decided to visit the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), not for psychiatric help for being a fanatic West Indian fan, but rather to visit the home in which I grew up. My father, Mr. Chetram Singh, was the administrator of the hospital when I was a child and we lived in a house in the hospital compound. I had left Guyana at the age of 14 in 1972, and discovered that although so much had changed, so much had remained the same.The house no longer exists, and has been replaced by a large medical building. I walked the grounds on which I grew up as a child and was overwhelmed by emotions and nostalgia. Dr. Clive Bowman, the Chief of Pediatrics was kind enough to take me on a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Pediatric ward. During the tour,I was overcome with sadness at the conditions of the wards, but impressed by the patient care provided under very challenging conditions.During this visit and my subsequent research, I gathered some intriguing data. The neonatal mortality in Guyana, though improving slowly,

continues to be still very high and ranks 125th in the world.The majority of deaths in these units were due to infections or complications of prematurity. There is an inadequacy of specialty care in pediatrics and obstetrics in the public health care system.There are three certified pediatricians in Guyana, both of whom work in the private sector. By comparison, there are 5 pediatricians in Toronto of Guyanese origin. Following the tour, I met with Dr. Madan Rambaran, the pioneer of Postgraduate Medical Education in Guyana. He requested some assistance in developing a three-year Postgraduate program in pediatrics. After collaborating with the local physicians, and the foreign faculty, I developed a curriculum consistent with the common illnesses seen in Guyanaand concurrently patterned the program after the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) and Canadian Pediatric Society( CPS). There was the need to develop a faculty at the University of Guyana to deliver the curriculum. Dr.Hardat Persaud, one of the three local pediatricians, agreed to be one of our faculty, but all the others had to be recruited from abroad. Being on faculty at the University of Toronto and McMaster University, I approached 89 - Horizons 2012

Dr. Singh in NICU, Toronto, Canada

a number of my colleagues, and there was overwhelming support for the project especially from McMaster University. Guyana was not new to McMaster, since Dr. Brian Cameron, Chief of Pediatric Surgery at McMaster, worked with Dr. Rambaran to develop the Postgraduate Surgical program at GPHC. Dr. Andrea Hunter, a pediatrician at McMaster, agreed to assist me with the coordination of the program and has made several trips to Guyana. Because we did not have financial resources at our disposal to launch the program, all foreign faculty agreed to volunteer their time and pay for their return airfare to Guyana. GPHC agreed to provide accommodation and local transportation for the visiting faculty. We launched the program in October 2011(www.guyanapediatrics. com), at which time we admitted 5 locally qualified doctors into the program including the Chief of Pediatrics, Dr. Bowman. In May of this year, we admitted another two residents into the program. There is usually a faculty in Guyana for 1-2 weeks every month and


Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran looks on as New NICU Plaque is Unveiled.

the remainder of time the teaching is done via Skype. I was thrilled by the progress that we had made and the partnership that we had developed with the CEO of GPHC, Mr. Michael Khan, Dr. Rambaran and the Minister of Health, Dr.Bheri Ramsaran. But I realized very quickly that providing the doctors with specialized training without the equipment and technology to apply their newly acquired skillwould significantly limit our ability to impact the neonatal mortality. Furthermore, the current NICU was overcrowded and did not have adequate space to house all the babies and equipment that I felt was needed. I proposed to Mr. Khan that I would equip the NICU, if he would agree to build a new NICU. I worked very closely with Mr. Khan to plan, design and build NICU. With personal donations and funds raised through a new non-for profit organization, Guyana Help The Kids (GHTK, Guyanahelpthekids.com), we purchased incubators, warmers, IV pumps, monitors and other supplies for the NICU. We received generous donations from Mr.Dahman Kissoon Golf Tournament and the Brampton Flower City Rotary in Canada, which we utilized to purchase four CPAP machines.These are used to support the breathing of premature babies until such time as their lungs mature. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also donated some of the neonatal equipment. Pam and Harry Harrack also donated some incubators. The First Lady of Guyana, Mrs. D. Ramoutar, the Minister of Health and

the Guyana representative for PAHO were present at the opening of the new level 3 NICU at GPHC in March of this year. We are now able to provide very sophisticated neonatal care, never before present in the public system. Concurrent with these efforts, Dr. Kate Runkle, a first year pediatric resident from the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto, travelled to Guyana for a month, during which time she developed, implemented and taught an infection control protocol. Dr. Runkle identified a local champion to continue the teaching and monitoring of the program. Since the implementation of this very simple measure, the neonatal mortality at GPHC has decreased by 35 %. We are training doctors and providing them with the technology but we had not trained the nurses. This is the last part of the puzzle, or is it? Dr. Leif Nelin, Chief of Neonatology at Nationwide

90 - Horizons 2012

Children’s Hospital in Ohio, was visiting his daughter In Guyana and heard of our program. He invited me to Columbus, at their cost, to explore their participation in the program. They have agreed to develop, implement and teach a one-year Neonatal Nurse training Program, to be launched in June of this year at which time there will be eight nurses admitted into the program. Like the Pediatric Residency Program, this program will be taught partly by foreign educators travelling to Guyana and by Skype. PAHO has provided grant funding to offset the airfares of the Nurse Trainees. Where do we go from here? Approximately 15,000 babies are delivered in Guyana each year, 6000 of which occur at GPHC. Limiting the Neonatal Program to GPHC would therefore limit our ability to impact neonatal mortality in Guyana. There needs to be a network of Neonatal Units which would include New Amsterdam, West Demerara,Suddie and Linden that have approximately 2000, 1100, 800 and 600 deliveries respectively. These need to be linked to GPHC by communication, rapid transfer, education and personnel. Guyanahelpthekids (GHTK) is committed to working with The Ministry of Health through the Minister, Dr.Bheri Ramsaran, to develop such a network. GHTK has committed to providing all of the equipment and expertise and the Minister has committed to doing the necessary infrastructure work at the Regional Hospitals. GHTK is also committed to refurnishing and reequipping a new pediatric ward


Guyanese Cardiologist Honoured with Prestigious European Award

Dr. Singh in NICU, Guyana, Teaching and providing Patient Care

at GPHC. Ryan Hinds is of Guyanese origin and plays professional football for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He has agreed to assist GHTK with the fundraising for the Pediatric ward at GPHC. During my multiple trips to Guyana in the past three years, I have learned many lessons. There are many wonderful people, such as Dr. Brian Cameron and Dr. Andrea Hunter who have made great personal and financial sacrifices to do good things, without ulterior motives. We the people of Guyana owe them a debt of gratitude, for their unselfish contribution to building the capacity of our health care system. All charitable organizations that contribute to the health care system in Guyana, must focus part of their efforts in capacity building, so that these efforts will have an inherent long term benefit. Like many of the diaspora (overseas based Guyanese), I am extremely proud to be of Guyanese origin and feel an innate need to “give back”. However, there is an endemic mistrust of the diaspora. Justifiable or not, it can be a major obstacle to developing mutually beneficial partnerships. This mistrust may be entirely misguided, but if the diaspora has any aspirations of giving back, they have to be cognizant and sensitive tothis potential obstacle. I encourage the diaspora not to be discouraged, not to be critical, deliver on your promises and you will be welcomed with open arms. A department of the diaspora is essential to facilitate the unleashing of the tremendous potential of the diaspora. I believe that this partnership between GHTK, GPHC, the Ministry of health and the University of Guyana can be use as a model for the involvement of the diaspora in other sectors. On a personal note, there have been many challenges working in Guyana, but these have been dwarfed by the personal satisfaction of witnessing the evolution of a program that is currently saving valuable lives. I am thankful to all of those who have welcomed me with opened arms and given me a unique opportunity to “give back” to the country that will always be my home.

D

r Hughley Hanoman - A well known Guyanese Cardiologist has won the Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology (FESC) Award for top worldwide Cardiologists. Dr. Hughley Hanoman is the first Guyanese to have won the prestigious award and is the fifth West Indian to do so. The award is given to outstanding Cardiologists for research or clinical excellence. He was required to travel to Paris to receive the award on August 27, 2011. Dr. Hanoman, a former Queen’s College student, graduated as a Medical Doctor from Queen’s University in Belfast Northern Ireland, and did his post graduate studies in cardiology in London, Canada, and Scotland. He did several short courses between 1972 and 1988 in the United States, England, and the Caribbean. The well known physician worked in Berbice and Georgetown in Guyana and lectured in Medicine at the University of Guyana and the University of the West Indies Medical School at the St Augustine Campus in Trinidad. He is at present the consultant Cardiologist at the Open Heart Surgery Programme at Eric Williams Medical Complex, Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Hanoman served as President of the Guyana Medical Association and as a Member of Parliament in Guyana for eight years. He was also awarded as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health & Hygienic (UK), and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, Scotland. He wrote several medical manual manuscripts for the West Indian Medical Journal and other medical publications. He comes from the prominent Hanoman family. His brother was former High Court Judge, and Director of Public Prosecutions, Denis Hanomansingh, brother of Dr. Shirley Hanoman Jhagroo now in Barbados and Berbice businessman Roy Hanoman. The Hanoman family and the Medical Community of Guyana are extremely proud of the outstanding achievements of this distinguished Medical Doctor and son of Guyana,

91 - Horizons 2012


President and First Lady Host The

First National Chowtaal Samelaan In Guyana

P

HAGWAH, the Hindu Spring Festival, was celebrated on March 8 across the world in countries with people of Hindu origin, such as Guyana. To usher in this season, President Donald Ramotar and First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar hosted for the first time a National Chowtaal Samelan and Holi Sangam at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater

Georgetown. It was held on the eve of Phagwah which is a National holiday in Guyana. A number of chowtaal gols (groups) from around the country congregated at the venue and sang lustily all night delighting the hundreds who attended this event. Some of the groups participating included Dharmic Upper Corentyne Praant-Crabwood 92 - Horizons 2012

Creek Mandir, Dharmic West Berbice Praant Bush Lot Mandir, Gandhi Youth Organisation Mandirs, Radha Krishna Mandir, Camp Street, Dharmic Rama Krishna Mandir, Kitty and Dharmic East Coast Demerara Praant Youth Group. Dharmic Sabha’s singers Sookrane Boodhoo, Mona, Mohan Nandu, Rekha Singh and Suchitra Rampersaud regaled the audience with melodious songs reflective of the season of spring. Beautifully dressed dancers of the Dharmic Nritya Sangh performed vibrant Holi dances on the colourfully adorned stage. The invitees were treated to a sumptuous vegetarian feast prepared specially for the occasion. The rollicking beats of the tassa item performed by the Upper Corentyne


Praant had many persons up and dancing energetically as the evening drew to close. Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds and his wife, Yvonne Hinds, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Juan Edghill, and several members of the diplomatic corps joined the President and First Lady at the first ever National Chowtaal celebration. President Ramotar, giving his opening remarks, said that the event was realised mostly through the hard work of First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar. In extolling the importance of Holi, he said that he was happy to facilitate such an event which sought to honour the importance of integrity and goodness. Assistant General Secretary of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, at the start of the event, said that Holi is one of the most vibrant and colourful festivals that allows for families and friends to gather at events, to mingle and share love. Dr. Persaud, one of the organisers of the event, said that it was a pleasure to collaborate with the President and First Lady in organising a gathering of such magnitude in Guyana. It was the perfect culmination of the traditional chowtaal samelaans which are organized by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha around the country and is set to become an annual event.


Lentil a legume with nutritional punch!

O

ne hundred and seventy two years ago, when our fore parents came from India to the shores of Guyana, they ensured that they brought along with them their rich culture, undying religion and effervescent spirits. What they also brought was their knack for cooking a variety of foods that would out last their lives and stand the test of time in the Guyanese cooking culture. One such food that came with them was the

By Ananda Latchman

Lentil. A common myth is that lentil is what Guyanese term as Dal, however, lentil is the legume that is used to make Dal, and it is not the Dal itself. Lentil, which is considered a vegetable, is a seed and a part of the legume family. It originated from Asia and upon coming to Guyana, quickly became a staple ingredient in most Guyanese dishes. Many use this vegetable as a substitute for meat. Not only are lentils considered a main ingredient in dishes, but they are extremely versatile; meaning they can be cooked in various ways – steamed, fried, boiled, stewed and can also be used in foods as an appetiser or main course. They are also considered to be convenient to chefs and housewives since they can be bought fresh, frozen or canned. Lentils have been known to be around for over 8000 years, and have grown in popularity. This increased usage and amplified esteem can be attributed to the facts that they are high in nutritional value and unlike seasonal vegetables; they are available throughout the year. The wide variety of nutrients packed into this small vegetable is responsible for so many health benefits that is has endeared itself to its users and has become the staple food in many households. Low in calories and fat, 94 - Horizons 2012

the lentil is beneficial to persons on diets and assists with their aim of being healthy and looking good since it lowers cholesterol and speeds up the metabolism. They are loaded with iron and protein and are considered a great way to replenish the body's iron stores, build muscle mass and provide energy especially for people who don't eat red meat like vegans and vegetarians. This powerful food is filled with vitamin B and this is important for the healthy functioning of the nervous, digestive, and immune systems. We always hear that fibre is essential to a diet and that we should ensure we have our daily intake of the required fibre. Ever wondered why? Well‌ fibre helps to regulate blood sugar by providing steady, slow-burning energy and balancing blood sugar levels, and it assists with lowering cholesterol. Lentils are filled with fibre that enhances your diet. Studies have proved that consuming lentils regularly helps to fight the risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease. They are extremely beneficial to diabetes patients as the soluble fiber in lentils traps carbohydrates which help to prevent wide swings in blood sugar level throughout the day.


Back in the days… to now! Over time, recipes and ways of turning lentils into snacks and meals have evolved and developed. Our fore parents made tasty, simple dishes using red, black, green and yellow lentils that had mouths watering and stomach growling. These included the pholourie, where the soaked lentils were ground and mixed with flour before frying to serve as an appetiser. This scrumptious morsel has become an appetiser for birthdays, family gatherings, poojas or just a snack on any given day. Another snack or appetiser that is a known Guyanese speciality is fried lentils. This inventive way of enjoying lentil has been to flavour it with spices and pepper and fry it, making it a snack that can be used at anytime during the day.

Khichri. This simple dish made of mainly rice and lentils was made by our fore parents and served many purposes, but the real beauty of this one-pot dish is the vast number of people it can feed, how easy it is to prepare. It guarantees satisfaction after eating. This was a regular dish in the logis and many Indians still make this one-pot dish for their families. Many older Guyanese may know the term “Dal Plantain”, yet many of us are wondering “What?!” Well, Dal Plantain is a simple and commonly known soup made by our parents and their parents and generations before them and has lived to the modern age to tell the tale of its flavour and medicinal wonders. Its two main ingredients are lentils and plantains and it’s made into a rich soup/ broth. Our grandparents swear that this soup helps the sick to recover their strength and feel energised in no time.

95 - Horizons 2012

This is mainly due to all the nutritional value derived from lentils. Logie life had simple, but fulfilling and delicious lentil dishes. But as the years go by, creativity with meals has ensued a variety of ways to prepare lentils. Guyanese are now experimenting with lentils in different dishes and bringing a more contemporary Indian feel to their authentic Indian meals, such as: Dal Makhani - smooth, creamy butter gravy of Black lentils and beans, Dal Tadkewali - yellow lentils cooked with chilli and yogurt and Dal Palak – yellow lentils cooked with spinach. So the next time you want a simple and convenient meal that is both healthy and tasty, then think of Lentils! With lentils always in your kitchen there are a variety of ways to turn this small legume into a large meal that will satisfy all.


Lentil Recipes Dal Tadkewali

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 cup yellow lentils 1tsp jeera 1tsp chili powder 1 chopped onion 1 tsp turmeric powder 2tbsp chopped coriander 3tbsp ghee (clarifyed butter) salt to taste 2tbsp butter 1 chopped tomato 1tsp fresh curd ½ tsp garam masala

4. Again add the dal and cook for 4-5 minutes 5. Add coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. 6. Cover and cook until 2/3rds of the water has evaporated 7. Mash the dal lightly 8. Prepare the tempering by melting

the butter, adding the tomato, curds and garam masala. Cook on slow flame for 2 minutes 9. Add to the cooked dal and stir for 3-4 minutes. 10. Sprinkle coriander on top and serve hot.

Method 1. Wash the lentils. Soak for an hour and then drain. 2. Heat the ghee. Add cumin seeds and cook until they begin to crackle. 3. Add onion and cook until light pink

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •

1 cup red lentil dal, soaked for ½ hour 1 heaped cup rice, washed and soaked with water for ½ hour 3 tablespoons ghee (substitute with oil) 1 heaped cup sliced onions ¼ teaspoon black pepper 3 whole cloves 3 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised 1 (2-inch) piece cinnamon stick 1¾ cups water salt and pepper to taste

Khichri 3. Remove half of the fried onions and set aside. 4. Add spices – black pepper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon to pot and sauté. 5. Drain rice and lentils, add to pot and stir. Let fry for 2 – 3 minutes. 6. Pour in water, add salt and pepper to taste along with remaining

Method 1. Add 2 tablespoons ghee to pot and heat on medium heat. 2. Add onions and sauté until brown (about 7 minutes). 96 - Horizons 2012

tablespoon ghee to pot, stir, and cover and bring to a boil. As soon the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let cook undisturbed for 25 minutes. At the end of this time, turn off the heat and let rice stand untroubled for 10 minutes before fluffing. 7. Serve with reserved fried onions


100 Years of the Arya Samaj Movement By: Chevon Singh

T

he Arya Samaj movement had its origins in 1875. It was founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswatie who declared that this was not to be a new religion but a return to the teachings of the Vedas – the oldest books known to mankind. The mission of Arya Samaj is enshrined in its motto, ‘Krinvanto Vishwam Aaryam’, to make the Universe noble. It was a visiting missionary (Arya Samajist) and freedom fighter from India, Bhai Parmanand who founded the movement in Guyana. This movement advocates self rule and prescribes proper training, impeccable character and not birth for persons to become Pandits. The first Hindu female priests were Arya Samajists. Gender equality in education is also advocated. Unveiling the commemorative Monument PEACE, love and unity were the underlying messages as the Arya Samaj celebrated its 100th year in Guyana with the unveiling of the centenary monument in the Promenade Gardens in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city.

Members of the Arya Samaj movement from all across the country gathered to celebrate the occasion with Guyana’s Acting President Samuel Hinds; President of the United Arya Samaj Federation, Bhai Vishnu Bandhu; President of the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, Vishwa Mahadeo; and senior government officials. In his address, Hinds paid tribute to those who made significant contributions to life in Guyana, including the founder of the movement, Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, and all members of the Arya Samaj. “We are here in an historic location to make our own history,” he declared. The Acting President called for special recognition of the last two principles of the Arya Samaj as, according to him, they speak directly to politicians and their role in developing the country in the best interest of citizens. Principle nine says, “one should not be content with one's own welfare alone, but should look for one's welfare in the welfare of all’ and Principle 10 says, “one should regard oneself under

Arya Samaj Monument, Promenade Gardens

98 - Horizons 2012

restriction to follow altruistic rulings of society, while all should be free in following the rules of individual welfare.” As to the significance of this, Prime Minister Hinds related, “We in Government have been able to get Guyana on the road of growing, and we can look around and feel proud, to a large extent, about the material improvement in our country…there is potential for an even better life for us in Guyana that will come if we could adopt the slogan, ‘prosper thy neighbour’. The crowd gathered to celebrate 100 years of Arya Samaj in Guyana with the unveiling of the Centenary Monument in the Promenade Gardens. “Over the years, there have been improvement in several key areas, including schools, medical facilities, and roads, among other things, and there exists the potential for further improvements if we all realise that we live in the service of each other,” Hinds added. In closing, Hinds challenged those gathered to “live up to principles” they


Pre- order your vehicle & save $$$. Vehicles purchased includes free, Revenue Licence, Fitness & Number Plates

Telephone: (592) 624 7684 / 617 2378 • Email: quantumauto@live.com

For Quality Used & Recondition Japanese Vehicles.


Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, performing the duties of President of Guyana, joins the Arya Samajists in celebrating the occasion. He said, “History would tell you that in the days of the British (when Guyana was a British colony), the leaders of the Arya Samaj were leaders in the fight for Guyana’s freedom from the British; the Arya Samaj has been a cradle of brilliant ideas, fearless people fighting for what was right.”

have committed themselves to and encouraged them to continue to make contributions for the development of the country. Of the 10 principles, the first three principles of the Arya Samaj are seen as comprising the doctrinal core of the Arya Samaj, as they summarise the members’ belief in God, the nature of Divinity, and the authority of the Vedas. The remaining seven principles reflect the reformative ambitions of the Samaj in regard to both the individual and society at large. At the event, President of the United Arya Samaj Federation, Bhai Bandhu, stressed that it was indeed a long year of waiting for the launching and unveiling of the monument marking 100 years in Guyana. Alluding to the teachings of the movement, he said, “He (Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati)

did not tell us to serve Indians, Africans, Portuguese or whatever race; he said to serve humanity; we all must try our best to do that … we should join hands and promise ourselves that we will try to follow the 10 principles of Arya Samaj, so that we can make this world a better place for every human being to live in.” On behalf of the United Arya Samaj Federation, which funded the building of the monument, he thanked all of those who contributed to its completion, as well as the Executives in the United States for their contribution. “The Arya Samaj movement in Guyana, is not a movement for one race but once you can accept the ten principles you can become a follower,” Bhai Vishwa Mahadeo, head of the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, said.

Bhai Mahadeo stressed that all members must live up to the expectations and standards set by their foreparents, to become better and contribute to making the universe noble. Other presentations were made by Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy; Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Charles Ramson; Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green; and GT&T CEO Yog Mahadeo, among others. In communities that are home to centres of the Arya Samaj Movement, the organisation aggressively promotes knowledge-based activities for young people. Among these are the teachings of Hindi along with special emphasis being placed on children, especially girls attending school full time. The movement insists that all youths should spend their formative years pursuing the highest forms of education before entering family lives. The Arya Samaj movement is also engaged in charitable works and addresses social issues in Guyana.


Youth – Their Choices in a Challenging World

Y

oung people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because life is sweet and they are growing.” - Aristotle Some youths make decisions that may be precarious or constructive. Diverse youthful experiences influence young people in their thoughts and actions. It seems that destructive elements are working their way into our society and they are being embraced as part of a healthy life style. In some places, community cohesion is under threat. How do youths deal with these elements? This article summarises the views of nine youths (ages 17-24) who were interviewed during April 2012. Some are still pursuing their education, some left school early and others are employed. There were five males and four females. All live in Georgetown, but come from different parts of Guyana. What do they think about places of worship God and religion?

By Keeran Persaud “...Gives peace of mind from all other things..” All of the youths believe in God. Some of them are frequent attendees at their places of worship. They all recognise that the place of worship can be a place to find peace; one girl said ‘inner fulfillment’. Places of worship are important and should be treated with respect. Two of the youths derive their inspiration from people insteadOne from a friend who is 'learned and wise' (but not parents, because they are old fashioned). The other prays at home when he is worried or goes to an elderly shopkeeper for a listening ear. How do they pass their time? “..Party, listen to music, make people happy..” When not studying or working, all of the youths identified activities they do to pass time-travelling, singing, reading, going to religious functions, sex, looking at romance movies, drawing, dancing, helping people, cooking, swimming, partying, pools, clubbing, outdoor sports such as cycling and cricket. One person likes to be engaged in community service to 101 - Horizons 2012

make people happy. One person said work prevents him from engaging in his favourite sport. Others were able to enjoy their activities frequently. How to build cohesive communities? The youths all had some ideas as to what they could do to help to build cohesive communities. Some recognized that religious functions and gatherings help to bring people together. Others recognized the need for other kinds of events like “...outreach programmes, family fun days... activities which enable interaction, break social barriers..” One person said ‘drinking together’. Another said that the goal of events should be the “.betterment of the individuals in the community.” Personal responsibility was also noted – one youth said that it is good to behave in a peaceful (quiet) manner as that would encourage others to behave the same way, and to be friendly and understanding and helpful. Another youth felt that we should follow Sri Rama’s example in the Ramayana in the way that He displayed humility when dealing with the people he ruled.


Many countries in the world including Guyana have been discussing equality for their gay and bisexual citizens. The Government of Guyana will be consulting on the repeal of the laws which discriminate against gay and bisexual people so as to fulfill its human rights obligations.

What do they think about Alcohol & drug use? “I have to drink with friends, or else liming time will be boring, if not drinking, we go home because there is no fun” In Guyana, the consumption of alcohol is a cause of concern. There is always debate around alcohol and how to educate young people. In this group, the earliest age at which they started drinking is 15. Three persons currently do not consume and advocate against consumption. Those who drink say their reasons include ‘blending in with friends, or trying it out’ but also include ‘being depressed, having no one to talk to’ Other young people talk of drinking for relaxation. Some of the youth (including those who drink) have no problem with activities which do not include alcohol, but others said that they need alcohol to be a part of a social gathering with friends. All of the youth said that people should drink what they could handle, but acknowledged the consequences of drinking and driving; and “stupid behavior.” Most of the youth had been asked to try other drugs. One of them said that he used marijuana a few times but stopped because “it is not worth it, it messes with your mind and makes you do things you would regret all your life” Another youth decided not to try because of what he saw ‘in the actions of my friends” What about sex? “My question is if a man can have sex before marriage, why not a woman, let’s forget about what society thinks” Most of the youth said they have an interest in sex, one person said no and another said “to an extent”. Most of the youth said they could find alternate

pastimes but some said that there was no alternative to sex, while one said that sex was as equal a pastime as any other. One person said that while sex was a must for him, he sometimes indulged in the alternative “self - control on religious occasions during fasting, focusing on God and keeping the mind clear” All of the youths are aware of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but most of them said that fear of contracting STIs would not prevent them from having sex. One person said they would use condoms. Four of the youths said they would have casual sex. Most of them said that they also would have sex in committed relationship (not marriage). When asked about their belief in sex before marriage,” if the person is committed and we are heading down to marriage, then yes, but if it not going anywhere, hardly likely” Some said “yes and no.” Most of the youth said they do not directly proposition anyone for sex, though one person said ‘Yes, and I get hustle as well” The youth indicated that they tended to seek out the persons they were attracted to for good company and long term relationships which might lead to marriage. One youth“main reason is good company which in turn leads to long term relationships, and an interest in pleasure and satisfaction is born” One of the youth said that he was interested in sex only, while another said he goes in for good company “which can lead to long term relationship , or just sex” Attitudes to gays and bisexual people? “I just dislike/hate bisexuals and gays but they are people” 102 - Horizons 2012

The youth were asked their views about gay and bisexual people. All of the youth recognized that gay and bisexual people are humans - “people”. Some persons though felt strongly about having them in their personal space sharing sentiments like “I keep far from them” or “Stay away from them, but I will accept and work along with them if the relationship is purely about work” The youth also expressed their views on the reasons why people are gay and lesbian. Some reflected” they just choose that path because they were hurt badly by the opposite sex” while others had views similar to “Negative thinking, although I know that they were created like that and can’t help themselves. The other youth however shared beliefs reflected in statements such as “I think they choose, I support their decision, I would not try to change them, people should appreciate you for who you are, and not what they want you to be” Conclusion All believe in God and attend places of worship. They believed that places of worship are central to community cohesion. It was important that the places of worship be “youthfriendly” - encouraging free and open conversations about the issues affecting them, and providing programmes which will satisfy their needs in a wholesome way. There are other youths who might be atheist or agnostic, or who reject formal religion for many reasons. These youth should not be made to feel that conversion to any religious belief should be a requirement for participating in any activity hosted by a place of worship. Youths need communities which are strong and healthy and which will nurture and sustain them. Some recognise that they have a role to


play in creating such communities. The youths noted that cohesive communities would be characterised by social outreach, checking in on troubled homes, watching out for children and other vulnerable people so as to ensure a feeling of safety and security for all community members. Are the community sports and social events around us beneficial? We should encourage events which do not include activities which encourage youth to gamble or consume alcohol. We can never do enough to counter the problems caused by alcohol consumption in Guyana. According to the (Emergency Room Study on Alcohol and Injury (Guyana) – December 2011 Ministry of Health) “ In Guyana, over the period 2003-2005, persons aged 15 years and older consumed 9.5 liters per capita of pure alcohol, higher than the WHO [World Health Organisation] average of 8.75. In 2010, among schoolchildren 13-15 years old, the percentage of students who drank at least one drink containing alcohol on one or more days in the past 30 days was 39.2%, and among students who had ever had a drink of alcohol other than a few sips, 79% of students had their first drink before the age of 14 years. Almost one third of students drank so much alcohol that they were really drunk one or more times during their life” How do these statistics reflect in our communities and with young people? We have to discuss alcohol consumption, be able to provide alternatives to change the culture which blindly accepts alcohol consumption as a good thing. Some of the youth spoke about 'controlled drinking' while others were firm in their views about zero tolerance. Given the concerns about alcohol consumption, doesn't it make sense for us to advocate for no consumption, just as we do with the other drugs like cocaine and marijuana? One of the side effects of alcohol and drug consumption is the lack of control which could lead to risky sexual behaviour. The youths are thinking about sex and

love – this might be a cliché, but we should always know that. The (Guyana Biologic and Behavioural Surveillance Survey 2008/2009 – Ministry of Health) noted that “Two-thirds (66%) of outof-school youth have ever had sex. The average age of first sex for outof-school youth was 16 years old. Out-of-school youth reported that they had an average of 0.2 transactional sex partners (i.e., partners with whom they exchanged sex for money, gift or favours) during the past year. Twentyone percent (21%) reported that they had been forced to have sex.” The same survey noted for in-school youth that “Over one-quarter (27%) of in-school youth have ever had sex, and of those, 66% had been sexually active in the last 12 months. The average age of first sex for in-school youth was 14 years old. Almost one-quarter (24%) reported that they had been forced to have sex. Males were asked if they had ever forced someone to have sex, and 25% admitted that they had. Over half (53%) of in-school youth said they had used a condom the first time they had sex. Almost half (49%) of in-school youth always used a condom during sex with regular sex partners (i.e., non-transactional) in the past year, while 39% said they always used condoms when having sex with transactional sex partners (i.e., partners with whom they exchanged sex for money, gift or favour) in the past year. “ The youths interviewed for this article 103 - Horizons 2012

are aware of condom usage. However, it would seem that not many are aware that condoms cannot protect them from some sexually transmitted infections. There are many conflicting messages about sex and sexuality. Youths should be taught that their sexuality is part of their being. Young people should be given all the information so as to make healthy and wise choices about sex. We should also teach young people about healthy relationships which are free from violence. Most of the youth talked about relationships which were not based on sex. One of the youths noted – when talking about relationships that “Mutual respect for one another is very important between individuals.“ This idea of respect and tolerance came up in the discussion about rights for gay and bisexual people. While the youth had different ideas as to the nature of homosexuality and bisexuality, they seemed all in favour of realising that those with different sexual orientations are 'human too'. One of the youths quoted that “my attitude towards gays and lesbians is nothing less that I have towards ‘normal’ individuals” Can we influence how young people think? Should we influence how young people think? It is our responsibility to be open to what young people have to say, to share our expectations of them, while also hearing from them what they expect of us. Are they really in a state of permanent intoxication?


104 - Horizons 2012


Horizons 2012  

What started out as an ambitious diary of the history of Indentured East Indians and their descendants in Guyana has evolved into so much mo...

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you