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Horizons 2014 -


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Contents Aging Gracefully: Nani Hirawatie of Essequibo


Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Celebrates Its 40Th Anniversary


Publisher's Message


Addressing Suicide


Editor’s Note


Family Traditions Ties that bind...


Life on The Plantation - Indian Indentured Immigrants


2014 Indian Arrival Celebrations


Indian Settlements


Guyanese Abroad Receiving Awards and Accolades


Madras Culture in Guyana



E-Networks Emerging Voices A Ground-breaking Musical TV Reality Show

Bal Nivas Dharmic Sabha's Shelter for Children in Berbice


TULSI- The Elixir Of Life


Sonu Nigam Visits The Majestic Kaieteur Falls


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My Determined Path To Meditation 92 yoga Asanas

East Indian Works of Art


Taan Singing


Myths & Old Practices



Publisher's Message


n behalf of the entire AMS Team I am pleased to deliver our 9th edition of Horizons Magazine as we celebrate Indian Arrival 2014 representing 176 Years since the arrival of the first East Indians in May 1838 to the shores of the then British Guiana. They have left behind a proud and rich legacy of their heritage, religion and culture which has now become enshrined in the fabric of today’s Guyana. Across the country, we are reminded of the East Indian legacy and influence through our temples and mosques, rich culture through our nationally celebrated festivals, weddings rich with tradition, delectable Indian food many of which are national staples, music, fashion and dance. These stories of our rich and colourful East Indian history need to be shared and our heritage and culture celebrated with today’s East Indian generation and the wider society across all of Guyana. Through these pages and previous editions of our HORIZONS Magazines we have chronicled the stories of the early arrivals and highlighted the success of ensuing generations of East Indians in Guyana. We salute the efforts of those East Indian brothers and sisters who pioneered the efforts and persevered to have May 5 declared Indian Arrival Day. Since its declaration as a National Holiday we have seen the emergence of East Indian religious and cultural celebrations across the country by the many East Indian organizations. In 2014 we have seen the annual re-enactment of the arrival of the first ship, the Whitby with its precious cargo of the first East Indians at Highbury, Berbice. The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha hosted a number of religious and social events to include a major concert with the world famous Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam. In addition they unveiled the highly acclaimed Bal Nivas Complex in Berbice. The Indian Commemoration Trust hosted their traditional event in their Monument Gardens and unveiled a special monument in honour of the early East Indian immigrants. The Indian Arrival Committee hosted their annual Melas in Berbice and Essequibo. We also saw the launch of Guyana’s first East Indian Musical Reality Television Show pioneered by Mr. Vishok Persaud and his E-Networks group. This is an excellent initiative and production which received raving reviews and needs to be fully supported as it can only help to propagate the further development of East Indian Music and Culture. I want to thank our entire Team at AMS and particularly our Editor Dr. Vindhya Persaud for her continued efforts in delivering the rich editorial content. I also want to thank the many editorial and photographic contributors for their support. We encourage those of you who wish to offer articles for publishing in our future issues of our HORIZONS Magazine to engage Dr. Vindhya Persaud and myself. Let’s continue to celebrate our rich East Indian heritage and traditions. Lokesh Singh Publisher

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Editor’s Note


very year as we celebrate Arrival Day in Guyana, we reflect on a period of history in our country replete with cruelty, struggle, deprivation of basic human rights and life-changing decisions which influenced not only the ethnic composition of our country but its future. Oppression during that time generated leaders and freedom fighters, a people who fought to preserve their heritage as they struggled to survive. Foremost in the minds of the early immigrant was not only survival, but the vision of his/her children achieving an improved quality of life. Those sentiments remained embedded and today, their descendants include not only highly accomplished individuals but also successive generations of torch- bearers in families; in diverse fields. As we, their descendants reminisce on our ancestors’

triumphs over their vicissitudes and carve our own destinies, we must be cognizant of the impact our every decision and action makes on Guyana. We must be aware of how we are perceived not only within our country but beyond its borders , as such our characters must bear the imprints of those hallmarks of our ancestors; courage, decisiveness, integrity, discipline and dedication to work. Integral to their multitude achievements was foresight and an indomitable spirit which bore fruit. Today, the stamp of a past generation is visible in varied forms which have been absorbed into our national tapestry of culture, economic growth and diversity, agricultural direction, musical blends, clothing, national cuisine and architecture. We each have a personal responsibility to preserve those dimensions that are not so readily apparent; all the remnants of their historical journey, the values that guided them in times of despair and the faith and optimism that made them never succumb. I trust that the lessons of the past would have delved into our consciousness so that as a people we not only celebrate the road we are on, but we appreciate the struggles and sacrifices of the people who have traversed this road in the early days to take us to this point. Let us learn from their lives’ illustration, how as a united people with a common goal of betterment for country and people- they withstood and triumphed against all odds for a better future for succeeding generations. I am proud of my Guyanese roots and my Indian ancestry and heritage and feel immense pride in the things which make us as a Guyanese people unique to the world; the amalgamation of our cultural traditions yet our ability to maintain so many in their pristine forms, our inherent hospitality and warmth, our progressive spirit and that harmony with which we live in our beautiful land; appreciating and sharing in each other’s customs and celebrations. We need to see the positive way in which we are perceived as a country and people through the eyes of those who visit; while the majesty of Kaieteur Falls literally takes one’s breath away…it is the spirit of our people that remain as an indelible imprint in their hearts. I would like to thank all those who contributed to this year’s Horizons, especially the AMS team and the readers who encourage me to do this year after year. Indian Arrival Day greetings! Every success is wished to you as you embark on ventures which will reflect positively on our country. As the lines of Sonu Nigam’s famous song weave their magic; the deeper meaning speaks to us all – Har pal yahan, jee bhar jiyo, jo hai sama kal ho na ho( Live every moment here to its fullest, the moment that is here now might not be tomorrow) God bless! Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud M.P Editor

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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 Email: Website:


Lokesh Singh


Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud

Advertising Sales Anupa Outar

Graphic Design & Layout

Advertising & Marketing Services Heimant Ram & Deomattie Seeram

Contributing Writers

Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud Dr. Indhira Harry Zahrah Alli Deodatt Tillack Dr. Odeen Ishmael Renu Batra

Joy Persaud Deomattie Seeram Ananda Latchman Priya Methuram Kumar Kissoon


Fidal Bassier Sandra Prince Amanda Richards Deodatt Tillack Kumar Kissoon Deomattie Seeram Ananda Latchman Nicola Pierre GINA Guyana Times Deodat Persaud E-Networks Adrian Narine Trishala Persaud Javin Singh Troy Parbhoo Indian Arrival Committee

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Š Copyright 2014. 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.

Life on The Plantation


e have all read of or at least heard tales of the life of deprivation and hardship endured by the Indian Immigrants who left India bound for various countries including Guyana. The conditions they faced were formidable and history records some of those conditions of work and living. Improvement in living and working conditions were not high on the agendait seemed that the aim was to keep them as a productive workforce with little regard to how they existed. Whether it was fear of the unknown or simply because they did not understand what they were signing many of Indian Immigrants who came in 1845 refused to sign written agreements with the plantation owners. This impacted on the duration of their tenure and their working conditions. They initially did not work for more than four weeks. However, the

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- Indian Indentured Immigrants

By Dr. Vindhya Persaud

British Government intervened in 1848 and extended the hiring period to three years-a steady climb from 4 weeks to 6 months and 1 year in the preceding years. Many Indians perished and the Indian Government implemented a ban on emigration. After a periodic lull, Indian immigration to Guyana resumed in 1851. This time the hiring contract was extended to 5 years. Punishment of varying severity was meted out to the Immigrants. If an indentured Indian refused to attend daily roll call, or to do work given to him, he was placed before a magistrate and faced a fine of $24 or up to two months in prison. If he was absent for seven consecutive days, or found more

Plantation Leonora than two miles from his workplace on a work day, he was also charged for deserting and faced a punishment of up to two months in prison. Visits outside the plantation were only permitted if permission was granted. On paper, the benefits listed in the Ordinance looked reasonable but invariably housing conditions were extremely poor and they continued to live in barrack ranges - referred to as "logies" which afforded almost no privacy to families. Basic medical care was not given. Food was meagre and beatings were sound and not infrequent. Many lost their lives or simply disappeared after an alleged incident. Their privacy was often invaded on allegations of stolen goods or not going to work. These were difficult to refute as whether true

Plantation Reliance Essequibo Horizons 2014 -


or not; punishment was swift and brutal. No one monitored the “justice system� and immigrants lived and survived at the whims and fancies of their masters. Some Indians (75,547 Indians over 5 years) opted to return to India after their period of indenture. The last batch left in 1949. Those who remained gravitated to farming but even those efforts were thwarted as the Court of Policy chose to enact legislation in 1853 to halt this process. This new law forced the Indians to serve as indentured labourers for the first five years, and for the second five years as either free labourers or as indentured labourers. The incentive to be reindentured was $50 for adults. Any move towards independence was not encouraged.

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Indian Settlements By Dr. Odeen Ishmael


n 1885 the Government appointed a Commission headed by the Attorney General, J. W. Carrington, to determine how a land settlement scheme could be established for Indians in compensation for their return passages to India. The Commission met with plantation owners, groups of Indians and other interested persons, and visited a number of places suitable for settlement. The Commission

subsequently established a Return Passages Committee in September 1896 to obtain the sites and to select the settlers. In 1896 Helena, an abandoned sugar plantation on the west bank of the Mahaica River, was purchased by the Government. It was then surveyed and divided into lots, and the old drainage canals were also cleared.

Distribution of house lots and cultivation plots to the selected settlers began in April 1897, and by the time this process was completed, 1,206 persons were in possession of land in the settlement. However, all the persons granted land in Helena did not move from their former places of residence to reside there. Some owned farms elsewhere and they had to sell those

Horizons 2014 -


properties before they could move. In addition, many of them were employed on the on-going Demerara railway project for relatively good wages and were not ready to surrender their jobs to settle permanently at Helena. As a result, the settlement suffered from neglect. The Carrington Commission felt that the settlers could not manage Helena without Government support. The Governor, Sir Walter Sundall, therefore, appointed Rev. James Cropper of the Canadian East Indian Mission as superintendent of Helena, and also of Whim, another Indian settlement which had started on the Corentyne.

Logie Cropper was faced with numerous problems at Helena due to the fact that many of the new proprietors were not living there, and also because those who were occupying lands were very poor. The long drought of 1899 worsened their plight since their crops, particularly rice, suffered badly. Thus, the collection of rates for the maintenance of infrastructure was not an easy task. The Whim settlement started in September 1898 when land for housing and cultivation was allocated to settlers. By March 1899, land was shared out to 574 persons. Many of the persons granted land at this settlement previously resided at the nearby sugar estates of Port Mourant and Albion where they had jobs, mainly as cane cutters, when they were not working on their own lands. The long drought in 1899 forced many of them to abandon their plots and return to Port Mourant and Albion, but they gradually returned to Whim as the weather conditions improved. Some of them also experienced severe economic problems because they incurred heavy debts

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East Indians Landing in British Guiana

East Indian Immigrants Village after borrowing from money lenders to finance the building of houses. It took some time before they could eventually pay off these debts. The settlers cultivated mainly rice, but also planted coconuts, coffee and fruit trees. With their earnings from the sugar estates they were able to erect better houses than their counterparts at Helena. Current expenditure to maintain the settlement was defrayed from rates collected from the new proprietors. However, progress was slower than expected and the Government decided not to expand the settlement. A third settlement for Indians was established at Bush Lot in West Berbice. The area was an abandoned estate which was heavily indebted to the Government for rates, and the proprietor sold it to the Government for $1,200. Comprising of an area of 1,306 acres of which 463

acres were waste land, it was handed over to the Return Passage Committee in March 1897. The early settlers of Bush Lot experienced the problems associated with the drought of 1899 and their rice crop was severely affected. Even though house lots and cultivation plots began to be distributed from 1899, it was not until February 1902 that Bush Lot was officially declared an Indian settlement. A sum of $40,000 acquired from the immigration fund was spent on laying out the settlement and the digging by shovel-men of a canal, over three miles long, to the Abary River to obtain water supply. As at Helena and Whim, many of the persons granted lands, did not move to Bush Lot immediately and so the erection of dwelling houses progressed slowly for the first few

years. Although land was allotted to 1,227 persons when the settlement began, only 394 were in occupation in 1904, and 632 by 1911. To maintain the village, such as clearing drains and fixing the streets, residents were asked to give voluntary labour, but they were not cooperative and they refused to do so unless they were paid. Maria's Pleasure on the island of Wakenaam started in 1902 when 168 lots were distributed. However, only 40 persons built homes and rice and coconuts were cultivated. But since most of the new land owners could not be found, not enough rates were collected. Horizons 2014 -


In 1903, the immigration agent reported that some owners were using their house lots for cultivation purposes while their cultivation plots were left unoccupied. The following year the Government expressed dissatisfaction with the problems occurring in Maria's Pleasure and decided to place this settlement, as well as Bush Lot, Whim and Helena, under the control of the Board of Health. This was eventually done in March 1905. In 1905, the Government abandoned the scheme to settle Indians in exchange for their return passages, and agreed instead to assist them in purchasing land. In 1912-13, the Government purchased the abandoned estates of UnityLancaster on East Coast Demerara

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from their owners and improved the drainage and irrigation canals. The land was then divided into one-acre plots which were sold for $20 each. Around the same period Clonbrook, another abandoned estate just a mile to the west of Unity-Lancaster, was

also purchased by the Government and divided into house lots and cultivation plots. Each house lot was sold for $30 while a cultivation plot cost $20. On the West Coast Demerara, Windsor Forest and La Jalousie, with a combined area of 3,000 acres, was offered for rent at a rate of one dollar per acre for the first year, and six dollars for each subsequent year. The tenants had the option of purchasing the land by paying $8.50 per acre for 25 years. A nearby estate, Hague, was also leased out in lots and offered under similar terms.

By: Deodatt Tillack


he Tamilians from South India who had sailed from the port of Madras, for the then British Guiana as indentured labourers were termed “Madrasis”. Of the 239,000 Indian immigrants to British Guiana less than five percent made up the Madrasis population. For the British planters they were the least desirable immigrants of all, they were stereotyped as lazy, aggressive and rebellious. The alleged penchant for heavy drinking, loud drumming and especially their love and devotion for their kulla Devi Mariamma whose worship involved animal sacrifice evoked that dislike. They were certainly the least keen of all the immigrants on estate work. They preferred to make their living away from the estate in rice farming and fishing. The Madrasis were easily identified as East Indians of dark complexion with curly or kinky hair. The Madrasis brought with them a diverse and complex culture. They mostly settled in the Berbice area. They are four well-known aspects of the Madrasis culture practiced in Guyana and more so, in British Guiana. They wept at the birth of a child. This was due to the uncertainty of the child’s future. In spite of this belief they did not hesitate to procreate. Secondly, they rejoiced at the death of a love one. This was evident in the funeral procession which was characterized by playing of drums such as the tappu and singing of bhakti esaiyil/kirtanam (devotional songs). The deceased was housed in an ‘arthi’ on the way to the saidukadu (burial ground/crematorium) These were done to aid the atman’s(soul) peaceful journey in the afterlife. The Madrasis funeral procession is quite an experience. Thirdly, the older women wear the Madrasi kerchief, which is colorful and depicts the mayil (peacock) which is displayed at the center of the forehead. Finally, they introduced to us the spicy yet palatable milligu tani/mulga tani (pepper water) which is prepared with lentil, meat preferably goat head, and tamarind juice. The Madrasis’ spiritual belief lies in the Goddess Mariamma and her worship is an essential feature of their culture.

The Mariamma with the two Kargums beside her. This is taken at the La Penitence Madras Temple

Mariamma Mari means rain and the goddess is very popular in Tamil Nadu. She is believed to be the consort of Lord Shiva who arose from him to kill the asuras. They pray to her for rain and

Two Karagatam carring the karagum on their heads

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avoidance of epidemics. The marulali (devotee) interprets her will which is then translated by the pandaram (priest) who does not belong to the Brahmin community. The concept of mother worship has existed since time immemorial. Shakti, as divine mother, is portrayed as Para Shakti/ cosmic energy in its dynamic form. Being ullagattil tayaa, the mother of the universe, she is ever ready to heed the call of her devotees. As such this force manifests as Muthu Mari Amman; Muthu (pearl); Mari (rain); Amman (mother)- the mother of rain, that which is more precious than pearls. The mother is manifested in a form of a woman garbed in yellow and carrying a pot of fermented meal and some neem leaves. She fed her devotees with porridge (kanji) and nursed them with neem leaves and turmeric paste. Her scripture is the Mariamma Thalatu and her worship is done in the great month of Aadi (July-August).

The marulali in the centre and the two karagatan along with members and devotees She is venerated as the protector and curer of all miseries. The kargum symbolizing her blessing is carried honoring her as ullagattil tayaa (mother of the universe)

Nadagam (drama) Nadagam or Madras dance was once the hallmark of the Madrasis culture. During the nineteenth century the madras dance was dominant until the first decade of the twenty first century. The popular Nadagam’s were the Ramayanam Nadagam (scenes depicting the life of Lord Shri Ramachandra) and the Madurai Veeran Nadagam featuring the Madrasis most beloved kaval deivom/guardian gods. The Veer Kumaran Nadagam or stories of Lord kartike and the Desangurajan Nadagam (a story depicting the life of and friendship between Desangu, a Hindu king and his friend Malkan a Muslim king were others. Before the Nadagam were performed. The Amman pusay/ worship to the goddess was done back stage by the performers. Irrespective of whichever

Young men playing the tappu Sada Roti & Mulga Tani Horizons 2014 -


Tadja Festival

Nadagam was being showcased, the Vinayagar (Lord Ganesh) Nadagam was the first to be performed as he is Nyanamudhalvanay (the one that receives the first honor. Although the madras dance is dormant it remains in the memory of those who have had the opportunity of witnessing it. Whenever you choose to have sada roti for breakfast/ dinner or you choose to simply enjoy some mulga tani, remember the Madrasis and their contribution to the social, cultural and economic development of our nation.

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Horizons 2014 -


By: Zahrah Alli


or 12 weeks, Guyana’s premier Cable company, E-Networks took viewers on a musical journey like no other. The brainchild of E-networks Managing Director, Vishok Persaud, Emerging Voices set out to unearth fresh talent, good voices and energetic young performers from all across the country. The television reality show set itself apart from any other local production with its state of the art set design, lighting and sound. E-networks also used the platform to showcase its recently formed band, the E-networks Orchestra led by outstanding Indian keyboard player, Akshay Kawale. The band comprises of musicians from India and Guyana. To further add a unique edge to his concept, Persaud recruited musically accomplished singers to not only judge the competition but provide free musical

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and vocal training to the contestants; training and guidance that most if not all of the contestants may never have had the opportunity to receive prior to the competition. Jeffrey Iqbal, a now household name in Guyana after his appearance at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s Shreya Ghoshal concert in 2012 and a string of concerts to mark Diwali 2013. Iqbal was selected by AR Rahaman from thousands of applicants to perform with him at a New York concert. In 2009, he went on to become the first runner up in Zee TV’s popular singing competition, Sa Ra Ga Ma Pa. Just recently, Jeffrey made history by becoming the first American born to sing playback for an Indian film. Guyanese born, Purnash Durgaparsad joined Jeffrey on our panel of celebrity judges. Purnash received extensive

training in both the USA and India. A past contestant on Zee TV’s Sa Ra Ga Ma Pa, Purnash is now an instructor at the Suresh Waadkar Academy of Music in New York. He is currently pursuing his Performing Arts degree in Music Education. Our panel of celebrity judges would not have been complete without someone who is a staunch supporter of local talent. A general practitioner by profession, Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud is also President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, a Member of Parliament and Director and Choreographer of Naya Zamana; a theatrical production. Vindhya’s promotion of training and development of local singers through the Sabha is inspiring and her promotion of Indian music through her radio and television shows is appreciated by many. Our celebrity judges traveled to

3rd Place Gail Ann Singh

Essequibo, West Coast Demerara, West Berbice, Upper Corentyne and Georgetown to listen to over one hundred singers audition. They spent days scouring audition footage for persons who showed promising potential. Artie Sookhai, Aamir Khan, Balika Seenarine, Chait Singh, Gaitri Jaikaran, Govinash Naipaul, Gail Ann Singh, Dindyal Mohan, Natasha Bahadur, Ian Hardat, Natasha Persaud, Dharmendra Gobin, Naida George, Richie Hansraj, Seema Budram Pradesh Dayalall, Sangeeta Khubir, Kevin Singh, Seerani Ramsingh, Faraz Zahin, Vishalie Sukram & Suraj Dhoray got the green light from judges and became the contestants of E-Networks Emerging Voices 2014. Jeffrey and Purnash spent countless hours working with all 22 contestants on pitch, pronunciation, timing, melody, tempo and emotion. With over a million dollars up for grabs in cash and prizes, twenty two contestants, an exceptionally talented band, celebrity judges and a beautiful host, we were ready to get things started! On April 25, all twenty two contestants were introduced to viewers by having them sing two minutes of a song of their choice. The competition got started in episode two and we said our first goodbyes in episode three. Contestants showed a lot of passion and determination as the weeks went by and were truly grateful for the opportunity they received.

Winner Vishalie Sukram

2nd Place Artie Sookhai

Dharmendra Gobin, Chait Singh, Gail Ann Singh, Aamir Khan, Richie Hansraj, Balika Seenarine, Vishalie Sukram, Dindial Mohan & Ian Hardat were presented with special engraved plaques compliments of E-Networks to honour their place in the prestigious top ten. Indian music would not have been where it is today without the great contributions of singers such as Lata Mangeskhar, Asha Bhosle, Mukesh Chand Mathur, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi to name a few. Episode 6 was dubbed ‘Night of Legends.’ Guyana’s legend, Mohan Nandu opened the show and the top ten performed pieces from legends they idolized. Chait Singh emerged as the best performer of the episode with his rendition of Mohammed Rafi’s ‘Kya se Kya Ho Gaya’ while Balika Seenarine and Richie Hansraj said their final words on the Emerging Voices stage. The Emerging Voices set was transformed thereon at the hands of Director and set designer, Trishala Simantini Persaud. She created beautiful sets for devotional, dance, sufi and the final episodes. Surrounded by flowers

and the twinkle of diyas, celebrity judge Purnash Durgaparsad opened the devotional episode with a popular Anup Jalota bhajan. The divine presence filled our studio as the remaining eight contestants sang powerful devotional songs of their choice. It was Aamir Khan who caught the judges’ attention. He chose to do the hindi-christian devotional song ‘Tu hi Tu’ made popular by Vijay Benedict. Aamir was praised for his execution of the song and awarded the best performer prize of the episode. Unfortunately, the musical journey ended for Dindial Mohan and Ian Hardat. The ‘Night of Dance’ episode featured a rocking performance of the Punjabi song “Challa” by celebrity judge Jeffrey Iqbal.’ Our remaining six contestants provided a truly entertaining evening filled with some of our favorite dance songs. I even managed to get a dance lesson from Vishalie and was sweetly serenaded by Aamir. Gail Ann Singh walked away with the best performer prize for her rendition of the Asha Bhosle hit song ‘Piya Tu. Elimination round took a different route on this episode.

Dharmic Nritya Sangh

TOP TEN The judges quickly narrowed the singers to just ten. The top ten would face the added challenge of preparing for and performing on musically themed nights. Contestants would also be vying for the best performer prize awarded at the end of each episode. Artie Sukhai, Horizons 2014 -


The judges decided to have the bottom two, Chait Singh and Dharmendra Gobin, battle it out against each other. Dharmendra walked away victorious after the test piece. With five contestants remaining, the competition celebrated the genres of Ghazal, Qawali and Sufi music. Vishalie Sukram’s exquisite rendition of the Sufi classic ‘Maula Maula’ earned her the best performer prize while Artie Sookhai’s ‘Aaj Janne Ke Zid Na Karo’ received a standing ovation from judges and Dharmendra Gobin’s ‘Patthar se Sheesha’ was highlighted as his best performance of the competition. Saying goodbye on this episode was Aamir Khan who thanked E-networks for providing him with ‘the greatest experience of his life’. Dharmendra, Vishalie, Gail Ann & Artie advanced to the semi-final round

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of the competition. They delivered solo and duet performances in this round. Artie emerged as the best performer of the episode with her emotionally charged rendering of ‘Lambi Judai.’ Artie also received much praise along with her duet partner, Vishalie, for their spirited performance of the Bollywood classic ‘Dola re Dola’. Gail Ann was also praised by the judges for her consistently strong performance throughout the season. Elimination round brought Dharmendra Gobin’s musical journey to an end but he received one hundred thousand dollars for being the Best Male Performer in the competition. FINALS With one million dollars up for grabs, the final round of competition saw three talented beauties all from Berbice battle

to be the Enetworks Emerging Voice of 2014. It was an action filled evening with performances from the celebrity judges and Guyana’s premier dance group, Dharmic Nritya Sangh (choregraphed by Dr Vindhya V. Persaud). The ladies were faced with two rounds of performances – a song of their choice and a standard test piece. Vishalie wowed judges with her melodious renderings of AR Rahaman’s hit song ‘Kehna Hi Kya’ and the test piece of the competition: Lata Mangeshkar’s classic ‘Mose Chal.’ She delivered both her songs effortlessly and received thunderous applause from the audience. She went on to be named the E-networks Emerging Voice of 2014 and received a cheque for one million dollars, a trophy and a specially designed stone encrusted microphone ornament. Gaining the second position was the other competition favourite, Artie

Dharmendra Gobin-Best Male Singer

Members of the E-Networks Orchestra

E-Networks CEO Vishok Persaud with Emerging Voices 2014 winner Vishalie Sukram Sookhai. Artie radiated confidence and impressed the audience and judges with her energetic and lively performance of the folk melody ‘Ali More Angana.’ However, her composure visibly slipped when she stumbled in the middle of her second song – the test piece. She received a cheque for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and a trophy. The third position went to Gail Ann Singh whose song choice was the popular ‘Lal Dupatta.’ Both of her songs were well received by those present. Gail received a cheque for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and a trophy. TRAINING IN INDIA E-Networks supported by Sujata Curry Powder provided Vishalie and Artie with

the opportunity to receive a six week training program at the Heramb School of Music & Cultural Arts in Mumbai, India. They received vocal training, learnt to play the guitar and keyboard. Just recently, they both performed at a concert held by the music school and received commendations from their Guru and several rounds of applause from the audience. The Heramb School of Music & Cultural Arts located in Dombivli is run by Mr. Ravindra Ponkshe. Guru Ponkshe has mastered various aspects of music including tabla, guitar, violin, harmonium, keyboard and vocals from various Gurus. THANK YOU A production of this standard, quality and magnitude would not be

possible without the kind support of the following: • Sponsors: E-Networks, Torginol Paints, Sujata Curry Powder, Kings Jewellery Work & NTN Radio/ Television • E-Networks Orchestra: Akshay Kawale, Rohan Mokal, Ian Gonsalves, Neville Hinds, Varun Samlall & Vishall Khelawan. • Sound Engineers: Ray Nizam & Nizam Ali • Lighting & Effects: Cloud Nine Inc, Gowkaran Persaud, Clive Prince, Ryan Ramroop & Joshua Locke • Camera & Editing: Raul Couchman, Jordan Phangsang, Sean Charles, Rupesh Singh, Tyrone Ali • Marketing: Macaela CameronFernandes • Director: Trishala Simantini Persaud Horizons 2014 -



New to Emerging Voices or want to re-watch your favorite episodes? Subscribe to our YouTube Channel – E-networks Emerging Voice- where all twelve episodes of season 1 can be found. Like us on Facebook at E-networks Emerging Voices for updates on the contestants and all the details about our upcoming season 2.

Jeffrey Iqbal:

Zahrah Alli:

Purnash Durgaprasad:

An inspiring journey working with singers with such passion and love for music. I am reminded that training without love for the art makes one a robot, it's the love for the music that allows you to touch hearts.

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It was an honour to be part of a production that uncovered truly promising talent in our own country. Emerging Voices gave 22 contestants a platform to showcase their singing abilities that may have otherwise gone unnoticed or unheard. As a fellow Guyanese artiste, I know just how important such platforms can be. A great effort by all our contestants and I look forward to hearing much more from you in the future.

The reason I was so excited about the idea of EV was that E-networks was providing a future for music and musicians in Guyana. In a place where there are limited outlets for raw talent to learn and be showcased, EV was a clear opportunity for hope on a nation- wide platform. I didn't know what level of talent I was to discover while we were selecting our Artists, but I was not only impressed about the hidden talent in Guyana, I was even more impressed by their willingness to learn and the hard work that each contestant put into the show. I am so proud of them and equally proud that I could be a part of such a positive initiative. When I came to Guyana, I never expected to see such drive and willingness to learn from the contestants. It inspired me to want to help more and even inspired my own work.

Dr. Vindhya Persaud:

Emerging Voices created an intense musical bootcamp with some of the most talented Guyanese and the outcome was mindblowing. I think Guyana will see ‘Generation Next’ of singers. I met some wonderful singers through this competition, who each had a special quality and an incredible amount of raw talent which I got to see honed. It was memorable musical journey for us all and I want to encourage each one of them to continue to develop themselves to their fullest potential and I want Guyana to support them as they climb the musical ladder.

With Emerging Voices, my aim was to get better at singing and music overall. Being with celebrity judges Jeffrey Iqbal, Purnash Durgaprashad, and Dr Vindhya Persaud, I have improved from 20% to 50% in my singing. During the competition it was difficult but I looked at it as a challenge to improve on what I love most. I have succeeded with the guidance of the judges but for me this is not the end, there is more room for improvement. Winning has not changed me it has increased my hunger for music even more. Hence, was given the opportunity to visit India where I was trained in classical vocal, basic tabla, guitar and keyboard at Heramb School of Music by Sir Ravindra Ponkshe. After completing two months of training with him, I realised what music really was .I was told by him that I have move to 80% in my singing. So I have to say my experience in Emerging Voices was awesome and I know for a fact it motivated many young, talented persons in Guyana. Of course, its still not the end for me.

Our trip to India was awesome. . We never thought it would have been this way especially the type of training in music. . I realised I knew nothing until I came here and learnt different types of raagas. Visiting India was one of my dreams and it has been fulfilled. Thanks to E- networks! My trip to India was a fruitful one.

Artie Sookhai

Sir Ravindra Ponkshe in class with Artie & Vishalie

Vishalie Sukram Horizons 2014 -


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- The Elixir Of Life By: Deomattie Seeram

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ulsi or Tulasi (Ocimumtenuiflorum) also called Holy Basil is a sacred plant in Hindu belief and is also known as a potent herb that has been used for thousands of years in India to treat colds, coughs and flu. Although Tulsi can now be found on every continent, it is native to the Indian subcontinent. Tulsi is a bushy shrub that grows about 18 inches in height. Its leaves are oval and serrated with colours ranging from light green to dark purple, depending in the variety. The plant has delicate lavender-coloured flowers, and its fruits consist of tiny rust-coloured nuts.

Tulsi in Legends Quite a few myths and legends found in the Puranas or ancient scriptures point to the origin of importance of Tulsi in religious rituals. A garland solely made of Tulsi leaves is the first offering to the Lord as part of the daily ritual. The plant is accorded the sixth place among the eight objects of worship in the ritual of the consecration of the Kalasha, the container of holy water. According to one legend, Tulsi was the incarnation of a princess who fell in love with Lord Krishna, and so had a curse laid on her by his consort Radha. Tulsi is also mentioned in the stories of Meera and Radha immortalised in Jayadev's Gita Govinda. The story of Lord Krishna has it that when Krishna was weighed in gold, not even all the ornaments of Satyabhama could outweigh him. But a single Tulsi leaf placed by Rukmani on the pan tilted the scale.

Tulsi Worship The Tulsi plant is grown in or near almost every orthodox Hindu house. A person who waters and cares for the Tulsi daily is believed to gain moksha (salvation) and the divine blessings of Bhagwan Vishnu. Traditionally, the daily worship and care of the plant is the responsibility of the women in the household. The plant is usually referred to as a “symbol of ideal wifehood and motherhood”. Devotees pray to the Tulsi plant and circumbulate it chanting mantras. One such mantra is Namastulsi kalyani namo Vishnupriye, Namo mokshprade devi nam sampatpradayike (Meaning: I bow before you Tulsi giver of auspiciousness, the darling of Vishnu,

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I bow before you Goddess, the giver of liberation and wealth). A diya is also lit near the plant.

Importance in Hinduism Each and every part of the Tulsi plant is revered and considered sacred; even the soil around the plant is considered to be holy. The Padma Purana declares a person who is cremated with Tulsi twigs in his funeral pyre gains moksha and a place in Bhagwan Vishnu’s abode, Vaikuntha. If a Tulsi stick is used to burn a lamp for Vishnu, it is like offering thousands of lamps. Water mixed with the Tulsi leaves is given to the dying to raise their departing souls to the heavenly abode.

Ayurvedic Properties Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charak Samhita, an Ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is said to balance the different processes in the body, and it is helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longetivity. Some treatments that Tulsi is used for is as follows: 1. Healing Power: The Tulsi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. 2. Fever & Common Cold: During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against these diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature 3. Coughs: Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing Tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu. 4. Sore Throat: Water boiled with Tulsi can be used as a gargle. 5. Respiratory Disorder: A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common

salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza. They should be boiled in half a liter of water till only half the water is left. 6. Stress: Tulsi leaves are regarded as anti-stress agents. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. 7. Mouth Infections: The leaves are quite effective for the ulcer and infections in the mouth. A few leaves chewed will cure these conditions. 8. Insect Bites: Fresh juice must be applied to the affected parts. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches. 9. Skin Disorders: Tulsi juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It has also been tried successfully by some naturopaths in the treatment of leucoderma. 10. Teeth Disorder: The herb is useful in teeth disorders. Its leaves, dried in the sun and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustard oil to make a toothpaste. This is very good for maintaining dental health, counteracting bad breath and for massaging the gums. It is also useful in pyorrhea and other teeth disorders. 11. Headaches:. A decoction of the leaves can be given for this disorder. Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can be applied on the forehead for relief from heat, headache, and for providing coolness in general.

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Sonu Nigam

Visits The Majestic Kaieteur Falls By: Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud


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e said, “This is a home coming.” when he arrived at the Cheddi Jagan Airport on the morning of May 4th 2014. It was Sonu Nigam’s second trip to Guyana after two years. He expressed this sentiment again at the opening of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s Bal Nivas Children’s Shelter in Berbice and emphasized the affinity and affection he felt for Guyana. But, it was the majestic splendor of the Kaieteur Falls and its pristine beauty which had him spellbound. “Visiting Kaieteur Falls was an experience beyond words. The

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beauty of the place coupled with its inaccessibility, made it a one of a kind, rare, blissful experience of my life. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the presence of such a massive falls in Guyana. I would like to visit the place again next time.” Sonu Nigam Sonu visited Kaieteur Falls with his troupe and trekked along the scenic trail. He spent a few hours enjoying the serenity of the place and took the

opportunity to snap many pictures at the various vantage points and enjoy the cool waters before the undulating waves went crashing down as the falls. It was the perfect climax to his hectic weekend of performance and travelling and an unforgettable gift from Guyana. Everyone delayed the moment of departure as long as possible to bask in the peace and tranquility that the falls never fails to arouse.

Sonu Nigam was in Guyana for the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s 40th Anniversary and 176th Indian Arrival celebrations held at the Guyana National Stadium. He delivered a virtuoso performance blending the hits of the legends of yesteryear with super hits of his own and kept the thousands of patrons riveted in spite of the showers of rains. His rendering of the haunting “Abhi mujh mein kahin” complemented by the dancers of the Dharmic Nritya Sangh to the choreography of Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud captured the hearts of the thousands in the audience. Horizons 2014 -


“Visiting Kaieteur Falls was an experience beyond words. The beauty of the place coupled with its inaccessibility, made it a one of a kind, rare, blissful experience of my life. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the presence of such a massive falls in Guyana. I would like to visit the place again next time.” Sonu Nigam

Beautiful music flowed under the baton of maestro Mr. Yogesh Pradhan and added the perfect touch to the soulful, magical, electrifying and heartfelt performances of the man dubbed the “Living Legend”.

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East Indian Works of Art The Guyana Context

By: Guneshwari Preiya Methuram “yatha nrtte tatha chitra trailokyanukritissmrta As in dance so in painting, there is to be a close observation and reproduction of the world around us in as charming a style as possible”- Citrasutra


here is no doubt that very few humanistic features transcend the boundaries of the mind, body and soul. Art, indefinable by logic, standards or discrimination can capture the attention of the world with a single glance; bringing fort images of beauty, greed, love, controversy, victory and the range of emotions that makes life the beautiful song that it is. An artistic piece can be considered a personal and intimate conversation with its creator, bearing influences and aspects of nature and nurture. As a people transported across continents by the Colonial powers, the search for origins and meanings are especially present in the various forms of expressed art. Beyond the visual and aesthetic usefulness and appreciation of an artistic piece, there is deep sense of symbolism, iconology and iconography that represents a wider acceptance of cultural contexts- myths, religions, gestures, postures etc. The conceptualizing of these cultural contexts in a Western influenced society has lead to the Guyanese artist leaning towards a thematic approach to their work. Where a general outlook or idea acts as a foundation upon which their work is based as opposed to stylistically, where distinctive visual elements, techniques and methods that typify the movement or school the artist is associated with. Indian Art Historiography suggests that the authority that governs both the thematic and stylistic approachs to East Indian art lies within the pages of the Citrasutra of the Visnudharmottara; first translated and published in 1912. Its pages dictated various manuscripts on the ‘six limbs of traditional Indian painting’ or Sadanga; they are: Sadacya (similitude), Pramaea (proportion), Rupabhedau (differentiations or typologies of form), Vareikabhaiga (colour differentiation), Bhava (emotional disposition) and Lavaeya Yojanam (gracefulness in composition). In 1937, A. Coomaraswamy, in interpreting the key concepts and canons found in the Citrasutra, suggested that “ [art is] the visualization of form through meditative internalization or yoga and its subsequent realization by the artist in accordance with aesthetic and iconometric injunctions”. This statement reigns supreme in the hearts and mind of many artists, whose greatest inspiration comes from a source of knowledge within one’s self, driving an idea to actuality. This is commonly referred to a ‘muse’ in the Western creative world.

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Inspiration, motivation and sincerity - being elusive in nature are named as the most important characteristics of a piece of art. It is often the loudest component among colours, shapes, textures, themes and styles; a lack thereof can render a visual object of art, lifeless and artificial. As an ode to the to resistance movement of the Colonial powers and the long list of repercussions that followed the Guyanese society and the wider Caribbean, a pronounced statement of East Indian influences and themes grace the canvases, wooden blocks and clay pots of artists around the country. Taking pride in being a plural society, these influences are manifested as the subject of an artistic piece or apart of a wider discussion on similarities and differences in a number of cultural contexts. The emergence of East Indian art in a Western influenced society began with the importation of Immigrants into British Guiana who continuously produced pieces that graced the walls and alters of mandirs and mosques for worship and as a reminder of where God resides. These unsung icons have sought to maintain a rich tradition through 176 years of inhabitance that would have otherwise been lost in the mainstream art culture. There have been a number of representations of East Indian iconography, produced by people of East Indian decent and others alike, such as Bernadette Persaud, Philbert Gajadhar, Betsy Karim, Lakeram Heralall, George Simon, Damian Moore

Artist: Bernadette Persaud Title: Bird of Silence Oil on Canvas Dim: 38 x 68” Grandmother’ series the principle of happiness and sorrow with her piece entitled ‘The Bird of Silence looks on at the bird of sorrow pecking at the fruit’. The piece considers two birds perched on the same tree. The one at the lower lever hops from branch to branch pecking at fruits to satisfy its immediate material desire, so focus on eating the fruit that it loses sight of the world around it. The second bird, perched at the top of the tree has the broadest view of the world feeling connected to it; looks on at the first bird frantically stripping the tree of its fruits. The second bird does not eat the fruit but simply watches; content to be in its place atop the tree. Like most of Persaud’s paintings, this interpretation is an allegory for life and the progression of Maya or illusion and Moksha or enlightenment. The exploration of one’s Indian ancestry can serve as inspiration enough to produce a series of two-dimensional Artist: George Simon’s Title: ‘Universal Woman’ and Desmond Ali amongst others who have brought the themes and influences beyond the walls of the places of worship, religious ceremonies, festivals and symbols to a national and international forum. One of the earliest paintings to come beyond the walls of the mandirs to grace a public space in Guyana is George Simon’s ‘Universal Woman’ in 2008. Universal woman is series of murals located on the main wall of the lobby of the National Cultural Centre and is a vivid depiction of three female figures, representative of the East Indian, Amerindian and African cultures. Here, Ganga Mai, Oriyu and Watermama embody the essence of Guyana, the land of many waters and the sustaining force behind life. In Simon’s paining, Ganga Mai is presented as a beautifully decorated voluptuous woman, with a strong feminist presence amidst a warm and welcoming ambiance. In her left hand, she carries a pot, symbolic of the sustaining womb and her right hand she hold a louts flower which represents purity and beauty of life even in the worst circumstances. The figure is shown sitting on makara, a hybrid mythical creature having the body of a crocodile and the tail of a fish, this symbolizes wisdom of both the earth and the waters. Looking at a different spectrum of the Indian influences in the Guyanese creative society is Ms. Bernadette Persaud, whose work is mainly Indo-centric. Persaud, in interpreting the Mundaka Upanishad considers in her ‘Lotus of my Great

Artist: Damien Moore Title: Dance 5

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This door was painted in 1870 and imported from India for the residence of the Lord Mayor at the time; now Cara Lodge.

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design. Damien Moore and his series entitled ‘Dance’ explore the intricate movements and the visual effect of an Indian classical dancer. He flattens out images of dancing, sari-clad women into two-dimensional pictures. Attention is paid to the design work on the saris, but also the curves of the figure and the fold of the cloth are all simplified and highlighted to create a pattern, which makes up his painting. In Dance 2 and 5, he focuses on the areas of the dancer’s hand and hip; the use of coloursblues, reds, greens, and oranges along with metallic gold highlights motif; this along with the subject matter gives the work a luxurious and exotic feel. The works of Philbert Gajadhar has traces and themes of the transportation of East Indians, as a people from one country and way of life to another; the complexities of dislocation and division among the society and the struggle to preserve the elements of India. In his painting, entitled Aarti, a married woman (as suggested by the red dot on her forehead) is surrounded by

Artist: Philbert Gajadhar Title: Aarti Acrylic on Canvas elements and symbols of Hinduism. The Shiva Lingam and the worship of Shiva are especially sacred to a Hindu woman; married women pray for the well being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for an ideal husband like Shiva, whose relationship with Parvati exemplifies the ideal married couple. Along with the Lingam, a thali bearing fruits and flowers, a diya, lota and jhandi flags in the background of the painting are all representative of the tangible and intangible aspects of India, that were transported across the Kala Pani by our ancestors. Albeit, fragmented, there is deep sense of belonging to India and Guyana – both our home in their own right. The synthesis of the Hindu-Muslim symbolism is distinct in the works of artist Betsy Karim. She executes designs on clay pots as well as fabric and canvases to represent a series of historic events that shaped the diverse and rich character of the Indian Civilization, beginning with the Aryan Invasion of

the Indus Valley. The painting on the clay pot entitled “Louts of City’ highlights the mineral wealth, the rich scintillating colours, the diverse and historic landmarks of the Indian ancestral civilization. Within the creative world, there has been Artist: Betsy Karim an ongoing discussion Title: Louts City on art versus craft; Sculpture painted many scholars suggest terra-cotta clay pot that art has been given a modern definition to illustrate clearer boundaries under which categories can be developed. Unlike historic artifacts, understanding of pre-historic artifacts through written records is not possible and thus, interpretation changes with time and philosophical schools. Lakeram Heralall and Desmond Ali both sculptors, are recognized for remarkable work done in their respective field. Desmond Ali explores the creative representation of Hindu dieties in Meso-American techniques. The Kaliyuga series reflect an age of degeneration and global terror, a dreadful predicament of violent destruction that threatens to consume all mankind.

Artist: Desmond Ali Title: Manifestation of Lord Shiva Unlike Ali and his Meso-American technique, Heralall uses materials such as steel, cement and oil base paint to bring his creations to life. For over 20 years, Heralall has been creating murtis (figures of deities used in Hindu worship ceremonies) for mandirs and homes. The process begins subtly with the face of the deity; it is sometimes molded from an existing model or made from scratch (if there is a specific request for a design) using cement. Other body parts such as the torso, limbs and ornamental accessories are then built in sections on the base steel that has been attached to the plinth. The cement is then chipped and buffed to give it a smooth feel and look. The figure is then painted with precision in accordance to specification and distinguishing features as prescribed in the sacred texts. Distinct in approaches, Ali and Heeralall have created pieces with a clear focus on the metaphysical aspect of art, beyond what is ‘picturesque’. Horizons 2014 -


The visual arts have become an important tool in remembering and preserving a past and paying homage to a civilization from whence we came. The process of self-discovery of our artistic heritage may be said to be at its peak, with the expanding creative interpretation of text, philosophies, rituals etc., as part of the mainstream art media. Whilst recognizing the independent identity of each piece, the aim is not to only study the character of form but, the objective remains to understand the cause and circumstances that conditions the life of a piece of art in the social construct in which it exist.

Artist: Lakeram Heeralall Title: Shiva Cement sculpture

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Taan Singing

A Guyanese Tradition By Deomattie Seeram

Taan singing was brought to Guyana from India by our foreparents 176 years ago. Taan singing is a skillful technique used in the performance of a raaga at the extreme level of emotion in Hindustani classical music. It is sung or played with the standard level of combinations of swaras in a particular raaga in a very fast tempo. Speed is very important while singing or playing taan. It involves the singing of very rapid melodic passages. An artist improvises notes at a very fast speed to take-up the mood of a raaga to an extreme level. Speaking with two of the most versatile taan singers around Guyana; Pt. Arjune Balkaran of Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice and Pt. Nandalall of Strathavon, East Coast Berbice, I was able to gather some information about taan singing. They both referred to taan singing as raaga or ragini with raags being sung in the evenings and raginis being sung in the mornings; every hour, each raaga changes.

Pt. Arjune Balkarran

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– The

Call for Revival

Interview with Pt. Arjune Balkarran Pt. Arjune has been singing taan for about 30 years now. He started singing taan in his early 20’s. Taan is his favourite singing style and he can sing all the different types. He learnt this style of singing from Dasrat and Mohit Mangru who were both legendary taan singers back in the days. They were accompanied by a dholak player named Ramdhani. Pt. Arjune noted that there are different types of taans, namely; thumri, drupad, bihaag, dhamar and chaturang. According to him, thumri consists of different beats and starts off slow but ends up a spicy pace. He said the thumri is sung at yajnas and details the story of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. The dhrupad is sung at yajnas also and talks about the life of King Dasrath and his sons. Chaturang is also sung at yajnas. Dhamar is usually sung at weddings and it is also a style used for Holi songs. The bihaag type usually starts of slowly and gradually

becomes fast and is sung at wakes. It talks about people who have passed on and about the relationship of the body with the soul. Pt. Arjune said drumming is very important to taan singing. The drummer has to anticipate the beat from the time the taan singer begins his song. The singer has to be an ardent harmonium player. Asking him about the lyrics and the availability of copies of the songs, he responded saying that these songs were composed in India in Awadi Hindi. He was never given a copy of the lyrics but had to learn by listening and hence he sings from his memory. Pt. Buddy recalls that Pt. Reepu Daman Persaud would hold a night of taan singing called ‘baitay gaana’. On this night, all the taan singers would gather and sing all the styles. He said that the first singer would start with a type of taan singing and every other singer will sing the same style until the circle goes back to him and then

out messages if one can understand the lyrics. In the evening he said, the bidaapat style is sung and in the morning, the dandak, tilana, drupad, bihaag, chaita, thumri, dhamar and chaturang are sung. His favourite styles are thumri, dandak, chaturang and tilana. Asked about the lyrics, he responded that lyrics are etched in his memory as he too was never given any copies. He said that he would like to encourage young people at this time to learn taan singing and that he finds that taan singing is easier than learning a bhajan by Anup Jalota. Pt. Nandalall expressed his interest in teaching taan to whoever is interested because he would like to see this music come back alive. Interview with Pt. Nandalall Pt. Nandalall started singing taan from the age of 8. He learnt from Gangaram, Rattan and Frederick all of whom passed on. He also followed in the company of Mohit Mangru and Dasrat Mangru where he learnt differing techniques. Asked if anyone inspired him, he mentioned Doonwah. He said that the styles he sings are mainly those of Doonwah. Pt. Nandalall said that for taan singing the main instruments are the harmonium, dholak, dantal, jal and sometimes the majeera is used. He said, taan generally sends

Pt. Nandalall he starts again with another style and so it continues until they are done. He expressed his interest in having a repeat of such nights. He also said that in the olden days on Saturday nights before a wedding, there would be taan singing all night. Pt. Buddy indicated that thumri and drupad are his favourite types of taan singing. He also said that taan singing is strong and it makes him happy whenever he sings it. He is calling on the younger generation to take up taan singing and pledge d his time to teaching whoever is interested. Horizons 2014 -


anda By: An



with grew up on, s u f o y an stiti “How m al reason, super d on . .. e s u a imprinte way bec no logic o it this ious beliefs, or ouseholds, it is any in India, D “ , ” ? t did tha on relig many h ed by m ths. god, you Whether based ciety today. For rents, still rever y of the old my y m h o “ fore-pa nese so o this”, e in man ds to us? “Don’t d ying those wor live in our Guya from our Indian ctice and believ , ” t a h t o a sa d ra “Don’t d rents or elders still very much e norm. Derive l continue to p a a h e t n p r o d s a e n iti s a d our gr ractice e myth’ becom odern or tra me: m nd old p Myth: Eye Twitching myths a nscious until ‘th ducated or not, r myths of our ti o la e our subc , young or old, f the very popu e o Associated Practice: The twitching or Guyanes feature only 10 e w y a temporary spasm of your left/right eyes d To Significance: We have all experienced this at one point or the other; however the surplus of theories that revolve around this occurrence is astonishing: • Eye twitching signifies that somebody is about to arrive • Right eye twitching is good for men • Left eye twitching is good for women It’s believed that Goddess Seeta’s left eye was auspicious and predominantly quivering. To quote Valmiki’s Ramayan “Seeta’s surrounding row of eye-lashes were curved, and were predominantly quivering, like a red lotus quivered by the blow of a fish.” Hence, the twitching of left eyelids and throbbing of left limbs of a woman heralds the arrival of good times for her. Myth: Nazar Utarna

/ Kaala Tikka Myth: The power of lime and nimbu mirchi (lemon-green chillies/ peppers) Associated Practice: Pregnant women are encouraged to keep a lime in their purses while attending funerals. Shop keepers, merchants and people tie lemons and green chilies on the doorways of their shops and homes. Significance: It’s believed to be a symbol to ward off the evil eye and spirits..

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Associated Practice: Putting a small spot of kajal/black tikka on the forehead, behind the ear or on the bottom of children’s feet. Significance: The hindi phrase ‘nazar utarna’ literally translates into ‘getting rid of the effects of the evil eye’ and many believe this practice gets rid of the evil and neutralises/counteracts the effect of ‘bad eye’. In India and Guyana, it is believed that the ‘evil eye’ can cause damage to the person towards whom it turns, ranging from general bad luck to ill health and other problems. The logic behind this process of ‘nazar utarna’ is that applying kaala teeka makes the child in question look ugly and therefore unattractive to the ‘evil eye.’

Myth: Sweeping or cleaning the house after 6pm Associated Practice: No one is supposed to sweep or clean their homes after 6:00 pm.

Significance: Mata Lakshmi, Goddess of material and spiritual prosperity, love and wealth is said to enter our homes as the sun sets at 6:00pm. Hence, we should open the front door during dusk, so that Lakshmi (fortune) enters the house and never sweep the house during night time or Lakshmi (fortune) will leave your home.

Myth: East is the most preferred direction for all activities Associated Practice: Never sleep with your head facing north or west as it claimed that only the dead lie that way. Always face the east when performing puja or religious ceremonies. Significance: To sleep facing east means your legs will be towards the sun, it is considered a sign of disrespect to the sun. By having puja and ceremonies facing east, you are praying towards Suryanarayana – the supreme lord of the Universe.

Myth: Bad luck at the threshold of a house Associated Practice: One shouldn't engage in the exchange of money or any transaction at the door-step or threshold to a house. Significance: This is supposedly because the threshold was the site of an inauspicious activity, namely the gruesome slaying of Hiranyakashipu (from the Bhagavatam).

Myth: The power of Elephants Associated Practice: Many persons have elephants in their living rooms or placed strategically in their homes, office or working environment. Significance: The Indian Elephant goes back to the mythologies, as the Gods and the demons churned the oceans during ‘sagar manthan’ for the elixir of life ‘amrit’ (nectar) that would make them immortal, there surfaced the ‘navratnas’ (nine jewels). One of these jewels was the elephant. The elephant is, therefore, considered absolutely precious; to be preserved and protected, it symbolises strength, protection and good luck. The

elephant’s trunk is also very important as it is both very sensitive and very strong; used for drinking, picking up food, greeting friends or warding off enemies, hence the position of the trunk is important. The trunk up symbolizes the showering of good luck. How to place your elephant to ensure optimum good luck? There are two ways: first, you face it opposite to the doorway, like if it is walking in the house, it significance is as if the good luck is entering the home not leaving. Secondly, why facing east of course!

Myth: Touch Wood /Knock on Wood Associated Practice: Literally touching, tapping or knocking on wood for luck or to prevent the testing of fate. Significance: Where the myth and legend derived from is anyone’s guess, many of us are unaware as to why we touch wood, but we still do so out of habit and of course because the superstition is very much alive and knocking. The belief, is twofold – to ward off evil or bring you good luck. When we mention something good that we would like to see happen in the future, many of us touch or knock on wood twice to keep from jinxing the expected good fortune and to distract spirits with evil intentions, refuting evil thoughts and fortune. Why knock twice? The first is said to make the request and the second is believed as a “thank you”, after all myths are polite too.

Myth: Broken Mirrors Associated Practice: Throw out all broken mirrors from the home. Significance: Positive energy is brought

into our homes by placing figurines, wall hangings, plants or other decorative items at particular positions and angles. Mirrors are a part of this practice as it is found to bring calm and reassurance in its reflective ability. The unclear images reflected on broken or cracked mirrors are believed to bring bad luck, hence it is best to throw out broken mirrors.

Myth: Eating out of pots and licking utensils. Associated Practice: If you lick the bottom of a utensil or eat out of a pot, then it will rain on your wedding day. Significance: When experiencing rain on a wedding day, many of us Guyanese ask the ever popular question “Did he/ she eat from a pot?” Not just in Guyana, but in India also, it’s believed that if a person eats out of a pot or lick a utensil (pot, place, basin, etc.) then on their wedding day, there will be rain and lots of it. If you are unmarried, there is one way to find out if this myth is true. Believe or not to believe is the question. But what is the answer? For everyone it’s different, with believing in some myths, practicing others and disregarding all. But at the end, tomorrow when we wake up facing the east and the sun, we will probably say, thank you for bringing another morning, another day or maybe when we pass an elephant we will make sure the trunk is up and faced the correct way. Whatever you choose to do or choose to believe, we cannot deny that myths and the practices associated with them are a significant part of our culture and our daily routine and lives. Horizons 2014 -


Aging Gracefully:

Nani Hirawatie of Essequibo By: Kumar Kissoon


he elders of today's society foreshadow that which we will one day represent. Respect for their vast knowledge, astuteness and legendary fortitude is a facet that must be impregnated into the minds of this and coming generations. Personally, I have set great store by the small but valuable gifts imparted by my elders as they have proven to be invaluable in my life thus far. Bearing such virtues, I was awestruck by the graceful movements of a woman (fondly called "Ma") to the exhilarating tassa beats at my cousin's wedding. Though I have some background in dance, I have no doubt she'd be able to outstrip me with ease. After agreeing to meet with me, she engaged me in insightful conversation wherein she reeled off, the tales of her dynamic life. With intact nimbleness, eyesight and memory, she answered all questions and in some instances spelt the names of family members for me. "Everyone does call meh Kalawatie but my book name is Hirawatie, I only find out that when Jagan went into power and I got my birth certificate!"

Hirawatie was born on the 7th October, 1928 in Friendship, Wakenaam, Essequibo. She is the youngest of three children born to rice farmers Coomal and Dularie Boodhan. In her memories of

her school days, she recounts her use of West Indian Readers' which she praised. She boasted, "I can still read, write and reckon my money, so no one can fool meh". Apart from her academics,

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Hirawatie was trained in sewing and to this day sews her own clothing and that too without the need of spectacles to thread a needle. Having spent most of her early days on the Essequibo Island, she ecstatically reminiscences on her childhood where she would trade pints of her father's rice for cassava bread without him knowing and actively participate in the ‘matiya’ (temple) made out of mud. "I remember before the MV Torani went aground between Hog Island and Wakenaam in the Essequibo River we would ‘arti’ (a symbolic act of waving a flame) the engine and burst the coconut on it" She got married at the age of 16 when her parents, as was tradition, selected an eligible suitor. She praised her husband's kindness. She proudly drew the contrast between him and his father who practiced physical abuse with a 'cow skin-leather'. She attributed her marriage's success to a concept she describes as follows; "when yuh husband vex, na argue with am, yuh stay quiet and bring am in back to yuh then discuss what yuh have to." While I am not married as yet, I do subscribe to her teachings as nothing can be positively be solved in anger. After she got married she went to live with her In-laws and husband in Hibernia Essequibo, where she undertook the task of cooking and tending to her little brothers and sisters- in- laws as if they were her own. "My mother and fatherin-law bin young and I use to cook 20 paratha roti, sometimes I don't get none and I does have to wash all the clothes, ready them picknee for school and then go and work on the rice bed them."

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Nani Hirawatie spent her mid-life raising her own children, passing on family values and traditions; her daughter now sews professionally and admits that when it is time for the needle to be threaded, "mom always gets it done faster." "Meh mek 10 chirren, 5 alive and meh got 13 grand picknee and 13 greatgrand" she proudly declares. I think she should be proud of them as they continue to take admirable care of her, placing her on a pedestal in their lives for

all the hard work she did over the years. I do think in our society we need to take better care of our elders. They have lived, challenged and learnt in ways that if we appreciate their wisdom, we can help to sustain our culture and traditions. When I asked if there was anything she would like to share and she replied ‘”yes” then got up and energetically started to clap and sing while swinging her dress and dancing. We can all hope if we reach the age of 85 to be like her… happy, healthy and loved by all…

Newly Renovated Kendra



aunched on January 8, 1974, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha had its genesis in an urgent need for leadership in the Hindu community. A vacuum had been created as a result of the complete withdrawal of mandirs and Hindus from the fold of the Guyana Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha which was the main voice for Hindus in Guyana prior to that time. The turbulent politics of the 1960s changed the course of the Maha Sabha. Leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Forbes Burnham wanted the Maha Sabha to support the PNC, the Government of the day. Pandit Reepu Daman opposed this strongly, maintaining that the Maha Sabha should be independent, and as a result suffered tremendously including being beaten by policemen and locked up. Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud joined the Maha Sabha in 1956 as its Assistant

General Secretary at the age of 20 and in 1961, was elected as its General Secretary. During his tenure, he worked to organize and strengthen the Maha Sabha and was extremely popular in the Hindu community, particularly among young Hindus. During the PNC reign, religious practices were thwarted, staples in the Hindu/Indian diet along with integral ingredients for pujas were banned. Many Pandits and others in the leadership of the Maha Sabha opted to join the PNC and former President Burnham and they were rewarded with positions and other benefits. On September 18, 1969, an unconstitutional meeting, with nonmembers of the Maha Sabha being the majority, purported to expel Pandit from the Maha Sabha. He did not accept the expulsion and issued a press statement that he was still General Secretary. An ex-

parte injunction was obtained restraining him from holding himself out as General Secretary. Hundreds of supporters turned up for the court hearings. Nearly every branch of the Maha Sabha passed resolutions expressing confidence in him as General Secretary and offered him support. The injunction took almost a year to be determined and was finally discharged in Panditji’s favour. He was represented by late former Attorney General Doodnauth Singh who resigned from his job at the Ministry of Legal Affairs to represent Pandit Reep. A vindicated Pandit Reep did not return to the Maha Sabha. By this time, there was a complete withdrawal of branches, mandirs and Hindus from the Maha Sabha. Among these were the Hindu youth arm and

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Satsangh at Campbellville Mandir

the Maha Sabha Girls’ Club whose members later formed the Mahila Mandalee, with Mrs. Indranie Persaud as Chairperson and Mrs. Chandra Gajraj as Secretary. For four years after the 1969 events, there was no accepted central Hindu organization co-ordinating Hindu activities and providing leadership resulting in a literal lull, if not manifested dormancy in the Hindu community. Many mandirs were closed while some functioned just nominally. During this period, Pandit Reep officiated at several yajnas throughout the country but made no attempt to form a new organization. Every area he visited, Hindus petitioned him for a new body to be established. In late 1973, he reluctantly agreed. The intention was for the new organization to be “pracharak” meaning to go around lecturing as a revival effort to stimulate interest again in Hinduism.

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Launched on January 8th, 1974 at the Shri Krishna Mandir, Campbelville, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha came into being under the auspicious nakshatra or star Aadra - favourable to Lord Shiva and chosen in recognition that Bhagwan Shankar is the Lord and Master of movement. The founding members were Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud as President, Harry Ramdass as General Secretary, Dalinchand Persaud – Treasurer, Mohanlall Sahadeo – Assistant Secretary, Sukhdeo Ramsaroop – Organizing Secretary. The Committee members were Rambaran, Cecil Ramsaroop, Luckie Naraine, Michael Ramsay, Mahase, Seetal Persaud and Harry Persaud. Pandit Reep, in his visionary style of leadership, took as the motto of the Sabha the verse from the Bhagvad Gita which defined his life and which he felt would serve as a guide to the

membership of the Sabha in the years ahead; “Karma neva dhikaraste, Ma phale shukadhachana – action thy duty, reward not thy concern”. With the emergence of the Dharmic Sabha, new hope was rekindled in the Hindu Community. Every week, a new area was visited and satsangh held. The Executive, after deep consideration, decided to open membership and also offered Mandirs the opportunity to affiliate to the Sabha. The independence of affiliated mandirs is guaranteed by the Sabha’s Constitution with their right to independently administer the affairs and business of their mandirs being fully recognised. Affiliates can consult with the Sabha and seek guidance and help in all matters. They are offered the opportunity of being a part of the Sabha’s many impressive programmes and activities. Regional bodies or Praants were later created to co-ordinate efforts of affiliated

Diwali Motorcade

committed to working with other Hindu Organisations. Under Panditji’s guidance, these bodies have met regularly over the years to address important issues affecting the Hindu Community in Guyana. This tradition continues and recently the Sabha met with representatives of the Guyana Pandits Council, Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Central Arya Samaj, Gandhi Youth Organisation, Iskcon Hare Krishna Movement, the Maha Kali Organisation and the Cummings Lodge and Ogle Hindu Societies to discuss matters of concern. At the top of the list of matters discussed were mandirs in their respective regions, with the first Praant being formed in Essequibo. These bodies are proving not only to be efficient and effective, but are also producing experienced and mature leaders in various areas of our country. Today, the Sabha has in excess of 120 affiliated Mandirs and 8 Praants under its umbrella. Praants are based in Upper and Central Corentyne, East and West Berbice, East and West Coast Demerara, East Bank Demerara and Essequibo. The Sabha also has a vibrant women’s group, the Mahila Mandalee and a youth arm, the Dharmic Naujawaan. In addition to its own well organized structure, the Sabha, has always been and remains

Impressive kirtan from the West Berbice Praant at Kala Utsav

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The current Central Executive of the Sabha is pictured here. Sitting L-R Savitri Sukhai-Treasurer, Parmanand Bhanu- Snr. Vice President, Dr. Vindhya V. Persaud-President,Chandra Gajraj-General Secretary, Standing L-R Executive Members- Bhaskaranand Singh, Michael Seeram, Trishala Persaud, Krishna Samlall (Dec’d), Raj Singh, Ananda Latchman, Indranie Persaud, Bert Sukhai. (Missing from picture - Pt. Jagmohan Persaud, Junior Vice-President, Dr. Ashni Singh and Mrs Sarojanie Rambaran.) Naujawaan Charity Drive in Berbice (Youth Arm)

alcohol bars at Hindu weddings and


Horizons 2014 continuous education for Pandits.

The Sabha is extremely proud of having led the charge from its very inception in having a no alcohol policy at all of its events. The Sabha has also been in the forefront in lobbying for Hindu religious holidays and Indian Arrival Day to be declared national holidays in Guyana.

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The Sabha will again spearhead the drive to have the legislation amended to reflect religious days as alcohol free days as is done on Good Friday. In addition to other Hindu Organisations, the Sabha has also forged and maintains good relationships with organisations representing Guyana’s other religions

and regularly works with the entire religious community in Guyana on matters of national interest. From a humble beginning, but with substantial mass support, the Sabha has grown in magnitude over its 40 years of existence. It has a structure which clearly indicates its democratic content and wide involvement and an impressive line-up of innovative programmes and activities, notably, the Phagwah Mela and Bazaar & Folk Dance Festival, Holi Utsav, Chowtaal Samelan, Praathna Satsangh, Indian Arrival Day celebrations, Naya Zamana, Naujawaan ka Hapta or Hindu Youth Week, Bacho ka Satsangh, Ramlila, Diwali Utsav, Deepavali Motorcades and Kala Utsav. These have now been institutionalized in the fabric of the country with the Deepavali motorcades being among the largest events in Guyana and the only one of its kind in the region. Training programmes are offered for free at the Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud Dharmic Sanskritik Kendra in Music, Dance, Hindi, Sanskrit, Gita and Panditai. Thousands have been trained at the Dharmic Kendra since it opened its doors in the early 1990’s as the first recognized Hindu

Dharmic Rama Krishna Primary School

Naya Zamana 19 - A Royal Twist

Academy in the Caribbean by the Indian Government. The Sabha has not spared its efforts to offer those same training opportunities around the country in its affiliated mandirs, and Kendras in Berbice and Essequibo. In its commitment to all round education, the Sabha’s has Dharmic Rama Krishna Nursery and Primary Schools and will soon expand its school programme. Conscious of its expanding role in Guyana, the Sabha has been engaging in structured programmes dealing with social issues and working with the underprivileged and those affected by disaster or ill health. The Sabha’s “Voices against Child Abuse” programme which started in 2009 has resulted in the construction of a shelter in Ankerville, Berbice “Bal Nivas” which will house children who are victims of abuse. It will also house a counseling and skills training facility to empower women and work with youth. The members of the Sabha celebrate the 40th anniversary with pride, dignity and satisfaction, confident that the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha under the leadership of its President Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud will continue to expand and impact positively on Hindus and Guyanese in general. The membership who constitute the leadership of the Dharmic Sabha remain steadfastly loyal and committed to its principal objective of sustaining Sanatan Dharma and to living by its motto of ‘action thy duty reward not thy concern’. Horizons 2014 -


ADDRESSING SUICIDE – Dr. Indhira Harry “I’m so tired of this life. All these problems are just too much to handle and there’s no one who I can turn to or who will understand what I’m going through. I don’t know what else to do. If I killed myself then things would just be so much better” “I’m so tired of this life. All these problems are just too much to handle and there’s no one who I can turn to or who will understand what I’m going through. I don’t know what else to do. If I killed myself then things would just be so much better” How many times have you ever felt his way? How many people have said this to you before? Suicide is the act of taking one's own life on purpose. Suicidal behavior is any action that could cause a person to die, such as taking a drug overdose or purposely crashing a car. People who try to commit suicide are often trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to deal with. Many who make a suicide attempt are seeking relief from their daily problems. Uncovering the reason for an individual suicidal death is complex and challenging.

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Suicide risk tends to be highest when someone has several risk factors at the same time. Some of these risk factors include:

• • •

• • • • • • • • • • •

Mental disorders Previous suicide attempt Family history or attempted or completed suicide Alcoholism or drug abuse Terminal illness or chronic pain Recent loss of family member or friend Social isolation and loneliness History of trauma or abuse Work problems, unemployment or poor job prospects Adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy Debt problems Being in prison Pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression Cultural pressure

• •

Doubts about your sexual or gender identity Facing discrimination The breakdown of an important relationship Being bullied at work, home or at school

There are multiple ways of telling if a person is thinking of hurting themselves. These are called warning sign and recognizing them can help us to intervene to save a life. These may include: • Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun • Talking about a specific suicide plan • Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation Having the feeling of being a burden to others Feeling humiliated Having intense anxiety and/or panic attacks Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure Difficulty sleeping Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn from friends, family, and others Acting irritable or agitated Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real Getting affairs in order: making out a will, giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members. Saying goodbye: unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying good bye to people as if they won’t be seen again.

• •

Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex, taking unnecessary risks A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.

Suicide is something that affects everyone regardless of age, gender, status, religion, nationality, or ethnicity. There are some important groups that we should remember to pay attention to: teenagers and the elderly. Teenage suicide is a serious and growing problem. The teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful. Teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in. They may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation. For some, this leads to suicide. Depression is also a major risk factor for teen suicide. Other risk factors for teenage suicide include: • Childhood abuse • Recent traumatic event • Lack of a support network

• •

Accessibility to a gun Hostile social or school environment Exposure to other teen suicides Suicide warning signs in teens Change in eating and sleeping habits Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities Violent or rebellious behavior, running away Drug and alcohol use Unusual neglect of personal appearance Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc. Not tolerating praise or rewards

The highest suicide rates of any age group occur among persons aged 65 years and older. One contributing factor is depression in the elderly that is undiagnosed and untreated. Other risk factors for suicide in the elderly include: • Recent death of a loved one • Physical illness, disability, or pain • Isolation and loneliness • Major life changes, such as retirement • Loss of independence • Loss of sense of purpose • Suicide warning signs in older adults • Reading material about death and suicide • Disruption of sleep patterns • Increased alcohol or prescription drug use

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• • • • • •

• •

Failure to take care of self or follow medical orders Stockpiling medications Sudden interest in firearms Social withdrawal or elaborate good-byes Rush to complete or revise a will A suicidal attempt can go from being a cry for attention or a means of manipulation to a real intention of taking one’s life. There are different levels of suicidal risk. These are: Low: Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t commit suicide. Moderate: Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide. High: Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide. Common Misconceptions about Suicide

FALSE: People who talk about suicide won't really do it. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings. FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

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FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/ herself, nothing is going to stop them. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever. FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help. Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths. FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea. You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do. At some point in time we may be faced with the task of having to help someone who is in this situation. Many times we don’t know what to do or how to react. We’re often afraid that what we say might make the matter worse or we won’t know how to what to say at all. When talking to a suicidal person: Do: • Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it. • Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair,

• •

ventilate anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign. Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/ her feelings. Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you. But don’t: Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: "You have so much to live for," "Your suicide will hurt your family," or “Look on the bright side.” Act shocked, lecture on the value

Don't By Angelica Walters

When you feel so alone Like no one is like you, Like no one knows your pain When you feel like you have no friends Like you are alone, Like you are unloved When you feel like you need to die Like you need to cut, Like you need to run, To hide To slit your wrists and scream , To ask what is wrong with you To through a bible and curse his name

of life, or say that suicide is wrong. Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word. • Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one. Suicidal feelings can be terrifying. If you can no longer see why you should go on living, your feelings can seem unbearable. You may hate yourself and believe that you are useless and not wanted or needed by anyone. You may feel rage, shame and guilt. If you have had many painful experiences, particularly losses, you may blame yourself and feel that somehow it is your fault and that you are a failure. You may feel overwhelmed. You may feel that there are no solutions to your problems. You may not actually know why you feel suicidal, and think that you have no reason to want to kill yourself. Because of this, you may feel deeply guilty and ashamed, and start feeling even worse. If you don’t know the reasons why you feel suicidal, you may find it hard to believe that there could be a solution. You may start to think that death is your only option. Whether you are aware of a cause •

When you have that barrel to your head When you have that rope around your neck That bottle of pills in your hand, That cliff before you, That rooftop, That ocean When you are seeing the dark, Feeling so numb, Nothing at all When you play music to drown out the voices To drown out their voices, To drown out the world, And your thoughts Close your eyes, Take a deep breathe And when you want to jump Don't Because you will wake up soon, And realize every nightmare Is met with a beautiful morning in the end And when you have that blade to your wrists When you want to cut Don't Instead cut your hair, Dye it Make a change that will make you happy Be crazy, Be you, Believe Be in love with the idea of being in love, Be alive But. Just. Be.

or not, it can be difficult to tell others about what you are going through. Therefore you may avoid other people and feel annoyed if they approach you. If you have family and friends around, you may find it impossible to tell them how bad you feel. If you have been badly hurt by someone close to you, you may see suicide as a way of getting back at them. It is understandable to be angry with people who have hurt us, but suicide turns that anger in on ourselves. You may be very clear that you want to die – or you may simply not care if you live or die. However, for most people, suicidal thoughts are confusing. As much as you want to die, you may also want a solution to your difficulties. You may want others to understand how you feel and hope that they can help. Yet, you may not

feel able to talk to anyone who offers to help. Having such mixed feelings and being unsure about what to do can cause great anxiety. You may be harming yourself by cutting, biting or burning your body. Perhaps you are getting into fights or taking extreme risks. However, even when you are not sure why you are self-harming, it is usually a way of trying to kill the pain you are feeling inside rather than a wish to actually kill yourself. If you are feeling suicidal it is likely that you have been experiencing a growing sense of hopelessness and worthlessness over a period of time. You will be more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and feelings if you feel unable to solve the difficulties in your life. Remember, help is available –Get help! No problem is without a solution. Horizons 2014 -


By: Ananda Latchman


as it the passion for the law or the love of the courtroom and its benches that kept this family in their black cloaks? Not one, not two, but currently, three generations of lawyers within the family hold Law degrees. First Generation - Jainarine Singh The tale of the Singh Lawyers began on 4th November 1909 when Jainarine Singh, the youngest of 6 children was born to Naranjan and Leila Somattie Singh at #48 Village Corentyne, Berbice. He graduated from Berbice High School then attained a Diploma at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago; with a gold medal at the age of 22. On his return to Guyana he worked at the Ministry of Agriculture. During that time, he visited the home of Dr. J.B. Singh where he met Chandrawattie Singh; the eldest daughter; they got married in 1935.

In 1936, he and his newly married wife immigrated to Venezuela where he was employed by the Venezuelan Government in the Agriculture. Having spent in excess of 5 years there, with his two daughters, Nena and Graciella being born in Venezuela, he returned to Guyana in the early 1940s and purchased a citrus estate in Coverden, East Bank Demerara. The ongoing World War at the time propelled him to study law and in 1943 he started his long walk on the legal path. His first two years were spent in Guyana, but at that time final year qualifiers for the Bar had to be done in England. He qualified as a lawyer on September 30th, 1946; the same day his son Jainarayan Singh Jnr. was born. He joined the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) (the ruling party) on his return to Guyana and became Minister of Home Affairs in 1949, one of three Government Offices he would hold. The other two positions being Minister of Local Government under the PPP

Jainarine Singh when he was awarded the Simon Bolivar

66- to- Horizons his right -2014 former President Caldera

Jainarayan Singh as admitted to the Bar



and Minister of Agriculture under the People’s National Congress. In1953, when the British Government deposed the PPP, he once again returned to his law practice. Due to his extensive background in Agriculture, he became very prolific in land law and practised in both the High and Magistrates Courts of Guyana. His political desire was for Guyana to become an Independent nation. He worked assiduously towards that achievement and in 1966 when Guyana became independent he was

Three generation of Singhs - Jainarine (right), Jainarayan (left), Jaya (next to her dad)

Jainarayan Singh as he was sworn in as Judge recognised as playing a vital role. A plaque was mounted on his home at 133 Church Street declaring it The Independence House. He worked on the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela and forged good relations and ties between the two countries. His outstanding work earned him the highest Venezuelan honour - Simon Bolivar Award at the age of 80 in 1989; presented by former President Caldera. Two months later, President Desmond Hoyte and the Government of Guyana presented him with the Cacique Crown of Honour for civic duties. Among his other achievements was the publication of several books including “Guyana – Venezuela Border Dispute”, “Agricultural Future of Latin America” and many others pertaining to agriculture, with one written and published in Spanish. After many outstanding achievements and a well respected legal practice, he passed away in 1998 leaving behind 8 children to carry forth his legacy. The question is, which one did? Second Generation - Jainarayan Singh Some would call it destiny, some a coincidence, whatever it is, it seems fitting that Jainarine Singh’s eldest son born on the day he qualified as lawyer, September 30th, 1946 would be the one to carry forth the Law Legacy. Jainarayan Singh was the first grandchild of the 36 to be born in the home of Dr. J.B. Singh;delivered by J.B. Singh himself, assisted by his son Dr. Hardat Singh. At an early age, he showed academic brilliance when he won a Government County scholarship to attend Queens College, ranked the best all boys school

Jainarayan with Jaya and Anuj at the time. There he attained 9 GCE O’ Levels and 3 GCE A’Levels However, due to his age, he had to wait to become eligible to study Law in England and in the interim decided to teach at the Indian Trust College. From 1963 to 1964 he taught English Literature, English Language and implemented and taught the Economics curriculum for GCE O’Levels. The following year he set sail for England to earn his law degree, He graduated in 1968 with his Bachelor in Law (L.L.B) from the London University. He returned to Guyana and married Margo Chohum before returning to England, where his first child, Justin Arjune Singh was born on 21st December, 1971. In order to maintain his family he had several part time jobs including: valet, financial controller of the cast of the Royal Opera House in Covent Gardens in addition to his permanent job at the Inland Revenue of England. His wife Margot did not like England and returned to Guyana with his son Justin shortly after, resulting in the end of the marriage. On one of his return trips ( in 1976) to Guyana, he met Esha Persaud, and got married on April 16th, 1978. That year he returned to England with his new wife, and moved up the ladder to become a Tax Inspector. However, he realised that because of the racial impropriety of the British Government he would never be promoted beyond to Tax Commissioner despite doing very well in the Tax Commissioner exams. The decision was then made for his wife to work, while he would cease work to study for the Bar Finals. In October 1979, not only did Justice Singh pass the Bar, but he was also the top Commonwealth Student and won the award for Middle Temple. Despite having numerous offers from

prestigious law firms in England, he returned to Guyana in 1979, to join his father’s law practice; Singh and Singh Legal Practitioners practising mainly criminal law. As Justice Singh’s legal repertoire began to expand, so did his family. During this time, his second son, Khushiyal Jainarayan(Anuj), arrived on July 28th, 1980 followed two years later by his only daughter Jaya Arti. One more generation of Singh Lawyers, but it was yet to be seen who would be the one. Justice Singh rapidly made a name for himself and became very popular being part of many high profile cases including the first treason trial in Guyana as a defense counsel along with a host of other lawyers for the members of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). After many years they won the verdict for the West Demerara Treason Trial. He also focused on many politically oriented cases representing both the WPA and PPP against the Government of the day headed by Mr. LFS Burnham. The second Treason Trial, Novar Mahicony Treason Trial was fought along with former Attorney General Doodnauth Singh and was also given the winning verdict. One of his most historic cases was the Joe Hook Mahaica Trial where 16 men and one woman were charged with murder. His 9 clients of the 17, including the sole woman were all acquitted. Many Guyanese law students would remember studying the popular murder case State versus Yassin and Thomas where he was the counsel for Thomas whilst Stanley Hardyal represented Yassin. A petition served against Mrs. Janet Jagan for winning the Presidency of Guyana after the votes were counted made world news in 1997. She allegedly Horizons 2014 -


threw the petition over her shoulder resulting in a contempt of court motion being brought against her. Jainarayan Singh along with Stanley Hardyal and Vashist Maharaj represented her and won that case. Mrs. Jagan became the first and only female President of Guyana. Singh and Singh Legal Practitioners was maintained even after Senior Singh’s death in 1998. However, this father-son legal office would soon be closed as Jainarayan Singh would serve as Puisne Judge in the High Court of the Supreme Court. In 2008, having reached the retirement age at 62, his term as a Judge was at an end. His daughter, who was a practising lawyer by then, invited him to join chambers and return to private practice. Once again, Singh and Singh Legal Practitioners became a reality, this time as a father-daughter duo. In conversation with Justice Singh, this is what he had to say about the law and his family of lawyers: What was it like working along with your father? Long conversations in the evenings about how to approach cases and handle evidence discussions. As a result we became very close because of the law and in our personal relationship, being his only child to pursue Law. Was the legal field an obvious choice? Initially I wanted to become a vet but didn’t have the stomach for the anatomy. Both my parents thought I was going become a vet. Did you want your children to pursue your career, was there any pressure or was it for them to decide? I wanted my son Anuj to follow law and took him to court on many occasions. But, he being such a gentle soul was unhappy with my cross examinations and exposing people as liars and very unhappy to be in that kind of atmosphere. At that stage, I did not feel that my daughter would pick up the mantle of being a lawyer although I wished she would, so there was no pressure on her. I noticed after she completed her A Levels she seemed very interested in cases I worked on. She of her own accord would ask me about cases and gradually she began to accompany me to court. If all three generations were on a level playing field, who would you see as your biggest competitor? My daughter would be the greatest competitor and it would be a tight race. A lawyer needs to do research and they

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The Singh Family are very equipped to do that these days. However, if it was in my time in the 1960s she could not be. As a child, what was the most memorable moment of your father as a lawyer? I recall, after the Government had been deposed my father had been restricted to certain boundaries by the British; he went beyond those boundaries and was locked up by the police. The following day he was charged and brought before the magistrate court of Georgetown and defended himself. I was about 10 years of age, but I always recall his closing address to the Magistrate – he said “I am a born Guyanese who grew up in Guyana and love Guyana; I see no reason why I should not be allowed to go to every part of this beautiful country.” He was later reprimanded and discharged for breaking the restrictions by Magistrate Akbar Khan. . What is one of your proudest or most memorable moments serving as a Lawyer/Judge? One of my main objectives as a Judge was to establish a Civil Court in Essequibo as many people who had appeared before me had complained about the high cost of travel to hear a case in Georgetown. My dreams and efforts were fulfilled in 2006 when a civil section of the Essequibo High Court was opened which meant that cases could be filed and heard without having to travel to Georgetown. The Chancellor realising that it was one of my passions and efforts assigned me to Essequibo for the opening of the new civil court where I heard the first civil case tried in Essequibo. Tell us somewhere (country/place)

you would like to visit to learn more about the law and why? India – In the last 25-30 years the Indian law system has progressed at such a fast rate and changed so many legal systems and made them modern. Their judges and the judgements of their judges are very well thought out and modern. I think I would be remiss not to mention the name of Justice Bhagwati of India. His Judgements reflect a fusion of law and common sense. What is it about the law and being a lawyer that makes you passionate about it? The law is ever changing, therefore a vibrant profession and it is very interesting as you go day by day to see how law has changed in various countries around the world and in your country. Third Generation - Jaya Singh Backreedy To be or not to be was never a question in this young lawyer’s mind. For she always knew her path was the same as her grandfather and her father before her. Jaya Arti Singh born on June 18th 1982 successfully graduated from the Bishops High School earning 9 CXCs and 3 A Levels including Law in 2000. That start propelled her straight into the Law Program at the University of Guyana where after spending 3 years she graduated with her Bachelor in Law (L.L.B). She attended the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago where she achieved her Legal Education Certificate in 2005. In October, 2005 she was admitted to the Bar in Guyana and

Jaya Singh as she was admitted to the Bar one year later, in October 2006 to the Trinidadian Bar, allowing her to practice law in both countries. She returned to Guyana and started working at the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) in August 2005 as the Legal Officer and the Head of the Licensing Unit enabling her to practice and try cases in all the Magistrates Courts. Whilst serving at the GEA, one of her most outstanding contributions was her work on the amendments to the Guyana Energy Agency Act 1997. However, like her grandfather and father before her, the call of the courtroom and private practice was too great to be ignored and in April 2008 she started her own chambers practicing in both Civil and Criminal Cases. She got married to Steven Backreedy on June 24th, 2012 still maintaining her law practice and serves as an Executive Member of the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers and a member of the Bar Association. In conversation with her, this is what she had to say about the family’s legal tradition: Being 3rd generation, was it a natural or pressured choice to enter the legal profession? I don’t ever remember knowing any other profession other than law. I don’t know if I wanted to become a lawyer, I just knew that I was going to become a lawyer. It was subliminally done by my father. First Year University, one day after watching Erin Brockovich I had an urge to do journalism and had a conversation with my father and said “what if I don’t want to do law, what if I wanted to become a journalist” and he said to me smiling brightly “you can do anything you want to do baby, anything”. I was surprised and happy and then the BUT

Jaya Singh with parents as she was admitted to the Bar came “But …I wouldn’t be paying for it”. Is it easier to learn when the mentor is in the family? It’s definitely a valuable asset, a golden opportunity that a lot of younger attorneys don’t have, since the experience and teachings are at your disposal. It allows exposure to the Bar and opportunities to meet and interact with many brilliant attorneys. As a child, what was the most memorable moment of your father as a lawyer? I was generally always proud to see him on the bench serving as a High Court Judge. I respected that he was fair and impartial and especially admired the fact that he was very accommodating to younger attorneys who would stumble and make silly mistakes in their teething stages. What is it like working along with your father? He does not spare me in the least, no spoon feeding, tells me to do my research, sends me to the law journals and only then I can come back and discuss. Having said that, there are days when I was petrified to appear before a certain judge and magistrate and he would boost my confidence and give me a few tips on how to cross examine and sometimes even appear in court whilst I’m on my feet to give me support. It’s a very rewarding experience. Is there anything your father feels you can do better as a lawyer than him? He definitely feels I can handle family matters, domestic violence, technical transport and land matters better than him. He will however, forever boast the criminal realm. Particularly cross examinations. How do you see your style of practicing as compared to your previous

generations? It’s definitely more flexible, more mediatory and less contentious. The older generation’s cross examination style was more radical to a point where it can be described as forceful. I am not as aggressive currently, but I can see myself getting there. Tell us somewhere (country/place) you would like to visit to learn more about the law and why? It would be England, because we operate out of an English Legal System… mainly because I heard the legends of our time brag about their experiences in England under the training of Lord Denning among others. What is it about the law and being a lawyer that makes you passionate about it? The law is often said to be the cement of society and we are the custodians of the law and that gives us the ability to help the common man and woman out of some of the poorest of circumstances. To hear a simple client express gratitude and happiness for simple tasks such as recovering their family land to facilitating a mother to have access to her children. I take great pride in being able to assist and solve problems for them. This is a tool that I have been given the opportunity to wield, in my view, to serve mankind. Our profession has been riddled with corruption and greed and my endeavour on a daily basis is to rise against that and to make a difference so that some hope is redeemed in the profession. Continuing the Legacy: Singh and Singh Legal Practitioners are currently operating out of Maraj Building Charlotte and King Streets. Will there be a fourth generation? Only time will tell. Horizons 2014 -


By: Ananda Latchman

Jad Rahaman with his beloved Ford Escort and trophies


hen you hear the name Rahaman in Guyana the first thing you tend to associate them with is the racing circuit. The Rahaman clan has spanned over 60 years; with 3 generations of racers and are still dominating the circuit today. First Generation It all started in the 1950s when four of the 13 Rahaman children decided to make motor racing more than a personal hobby; a passion within the family. Even those who were not part of the racing fraternity supported the sport in other ways, either by hosting events or supporting teams. Shorab Rahaman raced motor cycles in the 1950s starting out at Number 63 Beach, Berbice, before the opening of a

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track in Guyana. Ansari Rahaman was the next to follow his big brother’s lead, racing MBGs starting from 1965. He was champion of his class and group meets on several occasions. He is considered the most successful of his generation racing with and against popular racers such as Alstrong from the United States, Joey King, Kit Nascimento, Andre Fredericks among others. He continued to race and dominated in his field until his mid 30s. Imran Rahaman also raced during that time, but wasn’t as successful as his other siblings. Zalaika Rahaman, was one of the 1st females along with Jan Correia to participate in motor racing in Guyana. What made her special wasn’t just the fact that she was a female in her early twenties racing, but her contemporaries

were her very skilled and famous brothers. She never won a championship but placed third in many of her category races and meets. Second Generation - Jad Rahaman When Jad was born on August 20th, 1955 to Hassan and Marjorie Rahaman, Hassan being the eldest of the 13 siblings, his father’s generation was deeply immersed in their passion for the race tracks. His father was not a racer but was actively involved behind the scenes. On occasions he hosted race teams from Trinidad and they would often be around with their E-type Jaguar and a mini Cooper S and young 8-10 year old Jad would satisfy interest by going into them. The racing genes were dominant and

it was obvious from a young age that Jad would continue the Rahaman name around the circuit. Before car racing, motorcycles were the way to go and at age 15 on the Ogle Community Centre Ground on a Honda SS 50 he made his first race appearance. Unfortunately at that time you had to be over 17 to get a driver’s license, so he forged his date of birth, to obtain his motorcycle license. For future races he would need a serious racking bike and with his eyes on the prize, a Honda SS50, he worked at his father’s gas station as a pump attendant to make a down payment on the motorbike, which cost $675. At age 16, without his parents knowledge, he entered his new 50 CC bike in the 70 CC category race, despite all odds, including the rain making conditions atrocious and treacherous, he won against all the top dogs earning his first sterling silver trophy. There was no turning back from there as he propelled to bigger and

better achievements travelling around the country: Ogle, Enterprise Wales Community Centre. The change from motorcycle racing to car racing came at the age of 17 as he left school when his father needed assistance. With two siblings abroad, he assisted with the family business Rahaman’s Transport Ltd. a trucking company. However, the racing genes were always at the forefront as Jad encouraged his father to buy a Toyota Celica GT with a twin cam 1600 CC engine costing $19,000 for “work” purposes as he had to make many trips to Linden. In 1973, this time with a valid driver’s license at age 18, he took the Celica to South Dakota Circuit for his first race meet. Jad broke many records that day as he brought 2nd in the first race, 1st in his 2nd race and 1st in the final race earning him three sterling silver trophies despite going up against experienced drivers such as Joe Veira, Peter DaSilva and Dereck MacMohan

from England. Jad also took home the final and most prestigious trophy, the Champion Driver’s trophy for the group. The celebrations continued until he got home, as his parents were yet to find out he was racing professionally and thanks to technology, his father heard the race reports on the radio. His punishment? A stern look followed by a sly smile; then words of wisdom from his father “you would have been in damn trouble if you didn’t win that race”. Making his mark on the circuit didn’t deter him from making his mark in other areas and in 1976 he married his love Carolyn. She supported him throughout his entire racing career, never getting in the way knowing his passion for the sport was palpable. Together they had 3 children, Ryan, Anya and Javid. Unfortunately, at this stage motor racing died in Guyana for approximately 10 years for various reasons. In the early 1990s a group made up of Andrew King, Keith, Mike and Lap of Achievements: • One 1st, two 2nds and a 3rd at the Caribbean Regional Meet in Trinidad in the 1990s. • 8 wins, 2nds and 3rd positions in the Trinidad Race Meets. • 2007 Champion Series Driver at Bushy Park Barbados • Several Regional and Local Championships Chris Correia, Stanley Ming, Jad and his brother Ray Rahaman lobbied for the revival of motor racing by taking their personal funds to restart the motor racing club and holding race meets again at South Dakota. Upon its resuscitation he was given a test drive by a friend in an Iceberg twin cam Ford Escort which led to his lifelong love and Horizons 2014 -


passion for Ford Escorts. While most of the other racers got the going car then, the Mazda RX 7, Jad stayed with his Ford Escort equipping it with a full race engine from England and it took him to many of his winning moments. What is one of your proudest moments as a driver? Peter DaSilva previously held the track record with 37.3 seconds in excess of a decade. At Group 3 cars qualifiers for the international meet I was the underdog with a Ford Escort while everyone was driving a Mazda. In the qualifying sessions my front wind screen broke causing the back windscreen to blow out and allowing me to break the track record and setting a new one 37.1 seconds. One racing experience that you don’t want to relive? I’m an unfortunate race driver, I would be leading a race and a wheel would fall off. However, there was one race event in Jamaica where I was competing against 6 other BDAs (Ford Escorts) and I didn’t get the car until the morning of the race when customs cleared it. Vernam Field Jamaica was used for the qualifier rounds and within five laps I qualified for pole position despite not having any experience on the track. Unfortunately, the car overheated on the start line, blew the head joint and ended my Jamaican experience. Did you want your children to pursue your passion? It was natural for my elder son to race. No pressure was exerted but I very much wanted him there. What was it like racing against your brother, Ray? There is a famous newspaper article saying all eyes on Ray, Ray’s eyes on Jad. We were fierce competitors. He had a better team but he knew I was the better driver, but without lady luck. The competition was always in existence on and off the circuit. My mother, who is 88 now, was always reminding us that we are brothers, we remembered as far as the door. It however generated thrilling races because we brought out the best to compete against each other. The spectators enjoyed every moment, there was even a fan following: Team Ray versus Team Jad. A fan even named his two sons after the famous brothers. Have you ever raced against your son? That is the one pleasure I have not had. The opportunity never presented

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itself. When Ryan drives my car he is a tad bit faster but that’s only due to his body weight being lighter. Do you think you can beat your son in a race? Not now, definitely in my day it would have been a good race. What was it like racing with your son? I take the back seat. He is in a more competitive group. When he is in a race I always try to be alone to watch him and it’s some of the proudest moments seeing him on the circuit competing and winning. It’s a feeling that cannot be described or repeated. Overwhelmed and emotional are understatements, especially when everything goes wrong at the right time. He is one of the most competitive drivers in the Caribbean today and I do not want my bad luck to rub off on him. Something you achieved that your predecessors didn’t? I won more races than Ansari and the others in Barbados including my brother Ray. If there was one person you wish you could show your achievements to who would it be? My father for sure. He would not have said much as he was not a man of many words, but he would have been proud of me. Who do you see as your biggest racing competitor? My son. Definitely. Third Generation -Ryan Rahaman Four days after his father’s birthday, on 24th August 1978, Ryan Rahaman raced into the world and it seemed went straight to the circuit. Growing up with his father racing meant that he was always exposed to the cars and circuits. At age 16 he had already acquired vast driving experience as his father allowed him to break in his race cars.

On his 18th birthday he was presented a Toyota Starlet which he used to indulge in his passion for driving and drag racing on the roads. This led to him sliding off the road from Church Street into the Vlissengen trench landing upside down. His father’s solution to Ryan’s racing on the roads problem? The track of course! What wheel, other than the Ford Escort would Jad Rahaman’s son sit behind to start his racing career. So at age 20, he got his Ford Escort “cork ball” which stayed with him in excess of 10 years and brought him great success. But how did his car get such a name? Ryan decided to gas up his tank and as he was pulling out of the gas station, the car backfired and cut out. The gas station attendants asked “Where you going with that cork ball Ryan?!” But that didn’t deter Ryan as he fixed it up to meet race requirements, becoming the car with the most wins of any other racing car in Guyana. In 2000, South Dakota saw Ryan at the starting line, racing in Group 2B, winning his debut race – first win from his first race

Lap of Achievements: • Won 3rd places at Wallofied Track 2002, Trinidad on his first overseas outing. • Raced in Barbados seven (7) times. Including his 2003 domination/ Champion Driver overall. • Champion Driver of Guyana Group 2 slow – 2001 (Debut year) Most Improved Driver • Champion Driver of Barbados Group 3B – 2006 • Four liens on the Gavin Naraine Memorial Trophy & Group 2B Champion – 2004, 2006 - 2008 • Champion Driver of Guyana: Group 3 – 2008 & 2010 • Several Regional and Local Championships

at his first event, with the fastest lap of the day of 40.45 seconds. That was just the beginning as Ryan’s 1st race season in 2001 he became Champion Driver for Group 2. Barbados 2003 Ryan moved up in rank and category entering the Group 2 Fast and Group 3A winning all three of the Group 2 events and winning two 2nds and one 1st in Group 3A at the Bushy Park track. Upsetting the Bajan drivers, thrilling the fans with exciting races on the narrow and difficult track, made this Guyanese experience unforgettable in Barbados. The love and passion for racing can only be matched and surpassed by the love and passion for his family. On August 1st, 2005 Ryan got married to Cindy Singh and while racing and working, they started their family, with his first son Nathan arriving on January 14th, 2007 and Noah shortly after on September 28th, 2008. Despite being extremely difficult to manage family, business and racing, Cindy was very supportive knowing racing was his passion, a passion of all the Rahamans. What were the challenges you faced coming from a family of racers, added expectations? It was expected that I would race. Whether I would like it or adapt to it was another story. Dad always wanted me to follow in his footsteps; thankfully I liked it from day one and did! But it had to be earned. Dad bought a go cart for me at 11 and if I did well in school I would get to race the go cart on the track. I didn’t

get the grade I was supposed to, so he sold the go cart. What were your weekends like growing up in a family where the first love and passion was racing? We were all into a lot of sports, playing squash, fishing and swimming. But everything came second to racing and the track. I cannot remember watching a race from the outskirts; it was always from the pit because I was always inside the pits with him. What was it like racing the entire 2007 season in Barbados with your dad? I got lots of feedback from him “try this and try that”, solving problems with the cars and improving my driving style. We were a team! How do you see your style of driving as compared to your dad? Our driving styles are totally different. He is more flamboyant in his driving style, too aggressive and too hard, but very entertaining. I feel I am more controlled and consistent. Something you achieved that your predecessors didn’t? Breaking the lap time with 34.8 seconds a lap at South Dakota and dominating in more than one race group. And having the best lap time at South Dakota for the family. Do you want your children to pursue your passion? I would like them to. I already see my son Nathan in a go cart and doing quite well. He was a natural after I told him what to do; he went out, drove very well

and is very eager to race. I took a step back because he is too young, yet very competitive and a lot like me. My second son Noah hasn’t shown the interest as yet. But I would like to see them follow in our footsteps, with unlimited support from us (granddad and I) and become 4th generation racers. How will their mother deal with that, I don’t know. Tell us somewhere you wish to visit to learn more about the car racing? I went to a Formula 1 Grand Prix at age 13 in England and I’m longing to go back again as they have a rich motor racing history. You are bound to catch a race somewhere or find a car part on sale. Who do you see as your biggest racing competitor? Dad! I would love to race against him. We didn’t get to race competitively in the same group, would love to see the end result. Continuing the Legacy JR Enterprises has taken precedence over the circuit at the moment, but it hasn’t hindered the Rahaman’s love and passion for racing. Jad is racing selectively with his new model RS Ford Escort and Ryan is entering his Ford Sierra YB Cosworth in Group 3 and 4 categories. The younger Rahaman is also thinking of bringing out his old Escort for Group 2 events in the Caribbean Championship Group 2 Series. The final lap is nowhere close for the Rahaman Racers, but the checkered flag and win is always within their sights. Horizons 2014 -


Three Generations of the Persaud Rice Producers

By: Ananda Latchman


Nand Persaud

hat kind of rice? Some kind of rice, any kind of rice? In Guyana, we only use Karibee rice! That’s the popular slogan at the end of the Karibee rice commercial known by many households in Guyana and around the world. But where and how did Karibee Rice start? Well, let’s start the journey with them. First Generation – Chandica Persaud It takes vision to know that from our mother earth we can make our lands beneficial to us. Mr. Chandica Persaud was one such visionary, who invested in the rice fields from a very early age. Born on March 3rd, 1920 in Bloomfield Village, Corentyne Berbice he initially started working as an overseer for Road Works & Construction while living in Bloomfield Village with his father. In the

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early 1940s, the entire family decided to purchase land in #35 – #36 Villages and soon realized they had enough land to plant coconut, cash crop and rice. With his earnings, Chandica developed his land into a place for cattle rearing and rice cultivation and the dream of rice farming and cultivation began. While developing his rice fields, he married Hardai of #47 Village and together they had 12 children, 4 boys and 8 girls who would take his rice fields and business to a whole new level. After working for many years on the rice farm and taking care of his rice fields, in 1970 he went into the Canje Creek Interior areas to rear cows, passing the rice fields onto his son. He stopped working completely in 1987 and passed away a decade later in 1997. As Wendell Berry said “We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist” and it is

Chandica Persaud the truth that Chandica Persaud crafted the start of a great rice journey. Second Generation – Nand Persaud The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; in this case we can say the rice grain doesn’t fall far from the rice farms. On October 25th, 1942, Chandica Persaud got his 1st son whom he named Nand Persaud. Nand completed his secondary

Mohin Persaud and family with the Minister of Agriculture at the time, Mr. Robert Persaud

Nand Persaud (right) with Mohin and R. Persaud (left) at the rice mill

Mohin Persaud at the opening of the rice mill with Dr. Jagan and Pt. Reepu Daman Persaud education up to his GCE’s, but could not study further, because as the eldest, he bore the responsibility of taking care of his siblings when his mother passed away at child birth, tasking him with responsibilities from his teenage years. Soon however, Mr. Nand Persaud found someone to share his love and responsibilities with, marrying Ms. Sakuntee Dabi Ajodiah on 26 August 1962. Together they produced four children; Ragindra on September 19th, 1963 followed 2 years later by Mohindra, then Vasantie in 1966 and their youngest was Nalita in 1971. When his wife passed away Chandica decided to split his land and animals among his sons, so in 1965 Mr. Nand Persaud began developing his business by cultivating rice, cash crops, coconuts and rearing cows with his father by his side until 1970. When his father stepped back and he had free reign of the business, he purchased new equipment such as combine, tractors, etc. He used the combines to harvest paddy

for other farmers and as his business grew he started to invest greater into rice by filling up more land, erecting storage bonds & implementing a small 1 pass rice mill. He eventually stopped all other activities, such as cow rearing and cash crops and focused primarily on his rice development and his 1982 new investment – a spare parts store, buying and selling motor vehicles and agricultural machinery. 1992 saw the rewards of hard work and dedication when Mr. Nand Persaud and his two sons Rajendra and Mohindra extended the rice mill and registered it as a corporate enterprise – Nand Persaud and Co. in March of the very year. Less than one year later, in 1993, their 1st one tonne rice mill was established. That did not stop their development and need to grow; in 1996 they established the 3 tonne parboil facility, a fully mechanized rice processing plant. Serving as a member of the Rice Producers Association (RPA) from the 1970s – 1980s, he ensured the

rice farmers were fairly treated and encouraged a lot of farmers to learn and get involved in Agriculture. He believed that was the way to develop the country, stating on many occasions that farmers did not get the respect they deserved, investing a great part of his life to make farmers lives better and emphasising that paying farmers was more important than paying himself. Mr. Nand Persaud has been quoted on many occasions saying “with unity, success is easily achieved”, the same principle he built into his family, a great sense of unity which was the key to his success. He passed away on January 12th, 2006 leaving behind his echo – I’m a rice farmer from birth and agriculture is the best way to develop our beautiful Guyana. Third Generation - Mohindra Persaud The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the generation of camaraderie among human beings, the ability to give riches to a nation that she can call her own and utilizing the land for the benefit of all. No one knew or understood that better than Mohindra Persaud, who since his birth on November 3rd, 1965 has been a rice farmer and producer. Prior to managing the operations, manufacturing and exporting of rice as the Managing Director for Nand Persaud & Co., Mohin, as called by those who know him well, worked and assisted his father on weekends and holidays while attending #36 Village Primary School and then Manchester Secondary School. He always knew his calling was to take over and continue the family’s business when at the age of 3 they took him into back dam to play among the fields and in 1979 he left school to work with his father and brother Ragindra in the rice and cash crop business. Horizons 2014 -


In 1980 he encouraged his father to discontinue cash crop and invest more in rice farming, which led to the family purchasing its 3rd combine in 1982, resulting in a rapid increase in production. From there forward, the main focus was on expanding rice cultivation and making it flourish. However, time was also devoted to their spare parts store which opened that year. On 21st February, 1988 Mohin married Thakoordai and together they had two children, Sherena who came first on November 24th, 1988 and Akash 5 years later on November 28th, 1993. 1993 turned out to be an eventful year, as it also brought an increase in production after buying a small 1 tonne rice mill. Two years later in 1995 they invested in their parboil facility. By 1998, they were self-sufficient –

Mohin Persaud receiving the Best Manufacturer and Exporter Award 2010-2011

farming, harvesting (cultivating), drying, milling and packaging their own rice; enabling them to launch the Karibee Brand - packaged parboil and white rice. Karibee rice swiftly developed into one of the most sought after rice locally and regionally, exporting to approximately 16 countries and dominating the Caribbean Market. After Mr. Nand Persaud passed away in 2006, both brothers took on more responsibility, with Ragindra being the CEO for the spare parts and Call Centre and Mohin the CEO for Karibee Rice. Karibee rice is a pillar not just in the Guyanese Industry, earning The President’s Award for the Best Manufacturer and Exporter – 2010/2011, but they also sponsor many social and cultural causes. They continue to contribute and develop the community in many ways, giving young people activities to take part in, including their two sponsored cricket teams, Karibee Rice Strikers (female team) and the Karibee Boys. In conversation with Mohindra Persaud, this is what he had to say: Were there any pressures from your family to continue in this business or was it a choice? I always wanted to join the business, I liked it. My father never accepted his residency in the US and I didn’t either, we wanted to stay in Guyana and develop the country and our rice business. We wanted to make a name for Guyana with Karibee Rice. Was it easier to learn the business when the mentor was in the family? It was easy in a sense that it was a family business and we shared ideas and came up with solutions to our problems.

What did you learn the most from your father? I learned how to work hard and long and to love people, appreciate the workers and communicate with them. My dad and I gaffed, shared experiences and ideas, he was my company. What were your weekends like growing up in your rice farming family? Work, work and work: Everyone in the family would go out and work on the business, 90% of our time was spent on work in the rice farms and the remaining 10% was spent on some fun at the horse races. Do you want your children to pursue your line of business? Yes, I want them to pursue it. Every day I train them to take control over the management side so that I can step aside gradually. Food and rice in particular is an important business, it also creates a lot of employment. Are your children currently part of the business? My daughter and son are both working part time at the stores while they are at University. If not the rice industry like your fore parents, what would you be? Maybe a cash crops farmer or I would have taken up my residency in the United States and worked for someone. Why are you passionate about the rice industry? Guyana has lots of potential, we have flat land, lots of water and the potential of rice is unlimited. It is still a growing industry and we have lots of things to see and expectations to surpass. What are the challenges you face when coming from a renowned rice family and keeping the name alive?

Not really, we have daily challenges but not major problems. It’s always a challenge with technology developing, but we work round the clock business to ensure improvement. We always try to buy something new for the business that we never used before, whether its combines, tractors, factory items, etc. We were the 1st to do parboiling in Guyana, making rice from paddy in one day instead of the 7 days. It was frustrating when something didn’t work because we had no one to ask and no precedence to follow. It’s challenging to remain a trend setter in the industry but we continue to do so and will continue to use innovation means and new machinery. Proudest moment on your job? The growth of Karibee Rice… when the Karibee rice took a turn in the market, gaining a strong market share, the profits got to a very good level, taking the stress off the business. We realized that our rewards will now outweigh the risks. What is it like working with your brother? We work well together, share ideas, talk a lot and try to stay ahead of our challenges. He does a lot of reading and research for both of us, to ensure we are well aware of the implications of our decisions. How do your strengths and weaknesses vary among your father, brother and yourself? My father was very hard working, he had ideas but his hard work was his main strength. My brother comes up with ideas. He researches all the new models, equipment and technology for us to use and implement. I am best with managing, focusing and interacting with the workers, farmers and persons from the corporate world. Management and organisation are my key areas. Best part of the job? It’s always great to walk around the factory and the farms, seeing the people there; sharing things with them and being able advise them on their requests. The best is interacting with farmers and workers from grass roots to corporate offices all in one day. Least favourite part of the job? It’s discouraging when we know Guyana has lots of water and we cannot access it, we have to watch the rice crops dry. If it was freely accessible we would have completed 80% rice crop cultivation instead of the current 15%. The administration is bad and dealing with it is not a part of the job we look forward to.

Farming days What did you accomplish since taking over Nand Persaud and Co.? We now use more modern equipment and recycle equipment. Production and efficiency has improved tremendously and we are now the main supplier of rice in the Caribbean and the biggest exporter from Guyana. What is your favourite food? Fry fish - snapper and rice. Continuing the Legacy As the biggest rice exporter in Guyana, Nand Persaud & Co. looks forward to dominating the rice market, both in Guyana and the Caribbean as production grows with more innovative methods

and technology. They are currently expanding the mill, their bag factory and seed paddy plants. They do it, right from where it all started over 70 years ago #36 Village, Berbice! Next time you have those grains of Karibee rice, remember the traditions that brought that rice to the markets and our mouths. Hard work, belief in nature and the power of the land helped the Persaud family from the rice fields to the rice mill. They have not only made a name for themselves, but made a name for Guyana, helped the people of their community and encourage many social programs. It is indeed richness from the rice fields!

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By: Ananda Latchman


hey say the best feature on a face is your smile; the best way to keep young is to keep smiling; who ensures that we have healthy, pearly whites to face the world? Our dentists of course! This group of gentlemen take those ideals very seriously as they have made dentistry not just a career, but a way of life, a true family tradition...ties that certainly bind them. First Generation Jagan is a name associated with Politics in Guyana above all else, but when we look and listen beyond the political arena, what we find is an outstanding group of men who chose Dentistry as their first and foremost passion and converted that into their profession. Dr. Cheddi Jagan was not only the son of Guyana’s soil, but he was a father, uncle, brother, husband and dentist. Born on March 22nd, 1918 he was the bread winner of the family and first to be qualified as a Dentist. He took a pre-dental course at Howard University while working summers in New York. Being a dedicated student, his hard work earned him a free tuition scholarship for his second year at Howard University and in 1938 he gained entry into Northwestern University for his four year dental program graduating in 1942 with his Degree in Dental Surgery (DDS). Upon his return to Guyana in October 1943 he opened his own dental clinic. Cheddi, along with his brother Oudit, who farmed in order to assist with the family maintenance decided to send their brother Sirpaul to also be trained and certified as a dentist. Sirpaul Jagan, the third of the Jagans, after Cheddi and Oudit attended Loyola University in the United States and returned to Guyana in 1986 as a qualified Dentist with his DDS. He joined his brother Cheddi at their Dental clinic – Corporative Dental Supplies. Naipaul Jagan, born on 5th May

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Dr. Clive Jagan & Family 1925 to Jagan and Bachoni in Port Mourant Berbice, was the younger brother of Cheddi and Sirpaul, and the 4th child to his parents of six boys and five girls. He attended Scott’s School in Rose Hall, Berbice before he headed to Georgetown. Cheddi upon his return home in 1943 and being the oldest, took Naipaul under his wing and trained him to become a dental technician. Naipaul, from Berbice met Jean Gobin from Essequibo in Demerara and the wedding took place on 15th August 1953. She was a teacher by profession and together the teacher and the dental technician had four children: Clive, Nigel, Nicholas and finally, in 1966, the sole girl – Sunita. Naipaul with his skill and newly developed technique worked as a Dental Technician at the Corporative Dental Supplies Clinic on Charlotte Street with his brothers for over 20 years before passing away at age 45 in 1970. Second Generation – Clive Jagan Kal Aaj Aur Kal - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, those were the words this 2nd generation dentist had to say for

himself. His fore parents were yesterday, his children are tomorrow and he is the Aaj – here and now! Clive Ramesh Jagan came into this world at 5:30am on Saturday 1st May, 1954 at the Bissear Hospital, Kitty, Georgetown. He attended Central High School, where he completed his O’ Levels in 1970 and decided to pursue his career in Dentistry. With the confidence that dentistry was his calling, he applied to and received provisional acceptance from Howard University to do his BSc. in Science. However, fate had other plans for this dentist when his father passed away October 17th of the very year, leaving him as the eldest son, to carry forth the family responsibilities. He was advised by his Uncle Cheddi that Howard University in the Unites States would take a minimum of 8 years providing that he completed his 4 years BSc. and immediately gained admission into the 4 years dental school program. Uncle Cheddi suggested India as the better option, as it would be less expensive and not as time consuming. He took the advice to heart and approached the Indian Council for Cultural Relations

Drs. Shane, Clive, Kyle & Ian Jagan at the opening of their Jagan Dental Centre (ICCR) for guidance on how to proceed with the Indian aspect. He embarked on this journey as a self-financed student with the hope of qualifying within 6 years: 1 year pre-university, 1 year of pre-med and 4 years of dental school. His pre-university was done at Chandigarh Punjab, then he was off to Indore, Madhya Pradesh to complete his one year in pre-med. In 1974 when it was time to start his dental program he was awarded a scholarship to pursue dentistry by the Indian Government through the ICCR. He was lucky to have three choices of Dental Schools to attend: Indore, Chennai and Lucknow. However, what was the main decision for his choice? Was it the academia, the location, the professors, the dental program offered? No! His choice of dental school was based on the fact that Pakeezah, a film centred on a courtesan played by Meena Kumari was just released at the cinemas. Hoping that he would see such girls as Pakeezah (dancing girls) in the city the film was based; Dr. Clive Jagan decided to attend King George’s Medical College in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. October 1977 witnessed a success story as he returned home from India as the 1st Guyanese to graduate as at dentist at age 23, youngest at that time. Upon his return home in 1977 he practiced dentistry with his uncles Sirpaul and Cheddi. Deciding shortly after to branch out on his own, he opened his own practice at 265 Thomas Street in March 1979. Building a reputation and toiling tirelessly as a self-employed dentist didn’t deter this young man from balancing his life with family and on August 22nd, 1981 he married Nadira Doodnauth at the

Calgary Lutheran Church. Together they had three children: Shane, Kyle and Ian. After a successful 12 years at his Tomas Street Clinic he moved to the Medical Arts Hospital in 1991 and practiced as the resident dentist there until 30th September, 2013 when he opened his private clinic - the Jagan Dental Centre at Lamaha and Light Streets. Dr. Clive Jagan also served as treasurer and president of the Guyana Dental Association on various occasions over the years, continuing the medical education for dentists across Guyana. He was also Chairman for the Guyana Dental Council – the main body that regulates dentistry in Guyana, overseeing all Dentists work within the laws and regulations as stipulated. Along with his dentistry career, he started practicing transcendental meditation (TM) in 1986, completing the SIDDHA course in 1991 from Barbados, being an ardent practitioner in excess of 25 years. He was also on the list of representatives for the People’s Progressive Party 1985 and 1992. Offering back his services to the Guyanese population, Dr. Jagan continues to offer outreach programs through the Rotary Club, the Lions, Ghandi Youth orphanage, Sai Baba Centre, among many others. Why were you assertive in your decision to pursue dentistry? My father always told me that dentistry was a very good profession to pursue, you have flexible working hours, reasonable income, good social status, it was self-employed and having no boss was a bonus. It’s a noble profession. Additionally, growing up I was always around the office, seeing dentistry on a

Dr. Kyle Jagan in action first hand level and getting acclimatized to the surroundings of dentistry. There really was no other choice. Coming from a family of well-known dentists, were there any additional pressures? There was additional pressure because there was always comparison among us. I always tried to live up to their expectations and as such the quality in dentistry became my first priority. It was joy to my ears when a patient said to me for the first time “you’re better than your uncles”. Is it easier to learn when the mentor is in the family? Yes, when I worked with my uncles it was more on an uncle-nephew basis, rather than employer-employee, so it was less formal, more of a familial relationship, creating a more conducive learning environment. It was always very comfortable approaching them and asking questions to know more. What is it about being a dentist that keeps you passionate about the job? Alleviating the perils of tooth decay and helping my patients from their suffering. Compared to your uncles, what is your style of working and practicing? We have the same style and are on the same level. We try to be very compassionate and caring towards our patients and we have never made money an issue in our practices. Did you want your children to pursue your career, was there any pressure? No pressure at all. I always told them whatever they choose to do, must be something that they enjoyed doing because it is something they will have to do for the greater part of their lives. However, I did mention in passing the Horizons 2014 -


Dr. Shane Jagan at work words of my father. I honestly had no expectations of them becoming dentists, but definitely professionals. If all three generations were on a level playing field, who would you see as your biggest competitor? Myself! I am my own competition because I always strive to be better every day. Better than I did yesterday in terms of job performance and patient care. How did you balance a demanding full time profession and your family life with three boys at the same time? My wife played a very important role; she is the head of the household. She was always around to bring up the kids, I was the bread winner but she was the care giver, we each had our own roles. She was my balance and I was hers too. However, I always ensured the working hours were flexible enough to spend enough time with my sons. If there was one person you wish you could show your achievements to, it would be? My father, he died when I was at a very young and impressionable age. He would be proud of me as I brought his advice to fruition. They say for every generation to be successful there must be progression of 25% compared to the last. My father was a dental technician and I became a dentist, I am happy that I have done better than my father, but I’m also very happy that my children will do better than me. What is it like working with your sons? It’s great. To know that my sons have become dentists makes me happier

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than had they taken up another profession. It gives me immense joy when I enter the office and they are there. Also, now that they are there, I can get away from work a bit earlier some days. What are the strengths of each of your sons in the practice? Shane in addition to the skills has the personality; he can lure any and all patients, building a clientele. He is also our resident repair man, doing the office/ equipment repairs and maintenance. Kyle’s strength is in his work performance and work

ethic. Is retirement anywhere in the near future? No, I will continue to practice dentistry until my last breath. Third Generation – Shane, Kyle & Ian Jagan

The tomorrow and future of the Jagan Dentists seems to be long and bright with all 3 sons of Clive Jagan following in his footsteps. Shane Arvind Jagan, born on February 4th, 1983 was the first child of Clive and Nadira. He attended Queen’s College from 1994 to 1997 before completing his CXC’s at Mae’s Secondary School. Shortly after, he moved to Canada where he graduated in 2004 from Seneca College in computer networking. However, he soon realized computer networking wasn’t for him and while finding his way in life, his brother was researching dental schools in India. Listening and learning about his findings, he decided to join him. Kyle Vishnu Jagan, born on June 25th, 1986, the second son to the couple came out into this world knowing that he is, will be and shall always be a dentist. Sure of his place in the world and his calling, Kyle graduated from Mae’s with his CXCs and moved onto School of Nations, completing his GCE’s A Levels in 2004. He joined his brother Shane in Canada and qualified with his Bachelors in Science from McMasters University. However, that was never enough, since

becoming a dentist was his main goal. Researching the dental programs in Canada was his top priority, but his dad approached him with a better idea. The same idea that was put forth to him by his father figure, that is, to complete his DDS in India, cutting his years to become qualified in half. The very words Cheddi uttered to Clive were echoed to Kyle and by extension Shane. Without further ado, in 2005 they were off to India to continue their family tradition, pursuing Dentistry. They both entered Padmashree Dr. D.Y. Patel Dental University and Hospital in Mumbai and in 2011 and 2012, Kyle and Shane respectively, graduated with their DDS. Shane continued to do a few courses in cosmetic dentistry, returning to the fold May, 2013. Kyle however stayed a bit longer, attending Manipal University in Manglore to specialise in implantology and laser dentistry. Taking one academic year, he completing his dental education in May 2013 after working under Dr. Suchetan Pradhan, a man considered to be the pioneer of implantology and also the director of the Pradhan Dental Centre in Mumbai India. Kyle returned home in September of the very year, and along with his brother joined his father’s newly opened practice – Jagan Dental Centre. Ian Naipaul Jagan, named after his grandfather, was born on December 27th, 1991. After spending his secondary education years at St. Joseph’s High, he started the dental journey to India. Equipped with his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Padmashree Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental University, he is currently completing his internship at said University. He plans to specialise in Oral Surgery, fixing fractures and removing cysts or tumours, this speciality courses is slated for 3 years in India. After completing his course, he will return full time to Guyana, with the hope of practicing alongside his father and brothers on a permanent basis. Having a conversation with Shane and Kyle, here is what they have to say about their family traditions: Being 3rd generation, was it a natural or pressured choice to enter the dental profession? Shane: I always liked the “Dr.” suffix before my name and it was a chance to get that. I realised that computer networking wasn’t for me, so pursued the family tradition of dentistry.

Three Generations of Jagans with over 10 Jagan Dentists Kyle: Natural in a sense that I liked the profession and my family was known in the field. I knew I wasn’t going to be on that career path alone and at the end of the day everything my grandfather told my father, our father told us and that influenced my decision. What is it like working along with your father? Shane: It allows a lot more confidence to function, making it a very comfortable and secure working environment. From him we learn the tricks of the trade they didn’t teach you in school. Kyle: To be the best you have to learn from the best and working along with my father is working with the best. What is it like working with your brother on a daily basis? Shane: We are both now starting our practice and finding our own way, so we lean on each other. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses. Kyle: It’s nice that we can work together. There is some amount of competition: who can do more, who can do it best. We all want to be the best. Shane and Kyle: We know we always have to give our best because on a daily basis, we need to live up to the name and our father’s reputation. It’s a proud feeling working together as family.

As a child, what was the most memorable moment of your father as a dentist? Shane and Kyle: It was a proud feeling when people talked about our father and the love he received. It’s always wonderful hearing patients praise him anywhere we went, including school. Who do you consider as your mentors? Shane: Dad definitely, the inside secrets, the hand me down from his experience. The knowledge you get from him you cannot learn in Dental School. Kyle: My dad and Dr. Pradhan. The level of dentistry Dr. Pradhan practices is equivalent to the level of dentistry my dad practices, you can’t get higher or better than that. What are the proudest moments so far in your short careers? Shane: Graduating dental school was the proudest moment. Kyle: Successfully completing a difficult extraction for the first time. Shane and Kyle: Also, surviving and experiencing India.. Continuing the Legacy The Jagans’, father and three sons, cover all fields of dentistry with the

exception of orthodontist and, with Ian returning in the near future they are planning to expand and propagate dental tourism. That means, offering first world dental services at third world prices, so patients in the Diaspora could return home and have tertiary dental work done at a much reduced cost than they would pay in first world countries. Visit http:// or email to find out more about the men in scrubs who keep us smiling bright! It’s not every day you find one father and his three sons practising from the same location, but on most given days you can find them at Jagan Dental Centre, truly making dentistry a family passion and more so, a family legacy. Old or new; then and now; today or tomorrow; past, present, future, are all governed, influenced and empowered by Traditions. Traditions - behaviours, habits, passions, professions, passed down within a group or society holding symbolic meaning and special significance are made even more symbolic when it’s passed down within a family. As seen by the families featured, traditions make our history; leave a legacy to be told, with these legacies made, bonds are formed creating ties that bind. Horizons 2014 -


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Sonu Nigam at Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Indian Arrival Celebration at Guyana National Stadium

2014 Indian Arrival Celebrations With President Donald Ramotar

Dharmic Nritya Sangh preforms with Sonu Nigam

Dharmic Nritya Sangh preforms with Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam's Orchestra Horizons 2014 -


Jonita Gandhi at Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Indian Arrival Celebration at Guyana National Stadium

Sonu and father, Mr. Agam Nigam at Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Indian Arrival Celebration at Guyana National Stadium Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha Indian Arrival Celebration at Guyana National Stadium

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Indian Arrival Celebrations at Highbury, Berbice

ICT Honours 3 at Pushpanjali 14

Ameena Gafoor receives her award from business magnate, Yesu Persaud for her outstanding contributions to the Literary Arts in the Caribbean and the wider diaspora

Sattaur Gafoor was honoured for his outstanding achievements in Industry and contributions to Civil Society

Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Carl Singh received an award for his outstanding service to the Justice System in Guyana

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Narine Dat Sookram


arine Dat Sookram, who was recently named one of the most “Famous People of Guyanese Heritage” living abroad, is a social activist, radio host, community builder and an author of the book, “The Teenage Years”. He is the recipient of over 100 awards/ recognitions, some of which include: World of Difference 100 Award, 2013;

Narine Dat Sookram

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Who’s Who in the World, 2013; The Canadian Encyclopaedia Inclusion 2013; The Caring Canadian Award 2013; Canada’s Top 25 Immigrant Award, 2013 (the only Guyanese to receive this nationwide award this year) and many more. Narine gained fame through his community radio show “Caribbean Spice Radio”, the only programme on 100.3 Sound FM to win the People’s Choice Award for Favourite Caribbean Music and Favourite World Music. The Guyanese native who grew up in a small village close to the Number 63 Beach in Berbice, Guyana, is also known for producing the “Caribbean Dreams” concert in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, where new and young artistes get the opportunity to showcase their talent through the performing

arts. He has received the prestigious Denny Statue – A Waterloo Region Arts Award in the open category, making him the only Guyanese to date to win in that category. Narine is more known for his philanthropic work through his non-profit organisation ACTIVE VISION Charity Association (www., where the purpose is to help aid schools in Guyana with textbooks and other school supplies, providing the opportunity for a better education. Narine plays a lead role at Opportunities Waterloo Region as an education outreach coordinator, mobilising solutions to poverty, specifically targeting families with children to empower them to take the first step of free funding available to them from the government of Canada for their post-secondary education.

Edwin Outwater (left), Cindy Watkin and Narine Sookram are this year's recipients of the Waterloo Award. They accepted their awards at Waterloo City Council on November 26.

Roy Nandram


His mentorship role includes mentoring internationally trained professionals and empowering business women to become selfsufficient world-wide. It was for that reason he received the World of Difference100 Award, 2013 from The International Alliance for Women (TIAW). Each year, the TIAW World of Difference 100 Award recognises women and men who have advanced the economic empowerment of women, whether on a small scale in the developing world, or effecting change in the boardrooms of the business capitals of the world. He has become a role model both locally and internationally and has continued to make Guyana and his fans around the world proud. He is very deserving of the “Famous People of Guyanese Heritage” inclusion.

oy Nandram, a Guyanese immigrant living in the Ottawa area, shone at the mid-October 29th annual design awards, taking away five hefty glass trophies, and earned the prestigious Peoples’ Choice Award for a stunning makeover of an east-side home. But above all, Nandram was named Renovator of the Year by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association. “I feel pretty good,” Nandram said moments after breaking into a big smile. “I must be doing something right.” He arrived in Ottawa in 1976 as a teen to study mechanical engineering at Algonquin College. “I built my first house in Guyana at 16 for my sister. It’s where I stay when I go back home.” Nandram owns RND Construction and has methodically forged close links with top architects in the city, earning their trust. He has also built an enviable reputation as a technology guru and a green building advocate long before green was popular. “Building green is partly a result of my childhood. I was born in a poor country and we had to learn to be very frugal. There was no waste,” he says. He grew up with four brothers and five sisters in a poor village. His father was a rice merchant, earning extra money by building homes. His curious son was always watching, ready to help. This middle child was the first to immigrate, earning credentials as an industrial engineer at Algonquin before studying economics at the University of Ottawa. Nandram latched onto smart green building techniques in 1982 when an employer sent their senior job estimator on a course to learn about insulation

Roy Nandran

techniques. This was about the time he met architect Christopher Simmonds and the two laid the foundation for a long partnership, with Simmonds designing a series of award-winning homes and Nandram building them on budget and on time. Nandram has earned the respect of colleagues across the city as he continually researches new materials and technologies for saving the most money, while cutting energy costs.

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On May 5th, 2014, Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha held a simple but beautiful opening of its Shelter for abused children and Skills Training and Counselling Centre – Bal Nivas, Ankerville, Corentyne. Chaired by the Sabha’s Junior VicePresident, Pt. Jagmohan Persaud, the programme featured presentations from the children of Guyana; prayers from children of the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities, bhajan from children of the West Coast Berbice Praant of the Sabha, dance by the Junior members of the Dharmic Nritya Sangh and an awesome performance by the winner and first runner-up of the Emerging Voices Competition, Vishali Sukhram and ArtiSookhai.

Excellency President Donald Ramotar congratulated the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha on the venture and expressed appreciation for the facility which would be welcome addition to the existing facilities in Guyana. He noted the impressive track-record of the Sabha and paid tribute to the visionary style leadership to the Shelter and its Founder and former President, the late Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud. President of the Sabha, Dr. Vindhya Persaud expressed thanks to all those who contributed to the Shelter and enabled her brainchild to reach fruition in record time -1 year. She cautioned that even though the structure was complete the Sabha would require extensive support to furnish and make it operational. Dr. Persaud re-iterated the

Sabha’s commitment to service under its motto “action thy duty, reward not thy concern” and pledged that the Sabha’s under her leadership would continue the work started by her late father, Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud. She expressed her heartfelt appreciation to the Executive and members of the Sabha for giving sterling service to the Sabha over the years and continuing to support her in all the new initiatives. Dr. Persaud expressed how humbled and touched she felt by the love she received from all wherever she went and by the ready support to the Sabha as it continued to serve the people of Guyana. Legendary playback Singer of India, Sonu Nigam articulated how touched he was to be associated with the beginning and conclusion of the project Horizons 2014 -


and how impressed he was by the work of the Sabha. He emphatically stated that he would love to make Guyana a part of his life and visit as often as he could. The hundreds assembled applauded enthusiastically impressed by his humility and sincerity. To the chanting of prayers, a symbolic coconut was broken by Dr. Persaud at the entrance of Bal Nivas. The ribbon was cut by Mr. Sonu Nigam and the commemorative plaque unveiled by Dr. Persaud, Excellency President Donald Ramotar and Mr. Sonu Nigam. All those gathered took the opportunity to go on guided tours to explore the newly constructed building. All were impressed with the warmth emanating from the building and the space and design.

Bal Nivas was designed by Architect, Mr. Alvin Thorne and built by Mr. Rafeek Kassim of Kascon Engineering Service. It was constructed in large measure with proceeds from mega concerts featuring superstar playback singers Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, AlkaYagnik and Udit Narayan and complemented by donations from local businesses, individuals, families, the Sabha’s New York Chapter and devotees of the Minnesota Vishnu Mandir. Bal Nivas is a 2 story, 10,000 sq. feet concrete building expected to cater for children of all back grounds and beliefs

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throughout the country who will have various facilities available to them; counselling, residential, basic health care, computer and library resources and most importantly a safe haven. A broad-based Board will govern the running of the facility and a residential administrator and caring staff will provide the warmth and compassion the children need. The Sabha wishes to extend its heartfelt gratitude to all those who supported it in its efforts to construct such a facility through encouraging words, financial contributions, and attendance at all it mega concerts.

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My Determined Path To Meditation


y first exposure to Meditation and Yoga began in High School when I discovered two books in a drawer filled with my mom’s books. One was on Hatha Yoga and the other book was one written by the famous stylist, Vidal Sassoon, and his wife. I launched myself into the Yoga exercises described in the book on Hatha Yoga, and loved the sarvangasana pose (shoulder stand) most of all. However, the aspect of meditation itself escaped me. In the other book, Sassoon and his wife claimed to be able to meditate anywhere, even on planes. I admired the concept of meditation but wasn’t that interested. As such, Meditation practice waited until I started formal Yoga classes

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By: Joy Persaud years later after I had begun working. My Yoga teacher at the Indian Cultural Centre was Radhika. She was quite patient with us and taught us to meditate by using visualization techniques. My mind however did not seem to want to co-operate. In fact, the closest I came to meditation was that feeling of floating one gets in savasana pose(corpse pose), but of course that’s just what happens after exerting oneself for an hour moving from pose to pose. By then, the shoulder stand was no longer my favourite pose. The savasana had become my new favourite. The floating feeling was so restful and perfect for a lazy person. Thankfully, I have evolved somewhat and now my favourite pose is the Adho

Mukasvanasana (downward dog) and my favourite technique is a one which I learned at the Shambhala Meditation Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. One has only to Google “What are the Benefits of Meditation” to find a list of reasons why we ought to meditate. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure, promote relaxation and help with stress. There are even studies that claim that the relaxation one can achieve in meditation can positively impact fertility in both men and women. Ultimately, studies show that combating stress by meditation can boost immunity thus positively impacting our health. My reason for doggedly pursuing meditation was to find a way to keep my mind clear

is comfortable. It can be straight ahead or lower. We were then taught to focus on the outward breath. When thoughts invade we were told to just say “thinking” to ourselves and to re-focus on the outward breath. Keeping the eyes open is recommended in order to allow us to keep our awareness of daily existence. The Buddhist Monk Pema Chodron in her book “When Things Fall Apart” put it very nicely. Chodron writes, “Most meditation techniques use an object of mediation- something you return to again and again no matter what’s going on in your mind. Through rain, hail, snow and sleet, fair weather and foul, you simply return to the object of meditation. In this case, the out breath is the object of meditation – the elusive, fluid, everchanging out – breath, ungraspable and yet continuously arising. When you breathe in, it’s like a pause or a gap. There is nothing particular to do except wait for the next out-breath.” This is my favourite technique because it helps me to still my mind more effectively. However another method may prove more effective for someone else.

and calm while juggling work and study. I experienced the same thing everyone else does when meditating; the constant flood of thoughts and images in my mind. I learned different techniques as I attended different Yoga classes. I found the visualization techniques to be relaxing and calming. Being guided in class was very helpful, but when trying to meditate on my own, my thoughts soon took over, and I often ended up feeling frustrated. Somehow I wasn’t getting it right. Then, I read one of Deepak Chopra’s books,where he describes the meditation process so well that I was determined to continue. He explained finding a “gap” between thoughts. This “gap” is the moment when there is no

thought in the mind. He went on to say words to the effect that in that “gap” one can harness pure creative energy. This was intriguing to me, and was further reinforced when my then Yoga teacher in Brampton invited me to chai at her house. It was there that I met her brother- in-law, who told us that his daily 4 a.m. meditation was responsible for his success as a businessman and in his personal life. So I continued my practice, but the ‘gap” would often elude me until I found the Shambhala Centre. At the Centre we were taught to sit cross legged on a cushion. Hands rest in the centre, palms upward, one palm on the other. The eyes are not closed but focused in front of you on a point which

I am sure that the question being asked of me is “Have you been successful in achieving your goal of calmness and clarity of mind?” My answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” Mediation works for me. It works when I practice consistently. Like every other human being on the planet, I have highs and lows, good days and bad, non-practising and practising days, but I have found when I discipline myself and practise consistently my mind is clearer, my intentions are more powerful and suddenly without effort things come together perfectly, almost magically. Some may still doubt, and perhaps laugh. I say, the mind is a beautiful, powerful thing. Why not develop, hone it and unleash its full potential? Horizons 2014 -


yoga Asanas Breathe. Stretch. Be Aware.

By: Deomattie Seeram & Renu Batra "True yoga is not about the shape of your BODY, but the shape of your LIFE. Yoga is not to be PERFORMED; yoga is to be LIVED. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have BEEN; yoga cares about the person you are BECOMING. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound PURPOSE, and for it to be truly called yoga, its ESSENCE must be embodied." ~Aadil Palkhivala


oga Asanas simply meaning yoga postures are more than stretching as they open energy channels, purify and strengthen the body. They also help to control, focus and clear the mind. A healthy and peaceful body is the starting point for advance practices. This is the purpose of Asanas. In Asanas, the body is subjected to different stretches, bends, twists, inversions and strains. Then you try to maintain the posture in a relaxed manner. Various muscles are strengthened and functioning and efficiency of the internal organs is improved. In Asanas, you try and connect the mind to the body. You

try to increase the awareness of body parts, focusing on stressed joints and muscles, maintaining awareness of the breathing. One needs a lot of skill in trying to relax the muscles and different parts under stress during asana practice. This is strengthening of Body- Mind relationship. Without these three essentials: asana, awareness of body and awareness of breathing, you will not be performing yoga, but only a stretch. Other benefits of the Yoga poses include increasing flexibility, stamina, strength and endurance of various body parts. Asanas also have positive effect on reproductive system and the excretory system. Most important is asanas balance nervous system and hormones.

The postures below are demonstrated by Renu Batra, yoga instructor for classes that are held at the Pt. Reepu Daman Persaud Sanskritik Kendra in Prashad Nagar .

Veerbhadra Aasan ( Warrior Pose):

Natraj Aasan (Dancing Shiva Pose):

Begin standing tall and straight. Inhale and bend left knee and grasp inside of left foot with left hand. Gently bring right arm up and balance, deepen the backbend. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Exhale and relax. Fix your gaze on something still in front of you. Repeat with the other leg. Benefits: Strengthens legs and core. Improves balance, stretches shoulders and chest, strengthens the legs and ankles

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Begin standing tall and straight. Step feet apart; three feet distance between them. Turn the right foot and the torso to the right and the left foot slightly in. Bend right knee at 90 degree angle so the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Inhale and reach arms above head, palms facing each other, lengthening spine. Gently arch back while gazing upward. Exhale and repeat on left side. Benefits: Improves balance, strengthens legs, back and arms. Opens the chest and shoulders.

Dhanur Aasan (Bow Pose):

Lie on the belly with your hands by your side. Exhale and bend your knees and bring the feet towards the buttocks. Hold both ankles with your hands. Inhale, lift your thighs, head, chest and neck up from the floor. Continue to lift, press the shoulder blades together and open the chest. Gaze forward. Exhale and relax. Benefits: Stretches the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, throat and hip. Strengthens the back muscles and stimulates abdominal organs.

Vriksha Aasan (Tree Pose)

Stand tall and straight. Shift your weight onto the left leg. Inhale and slowly bend your right leg, and place the sole of the foot onto the inner side of the standing leg. Bring your both arms up and join hands together into Namaste mudra (prayer position). Breathe naturally. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable. When you are ready to release, exhale bringing your foot back down gently and alternate sides. Benefits: Develops awareness, balance and concentration. Strengthens legs, ankles and feet, and hips.

Naav Aasan (Full Boat Pose)

Sit on the floor with legs stretched out on the floor and your hands on your sides. With your back straight and head in line with the body. Inhale and raise the legs as high as is comfortable. Keep neck and shoulders relaxed. Once you feel balanced, you reach the arms forward up. Hold the pose for as long as you can comfortably. Exhale and relax. Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen and core, hips, and lower back.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Begin standing tall and straight. Step feet apart, having a three feet distance between them. Turn the right foot to the right and the left foot slightly in. Bend right knee at 90 degree angle so the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Inhale and turn your body towards right so your right hand can touch the floor by placing the hand next to the right foot and at the same time left arm is reaching up toward the ceiling in such a way that the left leg, left hip and left arm are in one line. Breathe and hold the positions for 3-6 breaths. Exhale and repeat the same with other leg. Benefits: Opens the side of the body from feet to fingers. Energizes the body and strengthens abdominal, legs, knees and ankles. Stretches hips, groins and hamstrings. Interested in joining the classes at the Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud Sanskritik Kendra, call 227-6181 to register. They are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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Guyana's East Indian Immigration & Heritage Magazine