Indian envoy hails Trinidad and Tobago’s multiculturalism

By Paras Ramoutar, IANS,

Port-of-Spain : Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra has hailed Trinidad and Tobago’s multiculturalism, saying it has helped to promote a value system which needs to be “safeguarded, developed and maintained at all times”.

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Mishra Sunday said that this value system could “help wipe out violence and transgressions in the world. No country or no society is immune to widespread violence… but a sound value system can undermine its growth.

“T&T’s multicultural, plural and multi-ethnic structure has helped to promote a value system which is needed to be safeguarded, developed and maintained at all times,” he told over 200 devotees at the annual Kartik-Ke-Nahan celebrations.

A cultural programme followed the prayers which included songs and dances by members of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Cultural Co-operation, tassa drumming and music and songs by Ustad Suresh Tiwari Orchestra.

The Ramoutar clan has been jointly hosting the annual religious festival for over ten years with the Edinburgh Hindu Temple led by its spiritual leader, Pundit Ramesh Tiwari.

Kartik-ke-Nahan is a period in October-November when Hindus conduct pray to Mother Ganga and offer obeisance to the ocean.

Some 24 percent of the 1.3 million people in the Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) are Hindus.

Mishra said that when the indentured labourers from India came here between 1845 and 1917 from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, they brought with them the rich cultural, moral and religious architecture of their motherland.

“They were imprisoned in poverty in India and they were brought here to contribute to the economic development of T&T, and by so doing they were able to improve their own economic condition, and their human value system was a major contributor as well.”

Mishra went on to say the “seed for this social structure has been sown over 160 years ago, and therefore, it must be protected.”

He said that the celebration of Kartik-Ke-Nahan has “unique meaning and symbolism as Indians give several interpretations to it, inclusive of business, economic, trade, religious and spiritual. It is celebrated in India with great fervour.”

(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at [email protected])