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Guyana MP calls for world unity, respect for women on Diwali festival

30th annual Diwali Nagar at Chaguanas

Port of Spain, Oct 24 (UiTV/IANS)- The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago celebrated its annual Diwali Nagar festival where the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) president called for purity and unity in the world.

"If we understand that the world is one family, we can achieve that illusive dream of unity in this global village," GHDS President and Guyana's Member of Parliament Vindhya Vahini Persaud said.

Addressing the 30th annual Diwali Nagar at Chaguanas, Central Trinidad, Persaud urged the Trinidad and Tobago government to transcend its borders and touch the cultural diaspora.

The annual festival was organised by the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC), under the leadership of Deokienanan Sharma.

Among those present were newly-appointed Indian High Commissioner Bishwadip Dey and US Ambassador John Estrada.

Exploring the theme 'Ganga Maa-Mother of the Ocean and Rivers', Persaud said people must learn to act in the best interest of those with whom they come into contact every day.

"It is said that the water of the Ganga river is the purest ... this kind of purity can be attained by being pure in thought, words and deeds as life is like a river with many ups and downs. Life gives us joy, happiness and hope," she said.

Persaud urged leaders and all citizens to not only understand women and their vulnerability, but also their inherent capabilities.

"I think the people of Trinidad and Tobago definitely understand the meaning that women are pivotal to nation building," she added.

The NCIC's Public Relations Officer Surujdeo Mangaroo also hailed the ceremony for its unique spirit.

"The annual Diwali Nagar, the Council's flagship project, induces innovative programmes with increased participation of the youth -- especially women upon whom depends the future stability, progress and development of the Indian culture and Hinduism," he said

The festival attracts people of all ethnicity, culture and religions, which, in itself, is sociological therapy for the enhancement of cultural diversity, and has now become a model for similar societies, Mangaroo said.

The Indian diaspora here comprises descendants of some 148,000 East Indians, from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, brought here between 1845 and 1917 to work on enhancing local agricultural capacity.

The Indian diaspora now forms some 42 per cent of the 1.3 million population of Trinidad and Tobago.