Trinidad and Tobago: Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday praised the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) for keeping East Indian culture alive and contributing to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.
She was speaking during celebrations to mark the arrival of India Day at Penal Rock Hindu School (SDMS). The former prime minister said if people don’t know where they come from and don’t honor their roots and ancestors, then there is no future for them.
‘Today I really want to pay tribute to the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha for their role in helping to illuminate the past and helping to share culture and helping to keep it alive, ensuring that our rich East Indian culture is transmitted from generation to generation. generation,” she said. Persad-Bissessar also paid tribute to former SDMS General Secretary Satnarayan Maharaj for his contribution to T&T.
“We had a great understanding, he would invite me and he would uninvite me, but he was always a brother and a great soul to all of us. So let’s pay tribute because we miss him this year,” she said.
The Maha Sabha, she said, has played a huge role in the lives of many citizens. She said Indian Arrival Day is significant because it commemorates the end of a colonial system of covenant that lasted more than 100 years.
The Indian pledge, she said, was a system of exploitation and discrimination. “It was intended to enrich the few at the expense of the laborers who labored in the sugar cane fields every day and so it is very important that such a discriminatory system, such an unequal system, such an unjust economic system no longer be ever inflicted on people here or anywhere else in the world,” she said.
However, she said the period of the engagement helped to enrich Trinidad and Tobago and added to the cultural diversity that fills hearts with pride today.
Persad-Bissessar said she recognizes everyone who has come out and made T&T the diverse melting pot that it is. She said that this country has people from every major civilization in the world, including those from Africa, China and Europe.
She also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday who she said fought tirelessly to get the Indians’ arrival day holiday. She said on this occasion that she thinks of the “sacrifice” made by the ancestors and the trials and tribulations they faced.
Persad-Bissessar said there was a saying that parents would “suck salt” and eat a humble meal to ensure their children received an education.
She commended the Maha Sabha for its contribution to the education sector by establishing a number of schools in this country.
She said she attended Mohess Road Hindu School as a child and many would have attended SDMS schools on their journey to a better way of life.
Persad-Bissessar stressed the importance of education, saying it is a passport to getting out of poverty.