Indian High Commission  hosts Diwali cultural celebration

– relationship between Guyana and India continues to strengthen

The High Commission of India hosted a Diwali celebration at the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), Georgetown, on Saturday.

The event commenced with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp.

Delivering remarks at the event, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd underlined that culture underpins sovereignty, “And the culture that we inherited from India, I think has helped to mold Guyana into a strong and multicultural society. A society that has been embraced by all Guyanese, a society that has been embraced also by our partners and friends. For us, Guyanese, we recognise that as a society, we have to have a very strong culture, which gives us our values and our norms.”

High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr. K. J. Srinivasa

 Minister Todd said, “That is important for us as a people because we believe that the practice of Hinduism as a religion speaks to dignity, discipline, speaks to humanity, and allows us, as Guyanese, to move forward in a very predictable manner.”

Minister Todd also highlighted the relationship shared by Guyana and India.

Our friendship between Guyana and India is even stronger today than it was yesterday, to the values that we both share our commitment to democracy, to rule of law, to transparency and accountability. We get all of that from our culture, and that cultural underpinning should not be overlooked, or sidestepped,” Minister Todd pointed out.

Lighting of the ceremonial lamp

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said that Diwali is one of the most unifying festivals on the calendar, as it brings people of all backgrounds together in many different ways.

She highlighted that, in Guyana, the ‘iconic and breathtaking’ motorcade is synonymous with Diwali, “And I’m sure no one would have been able to say that this year, the experience was not breathtaking. Having seen many motorcades many years. This one was perhaps the most impressive in a very long time.”

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd

Meanwhile, High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr. K. J. Srinivasa, in his address, noted that Guyana has great harmony between all of the religions, “and this is a great example that I give back home.”

He also lauded the partnership between Guyana and India.

Dr Srinivasa stated that this is exemplified by the projects undertaken, “We have been fortunate enough to work with the local government and tried to get Indian government expertise and tried to partner with Guyana in various fields…I am very happy to see many of the projects that we have started are around completion or around the wait to be completed…I’m very happy that the collaboration continues.”

Cultural performance

The government, he noted is working to get more high-profile visits to and from India to Guyana, “and I think the work put in by all of us will play a very important role.”

The event featured performances by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, a student from Texila American University, and students of the National School of Dance.

Former President Donald Ramotar, Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, former Chairman of GECOM, Dr Steve Surujbally, Chief Executive Officer of NAREI, Jagnarine Singh, Mayor of Georgetown, Pandit Ubraj Narine, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, and members of the diplomatic community also attended the event.