ICDN presented award to veteran journalist

Pandit Robby Roopnarine is a missionary pandit. A graduate of UTT and a teacher at a secondary school in south Trinidad, Pandit Robby is keen on re-converting Hindus who have strayed from the path of dharma.

ICDN presented award to veteran journalist
Photo : Jai Sears presents ICDN AWARD FOR JOURNALISM & COMMUNITY SERVICE to Paras Ramoutar.

Pandit Robby Roopnarine is a missionary pandit. A graduate of UTT and a teacher at a secondary school in south Trinidad, Pandit Robby is keen on re-converting Hindus who have strayed from the path of dharma.

Pandit Robby was one of the presenters at the  ICDN-Indo Caribbean Indian Diaspora News (www.icdn.today)  2nd Annual Indian Arrival Day Round Table Discussion on Thursday May 30, 2019 at Xtra Foods Commercial Building, Eleanor Street. Chaguanas. Operating at the Motiram Mandir in Debe, Pandit Robby has ‘studied the strategies used by Muslims and Christians to convert Hindus.’

“A battle of the minds is raging to convert Hindu,” said Pandit Robby. “The Christians are saying that Jesus is coming. I am saying that Hanuman is here.”

A registered marriage officers, Pandit Robby is a Hindu instructor at his school. “I have more than 200 students in my class who are eager to learn more about Hinduism,” he said and made an appeal to generous Hindus to sponsor a maxi-taxi so that he can mobilize his student body to Hindu workshops and other activities.

The highlight of the ICDN Indian Arrival Day Program was the honoring of veteran journalist and social and cultural activist Sri Parasram Ramoutar of Caparo, Trinidad. Parasji is not only a journalist but also a community activist.

“I have received more that 30 commendations so far and I am certain that my children will be proud that their father continues to be recognized for his work,” said Ramoutar whose name became synonymous with the annual floods that affected the people of Caparo Valley in central Trinidad.

Winston Dookeran also spoke at the Round Table. He made the point that an intellectual understanding of events is essential to move forward. He shared with the audience his struggles to host the first Conference on East Indians titled: East Indian in the Caribbean: Colonialism and the Struggle for Identity in 1975. “Many of my colleagues at the Campus felt that such a conference was divisive and I had to convince them. I took the idea to Professor Lloyd Braithwaite, Principal of St Augustine Campus, who welcomed the initiative, granted me permission in a written letter and promised funding of the event.”

Photo : Jai Sears speaking at ICDN Round Table.

Dookeran said that he wrote the late Sir Vidya Naipaul and he accepted to come to open the conference. “In conversation with Naipaul, he said two things-one is that Indians always need a prop and the second, that Hindus believe that Hinduism would survive by instinct.” All of this was said in response to the lament of conversation of Hindus and the loss of identity. Dookeran recommended the establishment of a Hindu theological college as the solution to this present challenge facing the Hindu community.

Also present to deliver the feature address was Jai Sears of Grenada. A Guyanese by birth, Jai migrated to Guyana in the mid-1970s to escape the violence unleashed by dictator Forbes Burnham. “I was robbed and when I went to report it at the police station, I recognized one of the robbers at desk where complaints are made and recorded. I did not bother and that was how I came to be residing in Grenada,” said Jai.

“I was also a witness to the Wismar Massacre of 1964 where Indians were beaten by PNC thugs and the Commissioner of Police did not raise a finger forcing Janet Jagan, then Minister of Home Affairs. to resign because of the inaction of the security forces,” Jai lamented.

Photo : Winston Dookeran speaking at ICDN Round Table held on May 30 at Xtra Foods Commercial Building, Chaguanas.

A founder of ICDN, Jai works for the Gafoor Group of Companies in Grenada and has more than 40 years of experience in business management. Now in his early 70s, Jai plans to retire soon and dedicate his energies and resources to serve the community.

Also speaking at the program was Sat Sookdeo. In his welcome remarks he underlined the need for citizens to go about their daily duties so that society will continue to live.

Ariti Jankie was also at hand to provide the audience with a biodata on Paras Ramoutar. A journalists and author of several booking including “Hush! Don’t Cry!” and “In the Footsteps of Rama” Ariti has now taken to capturing the Hindu experience in poetry. She shared with her audience the efforts of the community of Mandigo Road, Princes Town to build a museum to preserve the early struggles and identity of the community around  Chattur Pond, a place from which “the community got its water until the mid-1970s when pipe borne water came to our village.”

A breakfast was served before the start of the Round Table. It consisted of sada roti, tomato and alloo chohka and water melon. Snacks and other drinks were made available courtesy Xtra Foods. The event was enjoyed by all and the audience left requesting that they be informed about next year’s event.