A Hindu leader with an unbridled passion to serve his community, and the people of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Maniram ‘Clifford’ Rampaul, formerly of Rio Claro, passed away on May 10, 2021 at the age of 85.
Dr. Rampaul gained entry to Khalsa College in Bombay, now Mumbai, India to pursue a two year pre-medicine course, and later was accepted at the reputable and esteemed, Government Medical College of Amristar, where he completed his M.B.B.S in 1963. Prior to his sojourn to India, he graduated from the prestigious, Naparima College, in San Fernando.
On his return to Trinidad and Tobago, he worked at the San Fernando General for one year in 1964, after, on the advice of his late father opened up his private practice in the rural community of Rio Claro in 1965 and lived upstairs his office. He was never bothered about sick persons calling him at nights for service. That he did with grace, love with a deep compulsion in the name of service which flowed from his mortal heart—day or night, without a fee most times. His clientele was basically agricultural and poor farmers, most of whom were not sure of a meal for themselves or their families. But that did not deter him.
In his foray, as medical professional, Dr Rampaul, served in several positions as acting District Medical Officer, Senior Medical Officer at the Mayaro District Hospital for 15 years, and his duties included serving at medical clinics at Rio Claro, Biche, Brothers Road, Mayaro and Guayaguayare, remote areas in our country. Today his name continues to echo in the ears and hearts of all the people in the Nariva/Mayaro Region.
He was President of the Sathya Sai Baba Organization for several years, and served under the leadership of the respected legal luminary and former Member of Parliament, the late Tajmool Hosein, who was part of the Independence Constitutional Conference in 1962 in England, which resulted in Trinidad and Tobago becoming an Independent nation on August 31, 1962.
Prior to being President of the Sathya Sai Baba Organization, Dr. Rampaul was Chairman of the Rio Claro Center, and later as Chairman of the South East Region, and his early developmental work within the Organization is well noted by all Sathya Sai Baba devotees of Trinidad and Tobago.
His compassion for service was not limited in medicine, but also in community empowerment such as the Boy Scouts Movement, for which he was awarded the Medal of Merit, the Kiwanis Club of Rio Claro, Habitat for Humanity, civic programmes in the community, and in the international, “Walk for Hunger Group”.
Dr. Rampaul was in the forefront in poverty eradication and, was appointed an executive member of ECHO programme headed by Dr. Brinsley Samaroo, who was a senior Minister of the National Alliance for Reconstruction(NAR) Government 1986-1991, and similar programmes aimed at giving assistance to the needy in the communities.
Dr. Rampaul, Prof. Dr Brinsley Samaroo (Chaconia Medal) and Winston Dookeran ORTT,PBS and now Professor of Practice, International Relations Institute, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, who was also a senior Government Minister in 1986 to 1991, and later 2010 to 2015, were considered the three wise men from the East Trinidad.
Dr. Rampaul’s love for humanity resonates with that of the late German, Dr. Albert Schweitzer who gave up a lucrative medical practice, and travelled to Gabon, in the middle of Africa and worked with the leper affected communities. He had coined the phrase, “reverence for life”. Dr. Rampaul, like Dr. Schweitzer, lived and practiced this ideology.
Dr Rampaul’s name is well etched as a progressive medical practitioner, a humanitarian, whose heart melted whenever he was called to serve — the spirit of humanitarianism, a feature not too prominent in today’s society. For he revered everyone’s life as his. A true patriot and a messenger of Sathya Sai Baba in the pursuit of eternal happiness, truth, love, benevolence and human kindness.