The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) held its AGM on Saturday April 15, 2023, and elected a new Executive and Board of Directors to conduct its affairs for the next three years. The following are the officers elected and their respective portfolios:
President – Senator Deoroop Teemal, 1st Vice President – Surujdeo Mangaroo, 2nd Vice President-Leanne Dianne Dookie, Secretary – Bramha Beharrysingh, Assistant Secretary- Sarika Boodoo, Treasurer – Nirmala Ramsaran, Assistant Treasurer – Nisha Baksh-Lutchmedial.
Directors: Pradeep Vishnu, Indra Outar, Amrica Seepersad-Reemaul, Dr Arvind Singh, Yaseen Rahaman, Chandrakala Ramsingh, Shawn Ramjit, Sahadeo Partap, Bhushan Parmanand and Dr Visham Bhimull.
Incoming President Deoroop Teemal welcomed the elected officers and remarked: ‘We are thrilled to welcome such a dedicated group of individuals to our Board of Directors. Their expertise and leadership will guide our organization in pursuing its goals and objectives in the years to come.”
Senator Teemal continued: “I am honored to serve as President of such a dynamic and innovative organization, and I look forward to working with our board members and staff to continue to advance our mission and make a positive impact in the community.”
Senator Teemal thanked outgoing President Dr. Deokinanan Sharma for his services to the NCIC for more than five decades. Dr Sharma succeeded the President Hansley Hanomansingh in 2000 who took over from Bisram Gopee, the founder and first President of the institution.
The NCIC was born on July 19, 1964 at Gandhi Ashram College, San Fernando and the following people were elected to serve: President- Bisram Gopee, Vice- President, 1st Vice President-Sham Mohammed, 2nd Vice President- Narsaloo Ramaya, Secretary- Amjad Farzan Ali, 1st Assistant Secretary-Baldeo Maharaj, 2nd Assistant Secretary-Gayadeen Sampath, Treasurer-Ramdhanie Sharma, Trustees- Justice Ralph Narine and Yacoob Ali, Advisor- B. Bhattacharya and Patrons: Bhadase Sagan Maraj and Kamaludin Mohammed.
The effort to form the NCIC came about while Narsaloo Ramaya was having a chat with Bisram Gopie to raise funds to pay the medical bills for Naseer Mohammed, founder and leader of the Naya Zamana Orchestra. Bisram Gopee advised that an organization should be formally established to look after the welfare of Indian artistes. A third meeting was held that included B. Battacharya.
While Divali Nagar has been the flag ship program of the NCIC, it has been engaged in numerous other programs since inception to uplift Indian culture. The welfare of artistes continues unabated, but the activities expanded to include cultural tours to the diaspora, saaj sammelan, the hosting of Bollywood stars, playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Anoop Jalota, Kishore Kumar, Anuradha Poudwal and Hari Om and Nandini Sharon. It also sponsors competitions for our local classical and filmi singers to display their talents.
Teaching has been a central plank of the activities of the NCIC. The dance duo Partap and Priya Pawar were secured by the Indian High Commission and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and spent several years teaching and developing the talents of our local dancers. Through these Indian institutions the NCIC successfully negotiated a scholarship for Dev Bansraj Ramkissoon to learn music in India.
The facilities of the Nagar are available to the public. Several charitable groups have used the venue to host cultural programs to raise funds for needy cases. Many yatras were started and culminated at the Nagar. It is an ideal venue for large gatherings given its open hall and spacious car park. The Nagar site was the venue for the public viewing of the bodies of the late Anil Bheem and Ajeet Praimsingh.
Senator Teemal has served as Vice President for several years. He has also served as chairman of Divali Nagar. Senator Teemal has taken the initiative to start the NCIC Hall of Fame to recognize the contributions of sons and daughters of the diaspora. A Conference Room has also been developed for the launching of books, lectures and the display of paintings and other artifacts.
Surujdeo Managaro, the elected 1st Vice President and outgoing Communication Officer said: “I am confident that the newly elected Executive and Board of Directors under the leadership of Senator Teemal would take the NCIC to greater heights.”