Hats off to the Praimsingh’s daughters for continuing the legacy of their father, the late Ajeet Praimsingh and the Mere Desh Committee which he started in 1991 to promote local talents and honor unsung living heroes on May 30, the anniversary of Indian Arrival Day.
For its 33rd Anniversary Commemoration of Indian Arrival Day Mere Desh has chosen to pay tribute to Granville-born chutney star Budram Holass who is more than a hero but a phenomenon considering the many challenges he has survived to still be among us.
A bionic chutney artiste, Budram continues his struggles with the god of death after a vehicular accident severed an arm, losing his sight in one eye and his hearing in one ear- all on one side of his body. As though not enough Budram has lost both legs to diabetes and is now confined to a wheelchair, but, despite these setbacks, he was able to appear on the stage of this year’s Chutney Soca Monarch Competition at Skinner’s Park in San Fernando.
Budram Holass has sung and recorded several songs. His singing talents took him twice to the finals of Mastana Bahar and won him the Chutney Monarch for two consecutive years. This newly won fame took him to several stages across the diaspora including Guyana, Surinam, Mauritius, USA and Canada.
Mere Desh is proud to present an opportunity for our artistes 20 years and under to sing a song of this chutney legend on May 30 at Passage to Asia, Chaguanas starting 2:30 p.m. “The registration of artistes is ongoing, and we are happy with the response,” said Savi, the eldest daughter of Ajeet Praimsingh. Among the artistes registered to perform is Mia, a grand niece of Budram from Tobago. She is being trained by Pandit Beesram Sewdat, a well-known personality in the religious and cultural field and a big supporter of the Tobago Hindu Society led by Pulwaty Holass – Beepath, a sister of Budram Holass.
Rukminee Holass-Beepath, another sister, recalled that when “we were children our father and mother taught us the culture and among the six siblings Budram was most outstanding.” A cultural icon, Rukminee has researched and compiled several books with relevant songs for Kartic Snaan, weddings, funerals, and birth. Her love for the culture has sent her to various teachers and institutions to learn Hindi and Drama including NIHERST, Caribbean School of Music led by Mungal Patassar, the Indian High Commission and the Creative Arts Center, St Augustine Campus, UWI.
An integral part of Mere Desh Indian Arrival Day Commemoration is the honoring of unsung heroes. “More that two hundred sons and daughters have been presented with Mere Desh Awards for their contribution to culture and nation building,” said Devi Praimsingh. Savi added: “A policy of Mere Desh is to honor citizens while they are alive.” This was the policy initiated at inception and it continues by members today.
The honoring of Budram Holass by Mere Desh is a recognition of not only his contribution to culture but also the role the father Harry Holass and the mother Samdaye has played in the preservation and propagation of our rich heritage. And their contribution would be crowned when their great grand daughter Mia takes the stage at Passage to Asia on Tuesday May 30 to sing one of her grand uncle songs.