From PARAS RAMOUTAR
Humanity needs to understand that the earth is not just a place to live and die, but it is the source of our existence, according to President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Christine Carla Kangaloo.
The first female of this country since it became a Republic in 1976, and also of East Indian extraction, she was addressing the 35th annual National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) at Divali Nagar. The Nagar featured a network of cultural, religious and social components and an estimated 200,000 patrons from all walks of life and from several parts of the Indian diaspora attended. Theme of the Nagar is : Dharti Maataa (Mother Earth).
She added that in Trinidad and Tobago, we need to take up the mantle of collective responsibility to Mother Earth and the Environment–not tomorrow, nor ten years from now, but today President Kangaloo said that the theme is representative of light, in the same way that humanity’s failure to honour and respect Mother Earth is representative of darkness.
“Just as the concept of Karma teaches actions or inactions have consequences, we need to cherish and behave with reverence towards Mother Earth. We cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds us,” she emphasied.
Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar called on the people to take the environment seriously amidst increasing natural disasters, heat waves and floodings.
The former Prime Minister noted that amidst this real threat to our own existence, “we are too slow to put into place policies and strategies to change what could well be a destiny of human destruction. We need to be cognisant of our natural environment. We need to engage in a unity of mind and efforts to protect us all from the destruction scientists have been warning us about.”.
The nine-day affair attracted over 200,000 patrons, according to Surujdeo Mangaroo, first vice-president. There music, songs and dances every night, including Indian-trained Rana Mohip and Susan Mohip Dance Group.
President of NCIC, Deoroop Teemal announced that the 2024 Divali Nagar will focus on the household, Divali Nagar, now a globally-recognised cultural and religious festival which came into being in 1986 under the leadership of Dr Hans Hanoomansingh, and its popularity prompted the leadership to search for a permanent home. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago donated 15 acres of land on which stands an auditorium, the main stage and the Heritage Centre. Plans are in the making for additional space.
Some 153 commercial, religious and social services booths were hosted at the Nagar.