The Guyana Central Arya Samaj (GCAS) and its affiliates yesterday unveiled a monument at the Promenade Gardens to commemorate the movement’s 101 years of existence here.
The unveiling was attended by dozens of Hindus from across the country as well as members of the business community and the government. Chief Executive Officer of GT&T, Yoganand Mahadeo, a Samajist, said the event was a significant landmark in the history of Guyana.
In a spirited speech, he reflected on the lives of Hindus over the years. As he recounted “where we are compared to where we were so many years ago”, Mahadeo said that he believes most individuals have had their own form of upbringing. “No matter where you are from or what religion you belong to,” he said, “everyone belongs to a part of the divinity which limits mankind.”
In today’s modern world, “we play our boom boxes and play it loudly so that persons can hear what we have to say. We listen to music, sometimes mine, to hear my message and so the message of God has changed over the course of history to my message,” said Mahadeo. He said that Guyanese “have a saying …’oh it’s just Guyana’” but pointed out that every time it is said, “we make sub-standards become standards.” According to Mahadeo, in the old days, one could not even attempt to listen to the teachings of the scriptures if they were not dressed in a certain manner.
He also said that the time has come for everyone including members of the Hindu faith, to think about the man in the street who has nowhere to sleep. ”Let’s think of that child who comes up to us begging for money, whose forefathers travelled to Guyana from India together with ours,” he said.
Mahadeo also called on all within the various religious faiths to reflect on their lives, the path each of them has lived and to think about their expectations of life.
Meantime, Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green noted that the Promenade Gardens housed several aspects of Guyana’s history. He said that as the Arya Samaj movement celebrates its 101 years of existence in Guyana, it is important to reflect on the various periods in history which the movement has been through.
Green pointed out that the Promenade Gardens is home to a statue of the great Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who was a fighter for humanity and human rights. He said that as the Hindus celebrate the event, members of the faith should not forget the sacred times Guyana has had in its history.
Dr Cheetan Mahadeo, President of the GCAS, stated that the movement, being a humble society, is one which is noble and he said that all Arya Samajists are expected to lead by example.
He said too that the movement is open to everyone, regardless of race or creed. “Once someone can accept the ten principles of the movement one can be a Samajist,” he added.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, performing the duties of the President, stated that the government gave recognition to the movement, hence his presence at the unveiling yesterday.
At the conclusion of the event, several children – some attached to various orphanages including the Cornelia Ida orphanage – received back-to-school kits which included school bags, bottles and stationery.