Aunty Rose was generous and committed to spiritual upliftment

Dear Editor,

I write to announce the passing of Aunty Rose of Ankerville, Port Mourant.  Although she is from Port Mourant, Aunty Rose, 77, was well known in the surrounding communities including as far away as Albion, Canje, Black Bush, Whim, etc, in Berbice.  She was a remarkable woman, very simple, unassuming, strong willed, hard working, friendly, personable, and committed to the spiritual upliftment of all.  Once she knew of someone in distress, she never failed to assist. And if she knew someone was ill, she would prepare soup or meals and send them over for the sick. She was well respected and admired in Port Mourant for her generosity, kindness, and religious dedication. Without fail, she observed all auspicious days in the Hindu calendar and respected the holy days of the Islamic and Christian faiths. She regularly conducted religious prayers at her home and attended the Port Mourant Shivala.

In addition, she performed rituals at the Atlantic Ocean coast at the back of the Race Course. After the migrated to the US in the early 1980s, she continued those traditions making her very likeable and popular among the various communities she interacted with.

Aunty Rose, wife of the late Uncle Sumair who was also well known, assisted a lot of causes and used her personal funds to care for the homeless and dispossessed.  She lived in public housing and was surrounded by mostly non-Hindus and non-Guyanese in hundreds of tenement apartments.  She did not see colour or ethnicity.  No one was a stranger around her, but she would not hesitate to reprimand those she felt were wrong, including her own children.  She assisted everyone she thought was in need, particularly children and the elderly. And not surprisingly, she was well liked and respected by everyone she came into contact with or knew of her. Even her non-Guyanese caretakers – St Vincentian, Grenadian, Jamaican, Haitian, etc – had only admiration, love and respect for Aunty Rose. And she would take her non-Guyanese aides to every event she attended (pooja, wedding, shopping, etc, including to mandirs  introducing them to Hindu worship and Guyanese vegetarian cuisine, mohanbhog, ras malai, phulourie, etc, and they loved the food).

Aunty Rose worshipped at several mandirs (Guyanese, Trinidadian, Indian) and in every one of them she was well known, admired and respected even by the Surinamese pandit. She prepared meals regularly for distribution at the mandirs and although she was not wealthy, she made generous donations to help the mandir with its expenses. In addition, she donated clothing to distribute to the poor in my ancestral village in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and some cash for a bhoj (feeding of the village).

The Sunday before Diwali last, she sat as a shrota (devotee) to celebrate her 77th birthday inviting many to share it with her.  They came with baskets of presents and prepared a lot of edibles for the celebration. All of her children, including her son from Canada and her daughter from Florida attended the pooja to honour their mother for the last time. Although Aunty Rose was in frail health, she remained a strong willed, independent woman not depending on anyone, not even her children.  She lived alone after her husband passed away a decade ago. And she prepared her own meals.  As she was religiously observant, she was very careful of what she consumed so as not to violate the norms of her Hindu diet.

At the wake on Wednesday and Thursday evening, mourners had only positive words for Aunty Rose. The viewing room was jam packed including a lot of Trinidadians and Surinamese with teary eyes. Aunty Rose will be remembered for her friendliness, charitable giving, honesty, and compassion.

Yours faithfully,
Vishnu Bisram


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