I was floored when I received the call from my mother that my guru Panditji Reepu Deman Persaud had passed. Only this week I met my other Guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Washington DC and it caused me to think of and offer a prayer for Panditji since I was aware he was not well.
May his soul rest in peace.
Panditji is a descendant of the people of Uttar Pradesh. In an environment, both in the period of Colonialism and after, where the pressure against Hindus was harsh and sometime inhumane such as the banning of essential foods for Hindu ceremonies, he kept the struggle on and the banner of Sanatan Dharma flying high. He was a teacher first and was one of the few in Guyana who was a scholar at the mother language of all Hindus– Sanskrit. His proficiency in Vedic knowledge allowed him to shine intellectually when he was on the “singhasan” at Yaajnas and other religious functions, sharing his deep knowledge of Hindu philosophy and explaining the scriptures. I personally learnt much from those sessions that I was fortunate to attend.
What I most admired about him was the drive to educate Hindus in Guyana on the language, the culture, dance, music, training of new pandits and his mastery of the astrological charts. In fact it is primarily to his credit that Guyanese Hindus were able to secure appropriate names and be proud of it rather than succumb to the bastardisation of their history.
Hinduism in Guyana was kept alive because of people like Panditji Reepu Daman Persaud.
May god bless his soul and may these few words comfort Aunty Indra and his children. Nothing would have made him prouder than to hear the speech by his daughter, Vindhya who is now a Parliamentarian. It was definitely one of the better speeches in the 2013 Debates and even her father would have struggled to match her oratory skills. Thus his legacy lives on, as Vindhya is certainly an asset to one of his passions – Guyanese politics. Panditji has done his duty as a father and as a Guyanese.
May God comfort his family at this time; Farewell my Guru!