GHDS is epitome of driving positivity in society, producing leaders – Pres Ali

…as organisation celebrates 50th anniversary

President Dr Irfaan Ali has noted that, as an organization, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) plays a pivotal role in producing well-rounded leaders and driving positivity within society.
When he made this remark on Sunday, at the mammoth celebration of the GHDS to commemorate its 50th anniversary, the Head of State noted that the existence of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha cannot be talked about without mentioning the role it played over the past 50 years in ensuring the country’s democracy remains intact and Guyana remains a place where peace and development are foundational pillars to work towards.

President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr Vindhya Persaud

President Ali noted that the GHDS has shown that its existence is secure for decades to come, because of the investment it has made and continues to make in young people and children, producing some of the “finest” professionals in various fields. He said building such leadership in an organisation is important in today’s society.
“We have to examine why do we have this quality of leadership that your organisation can give to our country. It is because of the organizational principles and values and what you stand for; that is why you can produce leaders of such calibre… This organisation has produced innovators, thinkers and people who can develop ideas,” the Guyanese Leader said during the celebrations at the Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud Dharmic Sanskritik Kendra on Ganges Street in Prashad Nagar, Georgetown.

President Dr Irfaan Ali speaking at the GHDS anniversary on Sunday

The President went on to credit the founder of the GHDS, the late Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, for creating these foundational pillars of the organisation. He stressed that the service of the GHDS in supporting and driving positive thinking and a positive way of life cannot be understated or underestimated.
“Today we’re faced with many challenges in this world, and it is organisations like these that build the human character; that build the human spirit; that build the human asset to be an agent of positivity, so that we drive positive change, positive thinking, and positive way of life. And the world today lacks this. When you look at how many people are going through depression and how many persons are falling under the banner of mental health issues, it is because we have lost an important foundation of society, and that foundation is positivity,” the Head of State said.
President Ali has said he is looking forward to the dynamic and innovative thinking GHDS will continue to foster for positive societal development in the years to come, especially for the young generation.
“You guys have a beautiful future ahead of you, and you have perhaps heavier-rooted foundation because of you being part of this organisation,” the President said to the GHDS young membership.

Keep the legacy
Similar sentiments were shared by President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr Vindhya Persaud, who urged the membership to continue pushing the involvement of youths, whom she said would keep the legacy of the organisation alive and going for decades to come.

A section of the gathering at the GHDS celebration

Dr Vindhya Persaud, daughter of Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, took over leadership of the GHDS following her father’s death 10 years ago. She reflected on the journey of her father in establishing the GHDS, and the efforts by many over the years to keep the organisation going as one of the longstanding Hindu organisations in Guyana.
According to Dr Vindhya, her father was interested not only in starting the religious body, but also in the upliftment of everyone: children through the Naujawaan Movement and women in the organisation’s leadership. In fact, the Executive of GHDS today is comprised of more than 50 per cent women.

The GHDS President noted that achieving a 50th anniversary milestone is not easy. She said there are challenges in carrying forward a larger-than-life legacy that is transforming the Hindu landscape in Guyana.
“Imagine what this country would have been without the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha. No Diwali Motorcade, no Holi Utsav, no Naya Zamana, no Bachon ka Satsang, no Rang Rasiya or Phagwah Mela and Bazaar, no Kala Utsav…,” she detailed.
“And it is not only the significant hosting of these events and festivals that are now solidly on the National Calendar, but it is the number of persons who have emerged from all of the training programmes here at the Dharmic Sanskritic Kendra, across the temples and mandirs, and from everyone one of these initiatives to carry forth the torch,” Dr Vindhya posited.
The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha was founded by Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, along with Harry Ramdass, Dalin Chand Persaud, Mohanlall Sahadeo, Sukhdeo Ramsaroop, Rambaran and Sital on January 8, 1974 under Aadra Nakshatra (a star favourable to Bhagwan Shiva). “Action thy duty, Reward not thy concern”, the powerful guiding principle from the Bhagavad Gita, has defined the outstanding 50-year existence of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha.
The attainment of this momentous milestone is a testament to Dharmic Sabha’s enduring commitment to, and consistency in preserving and promoting, Hindu culture, traditions, values and ideals. The Sabha emerged as a beacon of hope in the Hindu Community during difficult and uncertain times in the 1970s, and embarked on an outstanding path of fostering unity and promoting religious, cultural, social and educational development.
Over the five decades of its existence, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha has made significant contributions to Guyana, and has left an indelible mark on the nation’s history. The Sabha has consistently promoted the values of peace, democracy, harmony, respect and understanding among diverse religious and ethnic communities in Guyana through dialogue, cultural exchange, and community outreach initiatives.
Through its tireless efforts, the Dharmic Sabha has successfully initiated and organized numerous cultural events, religious festivals, and educational programmes that have enriched the lives of countless individuals, thereby building among all a greater understanding and appreciation for Hinduism and Indian culture.
Although its primary mission revolves around the education of Hindus in the values and concepts of Hinduism, the Dharmic Sabha has, over the years, expanded the ambit of its work to include areas of education, social issues, health and wellbeing, and community service. The Dharmic Rama Krishna Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools and the Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud Dharmic Sanskritik Kendra are established centres of academic excellence and cultural learning; and Bal Nivas provides much needed shelter and support for vulnerable children.
In 2019, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha was recognized by the Government of India with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest Award given by the Indian Government to an organization established by Overseas Indian Diaspora, for its outstanding achievement in the field of community service, and in recognition of its valuable contribution in promoting Indian culture. (G8)