To the attention of: Members of NYC Council Committee on Parks and Recreation
NYC Committee on Parks and Recreation Hearing on Dec 17, 2020
Ref: Pandit Ramlall Way T2020-6964
Co-Naming 1 block of 133rd Street between Liberty Ave & 105th Ave in Queens
Good morning. Thank you, Chairman CM Peter Koon and members of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. I am Ashook Ramsaran giving this testimony on behalf of our Committee for co-naming 1 block as Pandit Ramlall Way in honor of late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall. We are grateful to CM Adrienne Adams who has approved and supported this petition from its inception to honor a long time stalwart of the community.
We are seeking your approval for co-naming 1 block of 133rd Street between Liberty Ave & 105th Ave in Queens as Pandit Ramlall Way, in honor of the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall, a selfless and avid community advocate, who passed away on January 26, 2019 in Queens, New York at the age of 91 years.
There is overwhelming community board, residents, religious, business and organizational support for this application (over 5,000 signatures, dozens of letters of support and petitions submitted), submitted in the form of a comprehensive 90-page volume, in particular the Arya Spiritual Center of New York (ASC-NY) founded by late Dharmacharya Pandit, same being extensively used for various community events, including the annual Gandhi Peace March, Diwali Parade, Ramayana in the Park, etc. ASC-NY is located at 104-36 133rd Street in Ozone Park where we are seeking to co-name the 1 block of 133rd Street between Liberty Ave and 105th Ave.
As can be seen from his extensive biography, the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall was a well-respected iconic spiritual leader and scholar, a pioneering community advocate who has been recognized locally and internationally for his life-long community service. He founded the annual Phagwah (Holi) Parade in New York and Queens Borough President declared March 23, 2003, at “Pandit Ramlall Day”. He was indeed a tremendous asset to the community with a lifetime of service to spirituality, justice, and freedom.
All protocols and procedures for the application filing have been diligently followed: Meetings with CM Adrienne Adams, community board members, and other supporters.
Queens is the most diverse community and the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall represented the best and brightest among us. Our community eagerly looks forward to this New York City Council’s approval.
With appreciation for your kind consideration,
Committee for Co-naming 1 block of 133rd Street between Liberty Ave & 105th Ave, Queens
In honor of the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall
Email: AshookRamsaran@Gmail.com Cell: 1-917-519-578
Congratulations to Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali as Guyana's New President
The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) joins with its global membership and affiliates in congratulating Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali as Guyana’s new President. Dr. Ali is a Guyanese politician, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Housing in Guyana who was the successful presidential candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in the March 2, 2020 general elections.
Stabroek News reported: “Mohamed Irfaan Ali was today declared the 9th Executive President of Guyana by GECOM Chairperson, Claudette Singh. The announcement came this afternoon after Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield submitted the results of the March 2nd general elections using the recount figure which shows a victory for the PPP/C. The Chair has since written Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings advising of the result and requesting that arrangements be made to facilitate the swearing in. Lowenfield made the submission this afternoon to the GECOM Chair paving the way for the long-awaited declaration of the result and potentially ending a five-month-old crisis.”
Lowenfield submitted his election report using the figures obtained during the national recount, and it showed the PPP/C won the elections with 233,336 votes. David Granger’s “A Partnership for National Unity” (APNU) and “Alliance For Change” (AFC) coalition received 217,920 votes. The 5-month long delay after the conclusion of the elections is finally over after several appeals by APNU/AFC coalition and threats of sanctions by the United States of America and declarations by Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), CARICOM and others.
“Guyana officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is on the northern mainland of South America. Originally inhabited by many indigenous groups, Guyana was settled by the Dutch before coming under British control in the late 18th century. It was governed as British Guiana, with a mostly plantation-style economy until the 1950s. It gained independence in 1966, and officially became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. The legacy of British rule is reflected in the country’s political administration and diverse population, which includes Indian, African, Amerindian, and multiracial groups. The largest ethnic group is the Indo-Guyanese (also known as East Indians), the descendants of indentured laborers from India, who make up 43.5% of the population, according to the 2002 census. They are followed by the Afro-Guyanese, the descendants of slaves from Africa, who constitute 30.2%. Guyanese of mixed heritage make up 16.7%, while the indigenous peoples (known locally as Amerindians) make up 9.1%. Wikipedia.
IDC supports the shared sentiments of Guyanese in and outside of Guyana who envision a Guyana using its existing and newfound natural resources as well as human resources with committed, selfless leadership to foster a progressive, new Guyana which can easily surpass many countries with significant achievements in many areas of endeavor. IDC is pleased to acknowledge that Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s as President of Guyana is significant among outstanding achievements of people of Indian origin globally.
IDC Mourns Passing of Farook Khan, Veteran Journalist of South Africa
The Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) joins in solidarity with individuals and organizations in South Africa and other countries in mourning the passing of veteran and renowned journalist Farook Khan of South Africa who passed away at the age of 75 on Thursday, 3rd October 2019 in South Africa. He was in intensive care for several days and succumbed to the devastating effects of cancer. We express deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, his siblings, extended family, friends and associates.
Farook Khan was a prominent journalist, author, researcher and creative director. “He enjoyed an illustrious career in journalism and later became the chairman of the Culture India Pageant. Khan worked for the Post Newspapers, DRUM Magazine, The Daily News, Sunday Tribune, Star, Pretoria News and Cape Argus titles in Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town. He had written many newspaper articles in his career on various topics. He also captured the lifestyle of the Grey Street Casbah in a book he wrote titled the Goodwill Lounge”.
Farook Khan was appointed as Indian Diaspora Council’s Coordinator, South Africa, a position which has become increasingly significant with the rapid outreach, expansion and growth of the Indian Diaspora Council to advance the shared heritage, aspirations and interests of the global Indian Diaspora. “We place very high value in your prominent position as author, veteran journalist, and researcher in South Africa, as well as your abiding interest and support of in the Indian community in South Africa and the global Indian Diaspora, and connecting back with their ancestral roots in India and other countries of origin”, as noted in the letter of appointment.
“Mr. Farook Khan’s death has come as a shock to me. I has just arrived from India to Dubai and I learned of his death on late afternoon on Thursday. We became good friends over the past 23years years. However the past 7 years brought us much closer after producing the book “Mandela in Focus” together with Mr. Kevin Joseph launched in December 2018. Mr. Farook Khan was an international renowned journalist, author, principal of Culture India pageant, and was an encyclopedia of knowledge and history of the world. The world has lost a Legend of journalism and I have lost one of my best friend”. Rita Abraham, Chair of IDC Women’s Forum, South Africa.
Ashook Ramsaran’s Speech - Unveiling of Street Sign Co-naming 1 blk of 169th St on May 25, 2019
Good morning, salutations and greetings – to Judith, Romanee, Jagdesh and the entire Kalicharran family.
Consul Generals of Indian and Guyana; Hon. Council Member Rory Lancman; other officials, friends, and everyone in attendance here today. Thanks to Romanee and her helpers to organize this outstanding event to mark a historic event.
Firstly: On Monday we commemorate Memorial Day in the USA and I request that we all take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those who secure and preserve our freedom, and make it possible for us to be doing what we are doing here today – here or at your own convenience.
In addition to the numerous plaques, praises and poojas, here today is a permanent marker to honor the life and legacy of Ramesh Kalicharran – husband, father, brother, friend, advisor and mentor – a community icon and well known cultural advocate and unwavering supporter.
This is an historic moment – a street co-named for KALI. This is a public acknowledgement and recognition
Our brother and friend did not ask for this – But we all know that it is well deserved.
And I am enormously honored to be part of it.
It began on a sad day at the wake on December 4, 2017.
With short notice, I encouraged and assisted AM Weprin to produce a NYS posthumous proclamation which he presented to Judith at the wake on December 4, 2017.
I followed with my remarks — and I realized right at that moment that I had to do something significant to honor my fiend and brother Ramesh Kalicharran. I could not let that moment pass without making a bold, unprecedented commitment – to co-name 169th Street as “Kali Way”. It was the right thing to do and the right moment to do so.
Overwhelming applause welcomed my announcement.
Lots of guidance, advice and encouragement by those who know. I could not have done it without them.
The process was long – filing the application, justification, my presentations to several organizations for
their support, many letters of support, hearings at Borough Hall, Hillcrest Jewish Center and C/Board #8.
Not all was smooth – some administrative delay. But the application had merit and enormous support.
The bill was passed by NY City Council into law – December 2018. Yes, it was a successful effort as we
are witnessing here today.
Thanks to all who helped, encouraged, advised, mentored and guided the effort throughout the long process:
First and foremost – Judith for her consent to the application from the inception; to Romanee and Jagdesh and other members of the family for their support and encouragement.
NYC Council Member Rory Lancman and his staff – Massis, Henry and others
NYS Assembly Member David Weprin and his staff – Anthony, Muhammed, Sumeet, Janna and others
Marie Adam-Ovide – District Manager Community Board #8
CB#8 and its Transportation Committee – Martha Taylor, Kevin Forrestal, Mark Haden, Harbachan Singh, Dilip Nath and others
Jeff Gottlieb – Mid Queens Community Council
Abe Fuchs – Mid Queens Community Council
Kevin Forrestal, Jim Gallagher – Queens Civic Congress
My colleagues at Indian Diaspora Council – Santram Dukhbhanjan, Peter Persaud and Jhairam Persaud, Dr. Sharla Khargi, Vidur Dindyal (UK) and others
Prof. Roopnarain Persaud & Rev Seopaul Singh – Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council
Patricia Jordan-Langford – Guyana Tri-State Alliance
Dilip Nath- New American Voter Association
Mohammed Hack – Interfaith Council Comm. Development
Dr Dhanpaul Narine – Shri Trimurti Bhavan
Richie Lipkowitz – Indian Jewish Council
Vishnu Mahadeo – Richmond Hill Economic Development
Richard David, Taj Rajkumar – District Leaders
Farouk Khan – Community and Political Advocate
Anoop Dhanpat – Trinidadians & Tobagans USA
Francis Persaud – Canada
The West Indian, Indo-Caribbean World – and others
And importantly – the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall.
And many others whose names I may have missed.
Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.
Following the success of Kali Way, I was encouraged by Pat Langford to lead the effort to co-name 1
block of 144th Street bet 85th Road and 86th Ave as Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall Way – the street where
the Arya Spiritual Center is located.
The request has been submitted to CM Lancman and CB#8.
I am sure Kali would want that too and he would be proud of it – Well deserving NEIGHBORS 169th & 144th Streets.
Indian Diaspora Council is working with UNESCO and other entities to establish a Caribbean Heritage Museum in New York. The remarkable histories of both Kali and Pandit Ramlall would belong in that museum.
To Judith, Romanee, Jagdesh and the Kali family – Thank you for sharing this moment and best wishes.
Navita Yadav recognised as India’s Top 100 Women in Finance
Navita Yadav, Global Lead, Capital Markets and Country Managing Director, India, has been awarded ‘India’s Top 100 “Women in Finance”’ in the Leading Category by The Association of International Wealth Management of India (AIWMI).
India’s Top 100 Women in Finance is an accolade designed to identify the most successful and respected women in the areas of the profession. The awards recognises women who are talented, resilient and ethical in finance. The impressive credentials of the women on this list place them among some of the most influential executives and entrepreneurs in the country. Despite barriers to entry, they have been identified to continue to use their leadership prowess to manage the bottom line and also to shape the direction of future generations of business leaders.
Navita is responsible for developing and executing Vistra’s Capital Markets strategy globally including organic growth, expansion into new markets, development of new products and operational capabilities in international markets. Over the last two decades, she has consistently driven revenue growth and profitability of Capital Markets and Financial services businesses in Asia. Under her leadership, assets under administration grew from USD 40 billion to over USD 125 billion while preserving a dominant market share in all Capital Market business segments.
The Association of International Wealth Management (AIWM) is the professional association for wealth managers around the world. It is dedicated to promoting and strengthening global education in private banking and wealth management.
Navita Yadav recognised as India’s Top 100 Women in Finance
Global Head of Capital Markets, Vistra
and Managing Director & CEO , Vistra ITCL India
Passing of Dharmacharya Ramlall, freedom fighter, scholar, community/religious icon
Dharmacharya Ramlall, well known freedom fighter, scholar, community and religious icon, passed away in New York City on Friday, January 26, 2019. Born on February 28, 1928 in Guyana (then British Guiana), he immigrated to USA in 1979. A life of learning and teaching, humility and respect.
“Ramlall is a well-known Vedic scholar and founder of the Arya Spiritual Center in New York. He is a well-loved doyen among Guyanese religious and political leaders, a legend as one of the most influential leaders of the Hindu faith of Guyanese heritage.
“From an early age, he had a passion for learning all about Hindu religion and culture, and with equal verve, fighting to better the lot of fellow Guyanese. These have forged in this humble and affectionate Guyanese, commitment, vigor, and boundless energy to be a fearless leader in the fight for freedom from injustice under colonial rule in British Guiana, and a learned exponent of Hindu Vedic thought, an accomplished scholar of Sanskrit and Hindi” Biography of Pandit Ramlall by K. Persaud. August 27, 2008. www.indocaribbeanworld.com/archives/march 19.2008/community.
Born February 28, 1928 in Guyana, immigrated to USA in 1979 Founder, Arya Spiritual Center; Pioneer of NYC annual Phagwah Parade Interfaith spiritual advisor across Canada and USA Orphaned at age 6 and taught himself Hindi Hard laborer by age 9 and sugar chemist by age 19 Imprisoned as freedom fighter for Guyana’s independence Formal education and civil service union representative in New York International awards, incl Bharat Gaurav award (joining Mother Teresa) March 23, 2003 declared “Pandit Ramlall Day” in New York
“Pandit Ramlall’s commitment to his passion for learning and sharing his knowledge of Vedic philosophy and culture, combined with his scholarly accomplishments in the Hindi and Sanskrit languages, propelled him on to more significant roles on the world stage in the United States, in Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and India.
“He has gained international recognition for his missionary work. He regularly travelled to Surinam, Guyana, Netherlands, Europe, the United States, Canada, and India, where he lectures on Hinduism. He is a motivational speaker, a spiritual guide, and religious counselor. He has authored many books, and articles on Hinduism.
“In January 1975, in the presence of Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, and Dr. Sewsagar Ramgulam, Prime Minister of Mauritius, at the First Vishwa Hindi Sammelan (1st World Hindi Conference) in Nagpur, India, Ramlall was presented with the prestigious literary award”.