Indian Diaspora Council

Indian Diaspora Council participates in Conference at St. John’s University – May 22, 2021, New York, USA

St. John’s University Center for Caribbean & Latin American Studies (CLACS) CLACS XI Multidisciplinary Conference on Immigration Migration and Equality in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Panel Session:
“The Impact of Covid-19 on the Asian American and Caribbean Communities:
Inequality and Abuses”

Dr. Sharla Madho-Khargi is a clinical psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavior therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Psychoanalysis, is in private practice in Queens, NY. She is currently an adjunct faculty at St. Johns University and City University of New York. She is also a Mental Health Consultant to the Ministry of Public Health for mental health services in Guyana. She currently serves as the Director of Clinical/Community Services for the Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) and has been conducting research internationally for the past 10 years with a focus on mental illness, domestic violence, and disability in both children and adults. She is past president of the division of psychoanalysis for the New York State Psychological Association, and serves as a member of the disaster recovery network as well as the social justice committee for the legislative division of NYSPA.

Ashook Ramsaran, born in Guyana, founder/president of the Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) and past president of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO). Actively engaged in Queens Civic Congress, Census 2020, New York Presbyterian Hospital Advisory Council, collaborates with St. John’s University Center for Caribbean & Latin American Studies, and others. Recipient of numerous awards local, national and international in recognition of his many years of outstanding community service.

John Albert, Esq. is a founding board member of Taking Our Seat, a local Queens-based organization working towards the political empowerment of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community. An attorney by training and a lobbyist by profession, John has been an active player in the recent redistricting effort of Queens’ neighborhoods. He has also worked with policymakers and key stakeholders to shape budget and policy initiatives designed to benefit after-school programs in New York City and nationwide. In his previous roles, John has developed legislative priorities and advocated on the behalf of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, programs, and service providers.

Little Guyana Avenue – Co-Naming Ceremony

PANDIT RAMLALL WAY – Street Naming – In honor of the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall

PANDIT RAMLALL WAY - Street Naming - In honor of the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall
Sunday, June 27, 2021

11:30am – 1:00pm CEREMONY at Arya Spiritual Center, 104-36 133rd Street
1:00pm – 1:30pm UNVEILING of STREET SIGN, Corner of Liberty Ave & 133 St

Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall, a selfless and avid community advocate, passed away on January 26, 2019 in Queens, New York at the age of 91 years. The late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall was a well-respected iconic spiritual leader and scholar, a freedom fighter in Guyana, and 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.

Pandit Ramlall Way is overwhelmingly supported by community board members, residents, religious groups, businesses and organizations. In particular, the Arya Spiritual Center of New York (ASC-NY) founded by late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall, and 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, 200 feet from the corner of Liberty Ave & 133rd Street where the new street sign will be unveiled.

INDIA DONATES 40,000 DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES TO ST. VINCENT

INDIA DONATES 40,000 DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES TO ST. VINCENT

On Monday, March 1, 2021, the shipment of 40,000 doses of the “Made in India” Covishield Covishield vaccine from the Government and people of India to the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was received with much fanfare.

At the ceremony to mark the occasion, Dr. Arnold Thomas, Indian Diaspora Council Coordinator for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “had the honour of representing the Indian Ambassador in Suriname”. Speaking first, Dr. Thomas emphasized the strong relationship between India and SVG and India’s massive response technologically and in treating the whole world as one family.

In attendance was Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who gave a very detailed presentation which focused mainly on two aspects; the Government response nationally and internationally and the very close relationship between the Government and people of SVG and the Government and people of India. He stressed the friendship between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the gift of the vaccine as an indication of the close ties. Hon. St. Clair Jimmy Prince, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, presented an overview of the situation and the response to the pandemic.

Photo (l-r seated): Dr. Arnold Thomas, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Min. of Health St. Clair Prince. Standing: Permanent Secretary to Min of Health Cuthbert Knights.

Congratulations to Jean Regis Ramsamy – PBSA 2021

Congratulations to Jean Regis Ramsamy - PBSA 2021

US Census 2020 Recognizes & Thanks Indian Diaspora Council

US Census 2020 Recognizes & Thanks Indian Diaspora Council

Testimony of Ashook Ramsaran for Pandit Ramlall Way at NYC Council Hearing 12-17-20

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,


Ashook Ramsaran
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

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.

 

Irfan Ali Guyana President

Dr. Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana

Map of Guyana

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

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 block of 169th St on May 25, 2019

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.

ADDED NOTE

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.

ADDITIONALLY

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.

Finally,

To Judith, Romanee, Jagdesh and the Kali family – Thank you for sharing this moment and best wishes.