Indian Diaspora Council

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.


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.

WEST INDIAN – NYC Street Co-named in honor of PIO, late Ramesh Kalicharran

WEST INDIAN - NYC Street Co-named in honor of PIO, late Ramesh Kalicharran

NYC Street Co-named in Honor of PIO, the late Ramesh Kalicharran

NYC Street Co-named in Honor of PIO, the late Ramesh Kalicharran

Navita Yadav recognised as India’s Top 100 Women in Finance

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

Navita Yadav
Global Head of Capital Markets, Vistra
and Managing Director & CEO , Vistra ITCL India

Passing of Dharmacharya Ramlall, freedom fighter, scholar, community/religious icon

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. 19.2008/community.

Indian Diaspora Council JOURNAL – PIO of the Month September 2017
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”.

Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Amb. Bishwadip Dey, farewell visit to Grenada

Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Amb. Bishwadip Dey, farewell visit to Grenada


High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Bishwadip Dey pays farewell visit to Grenada

17th January 2019, Grenada — Yesterday, the High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Dominica, His Excellency, Bishwadip Dey made his final official visit to Grenada before he commences a new assignment in Bangladesh. He was accompanied by Honorary Consul of India to Grenada, Shadel Nyack Compton and Indian Cultural Centre Director, Ashok Jajoria.

The Governor General of Grenada, Her Excellency Dame Cecile De La Grenade held a private audience with High Commissioner Dey and he visited Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Dr. Keith Mitchell, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Peter David and Permanent Secretary Alva Brown, and staff.

Indian High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Dominica, Amb. Bishwadip Dey and Grenada’s Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell

During his meeting with Dr. Mitchell, High Commissioner Dey expressed his gratitude for his cooperation during his time in office and assured him the continued support from the Government of India. He conveyed his sadness in leaving his post after just over two years and expressed his love for Grenada and its people and commented that this is what Heaven would be like. The High Commissioner also commended the people of Grenada for their kindness, friendliness, and hospitality and added that many opportunities for business, investment, tourism, and cultural exchange exist for the island and that he hoped our leaders would continue to explore further areas collaboration. He described Grenada as a clean, safe, and beautiful country where many Indians would love to spend time. He said that many unexplored opportunities still existed for our people and businesses.

Prime Minister Mitchell thanked High Commissioner Dey for the many ongoing initiatives in training, education, investment, and building cultural awareness and exchange between India and Grenada, while discussions with Foreign Minister David centered around possible treaties between the two countries and opportunities for “Citizenship By Investment” for Indian nationals.

Both countries had forged a strong and mutually beneficial relationship during the High Commissioner’s term in office. It was clear that their friendship and understanding had made great advancements for the two nations. Two such programmes are the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) and Know India Programme funded by the Government of India, in which eight Grenadians have participated last year. His Excellency, High Commissioner Dey met with three Grenadian participants of the ITEC programme (Rachael Criss, Allia Sween and Carla Sylvester), who all expressed that they had gained a wealth of knowledge during their time in India. Each participant conveyed their gratitude for such an amazing initiative and commended the Indian people for their industrious and hospitable nature, stating that the opportunity was a dream realized for them. Several more students will be taking advantage of these programs during this year.

High Commissioner Dey, an avid promoter of building people to people relations and strong cultural and educational linkages, was also excited that for the first time Grenada will be represented at the world’s largest religious pilgrimage, the Kumbh Mela. Mr. Simon Green, a Grenadian cultural and tourism advocate, was selected to enjoy the monumental river bathe which happens every 12 years. On January 15, the first day of the event this year, more than 20 million people took the religious bath. Mr. Green, who departs later this month, makes history for Grenada being the first Grenadian representative, and one of 140 million pilgrims expected to attend during the month-long festival.

Honorary Consul Nyack Compton expressed her appreciation to His Excellency High Commissioner Dey for his strong support, his commitment to strengthening the bilateral relations between India and Grenada and his keen interest the development of our people and nation.

For further details and applications for the ‘Know India’ and ‘Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation’ Programmes can be found at and respectively or by contacting the Honorary Consul on or 442 5115.

Vishnu Mahadeo honored by Indian Consulate in New York

Vishnu Mahadeo honored by Indian Consulate in New York

Mr. Vishnu Mahadeo of Richmond Hill, Queens, New York was honored by the Indian Consulate in New York on January 12, 2019 with special recognition for his outstanding efforts in social and cultural activities among the Indo-Caribbean community of Queens., New York. Mr. Mahadeo was among 10 notable non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) recognized at the event.

Mr. Mahadeo is a prominent and well respected advocate of the Richmond Hill-Ozone Park, Queens Indo-Caribbean community in New York, actively engaged for over 30 years in promoting the cultural, academic and socio-economic interests of the community Indo-Caribbean community in New York.

Mr. Mahadeo is a prominent and well respected advocate of the Richmond Hill-Ozone Park, Queens Indo-Caribbean community in New York, actively engaged for over 30 years in promoting the cultural, academic and socio-economic interests of the community Indo-Caribbean community in New York.

Assisting Amb. Chakravarty in presentation the citations to Mr. Mahadeo was Mr. Mohinder Taneja, community activist of Nassau County.

Mr. Mahadeo was accorded 2 citations by the Indian Consulate in New York.
Inscription on Citation #1 as follows:
“For his dedicated and outstanding service for over 30 years to the Indo-Caribbean community of Richmond Hill-Ozone Park. His active engagement within the community has seen changes in the local school district, increased accessibility for the disabled, raised awareness about medical coverage for the aging population and has brought a reform beneficial to all”

Inscription on Citation #1 as follows:
“Presented to Vishnu Mahadeo (Richmond Hill Economic Development Council) in recognition of his leadership and community service”

In accepting the awards, Mr. Mahadeo said, “I am grateful and honored to receive this recognition by the Government of India. I receive it on behalf of the Indo-Caribbean community whose forbears left India over 180 years ago. Thank you”.

Mahadeo founded and manages the vibrant Richmond Hill-South Ozone Park Senior Center catering to the needs of a growing population of seniors for available medical insurance services, advice and guidance to the senior citizens on their entitlement (Medicare and SSA) and HRA benefits, regular lunches, events and group tours.

Over the last several years, he has conducted training classes for voter registration and solicitation of petitions in the Richmond Hill area. As a US Census crew leader, he recruited community partners and local residents to work for the US Census 2010 and is actively engaged in Census 2020. He was the Community Liaison for NY State Senator Sanders Jr. solicitation of petitions in the Richmond Hill-Ozone Park area.

Mahadeo is the recipient of several community service awards, including from East Indian Diaspora (NY) and Sanskaar Bhaarti International (Guyana).

Mahadeo graduated from the University of Surrey in Guildford, England in 1981 with Bachelors of Science with Honors in Engineering. He was a NYC math and science teacher with emphasis on special educational needs students, and serves as a President and Secretary in the Richmond Hill High School PTA. Mahadeo lives with his wife and 2children in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York.


Presentation - Mohinder Taneja, Vishnu Mahadeo, Amb. Sandeep Chakravarty
Honorees & Presenters with Amb. Chakravorty (center)
Attendees at Indian Consulate Recognition Event Jan 12, 2019
Citation #1 to Vishnu Mahadeo
Citation #2 to Vishnu Mahadeo

IDRF Canada Recognizes Ken Singh’s Humanitarian Efforts

IDRF Canada Recognizes Ken Singh’s Humanitarian Efforts

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) is very pleased to announce that International Development and Relief Federation (IRDF) has recognized the global humanitarian efforts of Ken (Kanhai) and Jessie Singh at a ceremony held on December 18, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.

IRDF’s mission of “Saving lives and rebuilding communities” (since 1984) is coincident with Ken Singh’s continuing contributions to humanitarian efforts worldwide. IDC Life Member Ken Singh of Toronto, Canada, has donated $20,000 CAN ($16,000 USD) to towards Kerala Flood relief. Ken Singh remarked that his “contribution is to help those in urgent need in Kerala, being of service to humanity at such times of massive despair and destruction”

“Thank you again for your very generous support. Winston (Kassim) and I believe there are synergies in your philosophy of helping humanity and our work in this realm”, said Penny Fancy, IDRF Director of Resource Development”. Refer to IDC Press Release “Support for Relief Efforts for Victims of Floods in Kerala, India” Ken Singh made the generous donation upon solicitation of Cliff Rajkumar, president of IC Canada, who conferred with IDC on the most efficient and expedient way for optimum effect. Guyana born Ken is President of Atlas Cargo, International Freight Transportation in Toronto with branches in Calgary, Edmonton Montreal and Vancouver. He was recently profiled in IDC JOURNAL Newsletter. Excerpt from IDC profile: “Ken believes in giving back to society and he finds the time, amidst his busy schedule to actively assist in his local community and many other social causes worldwide. The Life Illustrated magazine article states, “He volunteers with the CPPS, a catholic mission project that works on projects to provide health care and clean water in Africa. The Central American arm of World Vision; Bosnian Children Cultural Heritage Center are all beneficiaries of his efforts to contribute to the various communities.”
IDRF directors Penny Fancy and Winston Kassim recognizing Ken and Jessie Singh for their humanitarian efforts. Also shown Jessie Singh and Cliff Rajkumar (President, IDC Toronto)

GOPIO Honors Ashook Ramsaran at New York Event

GOPIO Honors Ashook Ramsaran at New York Event

At a special ceremony held on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the Indian Consulate in New York, Guyanese-born Ashook Ramsaran was honored by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) for his services to GOPIO. The event was attended by GOPIO officials and Amb Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul of General of Indian in New York, as well as several family members of Ashook Ramsaran, friends, associates and well-wishers.

Ramsaran was presented with a recognition plaque by GOPIO officials who were accompanied by Amb. Chakravorty. The inscription on the plaque states as follows:

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin
GOPIO International
Ashook K. Ramsaran
for his many years of service, commitment
contributions to GOPIO as its past president, executive vice
president and secretary general.

The plaque was signed by the following GOPIO officials: Thomas Abraham (Chairman); Sunny Kulathakal (President); Inder Singh (Immediate Past Chairman); Niraj Baxi (Immediate Past President); Ram Gadhavi (Vice President); Rajeev Mehta (Secretary).

GOPIO officials Thomas Abraham, Ram Gadhavi, Rajeev Mehta, Lal Motwani and Asha Samant were assisted by Amb Sandeep Chakravorty in presenting the plaque to Ramsaran. The text of the plaque was read in full by Rajeev Mehta. Absent from the event were Kulathakal, Singh and Baxi who were also signators on the plaque.

Amb. Chakravorty and Ashook Ramsaran
Amb. Chakravorty and GOPIO Officials presenting honors plaque to Ashook Ramsaran

Ramsaran served as GOPIO International’s Secretary General and Executive Vice-Present before his election to 2 successive terms as President of GOPIO International beginning in 2011. He is a paid life member of GOPIO International.

During his tenure with GOPIO, Ramsaran collaborated closely with the Government of India to construct and dedicate the Kolkata Memorial on January 11, 2011 in Kolkata, India based on his initiative, persistence and his words on the inscription in recognition and remembrance of Indian indentured laborers sent to British colonies from 1834 thru’ 1920.

In addition, Ramsaran’s initiatives to India’s then Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs (MOIA), encouragement and active support enabled the construction of Indian Arrival monuments to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Indian Arrival in Guyana, for which he wrote the inscription and dedicated the monuments on May 5, 2013. Also, the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival in Trinidad, for which he also wrote the inscriptions and dedicated the monuments on May 30, 2014; initiated, developed and unveiled monument commemorating the 100th anniversary of abolition of Indian indentureship in Trinidad & Tobago (March 20, 2017).

Ramsaran obtained New York State Senate and Assembly recognition, proclamation and citation for Guyana’s 50th independence anniversary (2016); New York State Governor and New York State Assembly recognition and citations for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the abolition of Indian Indenturedship. He was instrumental in obtaining 12 citations and commendations from US, NYS and NYC officials honoring the 100th birth anniversary of Guyana’s late president Dr. Cheddi Jagan.

Ramsaran is currently President of Indian Diaspora Council International; Chair of New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital Community Advisory Council; Vice President of Queens Civic Congress; Board Member of St. John’s University Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies; and Board Member of Fresh Meadows Civic Association.

Working with various regional and international organizations spanning many years, Ramsaran actively engages several series of regional and global initiatives to “engage, embrace and enhance” the global Indian Diaspora on the basis of shared history and heritage, common interests, inter-ethnic relations, education and benefits of collaboration, economic engagement and issues of concern; to link diverse communities of Indian Diaspora, strengthen the bonds and explore the benefits of collaboration.

Ramsaran serves annually as “Principal for the Day” in the New York Public School system beginning in 2000 and is the recipient of many honors, citations, awards, commendations and recognition nationally and internationally. He is prominently featured in the Global Indian 2011 publication of “Top 25 Most Influential Indians in North America” and several local, national, regional and international publications.

Ramsaran is the recipient of many citations, awards, commendations and recognition nationally and internationally. For his many notable contributions, commitment and exemplary service to the global Indian diaspora, Ramsaran was accorded the Uttar Pradesh Ratna award (2016) in Agra, India and the prestigious Government of India’s Pravasi Samman Award by the President of India (2011) in New Delhi, India.

2018 Dharmic Arts and Humanities Award to Sasenarine Persaud

2018 Dharmic Arts and Humanities Award to Sasenarine Persaud

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) based in Washington, DC has named Guyanese born Sasenarine Persaud as the 2018 recipient of the HAF Award for the Advancement of Dharmic Arts and Humanities from the Tampa Bay Chapter “to recognize significant contributions towards enlightening and educating others through many inspiring literary works of dharmic values and traditions.”

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