Calls made for the renaming of Middle Street, Promenade Garden
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali joins members of the Indian High Commission to offer a floral tribute to the late Mahatma Gandhi
President Dr. Irfaan Ali joins members of the Indian High Commission to offer a floral tribute to the late Mahatma Gandhi

–as Mahatma Gandhi’s 152nd Birth Anniversary is observed

THE Indian High Commission in Guyana is advocating for the renaming of the Promenade Gardens and its adjacent road, Middle Street, in Georgetown, as a tribute to the late Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, one of the world’s most iconic social activists.

During an event to commemorate Gandhi’s 152nd Birth Anniversary on Saturday, India’s High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr. KJ Srinivasa reflected on Gandhi’s efforts to make the world a better place, expressing hope that the Government of Guyana would consider renaming both the garden, where the Gandhi Monument was erected, and the street next to which that venue is located in his honour.

Gandhi, widely known as ‘Mahatma’, meaning ‘Great Soul’, was born in British India [now Gujarat]. He was a lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who was widely revered both before and after his death, for fighting for equality and peace. The five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee was assassinated on January 30, 1948 at the age of 78; he was shot by a fanatic at point-blank range while walking to his prayer meeting on the lawns of Birla House, in New Delhi.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd unveil the commemorative stamp, alongside India’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. K.J. Srinivasa and his wife, Ashwini (Delano Williams photos)

Delivering the feature address at the beautiful cultural ceremony, President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali pointed to the fact that Gandhi’s teachings are particularly relevant today, as inequalities and injustices continue to expand globally.

The Head of State pointed specifically to issues relating to climate change and the availability and use of the coronavirus vaccines.
“The critical question of understanding Gandhi’s philosophy centres around people,” President Ali said.

He noted that even though Gandhi’s message was largely simple, its consequences are enormous.

“Today, you hear the word sanctions; countries that do not comply with certain values like democracy and the freedom of people, sanctions are imposed. Countries enabling environment to see things like terrorism, sanctions are imposed,” Dr. Ali noted.

ne of the many cultural items performed in honour of Mahatma Gandhi

He went further to note that even Gandhi’s messages created the conditions for sanctions. “When he said buy local, it was a simple message but it had an economic connotation…that showed the broad nature in his thinking,” the President said, adding that Gandhi’s philosophies were people-centred.

“This is where Gandhi’s philosophies and the philosophies of the government go hand-in-hand. For us, the centrepiece of everything is the people,” Dr. Ali asserted.

He further reasoned that, “The people drive the economic transformation, and the economic transformation rebound to benefit the people. The people drive societal changes, that is why we say that there must be wide consultation in the reform of the constitution, because it must be driven by the people themselves.”

Dr. Ali said that the same principles apply to the creation of policies and programmes that serve the people of Guyana. In keeping with Gandhi’s teachings, President Ali said that his government is also keen on pushing an agenda of peace throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. “If you are not at peace individually, you can’t be at peace collectively,” Dr. Ali posited.

It is for this reason, that he affirmed his administration’s commitment to improving the lives of all Guyanese. “Individual peace transforms itself into societal peace; community peace; national peace,” President Ali said.

To further honour Mahatma Gandhi’s life, the Guyana Post Office Commemoration unveiled a commemorative stamp.

The ceremony also saw the delivery of a number of verbal tributes by prominent Guyanese such as business tycoon, Dr. Yesu Persaud and well-known historian, Tota Mangar. It also featured a number of cultural items including song, dance, skit and an intriguing yoga display by members of the Indian High Commission.

Also attending the activity were Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd; Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, along with other government officials and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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