By Vishnu Bisram
A STREET in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, has been co-named after an Arya Samaj Mandir founded by a prominent Guyanese. The street, 150thand 94thAvenue, just two short blocks from the popular Jamaica Avenue shopping centre, is now also known as Maharshi Dayananda Gurukula Way.
The Arya Samaj Mandir, which is also a Girukula (traditional mode of educational instruction) was founded by Dr. Satish Prakash. He was vigorously supported by a group of some dedicated Arya individuals that he said included Sumesh, Shiv, Adesh, Lutchmidatt, Krishan Naraine, Renuka Jurakhan, Suresh Singh, Amarnath and others.
Dr. Satish is from Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, where a Gurukula is under construction and set for opening in late December. He received his education at UG and a Gurukula in India where he obtained his doctorate. Dr. Satish is well versed in languages including Spanish, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Bhojpuri, among others.
A Gurukula is traditional Sanskrit educational and cultural centre. The Maharshi Dayananda Gurukula on 150thStreet has been attending to the needs of an underserved community. It has been performing sorely needed services (including culture, spirituality, hampers, etc.) to residents of the greater Jamaica community, Guyanese and others.
Jamaica is home to thousands of Guyanese after their migration from Guyana during the dark days of the dictatorship. Co-naming the street after Maharshi Swami Dayanand Saraswato and the great work of the Gurukula named after him located on 150thStreet helps to immortalise the Swami’s name and further institutionalise his great work on spiritual growth in New York City.
Dr. Satish and the Secretary of the Gurukla, Dr. Nicole Bissessar, expressed gratitude to Ashook Ramsaran, Council member Natasha Williams, and others for their invaluable assistance to get the street co-named.