honoured: Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar, right, receives a Hanuman murti from National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) president Deokinanan Sharman during the 2012 Divali Nagar in Chaguanas on Wednesday night. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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Prakash calls for the breaking down of barriers

By Renuka Singh

Congress of the People (COP) leader Prakash Ramadhar yesterday called for people to "be the change we wish to see" and remove the issues of race and economic background from the bigger picture.

Ramadhar made this call for tolerance at the Divali Nagar in Chaguanas on Wednesday night, just days after National Security Minister Jack Warner refused to attend the opening ceremony because Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was also invited.

"Would you not wish to see a nation that has all of its people, living not just in tolerance, but in harmony?" he asked.

"Do we want a nation that is healthy, not just in the physical realm, but one that is spiritually healthy. Do we want a nation where the environment is protected and sustained for generations to come?" he asked.

Ramadhar said the people should be free to become what God intended and fulfill the dreams of their parents without fear of discrimination.

"We must act from the very wisdom and knowledge that we are all born with," he said, adding that Divali is about the removal of ignorance and the victory of light over darkness.

"We must return to the inner truth that we were all born with God within us, with greatness as our destiny. But because of negative forces and an environment that seems to want to deplete that belief, many of us have forgotten," he said.

He called on the audience to take the responsibility and become the type of citizens they want to see around them.

"Let us not forget the basic laws of karma: what you give you shall get. If you want a nation that is full of love, you must give love. If you want a nation that is peaceful, you must exude peace, if you want a nation that is fair, you must be fair," he said.

Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra also attended the event and said this was his last year to celebrate Divali in Trinidad as his term is expected to end early in the new year.

"There is no space such as this in India and whenever I have visitors from India, I bring them here to show them their legacy," he said.

"This is a unique land," he said.

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