A report by Shatri Boodan in Trinidad’s Guardian.
The Indian Caribbean Museum plays a valuable role in educating the next generation says Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, the Minister of the People and Social Development. He was addressing the fifth anniversary dinner celebration of the museum on Friday at Gaston Courts, Lange Park, Chaguanas. Ramadharsingh said: “I commend your vision, as well as your dedication in preserving such a significant part of our nation’s history. As our only specialised repository of information and artifacts pertaining to the East Indian experience, the Indian Caribbean Museum is one of our most important links to the past.”
Ramadharsingh said the museum provided a powerful bridge to T&T’s history and had also acted as a foundation for collective memory and acts as a space that advocates for mutual understanding and cohesion. He said: “This ensures that all segments of our multi-ethnic nation can appreciate the struggles and contributions of our East Indian forefathers. At the same time, the museum offers cultural continuity especially given its prime location en route to our legendary Temple in the Sea.” Ramadharsingh said cultural monuments had a role in transforming communities: “We have already seen how cultural monuments have been instrumental in transforming the area, given the Dattatreya Yoga Centre as well as the Temple in the Sea.
Both are iconic in their own right and I am sure that the Indian Caribbean Museum will achieve that same status within the community.” Ramadharsingh said his ministry was interested in working with the museum since it had the potential to create positive changes among citizens, especially young people. He said: “The museum provides more than just an understanding of history. It offers a sense of self, a basis for cultural identity and most important of all, a boundless source of inspiration for all of us.”
Sat in search of rope bed
Sat Maharaj, the secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, the body that oversees the museum, made a public appeal for a kattiya. This is a bed using ropes. He said the Indentured Indians slept on this rope bed, but the museum was hard-pressed to find one. Maharaj said he has also instructed the museum to plant a root of sugarcane. He said since the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd seven years ago, the sugarcane has been disappearing from the landscape and soon it may vanish completely.
He said by preserving the plant at the museum those who visit the venue would have an opportunity to see a plant that was so abundant and impacted on the development of T&T. Maharaj said when Devant Maharaj took the role as the Minister of Transport, his shoes as chairman were filled by Kristal Ramroopsingh, 23, who is the CEO of Radio Jagriti. Maharaj said one of the plans for the museum was to expand the facility to include a multimedia hall to show documentaries on the museum artifacts.
For the original report go to http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2011/09/18/ramadharsingh-indian-museum-educating-next-generation