Kamla in India: Love India like a grandmother

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday received a standing ovation after delivering the feature address at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, where she suggested to the Indian Government that they consider hosting a “mini Pravasi” in the Caribbean, Anna Ramdass arites in this article for Trinidad’s Express.

Persad-Bissessar is the chief guest of the PBD, which has been held for the past ten years to recognise the achievements of overseas Indians.

The PBD was held at the Birla auditorium in Jaipur, India, where over 2,000 people from all over the globe were in attendance.

Persad-Bissessar said she was aware that PBD is meant to note the contributions of the Indian diaspora to India’s development, however, she said there can be advantages to hosting the premier event outside of India.

“I wish to sincerely urge that consideration be given to the holding of a Pravasi in the Caribbean and for which I pledge the support of my country,” said Persad-Bissessar.

In doing so, she said, new understandings would be shared and appreciation for the diaspora in their adopted homelands will be more appreciated.

“Even as India benefits and develops from the annual Pravasi in India, other countries especially small island nations will also benefit by way of a Pravasi in their countries. I speak here of the Trinidad diaspora which resides in every country of the world, and can be found in the UK, Canada, and the USA,” said Persad-Bissessar,

“It will become a type of pilgrimage that combines tourism, education and business development,” she added.

Thousands listened attentively as the Prime Minister spoke and applauded throughout her contribution at most pauses.

Persad-Bissessar also took the opportunity to share with the audience the history of Trinidad and Tobago’s own freedom fighter, Inderjit Bahadursingh, in India’s independence struggle.

Bahadursingh, she said, studied at Oxford University alongside Jawaharlal Nehru, with whom he established a firm friendship.

She said it was Nehru who urged Bahadursingh to ‘return’ to India in service to his ancestral home, and this he did with great effect.

“This example amply highlights the underlying, key message of what can be gained by reaching out to the diaspora for any country, and also for welcoming the diasporas of other countries,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar called for international unity in the embracing of the diaspora.

She boasted of Trinidad and Tobago’s cosmopolitan society and rich diverse culture.

“While the large Indo-Trinidadian community continues to uphold the cultural heritage of their East Indian forefathers who travelled to Trinidad as indentured labourers in 1845, this cultural legacy does not only remain entrenched in the way of life, ceremonies, dress, names, food and music of Indo-Trinidadians, but it is also entrenched in the broader Trinbagonian culture,” said Persad-Bissessar.

The Prime Minister said the beauty of the diaspora in the Caribbean was its ability to maintain the culture and at the same time incorporate it into “the fabric of a new home”.

“Trinidad and Tobago stands as a true testament to this, where the cultural legacies of Africans, Chinese, Indians, Europeans and many more do not merely co-exist, but they come together to create a culture that is vibrant and dynamic,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar, who holds her grandchildren close to her heart, said in the same way Trinidad and Tobago sees India as a grandmother country, with a bond of a special kind of love.

“…There is only one Mother, mother Trinidad and Tobago, there is no mother India, Africa, China, Europe. But there is Grandmother India, grandmother Africa, grandmother China, grandmother Europe. We all know the great love that we hold for our grandmothers. As a grandmother of Shiva Kristiano Bissessar and Kavita Sofie Bissessar I am experiencing the wonder and love of my grandchildren as I acknowledge their love. A very special kind of love,” she said.

Since she landed in India, the Prime Minister has been marketing her nation in an attempt to attract investments and diversification opportunities.

She continued her marketing strategy saying that as India emerges as a “superpower” and continues to grow, this country becomes more and more the ideal investment destination for Indian entrepreneurs.

Trinidad and Tobago, she said, has a number of trade agreements which will allow for market access into the 600 million Central and Latin American markets.

She also noted that this country was the world’s number one exporter of methanol, with the largest methanol plant located here.

Persad-Bissessar added that Trinidad and Tobago has over 100 years of of experience in oil exploration and can develop a strong partnership with India to assist emerging oil and gas nations in the south, thus giving life to the much touted South-South co-operation and trade.

Following the end of the formal part of the first day of the PBD the Prime Minister visited the Trinidad and Tobago booth that was on show at the exposition.

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Kamla__Love_India_like_a_grandmother-136918248.html

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