Port-of-Spain, Nov 3: Trinidad and Tobago’s first woman prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who is a person of Indian origin, remains influenced by the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
“When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad Gita and find a verse to comfort me and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow,” she said at the closing ceremony of the 27th Diwali Nagar, the annual exposition of Indo-Trinidadian culture held on the occasion of Diwali, at the burough of Chaguanas Friday.
“Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it very day,” she said
Persad-Bissessar called on the young people to seek refuge in the Gita’s wisdom as they go about their daily chores.
She said that she remained committed to protecting the rights of freedom over restriction, to uphold the sanctity of family and entitlement to safety and to preserve the principles of social justice.
“Our young people of today are born in world of incredible advancement; of technology that puts them at the centre of any information they want, and makes them as knowledgeable and competitive as any child, anywhere in the world. But that comes with responsibility,” she said.
The 27th annual Diwali Nagar was held Oct 24-Nov 1.
Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, in his first Diwali message since assuming office last March, said that in the absence of light, darkness reigns supreme.
“The ancient philosophy of the Hindus, the yogis and some other religious sects have always propagated the doctrine that there is beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite and eternal which is called the Atma which is the Third Eye of Inner Light. That enlightenment includes the mind conquering evil thoughts, words and deeds,” Carmona said.
This is Trinidad and Tobago’s 168th Diwali celebration after the first set of East Indians came here May 30 1845, principally from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states in India, to work on the sugarcane and cocoa plantations in this Caribbean nation.
Some 24 percent of the population of 1.3 million people are Hindus, and over 500 temples are scattered over this island nation.