At a special ceremony held on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the Indian Consulate in New York, Guyanese-born Ashook Ramsaran was honored by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) for his services to GOPIO.
The event was attended by GOPIO officials and Amb Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul of General of Indian in New York, as well as several family members of Ashook Ramsaran, friends, associates and well-wishers.
Ramsaran was presented with a recognition plaque by GOPIO officials who were accompanied by Amb. Chakravorty. The inscription on the plaque states as follows:
“The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin GOPIO International Honors Ashook K. Ramsaran USA for his many years of service, commitment and contributions to GOPIO as its past president, executive vice president and secretary general.”
The plaque was signed by the following GOPIO officials: Thomas Abraham (Chairman); Sunny Kulathakal (President); Inder Singh (Immediate Past Chairman); Niraj Baxi (Immediate Past President); Ram Gadhavi (Vice President); Rajeev Mehta (Secretary).
GOPIO officials Thomas Abraham, Ram Gadhavi, Rajeev Mehta, Lal Motwani and Asha Samant were assisted by Amb Sandeep Chakravorty in presenting the plaque to Ramsaran. The text of the plaque was read in full by Rajeev Mehta. Absent from the event were Kulathakal, Singh and Baxi who were also signators on the plaque.
Ramsaran served as GOPIO International’s Secretary General and Executive Vice-Present before his election to 2 successive terms as President of GOPIO International beginning in 2011. He is a paid life member of GOPIO International.
During his tenure with GOPIO, Ramsaran collaborated closely with the Government of India to construct and dedicate the Kolkata Memorial on January 11, 2011 in Kolkata, India based on his initiative, persistence and his words on the inscription in recognition and remembrance of Indian indentured laborers sent to British colonies from 1834 thru’ 1920.
In addition, Ramsaran’s initiatives to India’s then Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs (MOIA), encouragement and active support enabled the construction of Indian Arrival monuments to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Indian Arrival in Guyana, for which he wrote the inscription and dedicated the monuments on May 5, 2013. Also, the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival in Trinidad, for which he also wrote the inscriptions and dedicated the monuments on May 30, 2014; initiated, developed and unveiled monument commemorating the 100th anniversary of abolition of Indian indentureship in Trinidad & Tobago (March 20, 2017)
Ramsaran obtained New York State Senate and Assembly recognition, proclamation and citation for Guyana’s 50th independence anniversary (2016); New York State Governor and New York State Assembly recognition and citations for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the abolition of Indian Indenturedship. He was instrumental in obtaining 12 citations and commendations from US, NYS and NYC officials honoring the 100th birth anniversary of Guyana’s late president Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Ramsaran is currently President of Indian Diaspora Council International; Chair of New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital Community Advisory Council; Vice President of Queens Civic Congress; Board Member of St. John’s University Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies; and Board Member of Fresh Meadows Civic Association.
Working with various regional and international organizations spanning many years, Ramsaran actively engages several series of regional and global initiatives to “engage, embrace and enhance” the global Indian Diaspora on the basis of shared history and heritage, common interests, inter-ethnic relations, education and benefits of collaboration, economic engagement and issues of concern; to link diverse communities of Indian Diaspora, strengthen the bonds and explore the benefits of collaboration.
Ramsaran serves annually as “Principal for the Day” in the New York Public School system beginning in 2000 and is the recipient of many honors, citations, awards, commendations and recognition nationally and internationally. He is prominently featured in the Global Indian 2011 publication of “Top 25 Most Influential Indians in North America” and several local, national, regional and international publications.
Ramsaran is the recipient of many citations, awards, commendations and recognition nationally and internationally. For his many notable contributions, commitment and exemplary service to the global Indian diaspora, Ramsaran was accorded the Uttar Pradesh Ratna award (2016) in Agra, India and the prestigious Government of India’s Pravasi Samman Award by the President of India (2011) in New Delhi, India.
Remarks by Ashook Ramsaran upon presentation of honors by GOPIO
Good evening. I observe many vacant seats here today while many of my family, friends and well-wishers were denied from attending this event. They were rejected from registration. I wonder why!!
A famous poet said “It is a shameful thing to lie”. Another writer said: “The evil that men do lives after them”.
Civic & community service is selfless commitment. I do so with utmost integrity, honesty, trust, respect, understanding and generosity. It’s called service.
It has been 4 long years of a painful and treacherous journey to this moment of recognition and the question remains, “Why did it take so long?”
Thanks to my family, especially my wife Camille, for patience, understanding, tolerance, strength and support during this ordeal for the truth. I am blessed. Perhaps I should have listened to her more than I did.
Thanks to community stalwarts Netram Rambudhan, Mridul Pathak, Dr Piyush Agrawal, Dr Renuka Misra (DC), Dr Ramesh Pandey & Dr. Rini Johar, Dr. Jagat Motwani, Dr. Yesu Persaud, Dr. Sudhir Parikh (good, honorable people, not cowards), and many, many from across the seas – from the Caribbean, Africa, French Territories, Fiji, Mauritius, Australia, India, Far East, UK, Europe & Canada who gave me continued support and much needed encouragement for years. The message was “be brave and be persistent”.
To all my IDC friends and associates Sharla, Santram, Martin, Patsy, Jhairam, Dennis, Nadia, others: Thank you for your continued trust, support and encouragement.
To my trusted professional team: Norman Solovay, Robert Straniere & Nicholas Loaknauth – who guided me from the inception and made this possible through their professionalism, wisdom, guidance and understanding. Norman – a world class mediator; Bob, also a NYC judge who pushes for resolutions, and Nick, the ever patient thinker and implementer. Congrats to Nick & Bonita on their first baby!!
Several of those attending at my request would like to make a few brief remarks and I call on them to do so: Netram Rambudhan, Dr. Ramesh Pandey, Robert Straniere and Jagdish Kalicharran.