Jyoti Satsangh at 30!

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Celebrations of Jyoti Satsangh 30th anniversary at ITV. From left, Babloe Shankar, Ashley Anna Persaud, Dr. Dhanpaul Narine, Shanti Ammar, Pandit Chunelall Narine, Ambika Persaud and Rohan Narine.

PROFILE OF THE WEEK
By Dr. DHANPAUL NARINE

It was a bright September afternoon in 1990 when a group of Hindu priests met in Queens, New York. During their discussions, they lamented the fact that the good works of the various Hindu organizations were not made known to the public. One complaint was that the media could do better to advertise the religious functions in the community. The question was: how can the situation be corrected? I was sitting at the back of the room as Dharamacharya Pandit Chandrica Persaud asked for suggestions. He was an extraordinary person that led from the front.

It was a bright September afternoon in 1990 when a group of Hindu priests met in Queens, New York. During their discussions, they lamented the fact that the good works of the various Hindu organizations were not made known to the public. One complaint was that the media could do better to advertise the religious functions in the community. The question was: how can the situation be corrected? I was sitting at the back of the room as Dharamacharya Pandit Chandrica Persaud asked for suggestions. He was an extraordinary person that led from the front.

Dharamacharya Pandit Chandrica Persaud was one of the architects of Jyoti Satsangh

Whenever there was a plan to build a new Mandir, or temple, Pandit Chandrica would be among the first persons to contribute money to the building project. He was by no means a rich person but his contributions helped and inspired others to give as well. There is a story that when Pandit Chandrica went for his visa in the American Embassy in Guyana the immigration officer was so impressed with him that he predicted that the young Pandit would become a peacemaker in New York.

This prediction proved to be accurate as Pandit Chandrica acquired the reputation for fair play and transparency in his dealings with everyone. As we sat at the meeting, I raised my hands and said that we should have our own television show.

In this way we could make our own announcements and show the community what is taking place in the Mandirs, and beyond. There was silence and then Pandit Chandrica said, ‘good idea. Please go and find out how we can have our own show.’

I contacted Mr. Raja Ramnarine from ITV and after some discussions we were given a half-hour slot on Saturdays. Prem Samaroo became the editor for the then Super VHS tapes. The presenters were Mrs. Bhagmanee Pooran and Suresh Ramnarine. As the program took root, its impact began to spread. The baby steps gave way to ten years, and then twenty, and eventually thirty years, much to the surprise of the organizers.

Over the years, the support of the community has been really phenomenal. Jyoti Satsangh has touched many lives. It has brought messages from various Mandirs, featured learned Pandits and Swamis, has publicized the ideas of young people, became a forum for topical discussions and its coverage of music and the arts, and culture, has been truly outstanding.

The 30th anniversary celebrations were fittingly held in the studios of ITV where thanks were expressed to Dr. Banad Vishwanath, ITV’s founder, and to Mrs. Vishwanath, Dr. Parekh, the current owner, Mr. Raja, Danny Ramroop, Buddy Singh, Mrs. Sophie Narine, and the one and only Rakesh Prashad. The program was admirably hosted by Miss Shanti Ammar of Remax 2000.

Pandit Chunelall Narine is one of the most famous faces on Jyoti Satsangh. Here, he teams up with Shanti Ammar who is a great supporter and who hosted the program on ITV.


The other guests were Dr. Dhanpaul Narine, Pandit Chunelall Narine, Babloe Shankar and his student Ashley, Ambika Persaud and Rohan Narine.

They spoke glowingly about the impact of Jyoti Satsangh and Babloe Shankar composed a special song that he sang. Now, onwards to the next 30 years!

Dr. Dhanpaul Narine with the talented Ambika Persaud in the studios of ITV television.

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