By Ravin Singh in New York
More than 2500 miles away in a small Mandir in Queens New York, a handful of Guyanese Hindu youths staged a magnificent cultural gala to raise funds for an upcoming youth camp in Enmore, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
Despite their age and being relatively inexperienced in planning, the group of youths from the Arya Samaj USA Vedic Temple did not shy away from a task which reflected selflessness and a passion for their faith.
The group of highly talented youths were able to prove to the Hindu community in Queens that traditional and contemporary Indian music would survive in the absence of elders. The three-hour show featured more than 20 performances from children as young as five years old.
Complementing their melodious voices were traditional Indian instruments including the Harmonium, Flute, Tabla, and Sitar, which they themselves played.
“People watching might think that it is not too difficult to play these instruments or even sing, but it takes years of practice to master them,” said Satesh Hariprasad, one of the organisers and performer.
Most of the youths who performed began playing instruments and singing before the age of seven.
But according to Hariprasad, it was all about the young people in Guyana benefitting.
“We did this with the intention of youths at home benefitting. Although we’re here, we want youths at home to grow up and realise that music and their talent, in Hinduism, is a great thing,” he shared.
Hariprasad, who moved to New York two years ago, added too that since joining the Arya Samaj Vedic Temple, what has been experienced is a genuine love and appreciation for Guyanese back home; and this, according to him, fuels a desire to always give back.
And General Secretary of the Arya Samaj USA, Balram Rambrich agreed. He said that the event took three months to plan, but it was one which needed to be done because of the love and passion to give back to Guyana.
He said that Enmore Vedic Mandir was chosen because they were observed to be “progressive” in their work, in addition to having one of the largest Hindu youth groups in the country.
Attending the event was President of the Enmore Vedic Mandir and Vice President of the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, Seukumar Harikishun.
“I would like to thank the youths here for… doing such a programme,” he expressed.
The youth camp, which is an initiative of the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, will be held at the Enmore Mandir in July and will attract youths from across the country.
Harikishun shared that the focus of the camp will not be limited to the teachings of Hinduism, as social issues will be explored through lectures, music and games.
This, he added, will be done with the aim of influencing those youths to become positive role models in society.