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Home > News > Report

PIO story is one of resilience and triumph against odds: Bharrat Jagdeo

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | January 09, 2004 15:09 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2004 15:46 IST

The story of those who left India to work as labourers in the sugar plantations of Guyana and other British colonies is one of 'resilience and triumph' against overwhelming odds.

"It is a story of great human suffering, perseverance, adaptability, fighting discrimination and resistance to enormous pressures to abandon their culture," Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo told guests on Friday at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in Delhi.

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"They struggled to preserve their culture, and my country is richer because of this contribution," he told amid applause on the opening day of the three-day event.

He said many people of Indian origin left the country in search of a better economic future and found success as scholars, businessmen and professionals like lawyers, doctors and engineers.

"In many parts of the world, they form significant constituencies and now wield considerable economic and political influence." Jagdeo praised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the government's decision to establish special modes of communication with these Indians.

India is being acknowledged as a major global power and a leader in Asia in knowledge-related services. In the global quest for peace, security and development, the Indian diaspora must play an important role. "With self-support, we will be able to reach our goal. Let this dialogue, which has begun, continue to flourish in the interest of the people of the world as a whole," he said.

India's leading role in protecting the interests of developing nations in the World Trade Organisation and in championing peace and development in the United Nations prompted Guyana to extend 'unreserved support ' for its claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

"India is an untiring advocate of the philosophy of non-violence, tolerance and respect for all people."

He told the audience about his experience during a recent visit to his ancestral village in Uttar Pradesh. "It was an emotional moment for me, which conjured up visions of how my ancestors might have left on their historic journey to eke out a new existence. No doubt many in the diaspora here today may have been stirred by similar emotions at some point of time," he said.

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