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Minister of Works and Transport Dr Surujrattan Rambachan has called for tolerance among the various ethnic groups in T&T. He was delivering the feature address at the 169th Indian Arrival Day celebrations at the Divali Nagar, which was organised by the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) on Friday night. Rambachan represented Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
“As we go forward, we must imagine a community in which ethno-cultural groups are not merely tolerant of each other, since the notion of tolerance presupposes a power on the part of one group to allow the other to exist, but protective of the cultural freedoms of each other and actively seeking to understand each other,” Rambachan said. He said that distinctive cultural traditions in the Caribbean, Indian, African, Indigenous and European must not be made to feel that their rights to survival and growth are favours bestowed on them.
Indians in the Caribbean, he said, have never sought to create a Caribbean nation in which the traditions of India become the exclusive and dominant expressions. “Indian culture has always been radically pluralist in character. From an ancient appreciation of the limitlessness of ultimate reality, the limits of human expression and the diversity of human nature, it has come to see and embrace plurality as a necessary and positive feature of the human condition,” Rambachan added.
Rambachan said cultural historians would acknowledge, in time, that Indian perspectives on reality have opened the Caribbean mind to the possibilities of a healthy pluralism, and this may be one of the precious gifts to the Caribbean. Among those present were Speaker Wade Mark, Minister of Justice Emmanuel George and Indian High Commissioner Shri Gauri Shankar Gupta.