Queens Indo-Caribbean community leader Ramesh Dalchan Kalicharran was among several awardees at a magnificent and colorful Global India Business (GIB) ceremony held rcently at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.
As GIB seeks to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among Indian-owned and managed businesses outside of India, part of its strategy is making awards to individuals “with a corporate conscience” who have distinguished themselves in the area of business,” a spokesman explained.
Despite being caught up with economic activities associated with his business enterprise in real estate, travel and a driving school, Kaliji is a man with a mission for his community. He realizes that giving back to his community that has given him so many opportunities, is an important duty. Indeed, community service for Kaliji is equally important as his economic pursuits. He never sees these two activities as separate or in conflict but as mutually reinforcing. He has personally invested thousands of dollars in various community projects spanning the last four Global India Business decades.
In New York, Ramesh played a vital part in mobilizing our Hindu community. In particular, he founded the Gyaan Bhakti Satsangh Mandir; convened a meeting of Hindu Priests from which was born the USA Pandits’ Parishad. Kaliji is a founding member of the Indo-Caribbean Federation which hosts the annual Indian Arrival Day celebrations at Phil Rizzuto Park, Richmond Hill, New York. He is a founding member of the Maha Lakshmi Mandir of 121-15 101 Ave., Richmond Hill, New York; and a founding member of the Indo-Caribbean Council (promoting the rights and welfare of Indo-Caribbeans in the USA and the Caribbean) in which he serves as the International Coordinator. Earlier on, with a view to bringing a number of organizations to work together, Kaliji launched an Indo-Caribbean ethnic radio program called “Sangeet Mala (1520AM) in the mid-1980s. That program was eventually superseded by other radio programs and sponsors.
Kaliji wanted to tell the world, including New York political leaders, that the Indo-Caribbean community in New York is a force to be reckoned with, and that they cannot afford any longer to ignore their needs and concerns. One way to demonstrate strength and unity was through a massive community mobilization called the Phagwah Parade. He, along with Dharmacharya Ramall, Dr Satish Prakash and other leaders founded the annual Phagwah Parade, which is the biggest Indo-Caribbean community mobilization.
Always eager to promote the Indian cause, including Hinduism, Kaliji is a founder member of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and served as the Caribbean Regional Coordinator. GOPIO represents 23 million Indians who live outside India (Indian Diaspora). He functioned as the coordinator of the International Commission for Restoration of Shrines and Places of Worship.
For the first time ever, an Akhand Yajna (continuous prayer service) was held for 41 consecutive days in Richmond Hill, New York in the mid 1980s.
Kaliji’s community activism and advocacy have played an important role in bringing our community’s concerns to the attention of the New York political establishment. In recognition of his sterling efforts in this area, he has received many citations and awards from NY State Assembly, New York City Council, Queens Borough President Office, the U.S. Congress, as well as from the Guyana president. Many other citations were given to him by NGOs, including Flushing Cultural Council, Guyana Festival Committee, India Tourist Board, Guyana Watch and Federation of Indian Associations. More recently, he received the Bharat Gaurav “Life Time Achievement” award from the Sarv Brahman Sabha of Jaipur India.
Ramesh D Kalicharran’s list of accomplishments in the religious, cultural and music fields is legendary. They attest to his passion for such work and as a shining example for others to follow. The Global Indian Business Meet (GIBM) recognized many outstanding leaders in various fields. Winners included Dr. Gururaj Deshpande (USA) who was given the Swami Vivekananda Leadership-Philanthropy Award. The NGI Excellence Award for Educational Leadership went to Thumbay Moideen (UAE). The Communication Leadership Award was given to Atul Gupta (South Africa); the Community Initiatives to Ramesh Kalicharan (Guyana); Indian Diaspora Leadership to GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran (USA); the Community Leadership to Dr Dasarath Chetty (South Africa); the Finance and Banking Leadership to Rajen Pillay (South Africa); and the Business Leadership to Dato Dr Vijay Eshwaran (Malaysia).
In addition, an outstanding entertainment program was planned for the three evenings that featured Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan with Ayaan Ali Khan and Aman Ali Khan. The Stem Dance Group from Bangalore made its appearance also. There was a standup comedy show by Rajiv Satyal, as well as a Bollywood song and dance evening conducted by Shweta Pandit.
Rich tributes were paid to Swami Vivekananda on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth, by Swami Tyagananda, head of the Ramakrishna Mission in the USA. Their embrace of respect, justice and charity should be the hallmarks of businesses, as well as make these sustainable and rooted efforts dedicated to true Indian values.
An appeal to invest in the Caribbean nations was made by the of Guyana’s Industries & Tourism Minister, Mr Irfaan Ali, as well as, by the chairman of Mediterranean Shipping Corporation, Nicola Arena, who highlighted the geo-strategic importance and natural resources of the region.
“Do not change the cultural identity of your team members in a cosmopolitan business setting, but rather create a business identity of the company …” noted Ajit Minocha, the CEO of Global Foundries.
The BJP Maharashtra President, Raj Purohit, argued for an amnesty policy of bringing out black money with one-fourth or one-fifth given to debt repayment and the rest legitimized without any questions asked.
Congratulations to all the awardees and the organizers.