Port-of-Spain: Trinidad's former Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran has hailed the teachings of Sikhism and said adherents of the faith were not only settled across the globe but had risen to high positions in many countries, notably in the US and Canada.

Dookeran, who has also been a former Central Bank governor, was addressing devotees of the guardwara, Tunapuna, on Sunday marking the holy occasion of Baishaki.

"On April 14th, this year, with the Sun’s entry into Mesh Rashi, in the villages of Punjab and Haryana and elsewhere in India and the world, Baisakhi celebrations took place, with full colour and vibrancy, with performance of traditional folk dance ‘bhangra’ and ‘gidda’ for the enjoyment of all who have gathered, and here in Tunapuna, Trinidad we are part of that gathering," he said.

"It is also a thanksgiving day as the farmers express gratitude to the Almighty for the bountiful harvest and to pray for prosperity and good times in the future,” Dookeran said.

Dookeran said that in the Sikh place of worship, gurudwara is the traditional venue where Baisakhi Day is marked with special prayers, religious songs, and discourses and of course kada Prasad, and we all relish the ‘langar’, a community lunch prepared by the hands and heart of so many devoted volunteers.

He said there are strong Sikh communities in Trinidad and Tobago and across the globe. "Such communities have been pillars in the new societies in which they live, while promoting universal truths for the goodness of humanity. Today, the arena of politics, persons from this great tradition have risen to high political office in Canada and the US, in the former, Harjit Singh Sajjan as Minister of National Defence , and in the latter, Niki Haley as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations."

(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at paras_ramoutar@yahoo.com)

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