Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Citizens defend Culture Minister after pundit criticises outfit

Citizens spoke out in support of Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly after her kaftan was criticised by Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, who claimed she wore African wear at the opening of the Divali Nagar on Sunday night.

Maharaj, of the Satya Anand Ashram in Aranguez, claimed via social media that Gadsby-Dolly wore an African outfit to the Divali Nagar over the weekend and accused government of being ‘Afro-centric’.

“Ironically while Minister Dolly was stating this she wore an African outfit at the largest Hindu and Indian event on the cultural calendar in the Hindu and Indian community.”

“Why would the person such as the Minister of Culture show such gross disrespect on an national stage of the Divali Nagar? Is it that the Minister of Culture like Prime Minister Rowley just ignorant about Indian culture and just is not interested or care enough to learn about it? Or is it that the Minister of Culture just wanted to rub it in the face of the Indian community that while Indian culture is an exotic national subculture it is really that African culture is national culture or that the Rowley Administration is Afro-Centric,” he said.

Maharaj however, was incorrect, as the Minister told LoopTT that her outfit was bought at India Fashions Limited in Charlieville, which specialises in Indian wear.

Citizens spoke out in support of Gadsby-Dolly, criticising the pundit’s statement.

Larry N. Lalla:

“Pundit Satyanand smh. What are you really trying to do? I don’t know the Lady Minister personally and have never spoken to her. However last night I sat directly behind her at the Nagar. She delivered an excellent speech that was positive and uplifting and supportive of the work of the national Hindu community. Further her dress was uniquely beautiful and at all times she conducted herself with grace,” he said.

Nirvaana Sugrim:

Listen its days before Divali. I think our learned friend should have shared some inspiring insights on the observance rather than this type of mischief. I'm utterly disappointed that we have these persons to lead our brothers and sisters. Instead of fostering love within our hearts we are driving a wedge between our brothers and sisters especially when we just came together as a nation to recover from such a national diaster."

Sarojini Singh:

“Pundit, bahut ho gaya meaning enough is enough! Your posts and nitpicking over every little thing are only causing strife and bitterness in our society. As a priest, your job is to preach and spread peace.”

Sangeeta Jagdeo:

“The Hon. minister dressed appropriately that’s who she is she wore the dress that personifies that she is African and that’s her culture she wore the dress very respectfully also and maintained the respect for the occasion by the way she dressed.”

“As a person of Indian /Hindu background I commend her for being herself and dress for the culture she represent and for doing so showing her appreciation to another culture that is what we are supposed to be in a multicultural society respect each other share our cultural ideas but as an individual we be who we are and be proud of it.”

India Fashions Limited also supported the Minister, showing a photo of her wearing her kaftan on Facebook, with this caption:

“At AhadWear India Fashions we specialise in classy and modest clothing. We sell a wide variety of ethnic and modern clothing from near and distant parts of the world. Our Trini and International customers are also as diverse. we congratulate and applaud all who wear our clothing as and where they choose once they dress with dignity  we absolutely loved this look on her  #customerpic #kaftan #ethnicwear #stunning #blackandgold #sherockedit #beauty #capegown #embroidery #crystals #embellished #wearwhatyouwant #dresswithdignity #ahadwear #indiafashionsltd #diversity #culture #trinidadandtobago”

Gadbsy-Dolly said to LoopTT that Satyanand’s comments were unfortunate.

“I wore an Indian outfit purchased at India Fashions in Charlievillle - they do not sell African outfits.”

“It is simply tragic that after the country showed such maturity and unity in helping the flood victims, naked racism rears its ugly head once again,” she said.

The Minister urged the public to focus on the message of Divali which is unity, harmony and the power of knowledge over ignorance.

“My Divali message focused on unity and harmony- we would all do well to reflect on that aspect of our collective existence, rather than spout inaccurate and divisive statements that do nothing but weaken our nation's multi-ethnic fabric,” she said.


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