An influential community member -Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall- was recently honoured by officials in Queens, New York, by naming the 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue junction Pandit Ramlall Way. The Richmond Hill Queens community paid tribute to Ramlall, the late founder of the Annual Phagwah (Holi) parade, community advocate and scholar.
Naming the street Pandit Ramlall Way will ensure that Ramlall’s life and legacy is remembered in the years to come.
Guyanese-born Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall is known to have founded the Diwali Motorcade and the Aryal Spiritual Center of New York. He was a man of determination with a life filled with purpose, and his contributions are unparalleled.
According to councilmember Adrienne Adams, the street sign honouring the spiritual leader’s legacy “is a fitting tribute for the leader who contributed so much to the cultural, spiritual, and educational fabric of our city.”
“As we celebrated the unveiling of Pandit Ramlall Way, the sun was as brilliant as our illustrious Nana (Grandfather). May his name and legacy forever inspire thinking minds and determined characters,” Nivedita Balgobin, the granddaughter of Pandit Ramlall, was quoted as saying at the unveiling ceremony.
“The unveiling of Pandit Ramlall Way was a tremendous celebratory moment among the Guyanese population in Richmond Hill area in honour of a community advocate and religious icon, the report said,” added Ashook Ramsaran, chair of the Pandit Ramlall Way Unveiling Committee.
“I am deeply moved by the historic naming of Pandit Ramlall Way after a revered Hindu faith leader. The Hindu values of karma yoga (selfless action) and satyagraha (soul force) guided me to embrace this life of public service,” said New York Indian American state Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar.
Born in Guyana to Indian parents on February 28, 1928, Ramlall migrated to the United States in 1974 and subsequently settled in Queens. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in education at Rochelle College.
Ramlall worked for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation in a leadership role. He also served as a volunteer chaplain of the New York City Transit Authority and secretary of the Queens Interfaith Council. He was a Vedic scholar, an educator and motivational speaker. He has written several books.
India International Friendship Society honoured Ramlall with the “Bharat Gaurav” Award in January 2005 at an award ceremony held in Mumbai.
A winner of various other awards in the United States and Canada, Ramlall breathed his last on January 26, 2019.