Historic Moment for Guyana and Hindu Community

Historic Moment for Guyana and Hindu Community
“First NYC Street to be co-named after a Guyanese and Hindu Priest”

On Saturday, October 26, 2019 history was made in the borough of The Bronx as the first Guyanese, Hindu Priest got a New York City Street co-named after him. Noble Avenue in the Soundview section is now known as “Pandit Vishnu Sukul Way”.

“We are all so humbled by this recognition for our beloved Father, Spiritual Leader and Hindu Priest,” explains his daughter, Bharati Sukul Kemraj, as she points to the crowd gathering on the block. “Over 300 guests are here and so many are sharing the memories of my Dad. He was amazing in every way and he had pure love for his family and Devotees,” she added.

The program included Bollywood Dancing, Tassa Drummers, Singers, the Ramayan Goal, Bomba Performances and beautiful thoughts given by the Grand Children and invited Guests at the event. “I will always remember that this Pandit and Mandir was the first Hindu place of worship to honored me as an  Indo-Caribbean Gay, Muslim for my talent and I know that Pandit Sukul’s legacy will live on for generations to come,” said International Dancer Zaman (Mohamed Amin) who was a part of the cultural program.

On February 20th, 2019, Founder and Spiritual Leader of the Vishnu Mandir, Hindu Temple, Pandit Vishnu Sukul passed away 30 days after having a massive heart attack. Pandit Sukul founded the Vishnu Mandir Hindu Temple 23 years ago and dedicated over 50 years of his life to representing his home country of Guyana and promoting Hinduism through prayers, events, activities and awareness engagements.

Pandit Sukul began practicing Hinduism at nine years old in his homeland of Guyana. He traveled to different locations including India, England and various States to practice Hinduism and he is one of the very few Hindu Priests that knew how to read, write, and speak in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language.  Today, his teachings and lessons are passed down to his two sons, Pandit Vyaas Sukul and Pandit Krishna Sukul, who will continue to practice Hinduism in the temple in their father’s honor.

 “This is such a special moment to be in the neighborhood. We can see culture and diversity represented here and it is a testament to the man Pandit Sukul was,” said Bishop David Maldonado Jr. from Brooklyn. “Witnessing a street named after a man who dedicated his life and service to his people and religion is an honor. We are not Hindus but because of his connection to humanity we have respect for a Leader that encouraged everyone to come together while being proud of their own,” said Nicholas Himidian Jr., Former Chairman of Bronx Community Board 9, while standing next to the Bishop.

At the scheduled time, Members of Keeping it Classic Tassa Group played traditional celebration beats on their drums as the Family of Pandit Vishnu Sukul along with Council Members Ruben Diaz Jr., Special Guests, Elected Officials and Members of the Interfaith Communities all joined together in walking down the block and revealing the street sign that read PANDIT VISHNU SUKUL WAY. The entire crowd burst into joyful cheers and even crying a little at the sight of the sign and Priest’s name as he is deeply missed and loved.

 “Reflecting on this day, it was a sense of great pride as a Detective in the New York City Police Department to speak at this historic event,” said Detective Annand Narayan, President, NYPD DESI Society. “And being of the Hindu faith gave me an even greater honor to engage in the remembrance of Pandit Sukul and all his teachings as a Priest and Community Leader.”

Pandit Sukul, an immigrant coming from Guyana and making NYC and The Bronx home is survived by his wife, mother and father in laws, six children, two sons in laws, daughter in law and seven grandchildren along with thousands of community members.

Family, Friends and invited guests all gathered together for the historic street co-naming, Some including: Rohan Narine, Mayor Community Affairs Unit; Antirson Ortiz, NYC Comptroller’s Office; Timothy Tapia, NYS Attorney General’s Office; Assembly Member Victor Pichardo; John Choe, Executive Director, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce; Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez; Bishop David Maldonado Jr.; Bharati Sukul Kemraj, daughter of the late Pandit Sukul; Retired Police Officer Ramesh Parabdin; Council Member Ruben Diaz Jr.; PSA 8 Captain Keiyon Ramsey; Detective Annand Narayan, President of the NYPD Desi Society; Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark; Police Officer Neil Narayan; Sunil, Laxmi, Keshav and Chelsea Kupasammy; Chandani, Pandit Krishna, Mataji Chandra and Pandit Vyaas Sukul; Rudra, Penny, Karishma, Rani, Anjali and Rakesh Latcman.
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