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“I am not only thinking about just what is happening in my yard.”By Leon SuseranYou will not find a more caring and thoughtful person than Dr. Veerasammy Ramayya. His name resounds positively across numerous circles in Guyana and overseas. His humanitarian work, care and concern for people and their welfare and his staunch love for children has found favour in the hearts of many. His fiery, tell-it-like-it-is attitude and the fact that he is now representing people’s interests on a national stage has renewed his vigour for his quest for social justice amidst the many issues that he is bothered by on a daily basis, issues regarding humanity that he so passionately takes up every so often. For this, even the United States Government has recognized this good man. The White House, recently, gave a commendation to the good doctor for his service.Humble beginningsBorn to Venkaya Ramayya and fish vendor, Sitama Venkaya, the Whim-born boy spent most of his childhood with his grandmother, Rangama Kistama, in the same home with his mother. He idolised his grandmother, “so I actually was adopted by her and she cherished me like a little prince”.Dr. Veerasammy RamayyaHe attended Auchlyne Scots School up to age 16. He subsequently went to Corentyne Comprehensive High School.“Quite honestly, I devoted so much time to cricket than my books and did not see the importance of a good education then, but after high school,Wholesale NBA Jerseys China, I used to attend Whim Magistrate’s Court.” He related that he used to sit and watch his idol, Attorney-at-Law Marcel Crawford ‘fighting’ cases “and I thought that one day I would like to be like him”.Ramayya stated that it was his grandmother’s wish that he never work in the sugar industry or on the high seas “…so she made a lot of sacrifices and sent me to school and she always believed that I can be a person different from the family”. The dream of young Veerasammy then was one whereby he could have migrated overseas to further his education and that the doors of the US, not for him alone but for others, would open for the many uneducated people in Guyana.Quest for educationHis grandmother borrowed money and sent him off to the U.S. But before he left, she insisted that he get married here first. Subsequently, a match wedding ensued, joining Dr. Ramayya with Seerojinie Ramayya. “I saw my wife on Sunday night and Monday morning, I went to the marriage office, in less than 24 hours in 1969”. “That marriage became something to hold me down—anchored in that sense”. They were married for 44 years, before the passing of Mrs. Ramayya on Friday last.He left these shores in 1969 for the U.S with a student visa. In 1970, his daughter, Anita, was born in New York, a daughter he would lose a few years later, and this would take a great toll on him. In 1972, he, as a Non- Matriculated student,China NFL Jerseys, decided to pursue his High School Diploma at Manhattan Community College. Within 18 months, he obtained an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts.“My thirst was always there for higher learning and I decided I will not stop…I remembered Mr. Crawford…I wanted to become a lawyer, so I pursued my studies at the City University of New York Hunter College and graduated”.He simultaneously obtained two Bachelor’s Degrees in Sociology and Political Science in 1977. He minored in Economics and Psychology, prerequisites to go and study Law. He later applied to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus in Barbados to purse Law studies, but applying as a Guyanese, and that campus being subsidised by the then Guyana government, he was told that he had to enlist in the National Service for two years and one year studies at University of Guyana.“I said to myself that this three years would be a wasted period—I could have gone in any direction,Cheap Jerseys, because I had one year Pre-Med during my Bachelor Degree, and I could have gone and studied medicine,”This situation discouraged him with his dream to become a lawyer and he felt that he let down his protégé, Mr. Crawford “so I was actually distracted”.Our ‘Special Person’ and his wife hosted 1,500 persons at a yajna at their home in 1986But when one door closes, another opens. He attended evening classes at the New School of Social Research in New York where he spent two years. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Degree in 1986. But he was not finished. He obtained his Doctorate Degree in Psychology from Pacific Western University in 1987 and yet another Doctorate Degree in Sociology later, using the Guyanese population in New York as his thesis. It involved social problems there.“I found myself within that community because if they had a religious work I was there…I used to be all over the place singing, helping, begging money—people go illegal in that country—and they post their bodies back to their Guyanese relatives and friends.”His grandmother passed away in 1982 and he thought that his world was crashing down. Soon after that, he started to get sick, “the stress was building up very rapidly and sometimes at night, I sat and cried for my grandmother”. It was about to get worse when he started to battle health problems, prompting bypass surgery and stents in his heart. Then his daughter fell sick in 1983. It was a difficult period.Through his association with a Swedish Doctor, Dr. Sebastian in Florida, he was able to take up studies in Ayurvedic Medicine. It was through this that Dr. Ramayya became involved in herbal medicine. “I started to look at alternative forms [of medicine] for my ailments—and with so many sicknesses today, the herbs are working and I took a lot of crash courses, and Diplomas in Physical Therapy”.A respected community leaderDuring the 1970s, Dr. Ramayya was very instrumental in getting funeral homes in New York to allow Hindus to practice their religious culture,Cheap China Jerseys, whereas this was not previously allowed.“I expounded what my culture is all about—how we were supposed to come in the funeral home, and do our ‘hawan’ and ‘aarti’ but because of the fire codes, they never allowed it, and the singing”.Proudly displaying the Commendation and Award from the U.S. State Department and President Obama.After explaining the dynamics of Hinduism, the funeral homes were moved and they started to allow those things in those homes. “That was my first mission I embarked on…to retain our culture.”He was President of the Hindu Sanatan Mandir as well and became involved in Phagwah, Diwali, etc celebrations and expanded the culture there.Dr. Ramayya grew in popularity in the U.S., particularly New York and Florida, “and was well respected for my honesty”. He also ran in one of the local state elections, too, in Florida.Accolades and appreciationOur ‘Special Person’ received the Meritorious Accomplishment Agent of the Year (Insurance) in 1982; Licensed State Agent in Insurance and Accident in 1983; Licensed Real Estate Agent in 1975; Academic Accomplishment and Community Service Award from Corentyne Comprehensive High School Alumni Association in 1987; Corentyne Lions Club award in 1898. He was also inducted as a member of the American Botanical Council as a Member of the Board in 2012; received a Certificate of Achievement in aerology in 2008; Award Quality Award in Insurance from John Hancock Insurance Company in 1983; and a Certificate of Appreciation from Dave’s Television Station Channel 8 in New Amsterdam in 1998, for his work in hosting important health programmes in Berbice on that TV station. He also became a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly, representing Berbice in the Alliance for Change (AFC) after the November 2011 General elections.Additionally, he was given a Presidential Commendation from U.S. President Barack Obama himself, signed and all, and copped the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his good works in that country over the past years, on December 2“It’s the people—I don’t know who they are—who sent my name to the President of the U.S Barack Obama for the Commendation for my involvement”.Corentyne Comprehensive High School honoured him recently in New York with a Certificate, “for academic achievement”, while the Lions Club at Hampshire, Corentyne, made him an honorary member for the work he has done with them.Return to GuyanaDr. Ramayya recalled returning to Guyana in 1994 and starting his mission.“I started to feed old people—every holiday—I used to bring them here and kill 15, 16 sheep and give them money and clothes and drinks, ever since I came back.”Hundreds of children being treated for Christmas at Dr Ramayya’s residence last year.This became an annual feature.“I love to give and I started that project—every September I would do three days religious work and invite 500- 600 people, each session costing more than $3M.”He started to move across all the mandirs “from Crabwood Creek to East Bank Berbice, I used to go and sing at every ‘wake’ – I didn’t have to know you—people never used to pay [me] and they miss me for that in Berbice today,Wholesale Jerseys, because since I moved to Georgetown….and that is an insult to our culture—I used to go and do it free. I find time up to today, so this gives me a little magnet that people are attracted to me. “People don’t want money from you—some do—but people want a good word”.In 1994, Dr. Ramayya started a programme on Berbice TV stations ‘Health Issues’ (still airing today) whereby week after week, he educated the population about health problems and remedies. Shortly after,Cheap NFL Jerseys, in 1996, he started a live call-in programme ‘Issues of the People’ (still airing today) speaking out on social issues.Year after year, Dr. Ramayya invites hundreds of children to his home around Christmastime and treats them with goodies, gifts and money.Regularly, too, he also visits the Dharm Shala as well as Camal Home for Abused and homeless children at Albion, Corentyne and distributes clothing and money.“I am not only thinking about just what is happening in my yard”.For Easter, he is planning to distribute kites and hampers in Georgetown, too.“Let our life be the message and just like how Mr. Crawford was instrumental—the way he conducted himself in court—he stood up there and he argued—and I always believe in standing up and speaking out for the truth and that is exactly that I am doing”.Dr. Ramayya is praying to do more for humanity.Dr. Ramayya with his lovely wife, Seerojinie, who recently passed away“When the concrete is soft, it is then you have to put your footprint as it will be there forever. The truth will always prevail and that is my message, that the role I am playing today in all dimensions…my words and my presence are being felt and it makes a difference.”Dr. Ramayya is known to be very outspoken, especially through his TV programmes and sayings. When asked whether he becomes scared, he responded, “Yes, but I don’t look over my shoulder when I travel, because I am 66 years…and I know that I am being protected and that will continue, because God is looking down; because I am not hurting anyone…I am speaking out the truth. If anyone out there… if they want to quiet me, well…they can do it, but it will not go down very quietly if something like that should happen.”