Prayers for a Fallen Warrior

(Courtesy of the Guyana Chronicle - March 13, 1997)

A multitude of heads bowed in reverence and all ears were tuned to the speakers at the cremation site yesterday.

At around 12:30 p.m., it was time to say final prayers for the late President Cheddi Jagan.

A marked silence engulfed the atmosphere and the only sounds were the voices of the intercessors.

Reverend Errol Insanally led the congregation, spread thickly across the wide, grassy and sandy expanse for the last rites.

"Today we can all testify with bowed heads, Oh God, that Dr. Jagan has pointed us to the promised land of human freedom and dignity.

"We gather here to dedicate ourselves in this solemn hour to the principles and values, indeed, to the great lessons we can all learn from this noble man and to translate those lessons in our national and individual lives as a Guyanese people.

"We also reflect, Oh Lord, and recall the life of our hero Dr. Jagan, that he laboured and never sought rest, that he gave throughout his life and never counted the cost, that he fought, at times against great odds, that he never retreated.

"Remember now with pride that his life was a life fought more for its donation than for its duration. And dear Lord, please comfort not just the nation as a whole, but personally the First Family, our mother Janet, Joey and Nadira and the grandchildren.

"We beg you to never let them forget that Dr. Jagan has become an inspiration to millions of people near and far and...strengthened the cause for freedom everywhere.

"We render thanks to you, Oh Lord, again for this one solitary life that has made our country a better place. Let him be given a place among your heroes, whose labours have benefitted all humanity, and as for our beloved President, we seek your word of benediction to his life as a soldier who performed greatly, a (service) well done.

"The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and the Lord give you his peace. Amen and Amen."

Moulvi Fazal Jaffarally of the Central Islamic Organisation (Berbice) was next with a recitation in Arabic and English.

"We ask you God Almighty, to give Guyanese wisdom and understanding that we may be able to understand the principles and ideas of this great man.

"Give us the courage and strength that we will be able to put his ideas into practise, thus enable our country and this nation to go forward in peace, prayers and unity.

"Inspire his soul to continue where he has stopped."

Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, also Agriculture Minister, wrapped.

"The final moment has dawned. We are here to bid farewell to the greatest son of this soil, a heroic and dedicated leader.

"While the pyre will consume this mortal coil, composed of earth, wind, water, fire and space, disintegrating with each going to its respective position, his sterling and unequaled service to the country will live on and make an indelible imprint in the minds of all.

"He was truly a Mahatma. The unity and solidarity which have been shown at this time is testimony to the people's love and support for him.

"No doubt he will inspire us to continue his outstanding work."

Minister Persaud also chanted a transcript in Hindi, which he explained, was for the "unimpeded journey of the late President's soul (to) find eternal peace and bliss."

A plea for courage for his widow, children and grandchildren, brothers and sisters and the nations as a whole, was also made.

Chairman of the brief session, executive member of the People's Progressive Member, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran, earlier concluded "we send him on forever, grateful that he touched our lives..."