A Rabindranath Tagore Resource Centre was inaugurated in Georgetown with a commitment to Guyana that it can depend on India for continued support for educational and cultural research in collaboration with Indian academic institutions.
Inaugurating the centre at the University of Guyana's Turkeyen campus on Wednesday, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat said that the centre should become a vibrant meeting point between "the minds and intellects of out countries".
The new centre is being set up to carry out research in Indian culture and tradition in Guyana, which is home to over 325,000 ethnic Indians. Most of them are descendants of Indians who had come to Georgetown in the 19th and early 20th centuries to work as indentured labour in sugarcane plantations.
"The resource centre, named after Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, should appropriately reflect his lofty ideals of universal brotherhood and humanism," the vice-president said.
"With the meeting of minds and ideas, we can identify ourselves with the universal good and overcome the narrowness of caste, creed, religion and race," he said.
Guyana is cultural melting point of people coming from India, Africa, China and the native Amerindians.
In the first phase, India provided the centre with 100 DVDs and 700 books to the centre with the assurance that the collection will be regularly updated. The centre will be a resource base for Indian culture and tradition.
The university event was among the last engagements the vice-president had on the concluding day of his visit to Guyana.
Earlier in the day, he dedicated a new cricket stadium to Guyana, which will be used in the 2007 cricket world cup next year.
Another highlight of the vice-president's engagements on Wednesday was his visit to the Indian Immigration Monument in Georgetown. Known as the Promenade Gardens, the monument depicts a ship of the 19th and early 20th centuries that had brought Indians to work as indentured labour in the sugarcane fields in Georgetown - a poignant reminder to the Indo-Guyanese of their ancestors.
Prior to that, Shekhawat also visited the Umana Yana, a conical palm thatched hut erected for the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference in Guyana in August 1972 as a VIP Lounge and recreation centre. The hut gets its name from the South American Wai Wai tribe's name for a meeting place.
On Thursday the vice-president will be leaving for Port of Spain on the final leg of his two-nation Caribbean tour.