Jai Parasram

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Kamaluddin Mohammed

Kamaluddin Mohammed is being honoured Saturday (May 10,2008) by the Trinidad and Tobago chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) for his contribution to the nation and to the advancement of culture over six decades. Jai Parasram interviewed Kamal last year for a magazine article and wrote this tribute to "Charch".

It takes commitment and dedication to be up at four in the morning. And it says a lot about a man who, at 81, does it in order to follow a religious discipline he learned as a boy. The man is Kamaluddin Mohammed.

"It’s a part of my life," he says, explaining that he wakes before dawn to say Namaz, a routine that enriches his life and prepares him to face the day. "We need faith in our lives," he told me. "Too many people are so busy they forget to make room for God. That’s why our society is in its current state of dismay."

Kamal’s obligation to duty has characterized both his public and private life. He has met kings and commoners and mingled with the world’s most powerful men and women. At home he helped define our society and mould and shape our national institutions. Yet he remains, as always, a simple, humble man who lives in the community that nurtured him and spends much of his time these days "attending to family matters."

"When I am finished with my prayers I have time to tend to the plants and read the papers. Then I attend to chores, mostly social and religious," he said.

It’s interesting that that’s his focus today. It’s as if he has come full circle because it was Kamal’s religious and social activities that propelled him to prominence and made him a household name in Trinidad and Tobago. His success, he says, is due to hard work, and a passion and dedication to every project he tackles.

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