Sympathy on the Death of Dr. Moti Lall1968 14 Jun, 2012
Mrs. Chandarpal: I rise to give support to the motion proposed by the Hon. Prime Minister and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs requesting the National Assembly to direct its expression of its sympathy to his wife Chritrarakha, who is present with us today. I wish to acknowledge the presence of Renuka, Aruna and daughter-in-law Kameel. Unfortunately Pravin is not able to be with us because he is working as a pilot in Abu Dhabi, in the Middle East, and his son-in-law, Dr. Cheetanand Mahadeo was also unable to be part of this important tribute.
I probably would like to start out my presentation by quoting the second line of Desiderata
“As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they have their story.”
This was my first impression of Dr. Moti Lall, thirty-eight years ago. He had returned to Guyana in August, 1974, in response to an invitation from the Ministry of Health. When he came to Guyana, I recall him visiting Freedom House and I had the opportunity of being in the company of Cde. Ram (Boysie) Ramkarran, many of you would know of him. I recall that occasion when he spoke about what had happened to him when he returned to Guyana, after his study, and was unable to find a job and subsequently left these shores and went overseas for five years, and then subsequently returned to Guyana.
In 1974, there also was a very important occasion for Dr. Moti Lall because, I think, that was when he met his wife Chitrarakha. She was then a librarian at the National Library. I think it was in the year 1975 they decided to get marry. On that occasion, many of you will recall that 1975 was International year for Women, it launched the decade for women, 1975 to 1985; and it was during the ceremony, he was reminded that the wife had to be allowed to take the lead because, as you know, that was the year for the women. I recall that event in which he was reminded about that story.
From 1974 until his death, I have seen him carrying out all his roles with the same humility and respect. As a comrade, he was committed to the party which he loved, and to his leaders, especially Cde. Janet and Cde. Cheddi Jagan. He loved his leaders. He was always very respectful. I try to recall, in my thirty-eight years of knowing Dr. Moti Lall, whether I have ever heard him raising his voice in anger - whether he ever talked down to anyone, whether he was ever disrespectful to anyone. I cannot recall an instance when I saw him acting these characteristics out. Never have I ever seen him in that way. No task was too great for him and he undertook his responsibility without fanfare. Whatever assignment was given to him by the party, it was done very quietly and no one knew. He was always respectful to everyone - whether it was a young person, whether they were experienced, whether they were - some of the very young ones who I would say - very inexperienced or bashful. He never tried to put anyone down, always very respectful. I also recall the debates within the party, at the various leadership positions, and whether he agreed with a position or not, I cannot recall him being boisterous, being aggressive, talking down to anyone and making anyone feel angry. He spoke his position respectfully, never sought to malign anyone and always with decorum. Those are the qualities I always will remember of Dr. Moti Lall.
As a General Secretary of the party, and of the women section of the party, the Women Progressive Organisation, the women also in the party had long relationship with him. The same qualities he exemplified in all the entities, or all the bodies, which he functioned, in were the same characteristics that he exemplified in his relationship with the women of the party. I cannot recall him, on any occasion, disrespecting any of our women - ever bad-mouthing any of them and ever making anyone feel embarrassed. He was always attentive - listened to you, whether he believed in what you were saying or not, whether he agreed with you or not. Never did he display any antagonism towards you.
As a doctor - that is something I recall again in 1974, when he came back as doctor - we, the younger ones in the party, had the opportunity to interact with him. He never made us feel that he was above us. He always treated us equally. He, being a professional, did not deter him in any way to treat us, younger folks, then, in any different way. He always talked to us as if he was our equal. That was a quality, as you know, sometimes, you long for, that people can treat you as their equal, not, wanting to look down at you because of their academic or professional achievement. He treated everyone in the similar way.
As a doctor, as well, I recall having had to take my children to see him, and many other comrades would have taken their children to see him. He always made us very comfortable. I cannot recall ever paying him, because he never wanted anyone to pay him, once that person was from the party. I also know of occasions in which people who were poor would have gone to him and he had never taken money. We would have joked with him and said, “Well, if this is the way you are going to run your practice you will become a pauper, because you are always saying, ‘No man, nah man, never mind; do not worry with that thing’ and never took a cent from us.” That was the kind of person he was.
As a human being, to my mind, he personified all that was decent, humane and kind. He was lucky, indeed, to have found his match in his wife Chritrarakha because she herself possesses those fine qualities. According to Chritrarakha, when we talked, from time to time, she would say that: “the same qualities he exhibit in the public, are the same qualities he exhibit in private life”. What was remarkable about Dr. Moti Lall was that he was very successful in balancing all the roles of being a politician on one hand, being in his profession, being a father, as well as all the other things that he was doing, whether it was in the friendly society, whichever organisations they were. He always took on his assignment with seriousness and was committed to them. I know that even though he wore many hats, he always sought to successfully deliver on his commitments.
In terms of his role of a father, I am aware that his three children are very successful professionals who have done exceedingly well in their respective fields. I know also he had the joy of being a grandfather - his granddaughter Bina. He had the joy of being with the grandchild and playing with her. My colleague, Mr. Manzoor Nadir, who sits next to me, I know, is always talking about his grandson, and sometimes I listen to the other grandparents around always talking about their grandchildren; so I assume that he also was the kind of grandfather who was proud of being a grandfather. Unfortunately, it was not possible for him to see his grandson who was born, I understand, later, after his death; so he was unable to see his grandson who was named after him, I understand, Moti Davendra.
I want to say to the family members who are present that I know it is a very sad occasion for you because we are reminiscing and we are opening up a lot of wounds. But I want you to know and be comforted in the fact that it is not all of us, as Guyanese, are lucky to have a National Assembly paying tribute to someone as Dr. Moti Lall, being a Member of the National Assembly. You have listened to those colleagues who have spoken before about all the fine qualities and there will be more that will be said about him. He was indeed someone who we were all proud of. So we want you to be comforted knowing that he was a valuable son of the soil. He was loved by his party and his family, and friends as well.
His role in the National Assembly was one in which he displayed a lot of passion for and we heard Dr. Leslie Ramsammy talking about the work he did in the fight against tuberculosis. If you look at the Hansard - some of us would recall, his stint in the National Assembly - when he made his presentations, how passionate he felt about what he was doing.
A lot of us, as I said before, who have children, were happy to have had him looked at them, knowing that he was one of us. He loved us. He never made us feel any different and our children, in the process, also, were very attentive. They were very comfortable in his presence, as a doctor. We did not have to feel… Sometimes, you will take your children to the doctor and you will know how they will behave. Our children always will look forward to being there because of his presence. He had a very kind presence and was always very friendly.
In my estimation, I think Dr. Moti Lall is, indeed, someone who is worthy of emulation since he had the capacity to embrace all the roles he was required to play and he did it with honesty, integrity and humility. As we live our lives, let us pause, from time to time, in asking the question: How do we want to be remembered when we are no longer around? I believe that Dr. Moti Lall’s life is indeed worthy of that type of emulation.
I wish to endorse the sentiments of all the colleagues who have spoken before about this great human being and I know that his memory will continue to be with us in the National Assembly, in the party, as well as in the medical profession. May his soul rest in peace.
I thank you. [Applause]
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