A Daughter's Gift of Love to the Nation
by Parvati Persaud-Edwards
DESIGNED by Dr. Cheddi Jagan and constructed in 1966, this simple edifice that encapsulates the essences of two iconic figures in the landscape of Guyana’s history was gifted to the National Trust by only daughter of Dr. and Mrs Jagan, Nadira Jagan-Brancier, during a simple handing-over ceremony held on the lawns and presided over by Presidential Advisor Navin Chanderpal at 17.00 hrs yesterday afternoon.
Mr. Chanderpal said the event marked a historic moment in memory of two great patriots, and that the Jagans were two idols who, despite extraordinary public lives, lived very simple private lives.
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Dr. Frank Anthony, lauded the act of donating to the nation the home where Dr. and Mrs. Jagan spent most of their adult lives, which will enable the public to have insights into the private lives of two national leaders who have made landmark contributions to the development of the nation and create a heritage site for all Guyanese to understand the historic proceedings of the nation.
Nadira, who has always been the most dutiful and supportive daughter, spoke movingly of the simple lifestyles of her dearly beloved parents and the great love and happiness shared by the small family in this simple home built by a man who retained his simplicity all his life despite reaching great heights in public life.
She said that, except for a few minor changes she had made when her mom returned to live in her home, the house was exactly the same as when her father first built it.
In the study of the home, two photographs displayed capture a picture of a leader sharing moments of happiness with his grandchildren ensconced within his arms in a hammock, which Nadira describes as the one essential comfort zone in his life, and which could be found wherever he spent any length of time.
Nadira said that the eclectic literary tastes of both her parents are reflected in the diversity of the reading material in their library, with every genre of literature collected over a lifetime on display, but that the paintings and Objets D’Art reflect her mother’s love for things cultural and beautiful.
However, things green and beautiful in her father’s garden reflect his love for plants and growing things, because the towering mango and other fruit trees, as well as the flowers and rare orchids that he cultivated are a testimony of his grounding with his roots in the agricultural belt in Berbice.
She said that the logistics of times for public showings are still being fine-tuned, but that provision will be made for those who cannot visit during weekdays.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, in a brief address, said that he endorsed the sentiments expressed and thanked Nadira for what he described as her tremendous act of generosity.
He said that Guyanese would have been otherwise deprived of the rare opportunity of understanding the outstanding persons that Dr. and Mrs. Jagan were. He described Nadira’s prodigious efforts at cataloguing and preparing the books, documents and artifacts left by Dr. and Mrs. Jagan as a tremendous contribution to the Cheddi Jagan Reading and Research Centre.
The President said that the things the Jagans had believed in are enshrined in just a short walk through their simple home and expressed the hope that children who would not have experienced these amazing personalities in their lifetimes would, from this monument to their private lives, be enabled an understanding of the role they had played in the formation of Guyana and its progress.
A tour of the house after the formalities unveiled the soul of a home which encapsulates the quintessential spirit of two monumental human beings with hearts large enough to cradle the entire family of humanity.
Note: The home of Dr. & Mrs Jagan was not donated to the National Trust by Nadira Jagan-Brancier, but is open to the public under the administration of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.