THE kindness and love shown to the late cultural icon Torrance Iqubal Mohammed in his final moments were remembered by one of his daughters as he was laid to rest on a wet Friday morning.
In a video link at the service held according to Muslim rites at Belgrove’s Funeral Chapel, San Fernando, Charlene Mohammed-King thanked the country and friends around the globe who shared their grief, but singled out two groups of people for commendation.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the people on the street where the assault occurred. You came to my dad’s assistance in his greatest hour of need, in particular the woman who held the umbrella over him while he waited for the ambulance." Mohammed was robbed and physically attacked as he went to drop fruit at a friend's home in Mon Repos. He was taken to hospital, but his injuries proved fatal.
“That act of kindness has forever been etched in my mind and will never be forgotten. I hope to locate you when I return to Trinidad and I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ in person.”
She also thanked staff at the San Fernando General Hospital for their efforts to save him and keep him comfortable, although the outcome was not what they hoped for.
Mohammed was robbed and assaulted on May 24, as he waited at Torrance Street, Mon Repos. He died the next day.
Ryan Beharry, 32, of Navet Road, San Fernando, has been charged with his murder.
“My father lived a long and beautiful life and while his death was not the one that we anticipated, no one wanted for this gentle soul."
But, she said, "He was loved and he loved. He was good and he did good. He was joyful and he was mischievous. He was our father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and colleague.
"Torrance Iqubal Mohammed, I love you and I will miss you forever.”
To further demonstrate his giving nature, Iman Iqubal recalled how Mohammed helped him financially towards his academic goals when they both worked part-time at one of Montano’s stores.
He said he needed the money to pay school fees for Naparima College and buy books, but the customers were drawn to Mohammed, who was an astute salesman. He recalled how Mohammed helped him reach his $100 quota, from which he would earn five per cent, by deceptively sending customers his way.
“Iqubal knew one community – the community of humanity, whether you were whatever race, religion or belief.
“The world knew him as Torrance, but he was Iqubal at heart. Iqubal is an Arabic name which means 'becoming successful,' 'facing problems bravely' and 'getting things done.' That epitomises the life of Torrance.”
He described Mohammed as a spiritual man, which was manifested in the dances he choreographed, devoid of vulgarity and ensuring interfaith services graced every cultural event he promoted.
The legendary dancer Mohammed was and the inroads he made in shaping the discipline through the 65-year-old Arawaks Dance Troupe are well documented, and San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello reflected on his pioneering skills in bringing organised structure to folk, modern, African and Indian dance.
“Torrance was persistent, overcoming every obstacle, as he did what was necessary to achieve his goals. He was small in stature, but was a giant in what he was able to accomplish."
He thanked Mohammed, on behalf of the city, for his immense contribution to culture and politics – having served as a councillor and deputy mayor of San Fernando over a 16-year period.
“Our city has been made poorer with his passing, but he is now free to dance without a care."
Longtime friend Godfrey Martin, in a video message from London, said it was an honour to be his friend.
He recognised Mohammed’s multiple achievements over the years, his creative talents, persistent tenacity, commitment to leadership, vision, hard work, guidance and endurance in achieving longevity in TT’s cultural history.
“We as a country must recognise and applaud Torrance for his steadfastness, his work to enrich and uplift our pluralistic culture.”