A world that is troubled, tormented and turbulent awaits a season that besets people in a festive mode, forgetting for a while at least their bellicose tendencies and rejoice.
A world that constantly witnesses natural and manmade disasters looks upon that period of the year when men and women ignore their differences and come together to share a few moments of laughter.
A world that triggers more hatred than love welcomes festivities that would motivate even adversaries to lay down their arms and embraces each other in friendship.
In short, we look forward to that time of the year when there is more hope than despair, more light than darkness and more guffaws than wails.
And happily, that time of the year is upon us.
The festive season in its true sense and spirit may have begun with the Dassera but its culmination would be with the Festival of Lights.
And people from a number of other faiths would also observe their annual feasts.
What does that mean?
Quite simply the fact that all of us were born to live together in peace and harmony and not fight, challenge and destroy each other.
The festive season denotes the triumph of good over evil so that ordinary people like us could lead a life of contentment and happiness.
That’s what every religion signifies in its message to people on every occasion.
Spread peace, not war
That men and women were born into this world to spread love, not hatred, peace, not war and goodwill and not discord.
And that’s what each of us should strive towards.
Take Diwali (or ‘Deepavali,’ in its original form, meaning ‘A row of Lights’), for instance. For thousands of years, Hindus have believed in the spirit and belief behind this occasion-they have seen it as a Festival of Lights, with long days and nights and darkness giving way to eternal sunshine and happiness.
It is a light of hope rekindled, with everyone transported to Cloud Nine.
Beyond Indian shores
Hindus have taken Diwali beyond the shores of India, to the four corners of the World and made it a source of joy and harmony.
And how the West has come to celebrate the festival with the Hindus, treating it as its own and taking the initiative to bring together people of all faiths under one umbrella, for one day at least!
You need not look far to get the idea.
Here in New Zealand, the Festival of Lights is an event that has the participation of at least two City Councils (Wellington and Auckland) and a host of government and non-government bodies and private organisations.
The annual event, held in the two major cities, is getting better, bigger and more colourful year after year.
In addition, a number of local community centres and societies organise events to spread the Indian heritage and culture.
More important, human traits of goodwill and understanding.
Major Festival in UK
In the UK, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales recalled how Diwali had become a major festival in the country.
“It is encouraging to see young people planning for the future of this and other festivals, thereby ensuring the development and continuity in this country,” he said.
He said festivals such as Diwali helped ‘the all-important cause of cultural understanding between different communities that made up the British people.’
Such a view is shared by other world leaders (see separate story).
Suffice to say, those celebrating Diwali should live up to its spirit and help spread that spirit among their brothers and sisters across the society, the nation and the world.
Our Hope and Prayer
In presenting this Special Diwali Report, we in Indian Newslink hope and pray for the world to become a better place to inhabit.
A world in which there is goodwill and understanding.
A world in which people are respected for what they are and not what they have.
A world in which people make love and not war.
It may be Utopia today.
But there has been no law against good intentions.
That’s what this Diwali Special is all about.
We would like you to read the following pages and react.
This Special issue is for, by and of the people and contains no ivory tower writing.
Folk dances of India spread the joy of Diwali in Auckland (Auckland Diwali)