Venkat Raman –
Diwali may have acquired commercial overtones with the standard accusation that the festival has been ‘hijacked’ by organisations to promote their own interests, but the fact that it is attended by an increasing number of people of all ethnicities should justify the means to the end.
In fact, as one reader suggested, “We should be happy that hundreds of thousands of people in New Zealand have come to expect quality cuisine and variety entertainment at the festivities organised at various venues. The response has been so overwhelming that Diwali is today firmly established as one of the most important events in the country’s social calendar.”
Indian Newslink has received reports of festivities held in various parts of New Zealand, some of which have been reported in this Section.
Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) celebrated its annual Diwali Mela on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at Te Pai Netball Courts, located at 31-35 Te Pai Place, Henderson, which is close to the Trusts Stadium.
More than 15,000 people are reported to have attended the event held from 11 am to 10 pm, with a spectacular display of fireworks.
Guests of Honour
Among the guests of honour were Fiji’s Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya, New Zealand Members of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Melissa Lee, Phil Twyford, Mahesh Bindra and Carmel Sepuloni; Councillor Linda Cooper and Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan.
The programme included ‘Ram Leela’ by a visiting group from India, traditional and modern songs and dances performed by members of the community and their children. Stalls selling food items, household goods and curios attracted a larger number of shoppers.
WIA President Mahendra Sharma writes:
Waitakere Indian Association has been marking this event for 16 years.
We are mindful of the fact that Diwali needs to retain its theme, its respectability and dignity. Therefore, successive Diwali Committees have been directed by our Trustees to have a good balance of the modern culture with tradition to ensure that the Festival retains its light of wisdom, divinity and dignity.
This was reflected in the ‘Ram Leela’ performed by the students of Ayodhya Research Institute. Their visit was sponsored by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Indian Government working in coordination with Indian High Commission and support of Shri Ram Mandir.
The overall theme of Diwali is victory of life over death, the victory of light over darkness and the ultimate victory of good over evil.
Let this Diwali enlighten us and the sweets sweeten us.