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Diwali -2020

by Shehnaz Gujral
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Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists, although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories, but nonetheless the festival represents the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.
Diwali 2020 celebrations are definitely going to be unique unlike the mass celebrations year after year. Humanity has been on a roller-coaster ride this year. Exchanging gifts, get-togethers, feasts and display of wealth can be kept on hold this year as the road to mankind is under construction.
In this pandemic year, we have witnessed dawn as well as dusk of human race. Nepotism, racialism, rapes, secularism at the verge of extinction are the half -filled demons in the ether of moral values. Yet, there are streaks of hope and the beautiful motto: Lights dispel darkness will prove to be true with the awareness and efforts by society. Kolkata Durga Puja Pandal is celebrating the puja in real essence as they pay a special tribute to migrant mother with her children. A statue to highlight the plight of migrant workers is in the process of installation and the country has united to celebrate Durga Puja in the real sense. The indomitable spirit to struggle and survive is the real embodiment of goddess.
Nature has been the best teacher in this not so glorious year. Can we make this Diwali special pledging to learn the stringent lessons we have learnt? Exchanging gifts is a custom and we Indians can just not escape these protocols, no matter festooned living rooms are crowded with people or sweets! We need to review our choice of gifts and gift packs to be exchanged. Cosmetic value of box is given a lot of importance and it is a sheer wastage of money as well as resources. Reams of paper, laces and glitters are stuffed in the coffrets. A moment of delight and all this goes into the trash bins. Ironically, big brands claim the packs to be recyclable. Who is collecting the wastes? Are we able to send these so-called fancy boxes to disintegrate in the landfills? Sadly not, as these landfills are highly packed and devoid of oxygen which is essential for degradation. Simple tokens of love with handwork or other creative ideas can help our earth breathe better. Luxurious gifts do not display fondness or strong ties. It is the values of trust and love which binds relations. Save this wasteful money and share a meal with a poor; serve a festive treat to an orphanage or sponsor a child. In these grave times, we see humanity suffering at its worst. Pompous celebrations can wait a while. Lighting the lamps in the hearts of desolate, sick and deprived strata of society; bursting crackers in the form of a hearty laughter to an empty stomach; distributing sweets with a cause to bring a smile to the frightened child, hope to the so- called low castes of our society can be the best gifts wrapped with empathy, compassion, faith and universal brotherhood.
This time let the heavens witness the earth soaked in ambrosia sipped by men in black and white. This time let the constellations witness the fire crackers burst with hymns of religion named ‘RELIGION OF HUMANITY.’
Shehnaz Gujral

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