Statements Statements

Hindu House

Hindu House


7 November 2020

Remarks by

High Commissioner Tanmaya Lal

Hon. Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth

Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly

Former President and Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth

Hon. Vice Prime Minister and other Hon. Ministers present

Hon. Leader of Opposition

President of Hindu House

My colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps

All the distinguished Guests

Members from various religious and socio-cultural organizations

Members of the media present

भाइयों और बहनों, आप सबको मेरा नमस्कार

My greetings to all of you on Diwali

हिन्दू हाउस को दिवाली के इस सुन्दर आयोजन के लिए मैं हार्दिक बधाई देता हूँ और इस निमंत्रण के लिए आभार प्रकट करता हूँ

It is indeed a blessing to be able to celebrate this festive season at such a grand scale this year. We tend to almost forget that the world is battling Covid19 pandemic.

Our family, friends & colleagues residing across the world cannot easily believe when we tell them about the CovidSafe Mauritius and that we can go about our normal lives without fear.

This has been made possible by the decisive measures put in place by the Government of Mauritius, the selfless service rendered by all the frontliners and the discipline of the people of Mauritius in protecting their country.

We thank all of them and wish Mauritius continued success in these efforts.

This festive season is eagerly awaited by young and old. Everyone looks forward to visiting family and friends, buying new clothes, exchanging gifts and sweets, drawing beautiful rangolis, lighting earthen lamps, bursting firecrackers, and, of course, offering prayers and seeking blessings.

Diwali is the festival of lights.

Light from the sun is life-giving on planet earth. Control over fire for illumination, warmth and cooking distinguished our species and enabled protection, better nutrition and survival.

This festive season in India clusters around the winter harvest and the post-Monsoon autumn.

Diwali is associated with a wide range of legends from the Hindu mythology, with various avatars of Lord Vishnu such as Shri Rama and Shri Krishna and Goddesses Laxmi and Kali. Each of these spread the message of the victory of the good over evil, hope over despair, and light over darkness.

This festival of light is celebrated on the Amavasya (the darkest, moon-less night) of the Kartik month of the Hindu Calendar, which corresponds to October or November. The festivities are, however, spread over five days.

The first day commemorates the emergence of Lord Dhanvantari from the Samudramanthan or the churning of the ocean, carrying with him the science of Ayurveda for good health.

The second day is celebrated as Narakasur Chaturdashi. Narakasur, who was the son of Goddess Earth - Bhudevi and Varah - one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, started becoming very powerful and was finished by Lord Vishnu as Krishna avatar. The celebration results from the boon requested by Narakasur before his death.

The third day celebrates the return of Lord Rama, alongwith his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after their 14-year exile and the defeat of Ravana, to his capital Ayodhya.

The following day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja when Krishna avatar saved the people in Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra by raising the Govardhan hill on the tip of his finger.

The fifth day is dedicated to the brother-sister bond. According to legend, Yamaraj, the Lord of death granted a boon to his sister Yami (Yamuna river) that whoever visits their sister on this day will be freed from their sins and earn merit or Punya.

Diwali is also associated with Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Laxmiji also emerged from the churning of the Kshirsagar on Kartik Amavasya and married Lord Vishnu on this day. In Kerala it is associated with the annual return of MahaBali and the victory of Vamana avatar of Vishnu. There are stories associated with the Goddess Kali and Shiva also in this context. Other legends connect the return of Pandavas to Hastinapur after completing their 13-year exile.

While in north India, Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, in south India the festival is called Deepawali and marks the defeat of Narakasur by Lord Krishna. In east India the festival is linked to Goddess Kali who vanquished another demon. Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha are also widely worshipped.

Lord Mahavir, the 24th and the last Jain Teerthankar attained Nirvana on Kartik Amavasya around 2,500 years ago. It is believed that Emperor Ashok adopted Buddhism on this day over 2,200 years ago. The great King Vikramaditya is said to have defeated the Shakyas on this day more than 2,000 years ago and launched his Vikram Samvat Calendar. For the Sikh community, Diwali marks the day of the release and return of their sixth Guru Hargobind in early 17th century.

One of the common themes is also the remembrance of and paying homage to one’s ancestors.

References to the festival of Diwali are found in ancient Sanskrit texts and also in later memoires recorded by travelers to India from Persia, Italy and Portugal over the last millennium.

Diwali has now traveled across oceans and is a popular festival in distant parts of the world. Singapore & Malaysia in the east to Fiji, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago; from UK, USA and Canada to Africa.

During my previous assignment in New York, missions of several countries came together to jointly celebrate Diwali at the United Nations and the UN Building was lit up with an image of Diya on Diwali day. Special Diwali postage stamps were also issued by the UN.

These growing popularity and the longstanding traditions across communities celebrate the underlying unity in diversity, a distinguishing feature and strength for both India and Mauritius.

Behind all the mythology, the message of Diwali is one of happiness and hope. It represents the ultimate triumph of what is good in our lives over trials and tribulations of mankind.

Today’s celebration is also a time for contemplation about how we can come together and jointly overcome the darkness of ignorance and falsehood, jealousy and discrimination, fear and injustice, for larger good.

This year as the world battles a global pandemic that is impacting lives and livelihoods, the festival of Diwali offers us the opportunity to renew our collective determination to overcome this unprecedented challenge.

May I conclude by offering best wishes to all of you for good health, peace and prosperity on this auspicious occasion of Diwali.

अंत में मैं आप सबको दिवाली के शुभ अवसर पर शुभकामनाएं देना चाहता हूँ और आप सभी के सुखद भविष्य के लिए मंगल कामना करता हूँ

भगवान् सबको सुख, शांति, समृद्धि और प्रगति प्रदान करे


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