Diwali: A Symbol of Cultural Exchange and Global Integration - Manoj Motwani
Diwali, also referred to as Deepavali, is a deeply ingrained Hindu festival, rich in the traditions and culture of India. The festival, which is also known as the 'festival of lights', is enthusiastically celebrated, signifying the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. Diwali typically takes place in October or November and spans five days, each marked by unique significance and rituals. These days collectively represent a renewal of hope, righteousness, and positivity. The festival brings together family and friends, fostering unity as they exchange gifts, partake in festive meals, and offer prayers for a prosperous, harmonious life.
For Hindus, Diwali is of paramount religious importance and is one of the major festivals of the year. It marks the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana to their kingdom of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile and defeating the demon king Ravana. The tradition of lighting diyas (oil lamps) during Diwali symbolizes the enlightenment of the inner self, driving away darkness, ignorance, and evil. The festival is also linked to the worship of goddess Lakshmi, the embodiment of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. Hindus pray to Lakshmi for material and spiritual prosperity. Diwali is also a time to honor Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, and Goddess Saraswati, the deity of knowledge and learning. The religious practices, prayers, and offerings during Diwali seek divine blessings and positive energies for a prosperous life. It is a period for spiritual introspection, gratitude, and rekindling of faith for Hindus, reinforcing their connection to their religious beliefs and traditions.
Diwali, while of great cultural significance in India, has gained global recognition as Indians have moved beyond their motherland for business, work, and education. The Indian diaspora, one of the world's largest and most successful immigrants, has been instrumental in promoting Diwali and encouraging cultural exchange. As they settle in foreign lands, Indians carry their rich cultural legacy, including Diwali celebrations.
The Indian diaspora's achievements globally have amplified their self-confidence and pride. Indians have reached the top in various sectors, including multinational corporations, politics, education, and entrepreneurship. These accomplishments have increased their influence and recognition in their resident countries, enhancing the Indian diaspora's pride. This pride inspires future generations and contributes to the growing influence of the Indian community worldwide. This pride is manifested in their enthusiastic Diwali celebrations, where they engage with their local communities, promoting inclusivity and mutual respect. Diwali celebrations provide a platform for Indians to share their traditions, values, and festivities with others. They invite neighbors, colleagues, and friends from various backgrounds, embodying the principle of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (the world is one family).
Through Diwali celebrations, the Indian diaspora exhibits the diversity and vibrancy of Indian culture, allowing people from different backgrounds to unite, learn from each other, and appreciate cultural diversity. This interchanging of traditions and values fosters a deeper understanding and respect for each other's customs, thereby strengthening social connections within local communities.
Diwali, which is celebrated by the Indian diaspora worldwide, has evolved to become more than just a religious festival. It now symbolizes unity, cultural exchange, and integration. The Indian community, known for its success in various fields, embraces and shares the joy of Diwali with local societies. As the Indian diaspora continues to thrive and make significant global contributions, their Diwali celebrations serve as a beacon of light, disseminating warmth, happiness, and cultural understanding across the globe.
Our best wishes for Happy Diwali filled with joy, prosperity, and good health!!
By Motwani Manoj Kumar