Diwali lights up Kashmir’s communal harmony

Muslims, Sikhs Join Celebrations In Valley


Srinagar, Nov 13: Diwali, the festival of lights, was Tuesday celebrated across the Valley with traditional enthusiasm and fervor as Muslims and Sikhs joined their Hindu brethren to light candles and oil lamps outside temples, homes and shops.
According to Hindu mythology, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Ram to Ayodhya from his exile after vanquishing demon-king Raavan.
For Sanjay Tikku, president Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, Diwali is an expression for sharing joy and respecting the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. “Diwali is very close to me. We invite our Hindu and Muslim friends to home and celebrate the festival together,” Tikku said.
“We are organizing Eid and Diwali Milan on same day this week to give a message to the people,” he said.
TS Pathania, a priest in a local temple, said the festival correctly expresses unity. “Lighting of Diyas makes me feel exceptionally happy.”
Non-local students studying in various colleges across Kashmir celebrated the festival with their Muslim friends. A student of SKIMS Medical College said, “We usually have a grand get-together with our friends in the campus. Some of my Muslim and Sikh friends invite me to their homes to celebrate this day with their families. Sharing the happiness of this day makes us good human being and helps us remove the darkness from our lives.”
At dusk, the magnificent effect of the festival was visible as many shops, buildings, houses and roads were decorated with oil lamps, candles and bulbs.
Various business establishments including hotels, restaurants and confectionary shops in and around Lal Chowk here had made special arrangements for the festival. Sweets and dry fruits are the most common gifts shared on this day.
An elderly man turned nostalgic of his childhood days: “Essence of Diwali is the same, but dia has been replaced by candles.”
Security forces deployed in the Valley also celebrated the festival with gaiety. They were seen bursting fire crackers and lighting up candles inside their camps.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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