Tonight, many of our citizens, and not just those in the Hindu community, will light deyas in celebration of Divali. It is heartening that this will occur in locations across the country, especially in the context of our current circumstances.
Just as the world is facing the pandemic, so too is Trinidad and Tobago striving to overcome the darkness that has threatened our people for the past year and a half. Divali offers us an opportunity for encouragement, introspection and hope. Just as Divali symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over fear, we must take the same approach if we are to overcome.
Our people have always risen to the occasion despite adversity. Our flame may flicker at times, but it has never gone out. Instead, it emerges brighter and stronger, revealing our tenacity and resilience as it dispels darkness.
Today’s challenges are unlike any in the past, and our road to recovery is long. Yet, we continue knowing that these hurdles will eventually be consigned to history. What people will remember most is how we light the way for the generations to come.
Right now, places of worship are being reopened and safe zones are being rolled out. Each step restores a glimpse of normalcy to this country, and we should all feel encouraged.
The lessons of Divali are many, which is why everyone celebrates alongside the Hindu community. It also focuses on personal enlightenment — the battle of knowledge over ignorance, a search for understanding and self-awareness that will help us achieve clarity in our own lives so that we, as members of families and communities, can all contribute to nation-building.
Divali is also a unifying force for this country and an enduring example of our religious acceptance. It champions compassion and giving, through the sharing of parsad by the Hindu community with family, friends, and neighbours. It reminds us how we should live with each other, and that we lose nothing by sharing the warmth of our flame with others. Finally, it urges us to adopt selflessness, introspection, hopefulness, togetherness and perseverance. To do this is to become a better people, regardless of who we are or where we live.
So, today, may prosperity, peace and power shine upon the national Hindu community, an indelible piece of our national fabric. Shubh Divali Trinidad and Tobago!