Reproduced from the TRINIDAD EXPRESS:
|President Richards in Parliament|
Like the deya, that central symbol of Divali, the Festival of Lights, President George Maxwell Richards has called on citizens, regardless of religious persuasion, to reflect on the role each can play in being a light in respective spheres of influence.
In his Divali message to the country, Richards said the deya, which serves as a visual representation of Divali's theme of the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, truth over falsehood and knowledge over ignorance.
"The humility of this symbol is particularly striking to me, as deyas that illuminate our neighbourhoods and homes on this day, are not expensive lamps of gold or silver but earthen vessels made of clay... Like the humble deya, we need not have gold or silver to be a bearer of light wherever we are. Light is powerful. The smallest light pierces the deepest darkness.
"But, the importance of light is not derived solely from its ability to dispel darkness. Light also reveals what is hidden in the darkness. When light shines, we see clearly and can avoid stumbling. To be a bearer of light is to carry great responsibility. As light bearers, we, by our words and deeds must raise the bar. If each of us assumes the responsibility of bearing light, then certainly our homes, our families, our communities and our nation will benefit," Richards said.
Prof Richards noted that Trinidad was one of 11 countries with an official holiday celebrating the largest Hindu festival.
"The inclusion of Divali in our national holiday calendar is testimony to the commitment made 50 years ago by the founders of our then newly independent nation and declared in our national anthem, '…here every creed and race find an equal place…'
It is also an acknowledgement of the contribution which has been and continues to be made by citizens of the Hindu faith, in building our nation. As typifies us as a people, Divali is not only celebrated by citizens of the Hindu faith, but also by those of different beliefs who join in the peace, joy and hope that characterises the festival…
I wish the national community and in particular, those of the Hindu faith, a very happy Divali," he said