Selangor Journal
Amirudin (centre) greeting traders during his visit to Little India in Klang, on November 2, 2021. Photo HAFIZ OTHMAN/SELANGORKINI.

Deepavali a ray of light after two years of Covid-19 darkness — MB

A message by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari, in conjunction with Deepavali

Vanakkam, En Iniya Deepavali Nal Vaalthukkal!

I wish a Happy Deepavali to all Selangorians who celebrate this festival of light, particularly the Hindu and Sikh community.

We are all grateful and relieved as this Deepavali can be celebrated with our beloved friends and family after struggling with the lockdown and shutdown that has lasted nearly two years.

As the first festival to be celebrated with permitted social activities following the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, it is pertinent that we trace the original meaning of Deepavali, which I think has come just in time.

In South India, the Hindu community celebrates Deepavali as a gesture of gratitude to the god Krishna.

According to local mythology, the tyrannical king Naraka oppressed and terrified the people. After they called for help, Krishna combatted and defeated Naraka, finally killing him after a fortnight battle.

That is why Deepavali is also known as Naraka Chathurdasi, which means Naraka’s 14th day.

After coming out of an age filled with frightening darkness, the end of Naraka’s era brought forth light to the community there, and is symbolised by the candles and lamps light during Deepavali.

In North India, the Ramayana epic is the basis for the festival. The god Rama from Ayodhya (in modern-day Uttar Pradesh) claimed his right as king after being prevented from doing so by the demon Ravana for 14 years. After defeating Ravana, Rama returned with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.

The locals celebrate the return of Rama by lighting candles and firecrackers, which is also the meaning of the word Deepavali from Sanskrit term ‘dipa’, meaning lamp or candle. While the Sanskrit term ‘avali’ means row or series.

In other words, Deepavali is so joyfully celebrated because it means the end of darkness, and the beginning of a bright future, as well as good triumphing over evil.

Deepavali’s meaning can be said to be the same as the situation we are facing. Almost two years of living in darkness that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic.

With openness and self-awareness in protecting one’s self and one’s family by completing the vaccine dosage, now we are slowly seeing the emergence of light when socio-economic activities have been reopened, and the people can cross districts and states to visit their family and friends.

However we should be responsible and not complacent in continuing practices such as wearing face masks, using hand sanitisers, and doing our best in maintaining social distancing, so that we do not return to the lockdown period as before.

For the Indian community in particular, the state government has also endeavoured to realise several initiatives, to preserve survival and open up employment opportunities.

This includes the Program Pembangunan Usahawan India Selangor or Sitham, with its four aspects of entrepreneurial development training, manufacturing and skills course, trade guidance programme, and trade equipment assistance aid or grants. As of October this year, over 2,000 participants have joined the programme.

In addition, the state government realises the importance of communal relations among the Indian community. This has motivated us to increase the number of Indian community leaders from 48 to 62 throughout the state.

On November 26 I will table the Selangor Budget 2022, which will contain several efforts in line with the economic sector’s reopening.

I am sure the employment opportunities will be a ray of hope and a guarantee of survival. This aspect will be among the main focuses in formulating the state Budget, in the hopes that it will be able to boost Selangor’s economy.

I take the opportunity once again to wish a Happy Deepavali to the Hindu and Sikh community in our beloved nation, and especially to Selangorians.

I am certain the festival this year will be merrily celebrated with full of spirit.

En Iniya Deepavali Nal Vaalthukkal!

 

 

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