Diwali is about removing obstacles and darkness from our lives – President Ali

In celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali urged Guyanese to put aside their differences and let the spirit of Diwali unite them.

The President emphasised that the goal of shared prosperity set forth by his administration depends on national unity.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

The head of state made these remarks at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s Diwali Motorcade, at La Bonne Intention (LBI) Community Centre Ground, East Coast Demerara, on Sunday.

Dr Ali also urged Guyanese to do their part to improve the lives of everyone and their communities. He noted that the message of Diwali is about removing darkness in every shape and form, removing obstacles from our paths and families, “Darkness and obstacles that obstruct the development of our communities, our homes, families, and these are things that the rich tradition of the leadership of the Dharmic Sabha has worked hard and fought for in this country.”

President Ali noted, “We could not forget that in the last two years in our country, we went through four of our worst floods. We went through some of our greatest injustices and I want to thank all of you, all Guyanese who stood up like a lamp with brilliance in ensuring that justice, rule of law, and freedom, fundamental issues were protected with the way you stood up for justice. And I thank you on behalf of the people of Guyana.”

A section of the crowd at LBI community center ground

President Ali reiterated his One Guyana vision and noted that the message of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha has always surrounded the unification of people and, “This is what Diwali offers us…all of those persons who came out to view the motorcade and to be part of this experience. You will see Guyanese from every walk of life, every culture, ethnicity, and that is what we’re about, holding true and strong to these values, ensuring we do our best for each other.”

Dr Ali underlined the value of uniting to better people’s lives and communities and to remove many of the world’s afflictions which include high cost of living, the worst energy, climate, and food crises, and conflicts.

He noted, “Through it all, we in Guyana, we came through this and we’re still standing strong and we are standing in a path that is well lit, in a future that is well lit. We, now, have to make the sacrifices. We, now, have to do the hard work to ensure that every single aspect of darkness is removed along the path of development and prosperity.”

President Ali posing with some of the spectators at the Diwali motorcade

Dr Ali noted that we must always remember the works of Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud and how he contributed to Guyana, Hinduism, and the cultural upliftment of the country, “Because as long as we keep this tradition going and as long as we ensure that this tradition is kept the way it was built, we will be doing justice to the outstanding legacy and work of Pandit Reep and all those who led the way and laid the foundations for us here.”

President Ali stated that from two years ago to today, the world and Guyana have overcome a lot of darkness. As a result, the celebration must also honour those who have passed away in the last two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom were members of the Dharmic Sabha and the Guyanese community. 

The head of state said everyone should stand up for all of humanity. Fundamentally, he noted, that Hinduism respects every single human being and protects the rights of everyone, “We must all rise up and stand up against domestic violence. We must stand up against violence in schools. We must stand up for our girls and women. One of the greatest things that we can do, as humans, is to stand up for justice, stand up for dignity.

“You can look forward to this government for continued hard work, continued sacrifices in ensuring that we do our very best for every Guyanese, to give you the very best possible future. And we do our very best to remove darkness from our country and our society and to contribute to the upliftment of the global family called humanity.”

One of Guyana’s biggest Diwali events, the motorcade, has made a comeback following a two-year hiatus. Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The Diwali Motorcade originated in Guyana in 1974 and is part of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s calendar of activities for the observance of the festival.