The essence of Diwali; Happy Diwali

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Special write up for Panorama

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights and is
celebrated on a large scale throughout India and the Indian Diaspora. It is
also celebrated in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore,
Guyana, West Indies,  Fiji,  and of course, here in the United States.

Thanks to the Gupta’s for placing Dallas on the World Map of Diwali
Celebrations. I believe it is one of the biggest celebrations in the United
States, if not the biggest in the western Hemisphere.  Ramesh Gupta initiated the event eight years
ago, fully supported, encouraged and funded by the Dallas billionaire couple
Satish and Yasmin Gupta. 

Nearly 50,000 people attend the event. First it was held in Texas Stadium,
former home of the Dallas Cowboys and now it is held at the Cotton Bowl Stadium
in Fair Park, Dallas, where college football is played and home to Texas State

 There is nothing like it.  Satish Gupta, president of the organizations
writes this information on their website,, “This year
again we have decided to pack all the fun for children, youth, adults and
seniors. From Ram Leela and Bollywood singers to spectacular fireworks,
elephant rides to slides, Cultural dances to mouth watering Indian food, all
packed in one of the biggest Carnival of its kind in America. There will be
three elephants and two camels available for the rides this year! We bring all
this to you at a very minimal cost to you.”

Diwali is spelled differently, and is called by many names.  There is Divali among others, and Deepavali,
meaning the festival of lights.  Although
Diwali is a Hindu tradition, people of all faiths participate in celebrations –
Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and others.

People decorate their homes with lights and
Rangoli, i.e., colorful drawing in the front yard of the home, sidewalks, even
roads in India with colorful powders or colorful pieces of chalk. Women and
Children look forward to express their artistic talent in this season. Their
surroundings filled with colorful lights to enliven the day, to mark the dawn
of a new era in one’s life.

My childhood is filled with good memories of Diwali;
the sparklers, the food and everything joyous you can imagine.

A few years ago, Jyoti and Nishi Bhatia, former
President of DFW Hindu Temple and President of Dallas Hindi Association
respectively, asked me to speak about Diwali in a dinner gathering to a group of
people from different faiths and cultures, and I cherished it, I love talking
about Diwali, as its essence reflects the ideals of pluralism, and symbolizes hope and positive energy, victory of good over evil; a new
beginning.  It is indeed seeing the light
at the end of tunnel.

Diwali Celebration is a part of the epic Ramayana, and the Ram Lila is played
out all night long in towns across India. I grew up watching it in front of my
house, and my friends played different roles in the show. Indeed, one of my
former relatives played Hanuman’s role.

It was a challenge for me to teach Ramayana to a group of people who knew
nothing about it.  It turned out to be a
successful program. I prepared the nearly all white audience that I will be
narrating the story through the power point and along will be reinforcing the
names and roles of the key persons in the story and will ask them for feed back
at the end.  Friends, I cannot tell you
the joy, the Bhatias and I felt when each one of them answered the questions
from the story. They got it!  It is a
powerful story and takes about 30 minutes to narrate.

The epic is filled with educative
tales, edifying poems, and fables. It is probably through their constant
retelling in the villages over centuries that Hinduism is most efficiently
disseminated from generation to generation… 

Whenever a society
rots with adharma (wrong path), where no one cares about the other, lying,
stealing and dishonesty become rampant, Lord Krishna says, I will emerge among
you and restore the righteousness and trust in the society to function
Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, 
Krishna, Nanak, Mahavira, Confucius, Tao 
and others served the same purpose… it is almost like the laws of physics
; water finds its own level, and righteousness finds its own existence.

Rama is one such incarnation
who reestablished the moral code for social conduct and proper relation of
mankind to divinity.  He was truthful and
a just king.  

The full story with the title “Essence of Diwali” will be available to read at and other sites listed at

Diwali symbolizes hope and positive energy
  • ·        
    People wear new clothes
  • ·        
    Share sweets as a symbol
    of happiness
  • ·        
    Renew the relationships
  • ·        
    Strengthen the bonds
It signifies a new beginning, starting out
  • for most businesses it
    is the new financial year
  • An inventory of assets
    is taken
  • An assessment of family
    and relationship 
  •  Last harvest for the
  •  New things are bought

President Obama in his message last Diwali said it perfectly,

“Many who observe this holiday will light the Diya, or lamp, which
symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. As
that lamp is lit, we should all recommit ourselves to bring light to any place
still facing darkness. Earlier this year, we were reminded of the evil that exists
in the world when a gunman walked into the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek,
Wisconsin and opened fire. In the wake of that horrible tragedy, we saw the
resilience of a community that drew strength from their faith and a sense of
solidarity with their neighbors, Sikh and non-Sikh alike. We also saw
compassion and love, in the heroic actions of the first responders and the
outpouring of support from people across the country. Out of a day of sadness,
we were reminded that the beauty of America remains our diversity, and our
right to religious freedom.

To those
celebrating Diwali, I wish you, your families and loved ones Happy Diwali and Saal

Today, on this blessed day, we have a blank slate to
start, let’s plan on filling it with doing good things for
ourselves, to our family, friends, community, nation and the world until next

What are good things?  Words
and actions that bring peace, Mukti, salvation, Moksha, nirvana, Nijaat
and freedom to us, yes us. There is so much of joy waiting to be had. If we can
remove hatred and anger towards others, forgive others and ask for forgiveness
(Michami Dukadam is a beautiful phrase the Jain’s use), then a blissful year is
sure to come for each one of you and me.
  • May this Diwali purge your heart, mind and soul from hate,
    malice, anger and ill-will;
  • May this Diwali open your hearts and minds towards fellow
  • May this Diwali brighten your life, and may this Diwali mark
    the dawn of a new era;
Muslims are a big part
of Diwali as well, and innumerable poets have written poetries and songs about
Diwali.  Here is my effort, I wrote this
seven years ago on  the occasion when
Diwali and Ramadan were celebrated around the same time.

ये मेरी दिवाली
है, ये मेरी ईद
दोनों में खुशी ही खुशी
A meri diwali hai, a meri eid hai

donon may khushi hi khushi hai

दिवाली से नया साल शुरू होता
रमज़ान एक नया इंसान
बनाता है
Diwali say naya saal shuru hota hai

Ramzan ek naya insaan banata hai

दिवाली मैं एक एक बात का हिसाब होता है
रमज़ान में हर बात का रिव्यू
होता है
Diwali may ek ek baat ka hisab hota hai

Ramzan may her baat ka review hota hai

दिवाली नए साल के लिए क्लीन
स्लेट देता है
रमज़ान पिछले साल का स्लेट
क्लीन करता है
Diwali nayay saal ke liye clean slate deta hai

Ramzan pichlay saal ki slate clean karta hai

बात ही बात में मैंने
एक नयी नज़्म लिख दी साहिर
दिवाली और रमज़ान से सबका
अच्छा ही होता है
Baat hi baat may, my nay a sher likh diya Sahir

Diwali aur Ramzan say subka acha hi hota hai

Shubh kamnaein | Diwali Mubarak | Blessed Diwali.

Happy Diwali to you my friends, may this Diwali
bring happiness, serenity and peace to you. Amen!

I have been writing the essence of every
religious festival  for the last twenty years. Just plug in the word in the search
box at and


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism,
peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work
place. He is committed to building a Cohesive

and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing
up for others
and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has
a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent
guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a
commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas
Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington

and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes all his work
through many links.

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