Diwali important celebration for Hindus in Fiji that also symbolises a multi-cultural community – Prof Prasad

Diwali important celebration for Hindus in Fiji that also symbolises a multi-cultural community – Prof Prasad

By Mansi Chand
Sunday 12/11/2023
National Federation Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Biman Prasad. [Image: NFP/facebook]

Diwali is the most important event in the Hindu religious calendar which is the perfect example of the vibrancy of colours that symbolise our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious community as the festival of lights has been celebrated in Fiji for over 144 years following the arrival of indentured Indians in 1879.

While delivering his Diwali message, National Federation Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Biman Prasad, says Diwali is the celebration of victory of truth and righteousness.

The NFP Leader says as we prepare to celebrate Diwali, there is clearly a sense of renewed energy, hope and courage to once again make Fiji a beacon of hope and glory. He says the significance of Diwali transcends our daily lives as the 14 years of exile for Lord Ram and his triumphant return to the Kingdom of Ayodhya signified the establishment of ‘Ram Rajya’.

Professor Prasad says on 25th October last year, when people celebrated Diwali there was an environment of uncertainty as the nation was gearing up for the 2022 elections and after 60 days Fiji elected its new Coalition Government which kick-started the beginning of a new future for Fiji after 16 years.

He says the election of the Coalition Government brought hope to the people by putting an end to fear of fundamental freedoms.

Professor Prasad further says people are no longer fearful of being harassed and victimised by the government for speaking out because they enjoy unfettered freedom - also the media can report freely and fairly and not be subjected to intimidation for criticising the Government.

He adds in conformity to the virtues of Lord Rama, they have also demonstrated kindness, compassion and empathy for the people by providing back-to-school assistance while the sugar cane growers received a record price per tonne of cane for the 2022 season, the highest ever in the history of the sugar industry while social welfare grants increased by $15 and $25 to $115 and $125 per month.

He says all this is unprecedented and never achieved in independent history, however, was accomplished within ten months of the Coalition Government taking office against a backdrop of record national debt and economic mismanagement.

Professor Prasad says this was the first time Fiji marked Girmit Day as a public holiday in May this year to remember our forefathers of Indo-Fijians while the government has also strengthened relations with Australia, New Zealand, the United States and India.

India will soon start building a new state-of-the-art super speciality hospital, with the first phase comprising a 100-bed facility with ultra-modern facilities and highly trained medical personnel.

He says Australia and New Zealand are in the process of making the granting of visas faster and more efficient and are continuing to provide budget support that will significantly boost our capacity to achieve bigger and better things for the people.

The NFP Leader says they have agreed to the setting up of a Land Taskforce, which will find a long-term solution to land and lease-related issues in the next few years while the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission will forever put an end to the pain and trauma the people have endured during and after political upheavals that started more than 36 years ago.

He further says that from 10th October 2023, descendants of the Girmitiya, like other former citizens, whose children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are living overseas, can enter, reside and work in Fiji without a permit.

He says they will continue to adhere to the all-important principles of truth, justice and righteousness.

The National Federation Party wishes everyone a joyous and blessed Diwali with the Lord’s blessing upon all Fijians.

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