“I would like to see Fiji, our homeland, bathed in more and more light to take us from where we are now to where we should be."
Those were the words of People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka in his Diwali message.
Rabuka says his spiritual background as a Christian affirms the Hindu belief, expressed through Diwali, of the symbolism of light for humankind.
He adds that it is always associated with good, while darkness communicates evil.
Rabuka says without light there would only be darkness.
He shared that in 1974, when he served for 12 months in the British Army, he gained a fuller realization of what Diwali meant.
He was in Hong Kong with a Brigade of Gurkhas who are Hindus and was invited to join them as they celebrated the Diwali festival.
Rabuka says he never forgot this experience.
He acknowledged Irene Jai Narayan, formerly of the National Federation Party who lobbied the idea for recognition of Diwali as a national holiday.
Rabuka believes that Narayan felt this would help in rebuilding multi racial co-operation as a cornerstone of Fiji’s politics.
Rabuka says that the issue came to the full cabinet where they debated and agreed unanimously that Diwali should be recognised officially.
He says it was an easy decision.
The People’s Alliance Leader says Diwali stands for many things including love, happiness, family, togetherness, gift-giving, sharing, prosperity, and the joy and excitement of children.
He believes that these have a universal appeal across religions.
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