Like around the world, Hindus in the city celebrated Diwali with traditional zeal on Thursday.
Main ceremony was arranged by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) at Krishna Mandir on Ravi Road. A cake was cut at the temple, which was extensively illuminated and heavily guarded.
Addressing the ceremony, ETPB Chairman Siddiqul Farooq said, “Diwali is a day to light lamps of love and promote harmony.”
Hindu leader Dr Manohar Chand, ETPB Secretary Mian Abdul Qadeer, Deputy Secretary Faraz Abbas and a good number of Sikhs and Christians were also present.
Siddiqul Farooq said Hindus enjoyed complete religious freedom in Pakistan. He mentioned ongoing development work at Katas Raj Temples in Chakwal, Krishna Mandir in Rawalpindi, Kali Bari Mandir in Peshawar and Sadhu Bela Mandir in Sukkur.
Hindu leader Amarnath Randhawa told The Nation that Diwali was marked to spread the message of harmony. “Hindus living in Pakistan prayed for prosperity of Pakistan on their religious day. Some Hindus visit temples on Diwali and others stay home and celebrate the day with their relatives. They also exchange gifts,” he said.
He said that Hindus also worship Lakshmi on Diwali. “This worship is meant to invite Goddess Lakshmi to homes so that the New Year of Hindu Calendar brings peace and wealth. We light lamps in front of Goddess Lakshmi according to Hindu religious beliefs,” he said.
Mohni Devi, 20, student of BA History at the Government College University, said she celebrates Diwali with Muslim and Christian friends. “We wear new dresses and exchange gifts. Every year my friends from history department congratulate me on Diwali,” she said.
Rachna Devi, a housewife, said the city of Lahore has always been a place where people of different religions live in peace and harmony.
Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Khalil Tahir Sandhu congratulated Hindus on Diwali, saying people of different faiths were equal citizens of Pakistan and all religious minorities enjoyed equal rights under the Constitution of Pakistan. He said the Hindu community had played an important role in nation development.
The minister said the Pakistani Hindu community was a respectable faction of the society and greater socialisation among people of different faiths would brotherhood, peace and harmony.
Warraich, Faizan. Lighting lamps of love. The Nation, October 20,2017.