Justice Markandey Katju: An appeal to non-Hindus to celebrate Diwali

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

The Hindu festival of Diwali will be celebrated this year on November 12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali On this occasion I appeal on behalf of Ibaadatkhana, a global organization promoting interfaith harmony, of which I am the patron, to all non-Hindus worldwide to celebrate Diwali.

I may mention that for the last 25-30 years I have been keeping one-day roza during the holy month of Ramzan or Ramadan (usually on the last Friday). I am an atheist, but I respect all religions, and strongly support freedom of religion and interfaith religious amity. I keep a day’s roza during Ramadan as a symbol of respect for my Muslim brothers and sisters, and each year I appeal to non-Muslims worldwide to do the same.

At one time, Hindus would participate in Eid and Muharram, and Muslims would celebrate Holi and Diwali. Even Mughal Emperors such as Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan, and the later Mughals up to Bahadur Shah Zafar, as well as the Nawabs of many kingdoms in India like Avadh and Murshidabad would celebrate Holi and Diwali.

Diwali was also known as Jashn-e-Chiraghaan, and celebrated by Muslim rulers with great enthusiasm.

After the First War of Independence of 1857 the British rulers started the nefarious practice of divide and rule, and sowed the venom of communal hatred, because of which this practice largely stopped.

It is time to revive and renew the amiable custom of celebrating festivals of all religions together. I am confident non-Hindus everywhere will pay heed to this appeal on behalf of Ibaadatkhana, and celebrate Diwali on November 12 this year.

How to celebrate Diwali is up to you. One way is to light and place a ‘diya’ (an earthen lamp) in front of your house (if that is not available, some other kind of lighting), and greeting your Hindu friends with some sweets.

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