Mangaluru, Nov 23: St Aloysius College (autonomous) hosted 'Deepavali Celebration - Feast of Lights' on Thursday November 22 at the LCRI Hall.
Dr Praveen Leo Lasrado, professor, St Joseph Seminary, here; Dr M Prabhakar Joshi, renowned Yakshagana scholar and former principal, Besant Evening PU College; Dr A M Khan, registrar, Mangalore University were the chief guests. Dr Praveen Martis SJ, principal presided over the programme.
The programme began with a prayer rendered by the college choir, followed by reading quotes from the Bible, Quran and Bhagavad Gita by three students from three faiths. A mesmerizing welcome dance was performed by Srusti and team, followed by a short play depicting the origin and significance of Deepavali, performed by Vikyath and group.
The celebration was inaugurated by lighting a bunch of Diyas by the dignitaries.
Dr M Prabhakar Joshi in his speech said, "Deepavali is a festival of lights and togetherness. It is a festival of unity without any caste or creed. As a lamp spreads light equally to everyone, so we must also love everyone equally. All religions teach us to be united, let us become light of love and prosperity. We need to celebrate Deepavali in such a way that it will instigate the spread of peace and love in society. Deepavali is victory of good over evil. Hindus light rows of clay lamps to celebrate the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana. The Vedic hymn, 'tamasoma jyotirgamaya' (from darkness unto light) represents our divine nature and reminds us of our primary responsibility to pursue the path of light and attain liberation."
Dr Joshi applauded St Aloysius College for the initiative taken in organizing this inter-faith harmony programme in order to bring peace, love and harmony in society.
Dr Praveen L Lasrado addressing the audience said, "My Deepavali wishes to all the Hindu brethren, who have given this festival of lights which spreads the light of peace, love and harmony. In the story of 'The Given Light', the man shares his light with a dying man. When his own light goes off, he relights it from the person with whom he shared his own light. Deepavali is a festival which calls us to share the light we have. Jesus said, 'Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to God'. When we recognize the other human being as our brother or sister then we can say 'the night is over and it is day'. In this sense we are called to celebrate Deepavali everyday."
Dr A M Khan addressing the gathering said, "This is indeed a unique celebration initiated by St Aloysius College, in promoting inter-faith harmony. Harmony is something which brings inner peace. We should all work in unity to maintain peace and harmony. The programme highlighting harmony during Diwali has brought us all together irrespective of religions. Dring this Diwali season let us spread the message to love one another and maintain peace throughout. Deepavali is the day that calls upon us to stand against hate, jealousy, communal disharmony etc.
"Diwali is a great unifying force and it can soften even the hardest of hearts, but today's youth are very much distracted through digital era and internet. This is your time, keep digital era to a limit, start reading and not browsing, shake hands with your friends/relatives and not sending SMS wishes."
Principal, Dr Praveen Martis SJ in his presidential address said, "Deepavali is one of the most popular festivals of India and of Hindus. The festival provides an opportunity to our senses to grasp their share of enjoyment and to our minds and hearts to experience the joys of life, belongingness, love and universal brotherhood. Diwali symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and of good over evil. We celebrate light because it represents life. Apart from the traditional methods of celebrating it, you can celebrate it in other ways too such as lighting the lamp of knowledge in the minds of others or bringing hope and happiness in their lives through selfless service. We should all live in harmony and peace and never give a chance for hate and communal tensions. Let us celebrate Diwali with peace and love that should be our motto."
The programme was compered by Apoorva S, programme coordinator, Chethan Shettigar welcomed the gathering. Anup Denzil Veigas introduced the guests. Suraksha proposed the vote of thanks.