No help on Hindu holiday controversy from Indian High Commissioner

first_imgFrom left to right: Pandit Hardesh Tiwari of the Viraat Sabhaa, Pandit Ramdial Balbadar of the West Coast Demerara Sanatan Dharm Pandits Sabha, Pandit Navin Lillia of the Guyana Pandits Council and Pandit Ravi Persaud, the President of the Viraat SabhaaA resolution to the Hindu holiday controversy is far from over now that the Indian High Commissioner to Guyana Venkatachalam Mahalingam opted to stay clear of this conflict which has virtually divided the local community.He was lobbied by the local Hindu fraternity to provide assistance in settling the dispute over the timings for the various religious events, most notably Diwali and Phagwah.However Pandit Hardesh Tiwari of the Viraat Sabhaa, one of the lobbyist groups, disclosed during a Thursday news conference that the High Commissioner indicated that no help will be forthcoming since the matter is too controversial. “The Indian High Commissioner clearly indicated that India is a secular nation and would not want to interfere in a sovereign nation’s own expression of its religious views and that the Indian Government would not want to interfere and be a part of this whole,” he pronounced.After this route was unsuccessful in resolving the controversy, the Viraat Sabhaa organised a symposium with the aim of establishing the correct date for Hindu religious observations locally.Some 33 pandits from various organisations attended the meeting and came to a consensus that Diwali 2016 must be observed on October 29.But Pandit Tiwari explained that given the 9:30h time zone difference, Guyana must celebrate Diwali the day before India in keeping with the religious guidelines to observe the holiday during the evening of the new moon (Amaavasya).He said the problem lies in establishing when Amaavasya, which has a beginning and an ending.In local time, the Pandit explained that Amavaasya starts at 11:09h on October 29 and ends on 13:37h on October 30. Therefore, he said, Guyana must observe Diwali on the night of the new moon which falls on October 29.He explained that India is celebrating the festival on October 30 because with the time zone difference, the new moon sighting will be on that evening.Amavaasya will begin at 20:30h on October 29 in India and end at 23:00h on October 30. Pandit Tiwari said it would be impractical to celebrate Diwali on October 29 in India because adherents generally light their diyas around 18:00h.                                                                                                              He argued that this calculation is being observed by Caribbean States and Hindus in both Canada and the USA.Massive confusion erupted last year after the two leading Hindu organisations in the country failed to find middle ground on the date for the festival of lights – Diwali. This disagreement between the two bodies rolled over into the new year for the festival of colours – Phagwah.last_img