(APP – Feature by Rafia Haider)

KARACHI, Oct 19 (APP):KARACHI, Oct. 19 (APP): Festivity linked to Diwali, marked its
beginning in the wee hours Thursday as members of local Hindu
community arranged special worship sessions to welcome Lakshmi, the
Goddess of Wealth as per Hindu mythology.
Diwali or festival of lights also coincides with the return of
Lord Rama, another major mythological character who as per belief
returned homed after an exile of 14 years.
“It basically represents the triumph of good over evil,” said Dr.
Suresh Kumar mentioning that Diwali is one of the important festivals
celebrated by the community, festivity of which spreads over a period
of three to five days.
Karachi that during past few years had registered a certain re-
surge in the numbers of the middle class hindus, since their massive
exodus in 1947, is gradually regaining a certain recognition in terms
of different events commemorated under the Hindu calendar,
predominantly being Holi and Diwali.
Although not very elaborate yet local commercial centers,
including the bullion market, is reported to witness an unusual hustle
and bustle in its markets at this point of time.
“All of us without any distinction on basis of our caste or
status, as per tradition, do get indulged in purchase of gold and
luxury goods,” said Dr. Suresh Kumar, originally from Mirpurkhas and
living in the metropolis for past 10 years.
Mentioning that on eve of Dhaneteras, essential part of Diwali
celebrations, people prefer to procure “Lakshmi” (wealth) in
accordance to their capacities, he said in present day scenario many
of the people prefer to purchase prize bonds of varied denominations
as well as shares of different commercial entities.
Rajendar from Badin, who now considers Karachi his permanent
abode with sizable number of friends belonging to other communities
mainly Muslims, feels no inhibition in celebrating the festival.
‘Like any other people we too visit our friends and extended
families to greet each other,” said the young accountant.
“Many of my non Hindu friends await for specially prepared
sweets, considered to be a specialty of ours,” said Rajendar.
In reply to a question, he did not mince his words acknowledging
that not every one can be very open minded, however, an advantage in
Karachi is that people are willing to accept diversity.
Malti, a senior citizen of Karachi serving at KMC for past more
than 40 years said she and her colleagues mainly settled in old areas
prefer to celebrate the day within the community.
“We are in little position to throw lavish parties, however, do
come together to celebrate at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir,” she said
mentioning that youngsters often arrange music shows on self help
About the celebrations peculiar to the festival of light, she
said is from evening till late night that members of the community
from all parts of the metropolis prefer to join special celebrations
at the centrally located Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
There are several small as well as mid sized temples in Karachi,
however, 200 years old, Swaminarayan is the largest one with sizable
number of Hindus living around and therefore many prefer to join the
religious ritual performed here.
The rituals including recitation of holy verses and hyms also
encompasses specially arranged fireworks, leaving a colorful trail in
the night sky.
Colorful patterns created on the floor with sand, rice or flower
petals, called Rangolis are also very peculiar to the occasion as
members of the community decorating their homes and temples with fairy
lights and clay lamps make extra efforts to make Rangoli at their
homes and temples.
Lighting up firecrackers, another integral component of
celebration these firecrackers as per tradition among the community
may go on continuously during night and much to the amusement of kids,
often found playing with sparklers.
Attired in colorful and traditional costumes members of the
community are little reluctant to allow others to join the festivity.
It was therefore no surprise to see non Hindu vendors selling
balloons, garlands and even souvenirs related to the occasion.
Presence of Pakistan Rangers – Sindh personnel along with police
force definitely provided an additional sense of security to the
people in general.