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Political leaders, prominent personalities greet Indians on Diwali

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WASHINGTON/LONDON: A slew of political leaders, including US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and other prominent personalities took to social media on Thursday to extend their greetings to Indians celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.
Diwali or Deepavali is a five-day festival that marks the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
“May the light of Diwali remind us that from darkness there is knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, unity. From despair, hope,” President Biden’s office said in a tweet.

In a joint statement President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Diwali carries even a deeper meaning.
“It is our honor to be the first president and first lady to light a diya together in the White House to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights that is observed by more than one billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists in the United States, India, and around the world,” they said.
“Like many cherished holidays during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali carries an even deeper meaning. To those who have lost loved ones, we hope this sacred time provides comfort and purpose in their memory,” they said in the joint statement.
President Biden and Jill said thy were grateful to those who celebrate in America for making the traditions of Diwali part of America’s story.
“For generations, you have opened your homes and hearts during Diwali to exchange gifts and sweets, host feasts with family and friends, and organize cultural programs in our communities – with prayers and dances, vibrant and colorful art, and sparklers and fireworks – that bring us all together,” the statement said.
“May the spirit of Diwali remind us that out of darkness there is light in knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, there is unity in common bonds of empathy and compassion. From isolation, there is community in the connections we share as we look out for one another and hope, dream, and believe in possibilities,” it said.
“That spirit is what we reflected upon in the simple act of lighting a diya, a small candle that carries such profound meaning. From the People’s House to yours, may the light shine within us all as a powerful source of healing, repair, and renewal – a light that shines on who we are and what we can be at our best as a people and a nation. On behalf of our family, we wish you a happy Diwali,” they said.
US Vice President Kamala Harris in her video message reminded people to “honour the light” and lend a hand to those in need as she wished a “joyous Diwali” to everyone.

“Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights here in the United States and around the world. @SecondGentleman and I extend our warmest wishes for a holiday filled with light, love, and prosperity,” she wrote in a tweet.
“Happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas to everyone celebrating here in the UK and around the world!” British Prime Minister Johnson said in a tweet.
“I hope this Diwali and Bandi Chor Divas for our Sikh friends are truly special… I want to say a huge thank you to Britain’s Hindus, Sikhs, Jains for everything you have done to support the vulnerable and help keep people safe over the past 18 months,” he said in a video message on Twitter.
“I simply want to wish everyone in the UK and around the world particularly our friends in India who suffered so much earlier this year, a very happy Diwali. May your year be filled with light and joy and prosperity,” he added.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his Diwali greetings lauded the Hindu community for making a “significant contribution” to the spiritual, ethical, economic and cultural life of the country through the values of honesty, patience and compassion.
“These are values and moral duties of which our society is in great need, as we seek to rebuild our economy and overcome poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said.
As an occasion of religious devotion and cultural expression, Diwali is a rich and enriching feature of our nation’s valued and enviable diversity. It is also an occasion on which we acknowledge the ties of history that bind our nation to other parts of the world,” he added.
Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett wished his “friend” and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Diwali.
“Happy Diwali to my friend Narendra Modi and to all the people celebrating in India and around the world,” he said in a tweet. Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also extended their Diwali greetings.
“Happy Diwali, to all our Indian friends and Hindus worldwide! May this beautiful festival remind us of the great light that we can bring into the world together,” President Herzog said in a tweet.
“Happy Diwali to my friend Dr S Jaishankar & to all celebrating this auspicious occasion. May light continue to triumph over darkness,” Lapid tweeted.
“May the light in mankind dispel the darkness in our world today. Happy Deepavali,” tweeted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“This Deepavali, I pray for happiness, prosperity, wealth and divine grace for everyone,” wrote President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai also expressed their warm wishes to people in India celebrating the festival of Diwali.
“Wishing a happy and safe Diwali to all those celebrating around the world. May the Festival of Lights fill your home with happiness and health,” Cook said in a tweet.
“Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the festival of lights! (Look for the Diya lamp when you search for “Diwali” on Google:),” the Indian-origin CEO of Google and Alphabet said in a tweet.
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Ghebreyesus took to Twitter to wish Indians on Diwali, saying: “May the lights of Diwali bring good health and happiness to everyone celebrating”.

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