Every year Malaysian Indians celebrate the Deepavali festival with their fellow Malaysians from different racial backgrounds with pomp and glory, by having open houses filled with people. Happiness and excitement would prevail not only in their hearts but also in their manner of celebrations, where Malaysians come together to celebrate it as a national festival to foster unity and proximity among different races and religions.
Deepavali is also a day for us to remember and help the down-trodden people and satisfy their needs. We have always carried out that duty with responsibility as I am personally aware of many MIC branches and Indian NGOs that continue to embark on community programs to help less fortunate families among us. The MIC headquarters itself has carried out many such programs in the past and would continue to do so.
Deepavali is also a day for us to remember our ancestors and cherish their sacrifices for us. Every year Malaysians travel the length and breadth of the country to visit their loved ones and relatives to be with them to celebrate this auspicious day.
However, everything has changed for Malaysian Indians during this year’s Deepavali season. With the government staging a war to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, our way of celebrations has been curtailed.
Visits to the temples have been limited in terms of timings and the number of devotees. Travels to other states are forbidden. Deepavali open houses are to be held according to the size of the houses with a limited number of guests. The SOPs on health-related matters must be followed strictly and cannot be compromised.
But let’s not lose hope. Let us keep our spirits high. Although this year’s Deepavali may be celebrated less cheerfully, let us understand that these measures are necessary to protect our loved ones and our fellow Malaysians.
With Covid-19 taking a toll on many lives among us, it is time for the Malaysian Indian community to come forward with some sacrifices to help the government to combat this pandemic by scaling down our Deepavali celebrations.
In the process let us not forget the true purpose of Deepavali celebrations, that is to help those in need. Let’s continue to do that while keeping the celebrations according to our traditions and customs.
Deepavali festival is always hailed as a triumph over evil. Let us make it true in these modern times by extending our fullest cooperation to the government’s efforts to triumph over the evil Covid-19.