Dear Hindu Friends,
Diwali has been celebrated supposedly for more than 3000 years across the Indian subcontinent. Nowadays it is observed from the Caribbean Trinidad e Tobago to the Pacific archipelago of Fiji, passing through, among the others, Pakistan, India, Malaysia and Singapore. Diwali, in its various shades, is a festivity honoured by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists, which allows lights and lamps to be turned on all over the World, like in Rome, Brussels, Paris or Washington. After all, is it not the victory of light over darkness an ancestral as well contemporary will and desire of the humanity as whole?
The clash between light and darkness is the continuous trend that pervades our existences as individuals and as community. The darkness could be evil, despair, misery or ignorance. Lights are good, hope, abundance and knowledge. This New Year I would like to be the one of the victory of knowledge over ignorance.
If knowledge would become the torch which lights up our steps, also evil, despair and misery will be defeated. The quest for truth does not contrast opinions, beliefs, spirituality, feelings and solidarity, but it enriches them. On the contrary, any truths or knowledge will never support censorship, violence, hatred, discrimination or inhumanity. Tolerance, curiosity and study altogether are the tools to sharpen the sword of knowledge. Once we will cut through ignorance, sparks will fire all our candles and lamps and Diwali will start for real.
As President of the Association Italy-ASEAN, I know well what a substantial contribution Hindus gave and give to the cultural and economic development of South-east Asia and the ASEAN integration. Therefore, as Diwali approaches and families and friends gather to reflect, pray and celebrate, and lights decorate the streets and flowers adorn homes to mark and to call for the victory of light over darkness, let me wish you, and us all, a New Year full of Knowledge and a Shubh Deepawali.