Communal Harmony Comes with Diwali in Gujarat

Abdul Hafiz Lakhani for BeyondHeadlines

Gujarat is all set to celebrate its longest and the most enjoyable festival Diwali from tomorrow. This festival is always joyful and enterprising for business. Moreover this The festival of lights, Deepawali, signifying the victory of good over evil is also serving to strengthen communal bonds with Muslim artisans of the city being busy engaged in making of ledgers and calendars for their Hindu customers.

In Jamalpur, an area located in the older part of Ahmedabad, the Muslim artisans are burning the midnight oil to make the ledgers on time for the festival of Diwali.

Hindu traders and businessmen, on the day of Diwali, perform religious rituals with the account books. It is believed that worshipping these newly made account books would bring wealth and is considered auspicious by the business community.

“This festival of Diwali is a festival of communal harmony. Hindus and Muslims celebrate it together. The work we do gives us our daily bread. It does not matter to us whether this work is for a Hindu. This is for all and we get paid for our labour,” said Iltaja Hussain Momin, a Muslim artisan.

Even though in 2002 Gujarat witnessed one of the worst communal riots, in which thousands of lives were lost, Muslim artisans still don’t hold any hard feelings towards the Hindu community and pray for their prosperity as well.

“Our work goes on for nine months out of twelve. During, Diwali our workload increases as our sales increase during this festive period. Our traders are all Hindus. We pray to god that their business booms and they are successful. We have no ill-feeling towards them,” said Sharif Iqbal Shiekh, another potter. The account books are laboriously made by the Muslim artisans and are hand-stitched with pictures of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi on them.

A variety of decorative knick knacks made by street children have been put on sale by a trust in Gujarat ahead of Diwali, to use the money thus collected to brighten up their lives. A trust called ‘Pujit Rupani Trust’ in Rajkot city of Gujarat has organised an exhibition of the decorative items made by children from poor families.

More than 300 street children’s items are on display at this exhibition. According to the trustee, Anjali Rupani, the aim of this exhibition is to collect money by selling these items to make the festival cheerful for the otherwise deprived children.

The children worked with great enthusiasm to find a platform for their art and for a promotion of this kind. A variety of artistic earthern lamps, photo frames, earthern toys and other beautiful items of various designs and colours which are generally used on the occasion of Diwali are on display.

Eager visitors went on a buying spree as the cause gave them immense joy. According to tour operators, the trend of festive travelling is growing exponentially. Despite spiralling airfare and high room charges in hotels, people are travelling. “Due to floods in Kashmir, the traffic has moved on to destinations like Shimla and Kerala,” said a city-based tour operator.

“This year we are seeing exotic short haul locales like Abu Dhabi, Oman, Uzbekistan and Philippines getting place in travel list of Amdavadis. Short-haul favourites like Thailand, Dubai and Singapore, which offer easy access of an under 5-hour flight, have witnessed a 25-40% rise in hotel bookings for this weekend,” added Phadkar.

According to the travel agents, a positive outcome of the depreciating rupee has led to the renewed interest in domestic tourism.


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