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Pakistan

Web Desk & Sidra Khan
October 19, 2017
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Hindus celebrate Diwali in Karachi

Hindus celebrate Diwali in Karachi

Diwali- the festival of lights is celebrated by Hindu community to mark the day of Lord Rama’s return home after a 14-year exile.

The festival lasts for three days.

The first day is called Dhaneteras,when people buy gold and luxury items.

Early morning next day,which is Diwali, every household carries out worship rituals in their homes to welcome Lakshmi- Goddess of Wealth.

Later in the day, they go out to meet friends and family and share sweets amongst themselves.

Festivals are part of every religion and a reason for followers to celebrate, rejoice and get together.

Same is the case with Hindus living in Pakistan. A late night visit to Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on the eve of Diwali would reveal a communal spirit of celebration, happiness and contentment on the faces of young and old alike.

Ahmed, a 50-year-old rickshaw-driver who came for the first time to Shri Swaminarayan Mandir to drop off a passenger shared how for the first time he is visiting the place despite having lived in Karachi his whole life.

 " There has been change in the way minorities are perceived today. Before they used to celebrate Eid and Diwali together but not anymore."

Despite living in a Hindu-majority area, he confessed having little to no Hindu friends.

Karishma, who lives near the temple said that every year the celebrations are carried out in full swing. "Every year the spirit is same. Its how one is excited about it and celebrates it."

Mukesh Kumar, hailing from Punjab and studying at a private university in Karachi, feels the government should not just declare holidays for Hindus but also make it possible for them to go back to their families and actually enjoy the day.

 "I have an exam to prepare for on Diwali so i will not be celebrating it this year," shared an upset Mukesh.

As soon as one enters the vicinity of the temple, excited young children run up to you to ask if you need candles or stringed beads.

 Vendors come all the way from other side of the city to sell candle holders, flowers and threaded beads to worshipers in the temple.

"It takes 4 days to prepare one candle stand. It is entirely hand-crafted. We sell it for Rs200- 300  each."

Making and selling of souvenirs at the temple is a source of income for the poor Hindu community.

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