The following is the 2023 Divali message of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley:
It is Divali 2023 – the annual “Festival of Lights,” celebrated by our brothers and sisters in our Hindu community, and across the world.
To them all, I extend greetings on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, my family, and myself, as Prime Minister.
It is noteworthy that Divali is a national holiday, having been recognised as such, and is now being shared and celebrated increasingly across Trinidad and Tobago.
It is no longer looked upon as an insular activity or an event confined to only a particular community or just the Hindu faith.
In fact, one can sense the growing realisation that the essential message of Divali is extending to each and every one of us, as citizens, and as human beings.
Its essence looms large, holding a universal appeal to every human being, regardless of his or her religious affiliation, ethnicity or geographical location on this planet.
But, across the world today, there are dark clouds. In recent times, there was the feeling among many persons — myself included — that there were signs, at last, that gave us hope for greater human understanding, comity, and long-lasting peace.
On reflection, we, quite naively, charted that hope from the cognitive revolution of early man, later in his so-called Western Age of Enlightenment, followed by what we believed to be a centuries-long march of progress, into a Fourth Industrial Revolution, with artificial intelligence, creating advances in genetic engineering, robotics, nano- technology, quantum computing, and space exploration. For us, there was hope that at some point man would have overcome, finally, his fatal flaw, that of irrationality. But for the past two years, the world has been under many dark clouds of war and inhumanity on a scale unanticipated in modern times.
So, as citizens, be warned that the gruesome effects of these occurrences will reach our land, in some form.
The inherent message of Divali holds a light to this flood of darkness, inviting each one of us to look within ourselves for inner peace — beyond the rapid and confusing pace of our daily lives.
The light of Divali reminds us of our positive qualities, our potential for a bright future and that we are all God’s people.
Its message takes us on an enlightened journey, warning of such dangers as tribal and cultural wars, which are now prominent on the international agenda, urging that we replace those wars with our inherent love — seeing God in every person’s face, regardless of ethnic differences.
In various ways the message of light over darkness provides an answer, also providing other deep, meaningful questions about ourselves.
It asks that we pause, refine our spiritual understanding of ourselves, and keep searching for oneness with our God.
May the light of Divali reach every person, and every home in our country.