Brightening up lives on Diwali : The Tribune India

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Brightening up lives on Diwali

Brightening up  lives on Diwali

Photo for representation. iStock file photo



Sumit Paul

JASHN-E-HOLI ho ya Diwali, manao sab ke saath/Gareebon ko do mithai, zaifon ki jaanib badhao haath (Whether it’s Holi or Diwali, celebrate with all/Give sweets to the poor and extend a helping hand to the elderly). Suhail Aurangabadi’s couplet gives us inspiration to celebrate all festivals with those who are marginalised and needy. Whether it’s Eid, Christmas, Diwali or Holi, I visit orphanages and old-age homes in my city. Everyone has the right to enjoy the festive spirit. So why should inmates of these places be deprived of it? They long for someone’s company to dispel the loneliness. Seeing them savour sweets is a sight that can never be forgotten.

A couple of years ago, I visited an old-age home on Diwali. There was an elderly couple whose son was living abroad and did not visit them for years. He had even stopped wishing them on Diwali and other festivals. When I greeted them, they hugged me and started crying.

So many elderly couples feel lonely, all the more during festivals. If we spend some time with them, they feel overjoyed. They don’t want gifts. They want company. Kids at orphanages often have to make do with old clothes or used ones gifted condescendingly by affluent people. Give them new clothes and see the dazzling joy on their faces. It is brighter than the light of all the lamps.

Distributing sweets and clothes among the inmates of old-age homes and orphanages is a good way to bond with them, not just on special occasions but throughout the year. Brightening up the lives of these people sums up the spirit of Diwali. This noble gesture is in stark contrast to the extravagance of spending excessively on firecrackers, thereby adding to the air pollution, and mindlessly exchanging gifts with our friends and relatives.

Urdu poet Nida Fazli put it so poignantly: ‘Ghar se masjid hai bahut dur chalo yun kar lein/Kisi rote hue bachche ko hansaya jaaye’ (The mosque is quite far from home/It’ll be better if we can bring a smile on the face of a weeping child). There is no better act of piety than making an underprivileged person happy. His blessings enrich your life. To quote Saba Kashmiri: ‘Maayoos chehron ko tabassum dena/Maqsad-e-jashn ho har kisi ka’ (To lend a smile to unhappy faces/Should be the cardinal objective of the festival). After all, a festival should not be reduced to a hollow celebration.

#Diwali


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