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Diwali in Canadian Parliament

Prime Minister Stephen Harper leads Diwali festivities amid chanting of vedic mantras by nine priests.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2007 15:31 IST

Celebrating Diwali at Canada's Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said India's pluralistic and democratic traditions were an example for the world to follow.

Amidst chanting of vedic mantras by nine priests from different parts of the country, traditional puja was performed at a colourful ceremony in Ottawa, in which besides Harper, Stephen Dion, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and RL Narayan, the High Commissioner of India to Canada participated.

Harper commended India's cultural heritage and its commitment to linguistic, ethnic and spiritual pluralism.

"India has amassed a millennia-old history of linguistic, ethnic, and spiritual pluralism. Such diversity has, at times, posed significant challenges for India and complemented the country in successfully meeting the challenge," he said.

"India is making a determined effort to alleviate tensions and reconcile interests through its democratic institutions. Where far too many other countries have failed, India is succeeding," the Prime Minister said while celebrating the Hindu festival of lights last night.

Harper said that the world could learn lessons how India and Canada has fostered peaceful, prosperous, pluralistic society while eschewing the age-old conflicts that detract from them, and seeking a common future for the generations yet to come.

He said India was a model for Canada as a democratic country that brings together varied languages and cultures. "Today we are celebration one of our country's greatest strengths -- our commitment to pluralism."

Speaking on the occasion, Narayan said the festival celebrated the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.

Deepak Obhrai, member of Parliament, said Diwali was not a festival of Hindus only but of humanity because it symbolised victory of truth over evil that was preached by every religion

Indo-Canadians dressed in their traditional attire attended the function.

Arvind Chhatbar, President of the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber said over 300 Indo-Canadians including 40 members of Parliament and nine Indo-Canadians organisations participated in the function.