— Anantanand Rambachan Hindu studies scholar 1951
Diwali does not end when the lights go out (2013)
Contesto: Hindus have a deep religious responsibility to be politically engaged. At the heart of this engagement must be a concern for the well-being of all. We ought to ensure that Hindus are known, in whatever part of the world we reside, Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean, for our commitment to overcoming suffering rooted in poverty, illiteracy, disease and violence. This commitment must become synonymous with what it means to be Hindu in our self-understanding and in the eyes of others. Politics, according to Mahatma Gandhi, is concerned with the well-being of human communities and anything concerned with human well-being must concern the person of religious commitment. Gandhi was deeply inspired by the life of Rama and especially by the nature of the community established after Rama's return from exile. He understood his life's purpose as working with others to make this community a reality.
Unfortunately, our religious traditions are known more for what we stand against than what we stand for. Religious identity has become negative rather than positive. We need to ensure that the positive dimension of our commitment is more prominent than the negative.
Let us celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, with joy. Let each celebration, however be a reminder and renewal of our profound obligations to help bring the lights of prosperity, knowledge, health and peace to our communities, nations and our world.