Indian culture council head: Vaccinations will lift ‘darkness’ of covid19

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo by Marvin Hamilton

National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) president Deokinanan Sharma wants the light of the deya to illuminate the hearts and minds of the unvaccinated to save the country from more covid19 deaths

Sharma used the Divali Nagar platform on Tuesday night to appeal to the unvaccinated to get on board and take the jab.

With increasing cases of the delta variant, and only 42 per cent of the population vaccinated so far, Sharma joined with health authorities to appeal to citizens to get inoculated.

With the hospitals running out of ICU beds to treat the critically ill and deaths surpassing 1,600, Sharma said, “Our saving grace is for all to get fully vaccinated.”

He told Newsday having the festival live-streamed, is not the same as celebrating with and performing before a live audience.

“I miss the energy of the people,” he said longing for a return of the glory days of the bazaar-type atmosphere at the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas.

‘The sacred festival of Divali is once again with us. I pray the blessings of our Divine Mother Maha Lakshmi be showered upon us all, as we face the dreaded covid 19 pandemic which has been with us for close to two years with no immediate end in sight.

“To make matters worse, we are all now faced with the even more feared delta variant which we are advised spreads faster than the covid virus and is a definite threat to our lives.

“Our saving grace is for all to get fully vaccinated.”

He repeated medical advice which suggests the fully vaccinated stand more than a 90 per cent chance of overcoming the variant.

He advised those who are still vaccine hesitant, especially the obese and those with comorbidities, “You should all get fully vaccinated and avoid any dreadful consequences as soon as possible.”

“You would not only be saving your own lives but also those that are close to you,” he affirmed.

For the second consecutive year, the NCIC has had to scale down the annual Divali Nagar, and transform it into a virtual cultural event.

“We are shying away from the hugely popular and grandiose presentation that we have all become accustomed to during the 34 years that the event has been presented.

“Our Divali presentation this year, 2021, will be a virtual offering (Prastaav) of what our stage presentation would have been under normal circumstances.”

The festival was launched on Tuesday night and cultural shows have been streaming live via NCIC Nagar Facebook page and the Southex Live Events page on YouTube.

Virtual performances run for nine nights, between 8 to 10 pm, ending November 3 on the eve of Divali, celebrated on November 4.

On Thursday night, virtual audiences were privy to cultural performances by Bollywood Dance Co, Shivanand and Narendra Maharaj, with the Shiv Sangeet School of Music, Jairaj Singh, along with Shane and Sharda Musai.

Noting that Divali symbolises light over darkness, Sharma said, “I feel certain that soon we will overcome the current deadly scourge affecting our entire world, and life as we all know it will return to normalcy

“Light will forever overcome darkness. This simple statement symbolises victory of goodness over things evil and enlightenment over ignorance.

“The light of the simple deya will illuminate everything that is around it with absolutely no discrimination. A profound lesson to be learnt by us all.”