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Diwali illuminates India

November 07, 2018 20:16 IST

Earthen lamps dotted houses and lights decked up buildings as people celebrated Diwali amid some restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court on bursting of firecrackers.

IMAGE: Kashmiri girls burning earthen lamps and candles during Diwali celebrations, at Hanuman Mandir in Srinagar. Photograph: PTI Photo

People visited their kith and kin, exchanged festive greetings and sweets while social media, including the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, was flooded with Diwali messages as many took the virtual route to convey their wishes.

President Ram Nath Kovind has conveyed his greetings to the people, urging citizens to share the joy of the festival with the less privileged.


He also asked the people to celebrate a pollution-free and safe festival of lights.

“On the auspicious occasion of Deepawali, I extend warm greetings and good wishes to all my fellow citizens in India and around the world.

“This festival is an opportunity to foster fraternity and unity among all citizens. Deepawali guides us from darkness towards light. On this occasion let us spread and share our happiness with those who are less fortunate than us,” the president said in his Diwali message Tuesday.

IMAGE: People light lamps as they make a formation of a peace symbol in Chandigarh. Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat joined soldiers Wednesday on the occasion.

Modi celebrated his Diwali with army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel in the icy terrain near the India-China border, saying their devotion to duty in the remote icy heights is enabling the strength of the nation.

“You are not only protecting one corner of our land. By securing the country’s borders, you are making safe the lives and dreams of 125 crore Indians,” Modi, dressed in heavy mountain gear, told the soldiers in the presence of Army Chief Rawat.

Sitharaman celebrated the occasion with army personnel in remote posts in Arunachal Pradesh near the Sino-India border.

In a tweet, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, said, “My best wishes to all Indians, on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. I wish you all peace & happiness.”

IMAGE: People burst fire crackers as part of Diwali celebrations in Mumbai. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo

The Border Security Force and the Pakistani Rangers exchanged sweets and greetings on the festival of lights at the Attari-Wagah border in Punjab, officials said.

The BSF gifted sweets to the Pakistani Rangers and it reciprocated the gesture.

In the national capital, the air quality on Diwali oscillated between “poor” and “very poor” categories as authorities warned of severe deterioration even if “partial toxic crackers” are burned compared to last year.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research recorded the overall air quality index at 319, which falls in “very poor” category.

Eyeing rising pollution levels in cities across the country, the Supreme Court last month said people can burst firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals.

IMAGE: A man dressed in a clown costume attracts customers to a store in a market in New Delhi. Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

The court has only allowed manufacture and sale of just the “green crackers” which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals.

To mark the festival of lights, the United Nations on Wednesday issued special postal stamps to commemorate Diwali. The stamps were released by the UN Postal Administration.

The sheet in the denomination of $1.15 contains ten stamps and tabs featuring festive lights and the symbolic lamps, diyas.

Bollywood turned to Twitter to greet people on the occasion.

“Greetings for a happy prosperous and successful Diwali ..,” actor Amitabh Bachchan said.

Director Karan Johar said, “Happy Diwali to all of you! Love and light for life.....stay as positive as you can this year.”

"Greeting people on the occasion, actor Anushka Sharma in a tweet said, “Happy Diwali to all . Hope you all find the light in you . Be happy , be kind, be safe. 

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