One City, Three festivals, Many Religions

17 November 2011, 6:51 PM

...This weekend, I chanced to be in New Delhi, India's capital city that boasts of pockets of many ethnic groups among its nearly 14 million residents. While here, I ran into several festivals: Guru Nanak's Birthday celebrations in Paluki Bazaar, Bahullah Birthday festival, and the Kite Festival of Delhi Days. Besides the obvious acceptance of multiple religion, I was glad to note that in each, an element of religious inclusiveness existed. At the Palika Bazaar, in Connaught Place, the Sikh community offered a simple langar, or community meal to anyone who came by. Thousands of people from all religions, castes, and classes, lined up to receive poori-chana and a bowl of sweet. In another part of town, people of the Bahai faith are enjoying music, dancing, and prayer in honor of their founder's birthday. The Lotus Temple in Delhi is one of nine Bahai centers around the world, one on each continent. In Delhi, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and others gather at this architectural wonder. At India Gate, the Kite Festival attracted visitors from all over the county. Several fliers promoted religious inclusivity and diversity through their kites, portraying symbols from the various communities on their kites as they raised them into the skies. Even as this country suffers many religious conflicts, this weekend was a reminder to how everyday people can be a part of creating peace through religion in unique ways. Sowmya