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Several Hindu organizations have come out in a profound sense of compulsion to publicly state and/or reiterate the position taken that Deepawali 2015 must be observed on the night of November 10.(Back row from left to right): Pt. Krishna Patiram, Pt. Sodama Maraj Pt. Vijay Doobay, Pt. Hardesh Tiwari, Pt. Dhanesh Prashad, Bahinji Devica Uditram,Cheap Shoes Wholesale, Pt. Gopi Prashad, Pt. Maheshwar Maraj, Pt. Bhagwandin (Dado), and Pt. Aditya Persaud – Front row from Left to Right (sitting): Pt. Ubraj Narine, Pt. Somnauth Sharma, Pt. Rudra Sharma, Pt. Rabindranath Persaud, Pt. Balbadar and Pt. Maneshwar Sawh.The organizations said that their conviction on this date has been articulated much earlier in the year and is based on calculations premised on the knowledge of renowned Astrologists, Kaushik, Kaashi and Bhaskaar.“These Panchangs/Patras (Astrological guides), all convincingly demonstrate that Deepawali 2015 is on November 10.”The organizations in support of the November 10 date are Sanatan Vaidic Dharma Pandits’ Sabhaa of Region 3 headed by Pandit Balbadar Pandit Chowbay; Par Upkaric Sabha in Essequibo; Pandit Rudranauth Sharma and Associates from the Guyana Pandits’ Council; Maha Sabha; Gandhi Youth Organisation; Cove & John Ashram; Swami Aksharananda; Pandit Prabhu Deo Sharma and others from the Corentyne; Pandit Dr. Budhindranath Doobay of the Federation of Hindu Temples and Priest in-charge of the Vishnu Mandir in Toronto; Pandit Rattan (Rajin) Balgobind, of the Hindu Society of Berbice.The Hindu groups argued that if the basic of reasons, that the festival must be observed during the darkest night of the year, is examined, this night would be revealed to be November 10.It must be noted that the Viraat Sabhaa along with the above mentioned Hindu Organisations and the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, have a common agreement that the new moon would be born around 13:47 hrs on Wednesday, November 11.Therefore, to celebrate Deepawali on the night of November 11, would be during the new moon (Shukla Paksh) and would be rendered inappropriate. This most basic of reasons point to Deepawali being on the night of November 10.The Hindu groups said without ambiguity that their position regarding the 2015 date for Deepawali is not intended to be a source of conflict with any other Hindu organization.“Our position is taken based on what we believe as Hindu leaders; to correct a glaring discrepancy regarding the date of November 11, which is reflected on national calendars as Deepawali, 2015.”As a matter of fact, the groups explained, this date was reflected on the Viraat Sabhaa’s 2015 calendar. Being cognizant of this earlier in the year, Pandits affiliated to the Viraat Sabhaa, informed and apologised for this mistake and commenced an edifying process with regard to what we all believed to be the right date; November 10. This was done and sustained through television programmes and the Mandirs.”The groups emphasised that their position was not premised on creating division within the Hindu community.“Our intention was solely based on correcting what we believed to be the wrong date for Deepawali. We see this as part of our responsibilities as Hindu leaders. It should be noted that the difference of opinion for some Hindu auspicious dates for 2015, was not confined to Deepawali, but also affected Phagwah, Janamasthmi, Hanuman Jayanti and Pitri Paksh. The Guyana Pandits’ Council and many other Mandirs celebrated this year’s Phagwah the day before what was reflected on the national calendar. Attempts were made during the latter part of last year (2014) to have these differences resolved.”According to the group, some persons have ventured to create the impression that only in Guyana there is a difference of opinion regarding this year’s date for Deepawali.This issue, they said, however, is not unique to Guyana for this year, and is the case also in the United States of America and Canada. South India will celebrate on November 10 while the North on November 11.The Group’s petition to Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, who has responsibility for the declaration of national holidays, was supported by some 90 Pandits and Hindu leaders who represent a vast majority of Hindus in Guyana.The petition was strongly supported by evidence based on religious considerations which they believe were compelling enough for the date to be reassigned.Among those who supported the petition are the Sanatan Vaidic Dharma Pandits’ Sabhaa of Region Three headed by Pandit Balbadar who is a Hindu Philosopher, Sanskrit Teacher and Author; Pandit Chowbay, an academic, from the Par Upkaric Sabha in Essequibo; Pandit Rudranauth Sharma and associates from the Guyana Pandits’ Council; the Maha Sabha; the Gandhi Youth Organisation; the Cove & John Ashram.; Pandit Prabhu Deo Sharma and others from the Corentyne.It should be noted that Swami Aksharananda in Guyana, was firm that if Deepawali is to be celebrated after the birth of the new moon, it would be inappropriate.The petition was also supported by renowned Pandit Dr. Budhindranath Doobay of the Federation of Hindu Temples and Priest in-charge of the Vishnu Mandir in Toronto and Pandit Rajin Balgobind, of the Hindu Society of Berbice. It is, therefore, inaccurate to suggest that a minority of Hindu leaders in Guyana disagree with the November 11 date.While we are cognizant of the impact this could have on the Hindu community, we believe that we would have abandoned our responsibility not to correct this unfortunate development. Also, we believe that not because an organization misleadingly claiming to have been deciding such dates for forty years, means that it cannot be wrong.It should also be noted that the Maha Sabha in Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating Deepawali on November 10 and it is also a national holiday in that country.Originally, the Maha Sabha of Trinidad & Tobago had printed the November 11 as the date for Diwali. However, after this incorrect date was recognised, the organisation was magnanimous in recognizing their error, changing the date to November 10.“While we would urge that devotees be guided by the teachings of our religion and observe the festival on November 10, we are also cognizant of the fact that we live in a democratic society. As such we believe that Hindus must also enjoy the freedom of celebrating Deepawali on which ever day they believe.This Group calls for meaningful engagements with all Hindu representative bodies to help derive accurate auspicious Hindu dates for 2016. Given how some of these dates directly impact national holidays, a respectful suggestion would be for the subject Minister to convene related discussions with all Hindu leaders and learned Priests in an effort to prevent a repetition of what is transpiring this year.”

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