A democracy such as ours is strengthened by the diversity of its people
Durga Puja is undoubtedly one of the most important religious festivals of the Bengali calendar, with the festivities coming to a close today after five days of celebrations for the Hindu community -- an event which was no doubt made more challenging because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But, much like Eid, Durga Puja celebrations are not meant for Hindus alone and welcome people of all religions into their fold, as Bangladeshis from all over the country come together to take part in celebrations most colourful and spectacular.
The inclusive nature of the celebrations go hand in hand with the values of equality, secularism, and freedom, values on which our nation was founded, and they provide us with an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of our heritage and the plurality of our people.
A democracy such as ours is strengthened by the diversity of its people and the subsequent dynamism and versatility it induces within our population, and the Sharodiya Durgotsab is a testament to how each of our respective religions can bring us together as a nation.
Unfortunately, these celebrations and the community responsible for bringing these celebrations to life have not always been made to feel safe or welcome -- this is a failure on our part as a nation and as a people, especially so considering the oppressive forces we have had to overcome to ensure our independence.
Such intolerance, which devalues our nation’s history and destroys our communal harmony, betrays a lack of understanding on the part of certain individuals and groups -- it represents people who have failed to grasp what it means to be Bangladeshi and find beauty in sharing this identity with their fellow citizens, irrespective of their religion.
In an era of increasing divisiveness, let us remember the principles which form the foundation of our great nation and join in on the celebrations as a nation united, well set on our path towards inclusivity and progress.
We wish our readers a happy Durga Puja.