Prominent members of the Indian diaspora were in attendance at the Diwali celebrations hosted by Indo-Canadian MP Chandra Arya who also raised a Hindu flag with sacred symbol ‘aum’ on the Parliament Hill.
The celebrations on Sunday coincided with the ongoing Hindu Heritage Month in Canada, which is held annually in November to acknowledge the significant contributions made by the community.
“I was pleased to host Diwali on parliament hill. We also used this opportunity to raise the flag of Hindu sacred symbol Aum on parliament hill. My sincere thanks to all those who attended, volunteers and artists of excellent cultural performances at the event,” Arya wrote in a message posted on X.
The event was supported by 67 Hindu and Indo-Canadian organisations and saw participants from across the country, including Ottawa, Greater Toronto Area and Montreal.
Arya, a ruling Liberal Party MP, also hosted Himachal Pradesh’s famed Kullu Dussehra for the first time in the country’s Parliament Hill last month.
The celebrations come in spite of the tense diplomatic standoff between India and Canada in the wake of Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing this year in British Columbia province.
Arya has been a vocal critic of hate crime incidents targeting Hindus, and has strongly criticised and demanded action against the recent attacks on temples and Indian installations by Khalistan supporters.
Hinduism is the third-largest religion in Canada, which is followed by approximately 2.3 per cent of the nation’s total population.
As of 2021, there are over 830,000 Canadians of the Hindu faith.
“Hindu Canadians are the most peaceful, highly educated and hardworking community and hence a successful community. We have significantly contributed and continue to do so for the socio-economic development of Canada. We have immensely enriched Canada’s multicultural fabric,” Arya said, marking the second Hindu Heritage month in the country this year.
The Karnataka-born MP had initiated a private members motion in May last year to mark November as the Hindu Heritage Month, which was later unanimously passed in the House of Commons on September 29, 2002.