'The return of a King and the undying power of kindness' Remarks by Ambassador Amit Narang at Onam Celebrations organized by Malyalam Wing of Indian Social Club

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Onam Celebration by Malyalam Wing of Indian Social Club
Friday, September 23, 2022
Al Falaj Hotel, Muscat


Remarks by Ambassador Amit Narang

Convener of Malyalam Wing of ISC Shri P. Sreekumar,

General Secretary of Indian Social Club, Shri Babu Rajendran,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening, Namaskar and As-salaam Walekum,

It is a delight to participate in Onam celebrations in Muscat. While this is not my first – it is in fact my 6th – this is certainly the largest Onam celebrations for us.

I wish to extend on behalf of my wife, Divya Narang and my own behalf, warmest greetings to all those attending today for a Happy Onam.

I am also delighted to welcome to Muscat the Melody Queen, Padma Bhushan Smt. K.S. Chithra ji about whom, ‘Kehna hi kya!’. Over the years, she has brought so many smiles to our faces and hearts through her golden voice. It is a privilege to meet her and share the stage with her today.

I also welcome Shri Rajesh Cherthala the popular flute maestro.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Onam is the most iconic festival of Kerala. And with the dynamic Malayali diaspora present all over India and indeed the world, Onam today is also a national and a global festival.

Onam is a festival of unity.

It is the symbol of one of the cherished values enshrined in the Indian constitution, that of unity in diversity.

Onam is a Malayali festival.

It is not however merely a Malayali-Hindu festival.

It is not a Malayali-Christian festival and it is also not a Malayali-Muslim festival.

It is a festival that belongs to all Keralites. A festival that is celebrated by all the people of Kerala, no matter their region, religion or ethnicity.

And when Onam is celebrated outside India like today it brings all of us Indians together in the same spirit of unity and brotherhood. As we celebrate Onam today, let us remember its unique attribute of this unique celebration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Onam is a festival that represents and showcases the best of Kerala.

Be it Pookolam the flower decoration, the elegant dance of Thiruvathira, the Vallam Kali snake boat race or indeed the sumptuous feast of Ona Sadhya, everything that the world associates with the magnificent culture of Kerala is brought out by Onam.

The perfect showcase for God’s own country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On Onam, we celebrate the great King Mahabali.

The story of Mahabali and his association with Onam is a beautiful one and even though the Malayalis present here would perhaps know it, it’s worth recalling.

It is said that in the old days, Kerala had a mighty king called Mahabali who was kind, just and compassionate. He loved his people and his people adored him.

As the Devas in heaven get jealous of his power, they beseeched Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu came as a dwarf or Vamana avatar. When he asked King Mahabali for a favour the large hearted King said that the Vamana could have anything he wants. He asked the King only as much space as he could cover in 3 steps. King Mahabli agreed readily. But then Lord Vishnu took his true cosmic form and covered the entire earth in one step and the entire sky in the other.

Since there was no space left, King Mahabali who knew he was defeated, but was still lion-hearted, offered his head to for the 3rd step of the Lord.

Even he was banished to the Paataal Loka, Lord Vishnu allowed King Mahabali to return once a year to be with his people who he loved so much.

And thus it is that on Oman, king Mahabali returns to his people and is welcomed by them with expressions of sheer joy and happiness.

The story of Mahabali is really the story of the abiding and undying power of kindness.

Mahabali is remembered by his people because he continued to live in their hearts even as he was banished from the world.

This is a beautiful reminder that while all of us are mortals, kindness and love never die. Kindness and compassion are virtues that live on much after we have gone.

Therefore, people who do good, kind things and who touch other people’s lives with kindness, continue to live on in people’s hearts. Such acts are remembered forever and allow our memories to remain etched on the sands of time.

This is what King Mahabali reminds us as he returns to be in our midst every Onam.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The story of Onam of the return of a King loved by his people is not the only such story in Indian culture and mythology.

There is in fact one more such ruler who was banished from his kingdom wrongfully but who remained King of his people’s hearts when he returned to a hero’s welcome, 14 years after he left.

That King was none other than Lord Rama and his story is also that of kindness, love and virtue which made him the beloved king of his people for all ages.

As we celebrate Onam let us remember the story of the return of these virtuous Kings and remind ourselves to be kind and loving to others in our lives so that we are remembered much after we have gone.

Once again warm wishes for a very Happy onam - for health, peace and prosperity to your families.

Thank you.