There is an urgent need to revert to basic values of sharing and caring - uplifting the poor and disadvantaged in a severely fractured society. The festival of Diwali provides one such opportunity.
Religions have generally been associated with the ideals of peace, tolerance, non-violence, fairness, equality and justice. However, history is littered with examples were individuals and communities have been subjected to violence and discrimination in the name of religion.
This divisive, intolerant and violent tendency is reasserting itself in the form of religious fundamentalism in the 21st century. Other forms of violence have been unprecedented levels of poverty, crass consumerism and materialism, and unbridled corruption.
In 1993, the Assembly of the Parliament of the World's Religions, recognising that "every human being must be treated humanely", committed itself to a culture of "non-violence and respect for life; solidarity and a just economic order; equal rights and partnership between men and women; tolerance and a life of truthfulness".
Hinduism draws from different eclectic traditions and is suffused with pluralism and tolerance. Swami Vivekananda stated that he was "proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance".
While South Africa is a secular state,...