By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto: A bill to proclaim October as Hindu Heritage Month annually in Canada’s Ontario province has been introduced in the provincial assembly here.
Ontario is home to more than 700,000 Indo-Canadians.
Introducing the bill in the Ontario assembly here, Joe Dickson, who is a Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP), said that by proclaiming the month of October as Hindu Heritage Month, Ontario will recognise the “important contributions that Hindu Canadians have made to Ontario’s social, economic, religious, political and cultural fabric.”
Dickson said the first Hindu immigrants began to arrive in Canada at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, they have made big contribution in all fields – science, education, medicine, law, politics, business, culture and sports.
“Right from the start, Ontario’s Hindu communities helped build our province into the greatest place to live, work and raise families. We’re all proud of the achievements of the Hindu community and how they have helped each other and enriched our province,” the MPP said.
Dickson said October held a special significance for Hindus.
“Each year, three important festivals that members of the Hindu community celebrate occur in and around October. These festivals include Navratri and Durga Puja, which were celebrated earlier this month, and Diwali, the festival of lights, which will begin next week.”
He said if his bill is passed, the “Hindu Heritage Month would give all Ontarians an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate future generations about Hindu Canadians and the important role that they have played to date and continue to play in communities across Ontario.”
Interestingly, the Ontario assembly has just passed another bill to proclaim October also as Islamic Heritage Month.
April has already been proclaimed as Sikh Heritage Month in Ontario.
In a bigger victory for Tamils, January has been proclaimed as Tamil Heritage Month across Canada. The Canadian parliament passed a motion in this regard earlier this month.
There are over 1.2 million Indo-Canadians living in the country.