Conflicts flare between India and Pakistan, but local leaders want to
stress cooperation between the two communities in North Jersey, and teach
students peaceful ways to build bridges.
Emerson High School officials and the Asian American Political Coalition
will host a festival tonight in Lyndhurst to celebrate the Muslim and Hindu
holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Diwali.
Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim celebration that commemorates the end of Ramadan, a
monthlong religious fast.
Diwali, also called Deepavali, is a Hindu festival of lights that marks the
new year and is meant to symbolize the lifting of spiritual darkness.
The two religions also represent the great divide between Pakistan, a
mostly Muslim nation, and India, which is overwhelmingly Hindu.
Students from Verona High School and Emerson High School, which offers a
college-credit course in Asian studies for teachers and students, will
attend the event, as will members of the Pakistani and Indian communities,
said Hemant Wadhwani, president of the Asian American Political Coalition,
which helped fund the Emerson program and organize the event.
"It is important for students to learn about diplomacy and different ways
to approach diplomacy in a real-world setting," Wadhwani said. "I would
like to see people think things through from a more humanitarian
perspective versus a superficial, higher political level...