From the United Nations – International Day of NowRuz

Remarks by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin at the celebration of International Day of Nowruz at the United Nations on March 21, 2016
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Mr. Deputy Secretary General
Excellencies, friends and other guests of today’s auspicious gathering!
It is my pleasure to be among your midst as we celebrate the International Day of Nowruz at the United Nations today.
Like in the past years since the International Day of Nowruz was proclaimed in 2010 by the General Assembly, as a proud co sponsor, we have joined the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in co-hosting this ceremony at the UN.
Excellencies & Friends
You are all aware that Nowruz marks the beginning of the New Year in large parts of the world, including mine. Later today you will witness a short film portraying the special celebrations of Nowruz in India particularly by the Parsi community.
Legend has it that when the first migrants of the Parsi community landed on the western coast of India and sought permission to stay from a local ruler in Gujarat, he denied them permission by pointing out that his land was like a vessel of milk filled to the brim.
It was only when he was told by the Parsis that they were like a pinch of sugar that would add sweetness to the milk without resulting in the milk overflowing the vessel that he relented, gave them refuge and permitted them to practice their traditions.
Today the Parsi community is woven integrally into the cultural fabric of India. The contribution of the Parsi community who follow Zorastrianism, towards building and strengthening modern India is immense.  The apocryphal legend of the beginning of the small Parsi community in India has a lesson as we formulate our responses to those seeking a refuge in distant lands in these troubling times.
Together with the Parsis and others, who refer to Nowruz as ‘Jamshed-E-Navroz’, our country celebrates the glorious tradition of Nowruz.
In India, where still a large majority of people are engaged in agriculture, this day is also of special importance in many ways. It marks the advent of the spring and harbinger of peace and prosperity.  Holi, the festival of colors also coincides with the Nowruz celebrations and the whole season represents vibrancy and abundance.
Excellencies & Friends,
The primary consideration, among others, while the General Assembly recognized Nowruz, is the ‘orientation of Nowruz towards the affirmation of life in harmony with nature’.   This central message of Nowruz is also one of the key messages of the International Day of Yoga as underscored in the Yoga Day resolution namely ‘building better individual lifestyles devoid of any kind of excesses’. While the International Day of Nowruz is the day of vernal equinox, the International Day of Yoga is the day of summer solstice.
These similarities only reaffirm, here I quote from the International day of Nowruz resolution, that ‘civilizational achievements constitute the collective heritage of mankind, providing a source of inspiration and progress for humanity at large’.
Excellencies & Friends,
The celebrations this year is of further significance as  at the current  70th session of GA  we adopted the agenda 2030 for sustainable development. The central message of Nowruz viz. ‘harmony with nature’ is indispensable for achieving the transformative agenda and the goals we have set for ourselves towards sustainable development.
On the other hand, the international community also faces a number of challenges of peace and security, rise of extremism and the like. Celebrations like Nowruz will help us in facing these challenges by fostering mutual understanding and respect for each other’s culture, traditions and beliefs.
Excellencies & Friends,
Let us therefore recall the sprit and significance of Nowruz and embrace its message. I wish you all ‘Nowruz Mubarak’
Thank you!

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