KUCHING: Sri Maha Mariamman Temple president Shankar Ram Asnani has expressed his appreciation towards the Sarawak government in helping the state’s small Indian community with their Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Kuching reconstruction.
“In October 2018, the Sarawak government gave us through the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) the sum of RM2.3 million to assist us in our temple reconstruction.
“The temple reconstruction works started on Jan 20 last year and have been ongoing for some time now, with some delay due to the Covid-19 movement control order.
“We are now at the stage of bringing in the Indian sculpturist from India to do the specialised works,” he said in a statement in conjunction with the Hindu festival Navratri, on Thursday.
He took the opportunity to wish Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud a happy and blessed birthday.
Shankar also extended the community’s sincere gratitude to the Sarawak government, particularly to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, for their continuous support of the Indian community and their generous contributions to the construction and upgrading costs for the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Rock Road.
“Let us continue to strive to build our rapport and maintain harmony amongst the various communities in Sarawak, and we pray that Sarawak continues to be blessed with the strength of our peace, diversity, and unity, which is uniquely Sarawakian,” he said.
Wishing all Sarawakians a ‘Happy Navratri’, he explained that Navratri meant nine (nav) nights (ratri). He said this is a festival celebrating the Hindu Goddess Devi Shakti.
“It is a popular festival that originated from India and is widely celebrated by Indians all over the world, including the small Indian community here in Kuching,” he said.
Shankar said the Hindus believed that it is Devi Shakti that manifests in everything, witnesses everything, and transforms ailments to health and negativity to positivity.
“Irrespective of how dark times have been, Navratri is a chance for all of us to revive with the energy of Goddess Devi Shakti, and pray to the Mother Divine to seek her blessings for health, prosperity, and happiness,” he said.