Maha Vivah is an evening of spirits, music, and dance to celebrate the union of Indian families and friends. This ceremony, which is the second biggest celebration of Hindus, marks the beginning of the wedding season among believers. Indians are known for loyal reverence for their cultures and traditions, despite their different ethnicities and religions. India, which is home to almost one-sixth of the world’s population, also has a vast number of ethnicities and religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, among others. Across the globe, Indians ensure to belong to different communities as a way of staying connected to their beliefs. But in Rwanda, they all form one community, regardless of their differing backgrounds. This, they say, was inspired by Rwanda’s political ideology of unity. The Hindu community in Rwanda acquired land from the government in 2017, on which they built their first temple of worship in the country, named ‘Hindu Sanatan Dharam Temple’. They inaugurated the temple, also used as a hall for their community gatherings, in 2019. The Hindu Community in Rwanda was then felicitated with a certificate of excellence by the World Book of Records for their move to bring together and unify their diverse people. They acquired the appreciation award on the occasion of Maha Vivah, a grand wedding ceremony where it is believed god Krishna wedded goddess Tulsiji. In a ceremony that took place last week at Rebero, where their Temple is located, Prakash K, Chairman of the Hindu community in Rwanda, said that it wouldn’t have been possible without the willingness of each member and the support of the government. Most of the credits, however, were attributed to Urvashi Joshi, General Secretary of the Hindu Community in Rwanda, who was also specifically awarded a certificate by the World Book of Records. World Book of Records is an organisation that catalogues and verifies extraordinary records across the world with authentic certification in the United Kingdom and Europe. She was recognised for being the binding rock of the Hindu Community in Rwanda. “It is imperative to teach our children and remind ourselves to respect and celebrate our beliefs and traditions to ensure the continuation of our culture,” she said. “With globalisation, social media and with some of us living in foreign countries, it may be very easy to lose our identity amidst everything. This is why we have to come together at an occasion like this, and celebrate together, beyond a ‘good wishing text’ on our phones,” she added. Joshi’s family has been based in Rwanda since 1921 and she is the sixth generation in Rwanda. Her great grandfather, who passed away in 1971, is among the pioneers of the petrol business in Rwanda. Her family is among the first Indians who lived in Rwanda. It’s been 100 years. “We are to preserve our cultures, and pass it on to our next generations. Especially those like me, who were born in foreign countries,” she said.