Video and transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks for Navroz at the Ismaili Centre in Toronto

“Often when I see members of the Ismaili community, they start by thanking me and thanking my father specifically, and I always have to turn it around and say no, no, no, thank you. Thank you for being the embodiment of the vision that my father and so many others had” — Prime Minister of Canada, March 21, 2018, Ismaili Centre.

(Video, followed by transcript)

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Transcript of remarks made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto on the occasion of Navroz, March 21, 2018

Thank you. Thank you my friends. Navroz Mubarak. Hello everyone, and thank you for that incredibly warm welcome. I want to begin by thanking Malik Talib, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, for his invitation, for his kind words. I want to thank my colleagues Arif Virani, Alli Al Hasi, Yasmin Ratansi, who are here with me today, for all the incredible work they do in their communities and across the country.

And I want to thank all of you for being here today. This is always a wonderful moment for me to come to this beautiful centre to see friends, old and new, and to celebrate a community that, for me, represents some of the very best of Canada. The sense of connection, the sense of service, the deep values that fold into every action of this community is, I think, a testament to both the success of this country and those upon whom this success rests. Often when I see members of the Ismaili community, they start by, as Arif did, thanking me and thanking my father specifically, and I always have to turn it around and say no, no, no, thank you. Thank you for being the embodiment of the vision that my father and so many others had. Thank you for the incredible….

(Applause)

Thank you for showing not just Canadians, but the world, with and through your success and your devotion, both to your own identities but also to this shared identity we build as Canadians, what it is to be open and to prosper through being welcoming and engaging with the world and not closing oneself off. You are an extraordinary example of the very best of Canada, and every day I thank you for it.

(Applause)

And I think there is no better example of that than, as Malik pointed out, the over one million hours of community and volunteer service to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary that this community accomplished — it is an extraordinary achievement and a perfect example of the commitment that all you, but all of us should have every day to contributing to the community, to the country that surrounds us. It is a beautiful testament to the dedication to this country and to all its citizens.

It’s quite fitting we celebrate Navroz here, as the Ismaili community is known around the world for its commitment to pluralism. Tens of thousands of people see this symbol of diversity off the Don Valley Parkway every day. Navroz is a chance for all Canadians to honour the many communities that have observed this tradition for generations and the many contributions you have all made to Canada. This event is a testimony to the diversity that makes Canada stronger and Canadians better.

So thank you for gathering here today. I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of Navroz, which marks the start of the New Year and the beginning of spring. The idea of new beginnings is central to Navroz.

How can we create and take advantage of opportunities throughout the new year? How can we maintain hope? How can we remain optimistic in the face of adversity? How can we foster openness and understanding, not just today but every day? While there may be … more than one answer to these questions, they give us pause to reflect on the past year. And this reflection may allow us to move forward as we welcome a new year.

This led me to think back on a meeting I had just a few weeks ago with the Afghan Girls Robotics Team. By the time they arrived in Canada, these incredibly smart and driven young women had already been awarded the top prize at Robotics competitions around the world, gaining international recognition for their accomplishments in STEM. They spoke of their successes with pride and shared their plans for the future with optimism and hope. They spoke of their aspirations, not only for themselves, but also for their community, for Afghanistan, and for other women in their field.

(Applause, speech continues after photo)

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at the Ismaili Cetre

Prime Minister Trudeau at Navroz celebrations held on March 21, 2018 at the Toronto Ismaili Centre. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

I am sharing their stories with you today because the path to success was far from easy for these young women. But despite the obstacles, they have remained optimistic, strong and full of hope. Brilliant, kind and proud.

I mention that Afghan Girls Robotics Team because in a way they embody the spirit of Navroz. These twelve young women were beyond ready for the next chapter of their journey here in Canada and ever so eager for new beginnings. And as it so happens, we met on the last day of February, on the eve of this month of renewal. Now, I know we can’t all claim to be leaders in robotics, but do not let their extraordinary circumstances and abilities distract you from the more familiar elements of their story.

For generations, people have come to Canada to realize their dreams. Some faced impossible odds for a chance to build a better life for themselves, while others made considerable sacrifices to ensure the success of their children and grandchildren. As we mark Navroz today in the Ismaili Centre, I want to recognize that everyone in this room can relate to these stories.

Take the Ismaili community, for example, many of whom were welcomed in Canada in 1972, after being forcibly expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin. This is a community like so many others that overcame significant obstacles, and of course its members are leaders in every profession across the country today.

Indeed, the story of hope and hard work is one that Canadians from all backgrounds can relate to. One that lives on in our communities and hopefully transcends our borders.

While Navroz is a time of celebration and new beginnings, it also reminds us of our privilege during this time of change. As Canadians, we are fortunate to live in a country where our rights are enshrined in the Constitution, where our freedoms are entrenched in laws. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures that all Canadians can speak their mind, practice their faith, and stand up for what they believe in. Because of the Charter, every Canadian is entitled to a new beginning.

I want to end by sharing with you the wise words of the Persian poet, Hafez, which I believe capture the spirit of this occasion.

“Spring and all its flowers now joyously break their vow of silence. It is time for celebration, not for lying low.”

Once again, thank you for having me here today to join in this celebration. To all those who have gathered around the Haft-Seen table this week and are gathering in Jamat Kalmas (ph?) this evening. I wish you all peace, health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year.

Navroz Mubarak. May peace and blessings be upon you.

(Applause)

Credit for video and transcript: https://pm.gc.ca/eng/video/2018/03/23/prime-minister-trudeau-delivers-remarks-navroz-ismaili-centre-toronto.

Date posted: March 27, 201.

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For Navroz, How Volunteers and Young Ismailis Inspire the Aged and the Sick: And Thank you Ali of Grade 4

By Abdulmalek Merchant
Publisher-Editor, http://www.simerg.com

Navroz greeting from an Ismaili student
A greeting and prayer for my parents from an Ismaili student in Vancouver.

On auspicious occasions such as Navroz, Imamat Day and Salgirah a team of volunteers sets out to deliver trays of delicious food around the Greater Vancouver area to the aged and the sick who cannot attend the jamati functions due to ill-health and other limitations. These deliveries remind the recipients they are part and parcel of a greater brotherhood which has not forgotten them. The volunteer who came by to my mum was in his last leg of deliveries to 84 homes – this is just from one out of several Vancouver area jamatkhanas.

Navroz greeting from an Ismaili student 2

Along with the food comes a card designed by a young Ismaili. For my mum, the card delivered with the food moments ago was the highlight (the spicy food is for me! lol) and her face lit up as she read it. “See Malik,” she tells me, “different students write cards for us which brings joys to our hearts. This is done everytime.”

Thank you to the volunteers for preparing the food, and delivering it to hundreds of homes, and to students who design beautiful cards with good wishes and prayers. Keep up the excellent work of lighting up the hearts and souls of hundreds of jamati members on this most auspicious occasion of Navroz.

On behalf of everyone whose hearts you have warmed up, we say to you and your families Navroz Mubarak, and may you be blessed with happiness and success in all walks of life.

Date posted: March 19, 2016.

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Equinox on a Spinning Earth, the Earliest Spring (Navroz) Since 1896, and a Delightful Spring Like Day for 2 Little Girls at a Beach in Vancouver

Equinox on a Spinning Earth. Image Credit: NASA, Meteosat, Robert Simmon. Please click to watch a 12 second time-lapse video (see explanation below).

When does the line between day and night become vertical? In 2016, the spring equinox in the Northern hemisphere ( it is the start of autumn in the Southern hemisphere) comes on March 20 at 4:30 UTC (March 19 at 11:30 p.m. CDT). Also, according to http://www.earthsky.org, the 2016 spring is the earliest spring since 1896. The website explains:

“The March equinox can come on March 19, 20 or 21. And 2016 has the earliest March equinox since the year 1896. Is it a coincidence that 2012 also had the earliest spring since 1896? No. Recall that both 2012 and 2016 are leap years. But 2016’s spring comes even earlier than the spring of 2012.” [1]

At that time the day and night are most nearly equal. At an equinox, the Earth’s terminator — the dividing line between day and night — becomes vertical and connects the north and south poles. The above time-lapse video from 2010-2011 demonstrates this by displaying an entire year on planet Earth in twelve seconds. From geosynchronous orbit, the Meteosat satellite recorded these infrared images of the Earth every day at the same local time. [2]

The video started at the September 2010 equinox with the terminator line being vertical. As the Earth revolved around the Sun, the terminator was seen to tilt in a way that provides less daily sunlight to the northern hemisphere, causing winter in the north. As the year progressed, the March 2011 equinox arrived halfway through the video, followed by the terminator tilting the other way, causing winter in the southern hemisphere — and summer in the north. The captured year ends again with the September equinox, concluding another of billions of trips the Earth has taken — and will take — around the Sun. [2]

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SPRING TIME PLEASURE FOR LITTLE GIRLS AT A VANCOUVER BEACH

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver 2016On a lovely spring like day at the Kitsilano beach in Vancouver, Canada, a little girl attempts to “pop” one of the several soap-bubbles released moments earlier by her mother. Photo: Nurin Merchant, Guelph, Canada.

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver 3 2016This long stretch of soap-bubble eludes the girl, as her sister watches her but…

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver 2 2016

…then a similar dolphin like bubble reaches her at the right height which she is about to pop to her delight. Photo: Nurin Merchant, Guelph, Canada.

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver 4 2016After a very brief explanation by the mother, the keen girl wastes no time in learning the art of  creating a soap-bubble, and manages to release a little bubble of her own as her sister watches her. Photo: Nurin Merchant, Guelph, Canada.

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NAVROZ MUBARAK

Navroz+flower+grass+border+flattened

Conceived and created by Nurin Merchant of the University of Guelph, this Navroz greeting incorporates the rose and jasmine flowers which are extremely popular in Iran during the celebration of Navroz. The base of the picture shows shoots of wheat grass signifying robust evergreen health throughout the year. Image: Nurin Merchant. Copyright.

Date posted: March 18, 2016.

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[1] Read more at http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-vernal-or-spring-equinox
[2] Please visit http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140319.html

Exclusive Photo Essay: Exceptional Work of Ismaili Volunteers by Muslim Harji

Volunteers are the backbone of the Ismaili community. From the very young to some of the oldest members of the jamat, volunteers are always present to support whatever work they are called upon to do. Montreal’s Muslim Harji offers a photo insight into the exceptional work of Ismaili volunteers at a jamati feast…. More

PLEASE CLICK: Working Behind the Scenes – The Exceptional Work of Ismaili Volunteers

Junior Ismaili Volunteers serving juice at a jamati jaman (feast). Please click on photo for photo essay. Photo: Muslim Harji.

Junior Ismaili Volunteers serving juice at a jaman (feast). Please click on image for photo essay. Photo: Muslim Harji.

Simerg’s New Downloadable Publication: Nawruz Literary Readings, Poetry and Ginan

Simerg’s new downloadable publication is filled with informative readings and inspiring poems including an explanation of the ginan “Eji Navroz na din sohamna”. Please click on A Rich Collection of Readings and Poetry on Navroz or one of the following two NASA images showing a cylindrical projection of the earth and the earth as seen from the sun at noon on March 21, 2013.

Earth Cylindrical Projection 2013-03-21 0012UT. NASA Image. Please click on image to download Nawruz booklet.

Earth Cylindrical Projection 2013-03-21 0012UT. NASA Image. Please click on image to download Nawruz booklet.

Earth Spherical View 2013-03-21 0012UT. NASA Image. Please click to download Nawruz booklet.

Earth Spherical View 2013-03-21 0012UT. NASA Image. Please click on image to download Nawruz booklet.

2013 Navroz Readings: (IV) “Amen Khudavind” and “Hope” by Navyn Naran

“AMEN KHUDAVIND”

Enlightenment

a window opens.

a green meadow, lush
new tufts of grass under her feet,
running across these verdant, undulating hills.
weathering the storms past,
she tills the moist, brown soil.
emerald shoots peer fresh as a new-born baby’s cheeks
what news will spring bring?
what did i sow?
and how will i reap?

“i’m late to catch the train!
stop at the lights.
did i grab my lunch? my ticket?
presentation is 7am , room 337”
huffing up the stairs,
“did i remember my gym bag?
will he remember to call the dentist?
what will we eat tonight?
ok, gather self and be ready
here comes the first of the audience”

everyone is looking ahead
while living in the present.
i prayed for siratal mustaqu’eem,
and iman ji salamat
for jan, mal, aal, izat and abru
thumb on my chin and finger resting on my lip i ponder…
“but did i keep balanced?
did i make an ethical choice?”
was there time for my spiritual space
or did i let it go another day?

“this is such a mirage in Time!”
i sit back resting in my chair…
like a continual accordion of days
as if in pieces we organise it.
each ritual is a reminder,
as practice of submission and perfection
towards a stillness of thought and mind.

if you stop and give your Time
there will be naught but LIFE
a philanthropic donation if you will,
to venture out of the chatter or vision
familiar to oneself

“it’s Navroz”
and am i too rushed to notice?
Time does not rush…it provides, as promised,
sunshine, blossom and rains
if only we disrupted not its natural flow.
“have i done my work?”
do i stop long enough to reflect and answer?
the undulating specks or motion of time as we see,
are pregnant with change and gift
what was my gift to Mawla?
was it something i thought would “just happen”
by virtue of my breath?
or did i consciously plan and rise?
there is always the next second
“yet tomorrow never comes”.
so we live in the present with regard to future
and miss the essence because we are expectant.

Mawlana Hazar Imam said
“I say to you all on Navroz,
Navroz Mubarak.
I pray that in this New Year your worldly and your spiritual happiness should progress tenfold
and that this be the case every year.”

 “Amen, Khudavind”

a window opens.
into a prayer hall of contemplative men and women
only their souls are alight

will mine enter here today?

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HOPE

Spring Day Around the World

Syria, your hopes and your struggles
are not forgotten,
nor forgotten are other struggles in our world
Navroz Mubarak to all around the globe
we look forward with HOPE
as time promises a new morning,
so Navroz promises a New Day.

a day of peace, good health, security,
a day when stranger greets stranger like brother and sister
where as children, our compassion and tolerance burn bright
for all wish for goodness and grace
even the earth’s submissive tilt
renders it perfect for season and change

the sun on this spring equinox
equates the day and the night
and symmetry magically stabilises our earth in motion
now daylight will become unbroken in the North, as ying,
and darkness will cover southern skies as yang
let us breathe
let us pray that all is fresh
and at moment’s peace on Navroz

Date posted: March 21, 2013.

Copyright: Navyn Naran/Simerg

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Navyn Naran

Navyn Naran

Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care.

2013 Navroz Readings: (III) The Brotherhood of Man, and Earth as Viewed from the Sun on March 21 @Simergphotos

With Qur’anic verses, traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and the sayings of Ismaili Imams on the brotherhood of man, this short but important piece at www.Simergphotos.com also includes an image of the spring equinox from space as well as some stunning projected images of the earth as viewed from the sun at different times of the day on March 21, 2013. Readers, young and old alike, will find this study of the earth quite fascinating.

Please click: Navroz (New Year) Greetings to all of Humanity, with Views of the Earth from the Sun on March 21, 2013

Please click on image for article

Please click on image for article

2013 Navroz Readings: (II) Recognition of Nowruz at the UN General Assembly and the US Congress

The United Nations General Assembly on 23 February 2010 recognized 21 March as the International Day of Nowruz, a spring festival of Persian origin,  as it continued its sixty-fourth session.

A few weeks later in the same year, the US House of  Representatives approved a resolution recognizing that Nowruz embodies the tradition that each individual’s thinking, speaking, and  conduct should always be virtuous.  The resolution also expressed appreciation to Iranian Americans for their contributions  to society, and wishing Iranian Americans and the people of Iran a good new  year.

To read the compete resolutions, please click: Recognition of Nowruz by the United Nations and the US Congress

Please click for UN and US Congress Resolutions on Nowruz

Please click for UN and US Congress Resolutions on Nowruz

2013 Navroz Readings: (I) The Ginan “Navroz na Din Sohamna….” with Text and Explanation

Please click: Ismaili Devotee Seeks Out His Spiritual Master on Spring Day

Eji hette Alisu hirakh baandho,
Avichal ranga Sahebse girahiya,
Evi chint baandhi Nar Qayam saathe,
Sat bhandaar motiye bhariya….Verse 4

Please click for Navroz Ginan.

Be joyfully bound in the love of Ali
And attain the unfading spiritual color (the state of bliss) from the Master;
When my mind was bound to the Ever-Living Lord in contemplation
Reality adorned (the Soul) with priceless treasure of (Noorani) pearls

Editor’s note: More Navroz readings in the coming days.

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