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Jitendra Prakash

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Hindus worldwide recently celebrated Diwali, a five-day "festival of lights" that marks the new year and honors the principle of good over evil. One Diwali ritual is honoring Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The occasion is also celebrated with fireworks, the sharing of sweets and gifts, and by decorating homes with lights and candles. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.-- Lloyd Young EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no post on Friday.)( 42 photos total)
A reveler lights a bottle rocket at a park during Diwali, the “festival of lights”, in Kolkata on Nov. 13. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates the time when Hindu God Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana and returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years in exile. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

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FROZEN FLOAT
FROZEN FLOAT: A member of a swimming club lay on a chunk of ice on the Yenisei River in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Wednesday. (Ilya Naymushin/Reuters)

WATER BREAK
WATER BREAK: A laborer drank water while he harvested wheat in Punjab, India, Wednesday. (Ajay Verma/Reuters)

WARMING UP
WARMING UP: Wrestlers carried each other during a practice session in Allahabad, India, Wednesday. (Jitendra Prakash/Reuters)

FISH FOR SALE
FISH FOR SALE: A vendor sold goldfish along a street in the Wazir Akbar Khan district in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday. (Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

RUNNING WILD
RUNNING WILD: Horses trotted through a flooded area in Chaco, Paraguay, Tuesday. Rainfall last week caused flooding, killing an estimated 180,000 animals and several people and affecting hundreds of thousands of residents. (Ubaldo Gonzalez/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

TAKING AIM
TAKING AIM: A shooter videotaped himself as he trained for the International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in London Wednesday. (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

ERUPTING
ERUPTING: Ash and smoke spewed from the Popocatépetl volcano, pictured from Puebla, Mexico, Wednesday. The volcano alert level remained high, but no evacuations were planned, according to a civil-defense radio dispatcher. (Jose Casta-Ares/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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diversity is everywhere in India, from its religions and languages to its economy, and climates. The second-most populous nation in the world, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people. Most are Hindu, but seven other religions -- including Islam, Christianity and Sikhism -- make up nearly 20 percent of the population. January 26 will be India's 62nd Republic Day, marking the date in 1950 when the country's constitution came into force. Collected here are recent photos from across the vast nation, offering only a small glimpse of the people and diversity of India. [41 photos]

Indian soldiers from the Border Security Forces atop camels stand at attention in front of the Presidential Palace during a ceremony in preparation for the annual Beating Retreat in New Delhi, India, on January 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

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He was beaten with sticks, his gear smashed and his hand broken, it was then an armed man instructed the mob to kill him. Ahmad fled for his life escaping into a nearby house where he successfully...

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