From Downing Street to the Palace of Westminster the Indian diaspora of Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities gathered to celebrate Diwali in London.
At No 10 Prime Minister Theresa May’s team has re-written the invitation list—reporters and journalists appeared to be excluded. Guests included Dinesh Patnaik, the acting Indian high commissioner and Jitendra Patel, trustee of the Neasden Temple, volunteers from BAPS from Shri Swaminarayan Temple and chairman R.D. Ratnasingham from Shri KanagaThurkhai Amman Temple Trust, among others.
A garlanded Mrs May lit a traditional lamp and made an uplifting speech: “When we analyse the true meaning of Diwali, its relevance extends beyond India, beyond the Indian diaspora and even beyond the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists who, in different ways, mark the festival. Its messages apply to every single one of us—whatever our background, whatever our faith…The values he (Lord Rama) embodied are values which we can all heed.Values of charity, sacrifice and responsibility…Values of good conduct ‘dharma’ taking the right path and ensuring that good triumphs over evil.”
A stunning pyramid of prasad was put together by the Yogi Divine Society, for the House of Commons reception hosted by Bob Blackman MP and the Hindu Forum of Britain on the terrace overlooking the Thames.
Bob Blackman and Ajatshatru Singh, grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh, introduced the new annual occasion of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir Day to commemorate the signing of the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947.
The usual VIPs, Lords and Members of Parliament from all parties including Angus Robertson, Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party gave their auspicious Diwali greetings. Electric candles were lit for health and safety reasons.