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Diwali, BAPS and the Prime Minister
On Monday 4th November 2013 a unique event took place in London. Unique for the Hindu community, unique for the British community and indeed unique even by international standards.
So what is it that I am talking about? Well I refer to the renowned event at the BAPS Neasden Mandir celebrating Diwali and Annakut. Thousands of people of Hindu faith, and also of other faiths, flocked to North West London with a heartfelt wish to have darshan and to rejoice in the very essence of what Diwali brings forth for all of us.
The spirit of Diwali is so strong in the UK that even our Prime Minister the Rt Hons David Cameron MP made a special visit with his wife Samantha. Samantha sporting the traditional Hindu attire of the sari looked at home and wore it with such grace and ease, that you might have thought she was accustomed to wearing the sari all her life.
The Prime Minister and his wife were given the tour of the Mandir during which they had some special quiet moments. One of those was when the couple conducted an auspicious Nilkanth Varni Abhishek for peace and tranquility. Thereafter spending some further time in the inner sanctum of the haveli.
On arrival in the jam packed hall, there was spontaneous applause from the gathering. The Prime Minister made his way on the gent’s side whilst Mrs Cameron was hosted by Rena Amin, lead volunteer of BAPS Women’s Forum and made way on the ladies side.
The Prime Minister honoured the audience with the traditional Hindu hand gesture for Namaste and gave what can only be described as a speech that was from the heart. It resonated directly with the listeners who responded positively and warmly.
Prime Minister offering Namaste to the audience
In his address, Mr Cameron expressed that both he and his wife “were delighted to be here with you today.” Expressing his awe at the “truly spectacular celebrations” and the Annakut offering, he said, “No matter what you have heard about the Annakut – seeing it is really something. I don’t think I have ever seen such a magnificent display of different foods.”
After expressing his two wishes for the New Year – that the British Indian community “help strengthen our relationship with India” and “becomes ever more involved in shaping the life of our country” – the Prime Minister went on to congratulate the British Indian community: “Your contribution throughout our country shines out.”
He concluded by wishing everyone present as well all Hindus throughout Britain “a very happy Diwali and prosperous New Year.”
As I observed the masses one could not but be in awe at the spectacular way in which BAPS had organised the Diwali function. I can but only say that each and every volunteer is deserving of a gold medal. They showed dedication to the seva they were performing that knew no bounds. No job was too small or beneath them. I witnessed CEO’s of large organisations roll up their sleeves, running around and serving everyone. This was the best of our Hindu Sanathan Dharma on show and as I walked around – my heart was full to satisfaction. God it is good to be a Hindu.
How does all this come about? My salutations and Koti Koti Pranams to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It is his steadfast faith, clear direction and attention to detail that has galvanised BAPS to such heights. All of us owe a huge debt to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and we say with one voice – guide us always and shower us with your blessings.
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