PRAISES HINDU CONTRIBUTION TO BRITAIN
(12 October 2006)
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP lit a lamp to commence
the annual Diwali reception organised by the Hindu Forum of Britain,
the largest umbrella body for British Hindus, and hosted by Parliamentarians
from different Parties at the House of Commons on 11 October. In
his opening remarks he praised the significant contribution made
by the Hindu community to Britain through business and professions.
Chancellor said: It is to you, the British Hindu community
that we owe a debt of gratitude for your contribution to the country
and the values you champion. For us here at Westminster, Diwali
is one of the great days, one of the great events in our calendar.
I am delighted to see so many of my Parliamentary colleagues here
today from both Houses who have worked closely with the Hindu Forum
of Britain to make this event such a success.
100 MPs, ministers, cabinet secretaries, diplomats, businessmen,
community leaders and civil servants in Britain attended the fifth
Diwali reception at the House of Commons, which was transformed
into a mini-India with lamps, rangoli patterns, sacred food displays,
exhibits, Indian sweets, gifts and incense.
year marks the fifth anniversary of the annual Diwali at Westminster
reception, remarked Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of
the Hindu Forum of Britain. The multi-party reception is an
expression of the British Hindu communitys success in cohesively
integrating into British society.
Vaz MP, Chairman of the National Ethnic Minority Task Force who
was the main Parliamentary host for the event said, These
celebrations provide us an opportunity to celebrate the most important
festival in the Indian calendar in the mother of Parliaments. Britain
is a nation of many faiths and cultures and our diversity is the
envy of the world.
Leader of Her Majestys Opposition, David Cameron MP, who recently
returned from a trip to India, also addressed the reception and
talked about the common bonds that exist between Britain and India
and the burgeoning special relationship between the two countries.
He added: Diwali is a wonderful festival, celebrated both
in this country and around the world. It is an opportunity to reflect
on the immensely valuable contribution that the Hindu community
has made to national life in this country.
Menzies Campbell, MP, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party who
was present to deliver his Diwali greetings commented: The
Diwali reception in the House of Commons has become a highlight
of the parliamentary year. The inclusive nature of the festival
is demonstrated in bringing together of Parliamentarians of all
parties and the communities they represent in celebtation of the
festival of lights.
guests at the reception included Douglas Alexander, Secretary of
State for Transport, Baroness Amos, Leader of the House of Lords,
Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons, Patricia Hewitt, Secretary
of State for Health.