LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May greeted the Hindu community on the occasion of Diwali, saying the festival is the celebration of the way of life, showing Hindu culture at its very best.
In a message read out at Diwali celebrations organised by leading NRI businessmen Hinduja brothers at their residence in London last night, May said, “Diwali gives us all the opportunity to reflect on life, teach respect and honour and to reflect on the events of the past in order to change the future”.
“Diwali is the celebration of the way of life, showing Hindu culture at its very best,” she said in her message.
The message was read out by Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel who pointed out that Prime Minister May is in Brussels, “fighting for our national interest in the negotiations on Brexit”.
In the message, the prime minister also noted that the Hindu community makes a vital contribution to life across the UK as well as Europe.
“Our culture has been strengthened by the great variety of religious celebrations that now occur throughout the year,” she said.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who also spoke on the occasion, said, “I have an Indian mother-in-law, whose name is Deep – which means light. And, indeed, Diwali is also an opportunity to celebrate my mother-in-law”.
“In this time in our politics when there is ever so slightly too much gloom emanating from some of our media about this country and about our prospects, I think it is all the more valuable that we celebrate this wonderful festival of light chasing away darkness and ushering in a new mood and a new spirit of hope this Diwali,” he said.
“Every year our celebrations get bigger and better,” Ms Verma said, adding that these celebrations are open for everyone.
India’s High Commissioner to the UK YK Sinha also spoke on the occasion.
Among the prominent people who attended the celebrations included India’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani with his wife and daughter, Aditya Mittal of Arcellor Mittal, Subodh Agarwal, and leading hotelier Joginder Sanger.
GP Hinduja presented idols of Goddess Lakshmi to Gavin Williamson, MP and Chief whip; Boris Johnson, MP and Foreign secretary; and Priti Patel, MP and Secretary for International Development.
Lord Tariq Ahmed, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office,Lord and Lady Loomba, Lord and Lady Loomba, Virendra Sharma, MP, Lord Jitesh Gadhia also attended the event.