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Diwali is an important part of UK’s National Life, says Britain’s PM Theresa May

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May had lit a traditional lamp on her first Diwali event at 10, Downing street

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Picture o diyas. Wikimedia

October 26, 2016: Diwali has now become a popular festival due to the presence of Indians all across the globe. Also, the fireworks and the rangoli have attracted the attention of people from various countries. Diwali marks the beginning of a new era and a renewal of commitment to the family values.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, lit a traditional lamp on her first Diwali event at 10, Downing street. She said,” I want us to be proud of what Diwali means to our nation, after all, it was here in Downing street that Prime Minister Modi chose to start the last Hindu New year.”

Britain’s PM will be visiting India next month in November. It will be her first bilateral outside of the European Union. She said,” I’m going from Delhi to Bangalore. The visit will mark a celebration  of relations between our countries and our shared ambitions for the future.”

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The Diwali event hosted by Theresa May was attended by India’s acting high commissioner, Dinesh Patnaik, and other British Indian officials.

Lauding the Indian community of Britain, May said to HT,” When we analyze 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 everyone – whatever our background, whatever our faith.”

“Now I have to say I haven’t read all 24,000 verses of the epic poem about Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya. But I do know the story of his homecoming from the many celebrations I have attended in my own constituency over the years,” she added.

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“The values he embodied are values which we can all heed. Values of charity, sacrifice and responsibilities: to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi: losing ourselves in the service of others,” she said.

According to the HT report, Britain’s political system has many British Indian representatives including Sandip Verma, Jitesh Gandhia, Dolar Popat and Ranbir Suri in the House of Lords and Shailesh Vara, Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel and Alok Sharma in the House of Commons.

May announced that she would be leading a trade delegation to India from Nov 6 to 8, as her government seeks new relationships after Britain leaves the European Union.

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Some say Leicester hosts the largest Diwali celebration outside of India. This year the event is expecting more than 100,000 people. Every year, the Golden Mile in Belgrave is decorated with Diwali lights.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

Next Story

Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

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Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali