London, Oct 17 (BAN): The first ever Diwali, the Hindu festival of Lights, was hosted at the Scottish Parliament on auspicious day of Vijaya Dashmi. The Scotland Chapter of Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) took the lead in organising Diwali coinciding with 20th Anniversary of Scottish Parliament. The event was sponsored by cross party Members of the Scottish Parliament, Rt Hon Sandra White MSP, being the main Sponsor, and her colleagues Rt Hon Liam McArthur MSP and Rt Hon Claire Baker MSP. The Chief guest was the Rt Hon Aileen Campbell, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government who represented First Minister.
Mr Puneet Dwivedi, Vice President of HFB with the help of his committee members, Mr Samir Desai and Mr Ritesh Thakur organised wonderful celebrations. Puneet has been trying for last few years to get the Hindu Festival celebrated at the Scottish Parliament, which is widely celebrated by not only by the Hindus but also Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in their own way.
The event was held at The Member’s Room of the Scottish Parliament which was very beautifully decorated with colourful flowers, traditional Indian lamps and led lights. It was attended by more than 160 people including various interfaith Leaders, Armed forces (Royal Navy & Royal Airforce), Superintendent of Police Scotland Mr Tim Ross, Consulate General of India Edinburgh Mrs Anju Ranjan, Mr Ashish Brahmbhatt of OFBJP Scotland, Ms Sunita Poddar of Patanjali Yogpeeth UK, HFB member Organisations from across Scotland and various Indian regional community leaders.
The event started by lightning the auspicious lamps (led lights) in the traditional manner by the Sponsor MSPs ; Liam and Sandra, Minister Aileen Cambell, Mr Ashish Brahmbhatt of OFBJP and President of HFB Mrs Trupti Patel. Puneet gave an introduction of the Hindu Forum Britain, which is an umbrella body of more than three hundred organisations and is growingly rapidly in Scotland. He gave an introduction about Diwali and its powerful underlying message of the celebration of a cohesive and integrated society within the highest values of peace and non-violence, a safe place where the people of the nation prosper and are happy.
Mrs Harsha Shukla, MBE , Vice President North invited Sandra White MSP, the main sponsor to take a centre stage. She gave a welcome speech about the contribution of the Hindu community in Scotland and its integration into the community. This was followed by a speech from HFB president Mrs Trupti Patelwho spoke about how Hindus contribute hugely to UK’s economy and make a lot of donations to charities like British Heart Foundation or Cancer Research. They do really well in their profession, however, they need strong participation in the public field be it politics or civil services. She inspired youngsters not to tolerate any hate crime and not to follow Mahatma Gandhi in all situations. Liam, another co-sponsor started his short speech with humour that MSPs come in all sizes and continued with best wishes . Ms Aileen Campbell gave her speech detailing about how Hindus have contributed to the Scottish Society in many aspects of life.Mrs Anju Ranjan.
Best wishes message from Dr RameshPattni , VP South was read by Miss Sakshi Thakur and video message by Mrs Caroline Goswami .The evening was graced by lovely traditional Bharat Natyam dances by Ms Inthu Malini & Ms Rathna Veerni. Three children Arya Dwivedi, Deeva Sharma and Sonam Thakur delighted audience with their dance based on the theme of Diwali. The last program on the list was powerful Mantra Meditation and lovely devotional singing by the ISKCON Scotland. The program ended with a hilarious Vote of Thanks by Vice president of Midlands Mr Tarang Sehlat who has been instrumental in planning this event and guiding the Scotland team.
Astha Channel (UK Sky No 724) recorded the program which would be telecast near actual Diwali date.
This First Diwali at Scottish Parliament is the beginning of one of several engagements to bring the Scottish Hindu Community together and we are sure that these events will provide a wonderful platform for creating understanding and valuable co-operation between the Hindu community and the society at large.
Well done Puneet, Samir, Ritesh & Scotland team of Hindu Forum. ..Although we were not invited but looks like a great event and covered all temples of Scotland. I wish it a yearly event and you get bigger space in Parliament to invite more people to represent. Overall Well Done!!👌✔✔
Very Good initiative. Thank you for awakening the Hindu communit in Scotland