Chakra Announcements

British parliamentarians feted at Diwali

by Radha Mohan das

Posted November 16, 2004

Diwali in London's House of Commons, on Wednesday 10th November, was an opportunity for British ISKCON devotees to mingle with leaders from across the political spectrum. Diwali in the British Parliament is now an annual event; last year, Prime Minister Tony Blair attended.

Bhaktivedanta Manor extended hospitality by providing a staggering array of prasadam on the annakut. The Soho temple blessed our political dignitaries with exquisite flower garlands. Bhakti Vijnana Swami shared the spotlight with his efforts to gain international support for the Moscow temple project.

Gauri prabhu, temple president of Bhaktivedanta Manor, recited Sanskrit prayers on the dais, while David Blunkett, Secretary of State for the Home Office, representing the Prime Minister, lit the Diwali candles.

The National Communications Department escorted all the political leaders down the aisle to meet Gauri das, who garlanded them, honoured them each with a small gift, and gave a brief talk about prasadam.

The following cabinet members and political dignitaries, amongst many other MPs, met ISKCON devotees: David Blunkett, Home Secretary; Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary; Michael Howard, Leader of the Opposition; Simon Hughes, President of the Liberal Democrats; Lord Dholakia; Peter Luff, MP; Virginia Bottomley, MP; Baroness Flather; Dominique Grieve, MP; and Tony McNulty, MP.

Gauri das was interviewed by both television and radio. The event was initiated by Romapada prabhu (Ramesh Kallidai) and the Hindu Forum of Britain, of which ISKCON UK is a member.