In the News:
Prime Minister Gets Hindu Name At House of Commons

by Ramesh Kallidai, Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB)

Posted November 20, 2007

15 November 2007 - Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who opened the Sixth Annual Diwali reception at the House of Commons on 14 November, was given an honorary Hindu name by the Hindu Forum of Britain.

Welcoming the Prime Minister to the multi-party reception attended by over 100 MPs and 200 community leaders to celebrate the Hindu festival of light, Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindi Forum of Britain said, "One of the meanings of the word 'Gordon' in Gaelic is a 'hill with meadows' . But in Sanskrit, the sacred language of the Hindus, we have a word for this too. It is a name for Lord Krishna, and it also refers to a sacred hill, called 'Govardhan'. We would therefore like to welcome you as an honorary member of our community, not as Gordon Brown, but as Govardhan Brown."

Replying, the Prime Minister thanked the Hindu Forum of Britain not only for organising this event here today, but also for the important role the Forum plays nationally in Britain. He envisaged this role will continue to grow. He also added that on his visit India early next year he would take the opportunity to speak to Prime Minister Singh about the success of the Hindu community in Britain.

Other speakers at the reception, which was sponsored by Barclays Commercial, included Caroline Spelman, Chair of the Conservative Party, Vincent Cable, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Tony McNulty, Home Office Minister for Security and Policing, and Harriet Herman, Deputy Leader of the House.

Harriet Herman launched a guide for Hindu charities published by the Hindu Forum of Britain. The guide, Working with a Hindu Ethos, is an easy reference book for Hindu groups who wish to form and run charitable organisations in keeping with Hindu values.

The colourful reception had transformed the House of Commons with traditional diva lamps, Indian statues, costumes, incense, floral rangoli patterns, food displays, Indian sweets, chanting, and Indian classical music.

Commenting on the way Diwali is celebrated in Britain, Ramesh Kallidai, said: "Diwali is no longer just an ethnic festival. With 30,000 people in Trafalgar Square, and 20,000 each in Leicester, Birmingham and Ealing Road, it is now one of the national festivals of Britain. Its appeal lies in its basic message of justice, rule of law and the importance of family values."

For more information contact Sanjay Mistry on 07810 368 772 or Ramesh Kallidai on 07915 383 103 or 07867 837 241

Editor's Notes:

  1. The Hindu Forum of Britain is the representative umbrella body for British Hindus with formal membership of over 285 Hindu organisations from different regions and cultural backgrounds in Britain.

  2. The Hindu Forum of Britain has conducted some of the largest community consultation activities on behalf of the Hindu community to influence Government policy and runs a number of projects for Hindu youth, women and temples. Although the Hindu Forum is a national organisation, it has a large regional presence through its membership from the largest regional umbrella organisations, religious organisations, community organisations and youth organisations.

  3. At the core of the Forum's activities is a strong belief in the richness and diversity of the Hindu culture, its value system that encompasses respect for all beings and faiths, and a cultural heritage that facilitates community cohesion and coexistence. For more information visit