In the News:
British Chancellor Praises Hindu Contribution at HFB Diwali Event at House of Commons

by Sanjay Mistry, Hindu Forum of Britain

Posted October 15, 2006

The attached picture shows from left to right: Keith Vaz MP, Chancellor Gordon Brown and Ramesh Kallidai (Romapada Dasa)

12 October 2006 - The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP lit a lamp to commence the annual Diwali reception organised by the Hindu Forum of Britain, the largest umbrella body for British Hindus, and hosted by Parliamentarians from different Parties at the House of Commons on 11 October. In his opening remarks he praised the significant contribution made by the Hindu community to Britain through business and professions.

The Chancellor said: "It is to you, the British Hindu community that we owe a debt of gratitude for your contribution to the country and the values you champion. For us here at Westminster, Diwali is one of the great days, one of the great events in our calendar. I am delighted to see so many of my Parliamentary colleagues here today from both Houses who have worked closely with the Hindu Forum of Britain to make this event such a success."

Over 100 MPs, ministers, cabinet secretaries, diplomats, businessmen, community leaders and civil servants in Britain attended the fifth Diwali reception at the House of Commons, which was transformed into a mini-India with lamps, rangoli patterns, sacred food displays, exhibits, Indian sweets, gifts and incense.

"This year marks the fifth anniversary of the annual Diwali at Westminster reception," remarked Ramesh Kallidai (Romapada Dasa), secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, who has recently been appointed on the Commission of Integration and Cohesion. "The multi-party reception is an expression of the British Hindu community's success in cohesively integrating into British society."

Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the National Ethnic Minority Task Force who was the main Parliamentary host for the event said, "These celebrations provide us an opportunity to celebrate the most important festival in the Indian calendar in the mother of Parliaments. Britain is a nation of many faiths and cultures and our diversity is the envy of the world."

The Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, David Cameron MP, who recently returned from a trip to India, also addressed the reception and talked about the common bonds that exist between Britain and India and the burgeoning special relationship between the two countries. He added: "Diwali is a wonderful festival, celebrated both in this country and around the world. It is an opportunity to reflect on the immensely valuable contribution that the Hindu community has made to national life in this country."

Sir Menzies Campbell, MP, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party who was present to deliver his Diwali greetings commented: "The Diwali reception in the House of Commons has become a highlight of the parliamentary year. The inclusive nature of the festival is demonstrated in bringing together of Parliamentarians of all parties and the communities they represent in celebtation of the festival of lights."

Other guests at the reception included Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for Transport, Baroness Amos, Leader of the House of Lords, Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons, Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health.

This unique event which brings together Parliamentarians and the communities they are elected to serve in celebrating this important festival in Parliament was sponsored by Barclays and Mishcon De Reya solicitors.


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

Notes to editors

  1. The Hindu Forum of Britain is the representative umbrella body for British Hindus with formal membership of over 275 Hindu organisations from different regions and cultural backgrounds in Britain. 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. 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 the HFB Website:

For further information, please reply to Sanjay Mistry