Diwali is part of UK’s national life: PM Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May hosted her first Diwali event at 10, Downing Street days before a visit to India, and said the festival played “an important part of our national life”.world Updated: Oct 26, 2016 00:57 IST
Hosting her first Diwali event at 10, Downing Street, Prime Minister Theresa May lit a traditional lamp and said the festival played “an important part of our national life”, days before embarking on a visit to India from November 6.
“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,” she said on Monday evening, recalling the Indian leader’s visit to London last November.
“And, next month I am delighted to be returning his visit when I go to India – it will be my first bilateral outside of the European Union and I’m going from Delhi to Bangalore - a true celebration of relations between our countries and our shared ambitions for the future.”
The event was attended by nearly 150 leading British Indians and India’s acting high commissioner Dinesh Patnaik.
Lauding the Indian community’s contribution to Britain, May said: “When we analyse 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 every single one of us – whatever our background, whatever our faith.
“Now I have to say I haven’t read all 24,000 verses in the epic poem about Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya. But I do know the story of his homecoming from the many Diwali celebrations I have attended in my own constituency over the years,” she added.
“The values he embodied are values which we can all heed. Values of charity, sacrifice and responsibility; to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi: losing ourselves in the service of others.”
According to May, Britain’s political system had become more representative and more effective with the presence of ministers such as Priti Patel and Alok Sharma, Shailesh Vara and Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons, and Jitesh Gadhia, Dolar Popat, Sandip Verma and Ranbir Suri in the House of Lords.