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British soldiers tie rakhis to symbolise bond with Indian diaspora

world Updated: Aug 29, 2015 15:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Members of the British armed forces attend an event at the Balaji Temple, Birmingham. Ministry of Defence, UK (HT Photo)

Several members of Britain’s armed forces attended ‘raksha bandhan’ events in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bradford this week, where the contribution of past and present members of the Hindu community in the country’s military history was recalled.

There are currently 950 members of the armed forces whose religious affiliation is declared as Hindu. The events were attended by the minister for Armed Forces, Penny Mordaunt, and senior officials, a release from the Ministry of Defence said.

Mordaunt said at the event in Balaji Temple in Birmingham: “Our challenge in the UK Armed Forces is to ensure this solemn vow of defence and protection extends beyond the family, beyond even the community, to the country itself. This is the exact principal we see today in the Hindu community as we celebrate Raksha Bandhan”.

VPN Rao, chairman of the temple, said: “It was a pleasure and honour for Balaji Temple to host Raksha Bandhan alongside the Armed Forces.

Having serving personnel join in reminds us of the many ways we are protected; by our family, our friends and of course the Armed Forces”.

The events also lauded the contribution of Hindu serving personnel throughout the history of the UK Armed Forces: World War I, when the release said “750,000 Hindus where deployed overseas in the British Indian Army (earning 8 Victoria Crosses); World War II where 1.25 million Hindus fought in the British Indian Army (earning 18 Victoria Crosses); and the 950 current serving personnel”.