Hundreds gathered to hear politicians praise the contributions made by the Hindu community at a Diwali celebration at the houses of Parliament.
Organised by the The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) this year there was a word of warning for British politicians in the run-up to the general election.
Lord Navneet Dholakia (Lib Dem) said, “Don’t fall for the [far-right] British National Party trap on immigration.
"Instead, speak loudly about the contributions made by the Asian Hindu community.”
A loud cheer went up when another speaker mentioned the £2 billion plus investment in the UK from the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities.
However, the biggest round of applause was given to Sarah Teather MP of the Liberal Democrats party, who having learnt Hindi for two weeks from her Brent constituents told her appreciative audience in a surprisingly clean accent: “Main House of Commons mein aapka swagat karti hoon.”
Pandit Pratap Pawar, a well-known kathak dancer gave an amazing display of literally eyebrow kathak dancing followed by the Leicester Maher boys who really rocked the House with their dynamic Gujarati folk dance in the Members’ Dining Room of the lower house of parliament.
The occasion provided an opportunity for MPs to gamely vie with each other to prove their Indian credentials and even attracted the speaker of the House, John Bercow MP - who attended the event for the first time - and his lovely wife Sally in a stunning blue salwaar kamiz outfit.
Members from the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish National Party added to the sense of celebration of the occasion.
Hosted by Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Mark Field, MP and Sarah Teather MP this annual celebration of Diwali is a popular event bringing all the major parties together with prominent members of the British Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities together Bharti Tailor, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: “This year’s Diwali celebration at the Houses of Parliament was an wonderful occasion of colour and sound; it was very heartening that so many took time out of there busy schedules to attend the Diwali Celebrations.
"It’s also pleasing to see that politicians from all parties made such an effort to demonstrate their understanding of Hinduism and the meaning of Diwali. It was also great to hear them speak in Hindi and dress in Indian clothing.”
The event was sponsored by Incredible India, The Ministry for Tourism for India and Training Connect Ltd.