Diwali at House of Commons a Success, But Divisions Within Hindu Community Exacerbated

November 13, 2004

Source: The Times


On November 13, 2004 The Times ran a feature article on the celebration of Diwali in the House of Commons: "Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, has a way not just of breaking down barriers, but of transcending them.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, splendidly garlanded with white flowers, thronged by Hindus from all over the country and halfway through a speech about the strength of Britain’s cultural diversity, suddenly changed tack. 'Honestly, some of us, as Members of Parliament, do actually want to be loved,' he said... Not all was entirely peace and light in Britain’s one-million-strong Hindu community this Diwali... The House of Commons event, on Wednesday, was organised by the Hindu Forum, a new and politically astute umbrella body which has already won plaudits from the leaders of all three parties.

But some leaders of the longerestablished bodies, such as the 25-year-old National Council of Hindu Temples and the ten-year-old Hindu Council UK felt aggrieved to have been taken off the invitation list after three years on it. 'It has divided our community,' said one senior Hindu insider."