The Holī reception was held at the majestic Durbar Court at the Foreign and Commonwealth office in Whitehall London. Ironically, from this same venue, only seventy years ago, the British used to administer their rule in India. However, now, the British Indian Minister for Asia and the Pacific, the Hon. Alok Sharma MP invited Britain’s most prominent Hindus to celebrate ‘The Festival of Colours’, at the same Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Alok Sharma MP welcomed all to the event and highlighted the important work being done by Hindus in every walk and corner of British life. He also thanked Nitin Palan, Urvashi Patel, Alpesh Patel, Harsha Trivedi, Ravi Bhanot, Nilesh & Hina Solanki of Event Gurus and BAPS, Brahma Kumaris, ISKCON, Shree Brahmin Society UK and VHP for organising the event.
The High Commissioner His Excellency Mr Y.K. Sinha expressed that British Hindus stood as a shining example of how British Hindus contribute to Britain and introduce new realms of diversity to a colourful country. Y.K Sinha also emphasised his memories of how Holī is celebrated, today, in the groves and forests of Vrindavan and Mathura in Bhārata.
His Grace Śruti dharma dās from the Bhaktivedānta Manor temple (International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness) recited prayers from the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam Canto 1 Chapter 8 “kṛṣṇāya vāsudevāya devakī-nandanāya ca nanda-gopa-kumārāya govindāya namo namaḥ” invoking protection and auspiciousness from Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
People from all walks of life, and from the hundreds of Hindu temples across the land from within the capital, and further afield from Leicester, Wellingborough, Coventry, Birmingham, the North of England — attended this first time ever Holi Celebrations. Hindu Council UK’s Directors & Executives also attended.
This is a great, pinnacle year for United Kingdom-India relations as the ‘UK-India year of culture’ was celebrated just one week before by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms and Head of the Commonwealth. The celebration of Holī has now been incorporated into the national calendar.
The celebration of Holī serves to symbolise the notion of the universality and equality of every spiritual entity on our planet, truly ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (the constituting of every entity of the world as part of one family), but noting the material diversity of so many millions of cultures and ways of life.
Executive Member responsible for Youth Development & Political Engagement for Hindu Council UK