Seven members of the Armed Forces Hindu Network (AFHN) accompanied by the Armed Forces Hindu Chaplain, Acharya Krishan Kant MBE, and the Gurkha priest, were cordially invited to celebrate ‘Diwali’, the most revered festival in the Hindu calendar, with the Prime Minister on 6 November. Over 100 members from the British-Hindu community were also present during the celebration. The Prime Minister thanked the Hindu military contingent from the RN, Army including Gurkha Regiments and the RAF for their attendance and acknowledged the role the British Hindus play in the wider community. He emphasised the similarities between the different cultures and religions in the UK and mentioned the importance they all place on family values and a coherent society.
‘Diwali’ the festival of lights celebrates the triumph of good over evil and to be the ‘Force for Good’. This is represented by lighting ‘diyas’ (lamps) to illuminate the darkest night in the Hindu calendar. As seamen, soldiers and airmen, it is the time to reflect on our commitment to society as we are the wick in the ‘diyas’ that support the glow of the light. It is through our selfless act and dedication that darkness can be defeated. ‘Diwali’ hence carries an even more pertinent meaning to all serving in the UK Armed Forces.
“Asato ma satgamaya. Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya. Mrityorma amritam gamaya.” (Upanishad — I.iii.28) meaning, “Lead me from the untruth to truth. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality.”
The Armed Forces Hindu Network is an inclusive association for all Hindus serving in the UK Armed Forces and provides support and assistance on cultural, spiritual and wider Defence matters.
Flt Lt Vik Mungroo (Deputy Chairman AFHN)
Defence Academy UK
Note: Hindu Council UK works with the Hindu Chaplain to Armed Forces, Pandit Krishan Kant Attri MBE and with the Civil Engagement Warrant Officer, Mr Ashok Chauhan MBE, both of whom are in the picture above.