For the first time, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday celebrated Diwali at the 10 Downing Street, as the Labour leader and his wife lit a lamp placed amid idols of Lord Rama, Krishna from the Swaminarayan Mandir.
“This is a great day for Downing Street, a great day for us and a great day for Britain to welcome you to celebrate Diwali for the first time in Downing Street,” Brown said while welcoming top NRIs, including the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Nalin Surie and leading India-born industrialist Lord Swraj Paul.
“This is a historic event and all of you deserve our congratulations for your contribution to Britain,” he said, as the celebration was held at the office-cum-residence of the British premier in an impressive manner for the first time in its history.
Brown said it was also an occasion to celebrate the strengthening of the relations between Britain and India.
He noted that Indians in the UK have contributed a great deal for the success of Britain, be it in the field of business, art, culture, education and various other diverse fields.
Referring to the presence of a large number of youth, he described the youth as the “future of the country” and said “let us all work together to deal with poverty and injustice any where in the world.”
The Prime Minister and his wife, Sarah Brown lit the Diwali lamp. Idols of Lord Rama, Krishna from the Swaminarayan Mandir was kept there. Also on display was a variety of sweets and different kinds of lights.
Keith Vaz, the ethnic Indian-origin Labour MP, said India’s well-known artist M F Hussain, who was also present on the occasion, would donate one of his arts works to 10 Downing Street.
Hussain told PTI he would donate one of the existing piece of art work to the Prime Minister. He said he planned to return to India and Government of India has indicated to him that he should come back to India.
“Government is working out a plan and I plan to go back at the earliest,” he said.
Among other dignitaries present on the occasion included leading entrepreneur Sir Gulam Noon and top hotelier Joginder Sangar.