Scottish Hindu Foundation Host Diwali Celebration at Queen Elizabeth House Highlighting Richness of Hindu Culture


GG News Bureau

Edinburgh (Scotland), 6th Dec. The Scottish Hindu Foundation (SHF) marked a significant milestone in its journey by hosting its first Diwali celebration at Queen Elizabeth House on November 17, 2023. The event, a testament to the richness of Hindu culture, brought together a diverse community to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

With the establishment of SHF as the official representative body of Hindus in Scotland to the Scottish government, the foundation proudly hosted this year’s celebration with immense enthusiasm and support. A dedicated team worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the event’s success at concise notice.

The Diwali celebration served as a cultural beacon, highlighting the Hindu tradition where every day is a festival and life itself is a celebration. In a world grappling with conflicts, the message of Diwali resonates as a symbol of hope and peace.

Mr.Jonathan Darby, Head of Strategic Engagement at the Scotland Office, delivered the opening remarks to kickstart the event, setting the stage for its commencement.

Heads of all Hindu temples of Scotland from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen commenced the program by lighting the diyas. Hindu priests from Edinburgh Hindu Mandir Pt. Hinal Bhogyata, Dr. Sreevas Sahasranamam from Hindu temple Scotland Rutherglen, and Acharya Medini Prasad Mishra from Hindu Mandir Glasgow recited Vedic prayers for Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi for auspiciousness, grace, material, and spiritual wealth for all.

Amongst others, MSP Sandesh Gulhane – the only Hindu MSP, and MSP Alex-Cole Hamilton – leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats graced the celebration, sharing insights and wisdom that added tremendous value to the event. Mr. Alex-Cole Hamilton hailed Lord Ram by saying “Jai Shree Ram” and shared the inspiring story of India’s Moon Mission of Landing on the Dark Side. Dr. Sandesh Gulhane shared an emotional story of him and his mother and what it meant to them when they saw PM Rishi Sunak lighting diyas in Downing Street. He also emphasized that he is proud of his Hindu identity and how Hinduism teaches universal acceptance.

Dr. Richa Sinha, elected chair for SHF, provided the opening remarks, taking the audience through the remarkable journey of the Hindu community over the past century. Dr. Richa also announced the flagship project of SHF, “Dharmocracy Works,” aimed at inspiring Hindus to contribute to the political spectrum for societal betterment. Other initiatives include the “SHF Youth Group” and the “Hindu Parent Council,” guiding young individuals in making better life decisions and providing parents with a guidebook for participating in key decisions regarding their children’s education.

The Scottish Hindu Foundation proudly presented Mr. Narayan Sood with the esteemed ‘Guiding Star Jeevan Sewa Award,’ recognizing his six decades of remarkable contributions and steadfast dedication to serving the Hindu Community of Scotland. In the notable journey of Mr. Sood’s life, several achievements stand out. His outstanding leadership as the President of Edinburgh Hindu Mandir And Cultural Centre for six years, tenure as the General Secretary of the Association of Indian Organisations for eight years, and his role as the General Secretary of the Scot Asian Action Committee for Welfare and Campaign exemplify his steadfast dedication to the enhancement of our society. Simultaneously, Ms. Rajasiri Iyengar received the ‘Rising Star Yuva Award,’ acknowledging her outstanding commitment and budding leadership. Notably, she played a pivotal role in establishing the Hindu Society at the University of Dundee, creating a support network for Hindu students transitioning to Scotland.

The evening also featured an incredible dance performance by Ms. Spoorthi Kannepadi, showcasing the eight divine forms of Goddess Lakshmi, captivating the audience with mesmerising displays of beauty and grace. The closing remark was made by Mr. Puneet Dwivedi, thanking all the guests, the events team of SHF, and the venue staff who worked tirelessly to make the event a success. SHF extends profound gratitude to supporters from Indian by Nature, Kumon Crostorphine, and Cidsin.

The event was attended by Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West), Sue Webber (MSP for Lothian Region), Mary Morgan (Cheif Executive NHS Scotland), Susan Murray (Councillor East Dunbartonshire), Jacinta Braker (CEMVO), Lorraine Glass (Respect Me) Brian Jones (Make a Point Scotland), Lara Cook (Scottish Government  Faith and Belief Team), Matt Cormack (Scottish Pegan Federation), Shabir Beg (Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society), Carrie Varjavandi (Dundee and Tayside Interfaith), Joe Goldblatt (Edinburgh Interfaith Association), John Stuart (Anglican Communion, Scottish Episcopal Church), Beverly Bergman (The Royal Scottish Society of Arts), Dr. Srinivas Sriramula (University of Aberdeen), Prof. Pankaj (Edinburgh India Institute), Prerana Kaushik (Divine Healing Hut), Minakshi Pathak (Medhavi Learning Hub), Sujeet Singh (Rajasthan Association of Scotland), Sowbhagya Munishankar (Scottish Karnataka Sangh), Adarsh Khullar (Ekta Group), Cheryl Pyott (Scottish Ambulance Service) and many more.  Mr.Amit Kumar Chaudhary, Vice Consul of India, also graced his presence for this occasion.

As we bid farewell to this year’s Diwali celebration, SHF looks forward to many more such events, fostering unity, diversity, and cultural exchange within the community.

About the Scottish Hindu Foundation (SHF)

The Scottish Hindu Foundation (SHF) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote and preserve Hindu culture and heritage in Scotland. SHF serves as a platform for Hindus to actively engage with the Scottish government and other stakeholders on crucial matters, such as the Hate Crime Bill, with potential impacts reaching every individual across various sectors of society.

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