UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer spread an illuminating message of hope and prosperity as they wished the Indian nation a ‘Happy Diwali’ this November.
In Diwali spirit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cited the victory of light over darkness and good over evil as he delivered a message of optimism about overcoming the coronavirus pandemic for a first-of-its-kind virtual Diwali festival which took place over the weekend.
In his message, the Prime Minister said: “Just as Lord Rama and his wife Sita found their way home after the defeat of the demon king Ravana, their way lit by many millions of lamps, so too we shall find our way through this, and we shall do so triumphantly.”
“While undoubtedly there are huge challenges ahead, I have every confidence in the resilience and resolve and good sense of people across the country and that together we will overcome this virus, just as Diwali teaches us that light triumphs over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance,” Johnson said from 10 Downing Street in London on Friday.
Acknowledging that people would find it particularly difficult this year with restrictions imposed, Johnson praised the Indian community in the UK for all their sacrifices and efforts at working towards a safe and secure Diwali.
He praised the “fantastic virtual Diwali festival” for bringing the spirit of Diwali into people’s homes while helping people stay safe. “I know that celebrating at a distance isn’t easy when you want to get together with all your family or visit your friends or share with them the Diwali fun, as well of course the odd samosa or gulab jamun,” he said in his inaugural address to the ‘iGlobal Diwali Fest 2020’ which took place from 6-8 November.
“So I want you to know that your sacrifices, and your determination to do the right thing really are helping to save lives, and tough though I know many aspects of this year have been, I have been blown away by the inspirational way in which Hindus, Sikhs and Jains have responded to this crisis with compassion, community spirit and a can-do attitude,” he said.
Watch the Prime Minister’s special address at Diwali Fest here:
Labour Leader Sir Kier Starmer also wished the Indian nation a Happy Diwali in his address, which you can watch here:
CEO of the India Inc Group, Manoj Ladwa, the UK-based organiser of the event said: “The Prime Minister, leaders of the main UK political parties and the Mayors of the country’s major metros lining up for Diwali in this way is quite unprecedented and reflects not only the real depth of UK-India ties but also the pivotal role of the UK’s 1.5-million strong Indian community.
As an extension of politicians’ Diwali messages that have spread across the Indian nation throughout early November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak took to No.11 Downing Street on 12 November to light diva lamps whilst acknowledging Diwali ‘will be difficult’ this year.
In a video shared by BBC Reporter, Sima Kotecha on Twitter, Sunak can be seen lighting diva lamps outside No.11 Downing Street for the first time in British history.
— Sima Kotecha (@sima_kotecha) November 12, 2020
Speaking to Kotecha, Sunak said: “Faith is important to me, I’m a practising Hindu, I pray with my kids, visit the temple when I can – at the moment rather less so because I’m busy.
“For us as Hindus, Diwali is special, and it’s going to be difficult this year. But we’ve got Zoom, we’ve got the phone, and most importantly, we’ve got each other. Whether you can see someone or not the bond of family, that bond of love is always going to be there. And it will be there on 3 December as well.”
Lockdown restrictions in England mean families cannot meet up with people from different households or go to the temple for group worship.
The nationwide restrictions are due to end on 2 December, and Mr Sunak said families need “to stick with this for a couple more weeks”.
“We’re going to get through this,” he said. “And it’s going to be so much better on the other side. And we’ll have lots of happy times afterwards. But to keep everyone safe right now, just follow the rules.”