Hindu Forum of Europe and Golden Tours Foundation, wish to thank you for being a part of the Diwali celebrations at European Parliament on 11th October and 12th October 2017, making the programme doubly successful.
A robust 220 persons were present including, Vice President, MEPs, Ambassadors, NGOs, Spiritual Leaders, Academicians, professors and each one of you. The delegates and dignitaries present expressed their good wishes and appreciated the efforts put in by HFE and GTF. List attached.
Geoffrey Van Orden set the reception in a motion requesting for an opening prayer and simultaneously lighting of diyas. MEP Geoffrey gave the inaugural address and emphasized the significance of Diwali for Hindus and other communities and how EU Parliament is more than supportive of such an event. His speech was followed by Ambassador of India Ms Gaitri Kumar, stressing the need for more integration between the European members and Hindu Community.
Nina Gill MEP for International Development spoke on the larger community of Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists also celebrating Diwali and it is one of the major festivals of Indians. This was followed by Vice President Maidraid Mc Guinness who was more than happy to be part of the celebrations and wished everyone to have a lovely evening. President of HFE Dr Lakshmi Vyas, welcomed all present and touched upon the activities conducted by HFE during the year and some of the milestones achieved, including being close to obtaining legal recognition of Hinduism as a religion in Belgium. Dr Vyas introduced Mr. Nitin Palan and Mrs Kamu Palan the main sponsor and other members who were present from UK from various organisations.
The second part of the event was the Gala Dinner – sit down dinner with some more speeches and cultural performances. The list of person spoke included Mahaprabhu, Martin Gurwich, General Secretary of HFE who briefly talked about HFE and its lobbying with Parliament and other countries. The other speakers are Vincent Depagane, Coordinator EU Commission and others. List attached.
The cultural program was performed by Britain’s award-winning Arunima Kumar dance company ( AKDC) on the theme of Ramayana and Shiva Yoga performed by Arunima Kumar, Bhagya Lakshmi, Helene Lasage, Abhirami Eshwar, including styles of Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Kathak. It was magical, a physical language well expressed with sensuous postures resembling sculptures, a beautifully crafted presentation, at the heart of which is a thoughtful interpretation of an ancient Indian tradition and philosophy signifying the Festival of Lights. The performance was revered by all. The Santoor recital was performed by none other than Padmashree Pandit Satish Vyas which was soothing and pleasing to the august audience and the highlight was the fusion of Indian and European music that he mixed so cleverly that was appreciated by all.
Mr Nitin Palan, the main sponsor, MD of Golden Tours and Golden Tours Foundation (charity), Trustee of BAPS (Swaminarayan Temple) was felicitated for being awarded and honoured ‘MBE’ by Queen of England. Mr Palan said ‘Diwali is a special festival which brings communities and faiths together, worldwide. In UK Diwali in Trafalgar Square is the biggest celebration of this cohesiveness and harmony and I hope that in the coming years Diwali also is celebrated more widely in all European countries by millions of people’.
The moods were jubilant, people colourful and joyous and wanted to see the event grow in leaps and bounds. MEPs remembered the event as a grand success and spoke to their colleagues about it. The MEPs, officers of the EU Commission and other key political figures recognised the relevance and importance of the Hindu Diaspora. Recognition of traditional practices such as the lighting of the lamp, prayers and spiritual discourses was appreciated by all present.
HFE & GTF Look forward to your support and cooperation in the coming years too.
For Golden Tour Foundations & Hindu Forum of Europe
Dr. Lakshmi Vyas, President HFE