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Diwali Greetings

A night picture of the Neasden temple

A night picture of the Neasden temple

Sweets, gifts and a firework display to mark the festival of lights, as Andria Greaves reports.

Volunteer Ayesha Patel is joining Harrow’s Hindu community for their Diwali festival.

The plucky helper is also a tour guide at the Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple, in Kenton, where more than 4,000 Hindus pray.

Diwali marks the start of the Hindu New Year and is considered a time to pray for good fortune.

Many high school students were also present at this event today, with the aim of learning more about the Hindu Religion and customs.

“This is like our Christmas and as such it’s celebrated by Hindus all over the country,” says Ayesha, while hugging and kissing well wishers at the temple.

“It’s gratifying to see the temple at the heart of the Hindu Harrow community and it’s used for a wider community in Harrow, for entertainment, education and other social activities as well.”

Many of the worshippers at the temple are from the Kutch district of Gujarat state in western India.

Mrs Patel, who like most of the married women, has a red dot on her forehead, said: “More than anything this day is about diversity and understanding. For instance, I’m studying for my final AAT accountancy exams.

“When it comes to finance, everybody needs understanding!”

Diwali is genuinely known as the festival of lights and is signified by the lighting of lamps to signify good overcoming evil within every person.

In many parts of India and Nepal, it’s the home coming of Lord Rama after a 14 year exile in the forest with Sita  – the female love of his life, after he defeated the evil and demonic Ravan.

The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama and Sita by lighting rows of lamps to their safe return.

“Diversity and exclusivity make uneasy bedfellows. We should all enjoy each other’s festivals,” adds Ayesha.

“I’m very pleased to see that police students will also be celebrating Diwali with the Hindu community.

At the same time, Mrs Patel was keen to stress how much the temple is accepted by everyone within the borough, thanks to the public’s open acceptance of differences.

“An understanding of all communities and religions is essential in providing a modern, inclusive and balanced police service.

“The police officers of the future attending events like this can only promote that healthy understanding.”

The celebration ends tonight with a grand firework display, celebrated with friends and family of all races.


November 4, 2008 - Posted by | Andria - Home Current Affairs |

1 Comment »

  1. […] To find out about Diwali in Harrow, click here […]

    Pingback by Diwali: A brief history « Don’t Know? | November 14, 2008 | Reply

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