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June - July 2006
The Ball that opens new vistas for Hindus in Britain
It was the celebration of Hindu Unity at a grand scale. There were seven hundred affluent Indians joined by government ministers, top civil servants and diplomats to witness a colourful celebration of Hindu culture and commerce at the Hilton Park Lane in the glorious month of Vaishakh
The fund-raising event began with the chanting of mantras from Rig Veda by Kavita Krishnamurthy, the versatile singer from Bollywood.. The HFB Mantra epitomises the principle of inter-faith unity and community cohesion.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his message congratulated the Hindu Forum of Britain on the occasion and said, "The Hindu community has a long and proud tradition in Britain and makes a huge contribution to the economic and social prosperity of this country. The Hindu Forum of Britain in particular has taken a leading role in profiling the success and achievements of the Hindu community in British society. This is an exciting time for the Hindu Forum of Britain and I am impressed by the many exciting projects and initiatives it is leading."
After the ‘Diva lighting’ ceremony. traditional dances performed by Sarita Gossain (Aarti Dance), Rakhi Sood her group (classical based on ‘Radha Krishna’ and fusion dance) and classical ‘Bharat Natyam’ dance enhanced the enchantment of the eveing. It was as Rami Ranger, the Chair of the Fund Raising Committee said, “Sit back and enjoy the mysteries of India in Britain.” Welcoming the guests, Rami Ranger said that it was" The first ever Hindu ball which is a celebration of Hindu culture and its contribution in enriching Britain’s multi-cultural life. It is as much a celebration of Hinduism as it is of the British sense of fair play and tolerance. It would not be an incorrect statement to say that if we were not treated fairly by the natives, then we would not have been able to contribute as much to Britain as we are doing today. A fair society gets the best out of everyone and benefits itself in the long run. We must never create liabilities by discriminating against people purely on the basis of colour and religion.”
“Talking about India”, Narrated Rami Ranger, “last week my 12 year old daughter came to me clutching a broad street newspaper full of headlines like – BA out sources its booking department to India – Citi bank out sources its customer care department to India. British gas out sources its account department to India and so on. She asked me politely, “Dad, can I outsource my school homework to India ?”. The irrepressible Chair of the Fund-raising committee eloquently affirmed,” With this ball, we would also like to make a statement of fact that we are no longer the struggling community that we once were. We have fulfilled our promises and your trust by working hard and becoming an asset to the nation. We have enriched Britain’s cultural as well as business life beyond recognition. We would now like to play a more prominent role in British public and political life. We have been here for decades and our next generation will no longer be called immigrants. ... So, politicians please pay a little attention and benefit from our talent..... We are proud to be British Hindus and amongst those who from these tiny islands have touched the lives of almost everyone in the world. Our relationship goes back centuries. Wherever the British went in search of building an empire they always had the help and support of the most loyal Hindus, whether it was railways in Kenya, a need for Civil servants in Tanzania, or Police officers in Singapore, our destiny has always brought us closer and closer to each other over the years. It will not be an exaggeration to say that if it was not for the Hindu soldiers fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Brits, the course of many battles would have been different. We have now become an integral part of Britain and the British way of life.
It is hard to imagine Britain without Hindus and the familiar chants of Hare Rama, Hare Krishna in our streets which symbolizes love and peace for all..... Hinduism is simply an art of co-existing with all God’s creations. Over 1 billion Hindus live and work with Mother Nature in perfect harmony. We know how to respect animals, plants, birds, stars, moon and in fact the entire universe. Hindus also know how o respect their elders as well as their children. The Hindu ethos of non violence, tolerance and integration are the key ingredients which makes us a success throughout the world.
“Through this occasion”, said Rami Ranger, “ we wish to thank our elders for giving us values which have stood the test of time over centuries. We are also indebted to them for teaching us to respect each and every culture of the world. We can see this in India today where there are many religions and cultures living in harmony. The strength of any community lies in being tolerant and progressive. Success then follows. Our success in the world shows beyond doubt that we are tolerant, progressive and a very welcome community throughout the world.”
Ramesh Kallidai, General Secretary of the Hindu Forum of Britain added: "The inaugural Ball celebrates the successes of HFB since it started nearly two years ago. The Forum has campaigned on behalf of the community, commissioned ground-breaking projects and been the voice of British Hindus. Our cancer awareness campaign launched at the Ball will help save many lives. Mouth cancer and other types of cancer specific to the Indian community can be prevented by encouraging early screening and lifestyle changes. The Forum has a long-term commitment to raising awareness of these cancers and will be working with the information charity Cancerbackup in the future."
A special award of excellence was presented to Mr. Nat Puri, a UK industrialist and philanthropist for his services to the Hindu cause. Mr. Puri donated over £1 million to the Gujarat Earthquake Fund and he moved the audience with a passionate speech of how his humble beginning made him unable to sit back and watch people suffering around him.
The Rt. Hon. Geoff Hoon, leader of the House of Commons referred to the tremendous contribution made by the Hindu Community to British society. The Indian High Commissioner Mr Kamlesh Sharma pointed out that the Indian community which constituted 2% of the UK population contributes 4% of the GDP.
auction raised over £25,000 for a Cancer backup with the top
prize -two business class round the world return
tickets-donated by Skylord Travels and Emirates Airlines -
alone raised £10,000. Honoured guests included, Lord
Dholakia, Keith Vaz, Tony McNulty MP Minister of State for
Immigration, Barry Gardiner MP, Minister of State,
Department of Trade and Industry, Paul Goggins MP,
Parliamentary Under Secrerary of State for the Home Office
and Don Butler. The Conservative Party was represented by
Dominic Grieve MP, Shadow Attorney General and Bernard
Jenkins MP , Deputy Chairman.
From Dipesh Patel: I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you for the organisation and execution of such an auspicious event held yesterday evening at the Park Lane Hilton. You have definitely fulfilled your mission statement and in your own words have ‘Put British Hindus on the Map’.As a fellow Hindu I was proud to be associated with such a rare and unique event.
From Arjan Vekaria: Heartiest congratulations to all of you for having organised such a spectacular event that was really succesful. Every guest I met had nothing but praise for the event, the professionalism, the entertainment and the food.
It shows what Hindus are capable of once they are UNITED, we need to build on this and make our CAUSE even stronger.