December 2006 - January 2007
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan: Tessa Jowell joins in Diwali Celebrations as chief guest at Bhawan’s Diwali Banquet
Once again the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan held its prestigious Diwali Banquet
on the 7th November at the Marriott Hotel in Swiss Cottage, London. This year’s
chief guest was The Rt. Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture,
Media and Sport. Attending as joint chief guest, was The Deputy High Commissioner
for India. Also present were the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, members of
both Houses of Parliament and many leading members of the community.
Following the Bhavan’s Prayer given by Dr M.N. Nandakumara, Mr Maneck Dalal
OBE, Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan UK, said that he was delighted that the
Secretary of State had been able to come, despite her very busy schedule. He
said that the Bhavan was committed to being an inclusive part of the country’s
society. An instance of this inclusivity was the fact that the Bhavan had entered
the UK’s higher education system with the launch of its new Indian Music
Degree, held in collaboration with Trinity College of Music. In addition, our
concerts were open to all, and often featured musicians from other areas such
as Jazz, African, Caribbean and Western Classical Music. Also we played a full
part in the activities of Hammersmith and Fulham. At this point he especially
welcomed the new Mayor, Cllr Minnie Scott-Russell and paid tribute to the help
we had received from the Borough.
The Rt. Hon.Tessa Jowell began by saying that she felt honoured to be present
amongst so many who had been working with such dedication for the sake of the
community. Members of the community were linked by the beauty, magic and spiritual
stimulation of Indian artistic culture. The Secretary of State then recalled
her last contact with the Bhavan which had been in 2002 when she had opened
the Millennium Extension and Art Gallery at the Bhavan’s premises in West Kensington.
She was very proud that support for the Bhavan was continuing from the Arts Council,
The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Millennium Commission. She was impressed with
the Bhavan as a place which reached out to those who may not have had an opportunity
to experience the arts and to bring them into contact with the full breadth of
art, not just as spectators, but as participants. The Bhavan had made an enormous
difference to every one of its students on its regular courses as well as the
new degree course. She then mentioned two of her particular passions – the
promotion of access to excellence in our arts and culture; and links with India.
The relationship between India and the UK was deep, strong and well-established.
She also had her own links with India personally and through her department.
A new cultural agreement involving co-operation in film-making would be signed
with her counterpart in India next year. She knew that India’s economy
was growing and felt that this would strengthen cultural ties between the two
countries. She firmly believed that the culture of Britain is made richer by
the collaboration with other cultures. The Bhavan was enriching the culture
of this country as a whole and not just the communities which it serves in
London. This occasion of Diwali was a wonderful example of community outreach
by the Bhavan.
The Deputy High Commissioner of India, Sri Rajan Mathai also paid tribute to
the work done by the Bhavan. He went on to say that the last year had been
one of spectacular achievement by the Indian community in the United Kingdom.
He noted that amongst those present were some high achievers who had made him
proud of the very name ‘India’. He also said that he was aware
of the work done by the Secretary of State in the field of bilateral co-operation
in the field of the arts. This occasion brought together all those who wished
to celebrate the glorious tradition of India art and culture. He commended
the Bhavan for portraying Indian culture at its best.
After a short cultural programme given by the Bhavan’s teachers and students,
the Bhavan’s Vice Chairman and organiser of the Banquet, Mr Joginder
Sanger then gave the vote of thanks in which he thanked The Secretary of State,
The Deputy High Commissioner and all the other distinguished guests.
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