Mumbai: The Hinduja Diwali Reception, which has become a part of London’s fabled social calendar and attended by successive past PMs, was hosted yesterday in all its pomp and glory after the forced break of 3 years owing to the Pandemic. While the invitations had already gone much in advance, the turn of the political events in the UK provided an auspicious restart to this august event.
Only a few days ahead of Diwali, Rishi Sunak became the United Kingdom’s first British Asian Hindu Prime Minister. The Hinduja family was delighted to welcome over 300 guests, including peers, MPs, Ambassadors and diplomats, top business leaders, and journalists to their Diwali Reception at their London Heritage Home, the Carlton House Terrace. It was the family’s first in-person Diwali celebration since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Proceedings began with Sir Clive Alderton, Principal Private Secretary to HM King Charles III delivering special Diwali wishes from the new Monarch, highlighting King Charles’s commitment to all faiths and communities.
Welcoming the guests, Gopichand Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group, along with his brothers, Prakash and Ashok Hinduja, spoke of the significance of Diwali, about Goddess Lakshmi, and how real wealth comprises blessings and contentment earned through the acts of giving. GP Hinduja fondly mentioned missing his elder brother, SP Hinduja, who couldn’t join the Reception owing to his ill health.
Representatives from the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties who joined the celebration included the new Conservative Party Chairman, Nadhim Zahawi MP, former Health Secretary during the Covid 19 pandemic, Matt Hancock MP, Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, and the globally recognised Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. They all thanked the Hinduja family for bringing so many people together from across the faiths, communities, and political spectrum for this Diwali celebration. Mrs. Kamal Prakash Hinduja, and Mrs. Harsha Ashok Hinduja, presented the moortis of Goddess Lakshmi to the dignitaries.
Arjun Rampal with his partner, Gabriella, and playback singer, Kanika Kapoor were there from Bollywood. Mrs. Usha Mittal, the wife of Arcelor’s LN Mittal, who was travelling, also attended along with 22 High Commissioners from the 38 countries where the Hinduja Group is directly present.
Invoking the Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh for the success of the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, Gopichand Hinduja, Mayor Sadiq Khan, and Lord Tariq Ahmed emphasisied the richness of diversity in the United Kingdom today with a Christian monarch, a Hindu Prime Minister and a Muslim Mayor of London drawing reference to the famous Hindi movie ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ which incidentally was financed by the Hinduja Family only. Praising the half-a-million-strong Hindu community in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan stated, “London is the greatest city in the world, and one of the reasons is the immense contribution made by the Londoners of the Hindu Faith”.
Keeping in line with the tradition of Diwali and the Hinduja Family ethos, the guests were served an eclectic menu of the choicest vegetarian Indian food.