Against the backdrop of the , Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) Scotland Chapter decided to celebrate Eco-Diwali this year – with climate action as their central theme.
The event, held earlier this month, highlighted the Hindu ethos of respecting and protecting the environment. The Eco-Diwali was celebrated at Queen Elizabeth House, sponsored by Ministers of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and hosted by Lord Offord of Garvel, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.
Numerous faith Leaders and Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson, and MSPs including Alex Cole-Hamilton and Pam Gosal attended the event. All guests and dignitaries took part in the inaugural Eco Lamp Lighting ceremony.
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Puneet Dwivedi, Vice-President of , organised the most colourful celebrations with his team of Volunteers. Sacred chants, traditional Indian dances were followed by speeches by the assembled dignitaries.
There were slide shows highlighting the community work by the temples in Scotland, spotlighting the environmental action being undertaken by the Hindu temples and organisations.
Dwivedi highlighted the contribution of the Scottish Hindu Community during the Covid-19 crisis, from frontline workers like doctors and nurses to the temples who opened their kitchen to feed the vulnerable and support the key workers.
said: "The name 'Lakshmi' comes from 'Lakshan', which means virtues and reminds us of the wealth of virtues. As much as we clean our home, we should clean our inner beings and environment of pollution so the wealth of virtues can come to our lives to create a better world. ."
The event was interspersed with elegant and graceful dance performances by Theiya Arts. The performers – Himadri Madan, Nandini Manjunath, Karen Watts and Tharanga Wickramsinghe – presented an Indian and Sri Lankan classical form dedicated to Mother Earth and our environment. This dance form has evolved from the natural world around us to embody nature and our environment and incorporate it into our being and .
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Mithilesh Vaddiparthi, who holds Guinness , sang the beautiful devotional song ‘Vaishnav Jan To’ and ended with the foot-tapping ‘Jai Ho’.
This Diwali reception by the Hindu community in Scotland, hosted by HFB Scotland, had the distinction of encompassing members and peers from all political parties to share the colourful and wondrous celebration of the Festival of Lights.