At the invitation of the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association, Metropolitan Police Service and prominent Hindu community representatives came together at New Scotland Yard on 8/11/12 to celebrate Diwali.
MPS Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was welcomed by the current chair of the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association Satya Minhas and was presented with a garland by Dr Rajesh Parmar a spiritual leader and the MPS Hindu Chaplin before giving a special Diwali message at the event held at New Scotland Yard on Thursday 8 November.
Prominent Hindu community representatives including Lord Dholakia, Lord Sheikh and Lady Sheikh, Honourable Members of Parliament Seema Malhotra, Virendra Sharma and Shailesh Vara, Jay Lakhani Tutor Eton College, Dr Jagdish Sharma an academic and a trustee HCUK, Ameet Aggarwal, Chairperson Art of Living London, Pratik Dattani, Chairperson City Hindu Network, Pranav Bhanot President National Hindu Student Forum, Dr Rajesh Parmar a Spiritual Leader and from Siddhashram Shakti Centre Harrow, Nilesh Badiani from Sai School of Harrow, Prakashbhai Jalaram Mandir Greenford, Gunvant Dave President Brahmin Samaj North London, Dr Madan Bahl President Arya Samaj London, Brij Mohan Gupta President National Council of Hindu Temples, Ashok Chauhan MBE WOC1 MoD, Suryaparsad Upadhya Ret. Major British Army, Arjan Vekaria President Hindu Forum of Britain, Director Deloitte Min Bhogaita, Senior Solicitor Ritu Sethi, Dr Natalie Tobert from Social Inclusion Education, members of MPHA, Police Officers and staff joined together to discuss the significance of Diwali and reaffirming their continued support for the Metropolitan Police Service and Metropolitan Police Hindu Association in policing matters and recruitment initiatives.
MPHA Secretary Rose Robinson welcomed all present and extended Diwali greetings. The event began with an Aarti ceremony conducted by Dr Rajesh Parmar Siddhashram Shakti Centre Harrow, followed by the lighting of candles in memory of Police Officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes who were recently fatally shot during routine a burglary visit in Greater Manchester by the longest serving Hindu Police officer Purnima Raval and Nabeela Ahmed.
A further candle was lit by Commander Mak Chishty in the memory of DC Adele Cashman who died whilst in pursuit of a suspect in Camden earlier in the week. Prayers were offered by all present led by Dr Rajesh Parmar Metropolitan Police Chaplain and a Spiritual leader.
Lord Dholakia and Lord Sheikh addressed guests commending the courage of the Metropolitan Police Service and offered their Diwali greetings to all present and wished MPHA a further successful and active decade.
Founder Chairperson MPHA Chair Mahesh Nandha greeted guests and community leaders and spoke about the formation of the MPHA in 2002 in Harrow as a source of support for the Hindu communities of London and the growing number of Hindu employees within the Metropolitan Police Service. He encouraged all to support the efforts of the MPHA who are voluntarily operating with minimal resources.
The main talk was delivered by Mr Jay Prakash Lakhani, a prominent scholar on Hinduism. Jay’s main message covered the following:
- MPS should celebrate Diwali because it honours the ancient Hero Sri Rama whose life mission was to protect the weak and curtail the wicked.
- But key feature about Sri Rama is that here comes a king who does not live for himself or to expand his empire but who lives for ideal principle and was prepared to walk out of his kingdom just for a principle. All his life he lived for others and that is the central message from all religions. Living for others and not for personal gains is the sign of evolved human being.
- Hinduism has recognised that what we were searching for the heavens as God is visible in all living things and most visible as men and women. Seeing and serving God in humanity is the philosophic height of Hindu teachings. The best place we see this ideal put into practice is modern Britain. In the name of a secular democracy in the name of an egalitarian society what this nation has achieved is what the Hindus have been preaching for thousands of years. Divinifying and dignifying human beings!
A feast of pure vegetarian food was served to more than 120 guests, who were presented with a number of performances, including a traditional dance from Swaras Fine Arts under the guidance of their artistic director Mrs Shamista Sivakumar. The professional dance performances which everyone admired were; Shiva dance by Zenithra and Priyanka Montford, Peacock dance by Thanushuya Alaguthurai, sisters and Priyanka Montford and Swaras Sivakumar, Fusion dance performance by Thanushuya Alaguthurai and Snake dance by Priyanka Montford.
The event also saw the distribution of next year’s Hindu calendar - a useful tool for both officers and members of the public, incorporating crime prevention advice. The calendar was produced as a joint initiative between Mahesh Nandha (Founder Chair of MPHA), Chief Superintendent Dal Babu Harrow borough commander, MPHA and the co-operative.
Chair of the MPHA Satya Minhas said:
Oh Lord, Protector of all (whatever God we believe in), please bless us with your guidance so that our intelligence and actions lead us to do only what is right and good.
Let us from now onwards; consider more closely of our family members, friends, neighbours and local communities. Let us take that extra step to help/support someone and make this planet a better & happier place.
Satya concluded by requesting all present to do whatever they can to help and support the Metropolitan Police in achieving their aims and objectives and making London a safer city whilst meeting government’s targets.
The Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe demonstrated his continued support by attending the event and thanked the MPHA and Hindu leaders for their on-going support. The Commissioner wished everyone a Happy Diwali, congratulated the MPHA for making a valuable contribution and organising a truly enjoyable evening.
There are currently 1,600 Hindus currently working in the Metropolitan Police. The MPHA has been playing an invaluable role within the MPS since 2002 providing assistance to its members, promoting a better understanding of the Hindu faith, culture and traditions within the MPS and improving relations and confidence within the Hindu community. Membership of the association has grown to nearly 300 people including people from Christian, Islamic, Jain and Sikh faith groups. Majority of this work is done by the Chair, the Executive and the volunteers in their own time.
The MPHA regularly hold community engagement events delivering security awareness messages including current burglary crime prevention advice as the nights get darker.
Deputy Chairperson Varsha Mistry thanked all the prominent community leaders, who, over the decade, had offered valuable support to the Metropolitan Police Service by inviting them to events affording them the opportunity promote safety awareness and the Metropolitan Police Service as a career of choice, including BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, ISCON Hare Krishna Mandir Watford, SKLP Northolt, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Ilford, Jalaram Mandir Greenford, Oshwal U.K. Potters Bar and Siddashram Shakti Centre Harrow. She welcomed future community engagement opportunities from these organisations and others.