Saturday, October 17, 2009

UK prime minister throws ‘historic’ Diwali party

Brown calls it a great day to celebrate contribution of Indians to UK’s success

LONDON: The British Prime Minister on Friday threw open the doors of 10 Downing Street to hundreds of Indians for a Diwali celebration he said marked a “historic” and “great” day for Britain.
The reception hosted by Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah capped a week of Diwali celebrations across the British political establishment in a tribute to the contributions made by the estimated two million people of Indian origin living in Britain.
“This is a great day for Downing Street and a great day for Britain. For centuries Diwali has been celebrated — this is a historic event,” a garlanded Brown said after lighting a Diwali lamp.
“I want to thank you for everything that you do. It’s such a privilege for us to have you here, I want to thank each one of you individually. And I look forward to having Diwali at Downing Street every year again.”
“It’s a great day because we can celebrate what you’re doing. We can celebrate your contribution to the success of our country and to the relations between Britain and India,” Brown told his delighted guests who had gathered in the front room of 10 Downing Street, the British premier’s official residence in the heart of central London.
Many travelled from hundreds of kilometres away, and carried Diwali gifts for Gordon and Sarah Brown. They formed a colourful and snaking queue outside the heavily-protected Downing Street.
Inside, a live performance of Indian classical music on the sitar and tabla gave the premier’s traditional English residence a distinctly Indian flavour.
Brown paid handsome tributes to the contributions made by Indians in all walks of British life, naming business and industry, arts and culture, education and the voluntary sector. “You are helping to train a new generation, and making our country more tolerant.”

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