With Diwali approaching, Britain’s Indian community is gearing up for innumerable celebrations. The annual Diwali Charity Ball organized by The Rajasthani Foundation, one of Britain’s biggest community organizations, is one of the highlights of the festive season in the UK. This year’s event has added colour – appropriately enough – …Read More »
New York marks a milestone in the fight for equality Thursday when 1.1 million children in America’s largest school district will take the day off to mark Eid. It is a small but hard-won victory at a time when American Muslims complain of growing Islamophobia and worsening anti-Muslim rhetoric following …Read More »
#Tragic: ‘Respected’ Bradford dad stabbed wife and daughters day after Diwali before hanging himself
A “respected” Indian father stabbed his wife and two daughters to death before hanging himself in a brutal murder-suicide just days after celebrating Diwali, reports say. Jitendra Lad, 49, is believed to have murdered wife Diskha, 44, and their daughters, Trisha, 19, and Nisha, 16, the day after Diwali and …Read More »
Yorkshire police have launched a murder investigation after four members of an Indian family were found dead inside a house in Clayton, near Bradford. The bodies of Jatindra Lad, 49, his wife Daksha, 44, and the couple’s daughters Trisha, 19 and Nisha, 16, were found inside the home after concerned …Read More »
Dhanteras, the first day of the five-day Diwali Festival, saw a staggering 30 percent increase in gold sales as millions of Indians rushed to the local jewellery retailer to stock up on the day that the goddess of wealth Lakshmi is ushered into homes and pleas for prosperity reverberate across …Read More »
With just 198 days to go for the next general election, the Labour Party hosted its annual Diwali reception in style inviting the best from amongst the British Indian community for Labour leader Ed Miliband to parley with. The annual event took place London’s plush Conrad Hotel, not far from …Read More »
David Cameron on Monday called for more British Indians to aim for the highest echelons of British society as the party leaders began a massive charm offensive to win over ethnic voters as the countdown began for what is set to be the most divisive British election in recent memory.
The Prime Minister made his appeal during the annual Diwali party at 10 Downing Street with more than 200 invitees representing the community in attendance.
The event took place just a few streets away from where Labour Party leader Ed Milliband was hosting his party's annual Diwali party.
"It is great that when we look around politics we see people like Shailesh Vara, Dolar Popat, Alok Sharma, and Keith Vaz.
"We see people at the top of our politics, but I want to see more British Indians in the House of Commons, in the House of Lords, in our judiciary, our military, playing the fullest possible part in British life. But you are certainly making a huge contribution, and it’s a contribution that we should celebrate tonight."
The British Asian vote is seen as a key driver for all the major political parties in next year's general election given the fact that the electorate is more divided than ever before, particularly as a result of the dramatic recent successes enjoyed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Whilst many ethnic minority voters have publicly declared their abhorrence of UKIP's anti-immigrant message, many others who have traditionally supported the Conservatives and the Labour Party have been angered by the immigration-related rhetoric emanating from the two frontline parties.
Many feel that migrants from outside the European Union - particularly students and business visitors from South Asia and Africa - have been unfairly penalized as Mr Cameron strives to meet not only his party's net migration targets but Britain's obligations towards the European Union whilst some within the historically immigration-friendly Labour party have stepped up their efforts to toughen its stance on the issue.
Whilst acknowledging community concerns, Mr Cameron defended his government's record on immigration.
"A country needs to have controlled and fair immigration. I believe that settled communities of British Asians want that as well. You can only do that if you control properly and fairly immigration from outside and inside the European Union.
"I think it's important that we do that. If you look at the student visa system for instance, there is no limit on the number of students who can come in, as long as they have an English language qualification. Business visitors from South Asia are increasing. Again there's work to be done but we are determined to make it fairer both within and outside Europe."
This year's Diwali celebrations at the Conservative Prime Minister's official residence had added significance as it came fifty years after a Conservative MP successfully exploited racist attitudes towards South Asian and West Indian immigrants to win the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick.
Mr Cameron said that the British Asian community and Britain as a whole had come a long way since those bigoted days.
"I think it says a lot about the change that Britain has gone through and it's a positive change. We have become a very successful multi-racial country. And if you look at the contributions that British Indians have made right across the piece, one of their biggest contributions has been to make Britain a tolerant, compassionate and more open country", the PM said.
"Those are values that you bring to Britain, values we need more of in our country", he added.
Mr Cameron also spoke about the unique values of Diwali and the importance of those values for future generations.
"I was looking at the values that Hindus celebrate and the goals of life, and it’s such a good way to bring up your children. Talking of dharma, virtue and duty, not always as present as it should be in public life, but it is present and it must be. Thinking of karma, pleasure and fulfilment; thinking of moksha, liberation and release. And thinking of artha – thinking about your career, your skills. Thinking of those things together, good, strong values that we should teach our children, and so often when we look at each other’s religions we can find values and lessons and morals that are so valuable for our children, for our future."Read More »
A petition to make Diwali and Eid public holidays in the UK is to be debated in Parliament. The e-Petition has been signed by more than 123,000 people since it was created earlier this year. The petition states: “I believe that given the number of Muslims and Hindu’s in this …Read More »
The annual Diwali celebration in Leicester is one of the biggest outside India and the popular event is set to become bigger and better this year. Despite the government’s on-going austerity measures, the Arts Council of England has pledged some £6000 to Leicester City Council to investigate how future Diwali …Read More »
Sitar player Anoushka Shankar – daughter of maestro Ravi Shankar – will headline this weekend’s Diwali Festival at Trafalgar Square. Shankar, 32, will play a set that will include tracks from her latest album “Traces of You” which was co-produced by iconic British-Indian composer Nitin Sawhney as well as Shankar’s …Read More »