Sri Lanka High Commission in London celebrates Deepavali Highlights the spirit of togetherness and friendship
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in London held its annual Deepavali celebrations on Friday 25 October 2019 at the High Commission premises, with the attendance of faith leaders, members of parliament. councillors and other dignitaries, and a large segment of the British Sri Lankan community, including the Tamil community.
The celebrations commenced with Hindu religious observances led by Sivashri Ramanathan Kurukkal and Sivashri Chandran Kurukkal from Wembley and South Harrow, respectively, who invoked blessings on Sri Lanka and its peoples in the presence of multi-faith religious dignitaries. Sivashri Ramanathan Kurukkal also addressed the gathering highlighting the message of universal peace of Deepavali.
The Chief Guest at the celebrations, Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston and close friend of Sri Lanka Seema Malhotra commended ‘the spirit of togetherness and reconciliation in friendship’ among the Sri Lankan Community in the UK, especially the younger generation, who came together to support each other, including in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday tragedy. She noted that this unity sets the foundation for an ever-stronger future rich in diversity. She also recalled her important work in Hounselow carried out with the support of the Janahanda Foundation.
The Guest of Honour, Member of the Parliament for Ealing Southall and friend of Sri Lanka Virendra Sharma during his address, appreciated the loyalty of the Tamil Community to the British democratic society and highlighted that everybody’s responsibility towards others should go beyond individuality and extend to the rest of the community.
Welcoming the gathering, High Commissioner Manisha Gunasekera highlighted the significance of Deepavali, the Festival of Light which symbolises victory over the dark forces. She added that Deepavali is one of the important festivals held annually by the High Commission, in celebration of Sri Lanka’s multi-cultural identity, and also as part of the High Commission’s outreach to the Sri Lankan community, especially the Tamil diaspora. She warmly welcomed the British Sri Lankan community to the High Commission in celebrating Deepavali.
The event also included beautiful Bharatanatyam performances by students of Director, Kalasagara UK Usha Raghavan; a Veena and Mridangam recital by students of Director, Veenalaya UK Sivatharini Sahadevan and Sri M Balachandar; and a classical Kandyan performance by a member of Muthuhara Group London.
The celebrations were attended by religious leaders of the Buddhist, Christian and Muslim faiths, including representation from the Sinhala- and Tamil-speaking chaplaincies; Secretary, Northern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka S. Sathiyaseelan; Councillors from Kingston, Harrow, Southwark, Enfield, Hounslow and Newham; representatives of British Sri Lankan Associations, and the British Sri Lankan community. At the conclusion of the official programme, the attendees were served with a delicious dinner of traditional Sri Lankan Tamil cuisine.