On Sunday 19 October, for the third year running, Diwali celebrations were held at Trafalgar Square, in the heart of central London. The event was open to all nationalities, races and religions, to come and enjoy the sights, tastes and spectacles. It was organised by Ken Livingstone, The Mayor of London, who was represented by Deputy Mayor Ms. Jenny Jones who paid tribute to London's multi cultural society and re-emphasised the value of " the light of Diwali removing the darkness of ignorance".
The children (balaks) of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha took an active part in proceedings as part of the Suvarna Sandesh project. The occasion was opened by two of our balaks, aptly singing the Shanti Path – a prayer for peace. There was also an exhibition on anti-addiction, and bal karyakars were there to guide all. There were many who brought their children to view the exhibition to make them aware of the dangers of addiction. People from all kinds of backgrounds came to view the exhibition and many went away with intentions to visit our Mandir having heard about the activities that take place there.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, had also set up an exhibition on ‘Understanding Hinduism’ and this brought about much interest.
There were also many food stalls and the Mandir contributed by handing out free samosas.
BAPS had its very own exhibition set up which was entitled 'Towards Better Living', an anti-addiction exhibition highlighting the dangers of smoking and alcohol along with the mind-wrecking hazards of television.
What grabbed the audience’s attention the most was our social work.
The Diwali event was truly one for the books. With lots of free food and a family atmosphere, along with great traditional music, the day was a success for Hindus & all. More than 10,000 participated in the Diwali celebrations. It also emphasized the great values of Hinduism, anti-addiction, vegetarianism and Ayurveda.