On the 9th of November 2016, The Hindu Forum of Europe organized their second Diwali night at the European Parliament. With 200 VIPs attending, the night successfully presented a glimpse of the illuminating Hindu New Year.
In attendance were Members of the European Parliament; MEP Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP Neena Gill, MEP Jo Leinen, MEP Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen, MEP Dennis De Jong, Vice President of the European Parliament; Antonio Tajani, Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU; H.E. Manjeev Singh Puri, Ambassador of Mauritius; H.E. H. Dillum, General Secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of the European Community; Br Olivier Poquillon OP, representatives from the Vatican, and the Hindu diaspora from the UK, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and many more.
A ceremonial oil lamp was lit to celebrate the joyous occasion and Deities of Rama, Sita, Laksmana and Hanuman graced the event. An exhibition displaying the enthralling Bhagavad-gita artwork of Kim Waters and Chris Murray was set up by MOSA (Museum of Sacred Art).
A colorful magazine was produced for the event, which includes Messages of Support from the Members of the European Parliament; the Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May; Ambassadors of India, Mauritius, Fiji, Indonesia and Nepal; the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha UK/Europe; The Oxford Center for Hindu Studies Director, Shaunaka Rishi Das; Sponsors, the Bhaktivedanta Manor and the Golden Tours Foundations; and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of Vatican.
Besides the Hindu community, other EU Parliament employees took interest in the event. A short Bharatnatyam dance entertained the crowd. Little golden boxes of Indian sweets were gifted along with the book "Illuminations of the Bhagavad-gita" by Kim Waters/Chris Murray.
ISKCON’s very own Mahaprabhu dasa, General Secretary of the Hindu Forum of Europe was a key organiser for the event. Several other ISKCON devotees from Germany, Belgium/Radhadesh and Spain were in attendance. A dinner at Count Clerici residence was organised for 70 persons after the event.[ eu ] [ european-parliament ]