With the recent visit of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP to Bhaktivedanta Manor Diwali’s festival; prominent leaders of the Hindu community congregated to meet him. After a tour of the temple, darshan before the main shrine and meeting the temple heads, Mr Pickles sat with the leaders of ISKCON, BAPS Swami Narayan, Hindu Forum of Britain, Avanti Schools Trust and Sewa Day.
The various leaders in attendance presented a whole catalogue of initiatives in volunteering, aid and social work that are performed by the Hindu community. Mr Pickles expressed his deep appreciation and wants to see the community working more dynamically with the DCLG.
On his tour he stopped to speak with volunteers and spent time with the head volunteers at the Manor.
Mr Pickles stated: “I am happy to be here at Bhaktivedanta Manor and I am very impressed with the devotion and the service of all the volunteers of this community. They are putting so much back into society in a selfless manner and I am particularly impressed by the helping of the most vulnerable and needy.
“This is my first time at Bhaktivedanta Manor and I have been overwhelmed by the hospitality and received, and I am inspired by the Hindu community working together for the good of all”.
The festival also had a very special and regular visitor Secretary of State for Northern Ireland the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP.
Above from left: Vikas Pota (Seva Day), Gauri das ( Bhaktivedanta Manor), Eric Pickles MP, Jitu Patel (BAPS Swaminarayan), Arjun Vekaria (President of Hindu Forum of Britain) and Arup Ganguly (Seva Day Chairman)
Below: Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with Srutidharma das, Temple President of Bhaktivedanta Manor