London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the Diwali spirit, victory of good over evil as he delivered a message of optimism about overcoming the coronavirus pandemic for a first-of-its-kind virtual Diwali festival this weekend.
"Together we will overcome this virus, just as Diwali teaches us that light triumphs over darkness," UK PM Boris Johnson said while addressing the British Indian community during his inaugural address for the three-day virtual Diwali fest, 'iGlobal Diwali Fest 2020'.
"Just as Lord Ram and his Sita found their way home after the defeat of the demon king Ravana, their way lit by many millions of lamps, so too we shall find our way through this, and we shall do so triumphantly."
"I know that celebrating at a distance isn't easy when you want to get together with all your family or visit your friends or share with them the Diwali fun, as well, of course, the samosa or gulab jamun," said Boris Johnson.
Praising the spirit of the Indian community, UK PM Boris Johnson added, "So I want you to know that your sacrifices and your determination to do the right thing really are helping to save lives, and though I know many aspects of this year have been, I have been blown away by the inspirational way in which Hindus, Sikhs and Jains have responded to this crisis with compassion, community spirit and a can-do attitude."
"While undoubtedly there are huge challenges ahead, I have every confidence in the resilience and resolve and good sense of people across the country and that together we will overcome this virus, just as Diwali teaches us that light triumphs over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance," said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"The Prime Minister, leaders of the main UK political parties and the Mayors of the country's major metros lining up for Diwali in this way is quite unprecedented and reflects not only the real depth of UK-India ties but also the pivotal role of the UK's 1.5-million-strong Indian diaspora, said Manoj Ladwa, CEO of the India Inc Group, the UK-based organiser of the event.
It is to be noted that Johnson appealed for a “huge collective effort" as England entered its second lockdown on November 2 to December 2, in order to curb a surge in coronavirus infections across the country.
The three-day virtual Diwali Fest kick-started on Friday, November 6, with the UK PM's message.
Among some of the other virtual events scheduled over the weekend include a spiritual session with Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, bhajans from different parts of India and a Bollywood concert by British Indian musician Navin Kundra.