From traditional South Indian Bharat Natyam and Gujarati Garba to the best of Bollywood, a showcase of British-Indian talents hit the stage with a fireworks finale, in what was the making of an historical moment….writes Jasmine Patel
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw the largest reception outside his home nation, as 60,000 supporters from across the UK gathered at Wembley Stadium to warmly welcome him to the country.
It has also been the largest gathering in support of any foreign head of government received in the UK.
This year’s Diwali event was a celebration of the many cultures that Indian people have brought to the British culture.
Prime Minister David Cameron praised the contributions that British Indians had given to the UK. He said “British Indians put the ‘Great’ in to Great Britain.”
He also added: “The British public did something momentous during the General Election. They elected more members of parliament of Indian origin than there has ever been before.
“It won’t be long before there is a British Indian Prime Minister in Downing Street.”
Singer-song writing artists Navin Kundra, Kanika Kapoor, Sonna Rele and Jay Sean marked the best music talent that Indian culture provides to British society.
During his performance, Jay Sean said: “What an honour and privilege it is to be standing on this stage today. Most of you guys know me as Jay Sean, but my real name is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti. A name that was unfortunate a few years, that I thought would hinder me from stepping on a stage like this, back to when people use to look at my colour and my creed before they looked at my talent. Yet here I am, standing in Wembley stadium.”
61 Dancers from performing arts companies, dance theatres and academies brought a fusion of South Indian culture and heritage through a collaborative choreography of Bharat Natyam.
Drum Majors brought a Punjabi twist to the Diwali event of the year with their traditional dhol drumming techniques. A drummer came back on stage with a comical act which ended in a drumming off competition between three other dhol drumming groups.
The hype was building up for the Gujarati community, as they vibrated the stadium with the biggest cheer when the western state was called out by presenter Ravi Sharma. Their enthusiasm never failed when Gujarat Hindu Association and Mahar Raas twisted, turned and jumped in their garba and dandiya raas performances.
It was also a special moment for the community when David Cameron said “We can be the most successful, multiracial democracy on earth and that is thanks to British Indians.”
There were signs of patriotism when another roar erupted in the stadium, as he added: “People who came here from Goa, from the Punjab, from East Africa and from Gujarat. Kem cho Wembley?”
The Indian Prime Minister announced a link that would help the two countries. He said: “On 15th December, there will be a flight from London to Ahmedabad.”
The cultural show also showcased British talents within the Indian diaspora. The Shree Muktajeevan group had their own pipe band in representation of the British culture. London Philharmonic Orchestra also joined singer Sonna Rele in her performance.
Yoga with Jaina invited 50 participants to perform a Sanskrit tradition with its exercising moves based on the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation).
Narendra Modi expressed a great link that the two nations had in which David Cameron was also very pleased to hear.
He said: “I would like to make a request if you have a watch with the needle, please take it out. What time is it? Let me share a secret with you. What are the ties between India and UK? When you reverse your watch, you will know what time it is in India – reverse it again – the time in UK – there is no need to work out the difference in the hours. There are no other two countries that have this link.”