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Kounteya Sinha | TNN | London | May 5, 2015:: One of London’s most famous Hindu temples has been accorded the same status as two of Britain’s most iconic tourist draws – the Stonehenge and the Big Ben.
With just two days to go before Britain goes into polls, prime minister David Cameron is going all out to appease the Indian Hinducommunity in UK by saying that the Swaminarayan temple at Neasden is “a great British landmark” having the same stature as Stonehenge, the Angel of the North and Big Ben.
During one of his campaigning trips, Cameron who has travelled to India thrice after taking over office in 2010 promised to visit the Akshardham temple in Delhi if he returns to 10 Downing Street as prime minister for the second term.
Cameron also said that Britain needs to take inspiration from Hinduism if it wants to become better.
Cameron has earlier called Britain’s relationship with India “the great partnership of the 21st century” and said UK can learn from the epic text Ramayana which is relevant even more in modern times.
“When I look at the Ramayana and my understanding of the Hindu religion, there’s so much that you have to say about the importance of family, about the importance of community, about the importance of voluntary service – these are all the values that our country needs more of. So, as you celebrate your values, let’s make them our values, and let’s have more of them in Britain,” he said.
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Cameron said during the temple visit “I want to welcome prime minister Narendra Modi to Britain at the earliest opportunity and yes – I met him in Brisbane, I was proud to be one of the first leaders to congratulate him and I know how pleased you are to see a dynamic PM taking India forwards.
He added “But for me what stands out most is this: the British Hindu values. I think of one of the Hindu goals of life, dharma – duty and right conduct. I see it around the country – in the fundraising you do for charities, like the Nepal Earthquake Appeal, which you’ve already responded to in such a big way in the work you do as doctors, teachers, police, throughout our public services in your communities – always looking out for one another, always putting family first in our government. That’s something we can heed in Government and throughout public life”.
It was Cameron’s third visit to the Swaminarayan Mandir in North West London.
“I go around the country, I see our iconic buildings and statues Stonehenge, the Angel of the North, Big Ben and I’ll tell you what – Neasden Mandir is one of them – one of our great British landmarks. The first traditional Hindu temple built in Europe wasn’t in Germany, or France, or Spain it was here in Britain – right here in Neasden – and I’m so proud of that. I think of everything that went into creating it the 3000 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone, the 1200 tonnes of Italian marble, the 1500 sculptors in India, the countless hours of volunteering by young and old. It really was a labour of love – and it really is a thing of beauty, a marvel,” Cameron said.
Courtesy: TOI | Telegraph UK | The Guardian.
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