• Saturday, June 15, 2024

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard celebrates Diwali

Traditional Hindu ‘rangoli’ and Royal Navy-themed crafts were part of the event

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

DIWALI celebrations at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard last Thursday (16) were attended by members of the public who got the chance to explore the shared maritime heritage of Indian communities and the Royal Navy.

Military personnel, including the Royal Navy Race Diversity Network and the Defence Hindu Network, as well as partners from the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Chat over Chai and Believe in Me CIC attended the event.

Traditional ‘rangoli’ patterns and Royal Navy-themed crafts were part of the event, with students of local schools, local Hindu and Sikh cadets and members of the public celebrating the festival of lights.

Participants explored the contribution of south Asians to the UK’s defence over the past 200 years, including the role of the women of the WRINS (Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service) in the Second World War.

A special evening event onboard HMS Warrior celebrated the festival of lights “with community leaders and defence personnel of all faiths,” the Royal Navy said in a statement.

Performances from the Royal Marines Band Service, alongside the Bollywood Brass Band and a display of fireworks, were other highlights.

Surgeon commander Manish Tayal said: “This year’s theme of shared heritage and recognising the important contribution of so many Hindus and Indians to the Royal Navy and wider UK defence was brought to life for the public and it was excellent to see so many engage with this wonderful celebration.”

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