• Tuesday, December 07, 2021
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 425,195
Total Cases 31,726,507
Today's Fatalities 422
Today's Cases 30,549
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 425,195
Total Cases 31,726,507
Today's Fatalities 422
Today's Cases 30,549

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Wales first minister joins Diwali celebrations, inaugurates Namami Gange exhibition

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford (far right) joins Indian honorary consul Raj Aggarwal (right) and Indian high commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar for Diwali Celebrations at Cardiff University on Friday, November 12, 2021. (Photo credit: HCI Wales)

By: Shubham Ghosh

WELSH first minister Mark Drakeford on Friday (12) joined the official Diwali celebrations of the Government of India held at Cardiff University and inaugurated the Namami Gange (Obeisance to the Ganges River) exhibition.

The event saw performances from Indian dancers and musicians. The university building on the occasion was lit up in colours of the Indian Tricolour.

Drakeford was joined by Indian high commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar and Indian honorary consul Raj Aggarwal, who organised the event at the Centre for Student Life at Park Place in central Cardiff. One-hundred and fifty guests were present during the celebrations.

A cultural event underway at Cardiff University on the occasion of celebration of Diwali. (Photo credit: HCI Wales)

Speaking at the event, Drakeford, a Labour Party leader, said, “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of international collaboration. There are strong links between India and Wales in health, not least through the efforts of medical professionals from the Indian community in Wales. Diwali is an occasion for us to acknowledge this and the wider contribution that the community makes to Wales.”

The occasion also saw the launch of the Namami Gange exhibition which highlights important environmental projects to preserve and protect the Ganges River and its ecosystem. The exhibition also encourages engagement from the people in the UK who want to involve themselves in the rejuvenation, restoration and conservation of the environmentally significant river system.

A scene from the Namami Gange exhibition at Cardiff University. (Photo credit: HCI Wales)

“I am delighted that the Indian government has included Wales as one of the venues for the Namami Gange programme. It is an ambitious project and I hope that there is scope for expertise in Wales to contribute to its success,” Drakeford, 67, added.

Dignitaries from the Indian and Welsh government at the Diwali event at Cardiff University on Friday, November 12, 2021. (Phot credit: HCI Wales)

Indian high commissioner Kumar said, “It is an honour that the first minister is here hosting this celebration of Diwali, not only for the community of Indian origin in Wales but also to reinforce the warm bonds of friendship between the people of Wales and the 1.3 billion people of India.

The Indian community in Wales are so thoroughly integrated and contributing to the prosperity of Wales and strengthening the healthcare and services sector of the nation. I want to thank the political and community leaders of Cardiff for their role in making generations of the Indian origin community feel welcome and secure here in Wales.”

The Cardiff Castle lit up in the colours of the Indian Tricolour. (Photo credit: HCI Wales)

In his speech, honorary consul Aggarwal said, “It was great to have everyone back and able to celebrate Diwali together again. Last year we were unable to have a physical event during the Covid outbreak so this year is particularly special and we are able to meet up with old friends and colleagues again and watch these amazing dancers and musicians and celebrate this great festival in the Hindu calendar.”

In a release, India’s ministry of Jal Shakti (ministry of water resources) said Drakeford and Issar Kumar were given a tour and explanation of various features of the Ganga rejuvenation programme by Ashok Kumar, joint secretary and executive director of National Mission of Clean Ganga and Sanmit Ahuja, expert member, c-Ganga.

The Namami Gange exhibition will also be held in Birmingham and London.

Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary and Executive Director of National Mission of Clean Ganga (left) presents a book titled ‘Rowing down the Ganges’ to Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford. Indian high commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar looks on. (Photo credit: HCI Wales)

Drakeford was presented on the occasion a book named ‘Rowing down the Ganges’ by Kumar. The book captures the essence of Ganga through pictures and description and showcases various aspects of the river’s rejuvenation programme.

The occasion also saw Cardiff Castle hoisting the Indian flag alongside that of Wales.

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