Hindus across the UK celebrate Raksha Bandhan with the Armed Forces

Pictured:Rakhi wristbands on the wrists of Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel.

By Ninder Kaur

Hindus and non-Hindus from the Armed Forces got together with local communities across the UK this week to celebrate Raksha Bandhan; a major Hindu festival that celebrates the bonds of protection that exist within society.

Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt receives her Raksha Bandham at The Venkateshwara Balaji Temple in Birmingham.

Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt receives her Raksha Bandham at The Venkateshwara Balaji Temple in Birmingham.

The festival was held at the Ministry of Defence Main Building in London on 27th August 2015. There were musical and dancing performances by local Hindu artists and talks by Lieutenant General Gregory, Chief of Defence Personnel and the Chairman of the Armed Forces Hindu Network, Lieutenant Commander Manish Tayal and also by the National Hindu Studenst Forum and the City Hindus Network.

For UK Armed Forces Hindus, Raksha Bandhan holds a particular significance as it provides an opportunity to celebrate and emphasise their role and duty to protect all civilians. Local community leaders and youth networks came together to tie Rakhis (thread bands) on the wrists of Armed Forces personnel to represent and reinforce bonds of friendship, mutual protection and support.

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Speaking from Balaji Temple in Birmingam, Dr Rao, the Temple Chaiman, said:

“It was pleasure and honour for Balaji Temple to host Raksha Bandhan alongside the Armed Forces. Having serving personnel join in reminds us of the many ways we are protected; by our family, our friends and of course the Armed Forces.”

A Hindi Festival, Raksha Bhandhan was held at the Ministry of Defence Main Building in London on 27th August 2015. There were musical and dancing performances by local Hindu artists and talks by Lieutenant General Gregory, Chief of Defence Personnel and the Chairman of the Armed Forces Hindu Network, Lieutenant Commander Manish Tayal.
The bands tied around the wrists of serving personnel also represented a promise for the Hindu community to respect the work they do, and a desire that they keep safe. This symbolism dates back from when Sachi, wife of Lord Indra (King of Heaven), tied a sacred protective amulet to his wrist before he went into battle with evil King Bali, who he defeated.

 

Hosted by the Armed Forces Hindu Network, these events also offered an opportunity to increase the understanding between the Armed Forces and the Hindu community.

Pictured:Miss Radhika Keshav from the National Hindu Students Forum ties a rakhi onto the wrist of Lieutenant General Gregory, Chief of Defence Personnel.

Pictured: Miss Remya Unnithan, General Secretary of National Hindu StudentsForum, tying a rakhi on Lt Gen Andrew Gregory

Speaking from the Raksha Bandhan event in Birmingham, Minister for the Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt said:

“Our challenge in the UK Armed Forces is to ensure this solemn vow of Defence and protection extends beyond the family, beyond even the community, to the country itself. This is the exact principal we see today in the Hindu community as we celebrate Raksha Bandhan. Events like today remind us that Defence depends on more than money and muscle. It’s about individual commitment, that willingness to take on responsibility for the wellbeing of others and bringing the nation together.”

Mr Prinal Nathwani, Chair of the City Hindus Network spoke at the event in London, commenting:

“The first exposure that I had to Hindu principles and values were the stories I was told as a kid. There’s a common thread that runs through these stories, which is the triumph of good over evil and the requirement that every one of us ensures that good prevails. The link between that and what the UK Armed Forces do is abundantly clear, and that’s why it’s important we have events like this – to have effective engagement between the Hindu community and the Armed Forces. It’s about recognising the common and shared values.”

Pictured: Hindu dancers perform for the audience.

Pictured: Hindu dancers perform for the audience

 

Pictured: Hindu dancers perform for the audience. The Hindu Festival, Raksha Bhandan was held at the Ministry of Defence Main Building in London on 27th August 2015. There were musical and dancing performances by local Hindu artists and talks by Lieutenant General Gregory, Chief of Defence Personnel and the Chairman of the Armed Forces Hindu Network, Lieutenant Commander Manish Tayal and also by the National Hindu Studenst Forum and the City Hindus Network. Rakhi wrist bands were tied around the wrists of serving personnel to represent and reinforce bonds of friendship, mutual protection and support. Hindus and non-Hindus from the Armed Forces got together with local communities across the UK this week to celebrate Raksha Bandhan; a major Hindu festival that celebrates the bonds of protection that exist within society. For UK Armed Forces Hindus, Raksha Bandhan holds a particular significance as it provides an opportunity to celebrate and emphasise their role and duty to protect all civilians. After a discussion on the work of the UK Armed Forces, local community leaders and youth networks tied Rakhis (thread bands) on the wrists of Armed Forces personnel to represent and reinforce bonds of friendship, mutual protection and support. Hosted by the Armed Forces Hindu Network, these events also offered an opportunity to increase the understanding between the Armed Forces and the Hindu community.

Pictured: Hindu dancers perform for the audience.

Pictured:Chairman of the Armed Forces Hindu Network, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Manish Tayal

Pictured:Chairman of the Armed Forces Hindu Network, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Manish Tayal

Pictured: Chief of Defence Personnel, Lieutenant General Gregory addresses the audience.

Pictured: Chief of Defence Personnel, Lieutenant General Gregory addresses the audience.

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