GALLERY: Residents and dignitaries come together to celebrate Indian Republic Day in Bexleyheath
PUBLISHED: 10:48 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:49 02 February 2017
The event celebrated the successful integration of Indians into British society
Nearly 400 local residents and dignitaries gathered at Townley Grammar School in Bexleyheath on Saturday (January 28) to celebrate Indian Republic Day.
The event was organised by a local community group to allow people to discuss issues affecting the local Indian community and to celebrate the successful integration of Indians into British society.
The evening began with a traditional Indian cultural dance performed by young artists, which was followed by an interactive forum on key issues raised by the local Indian community.
Another highlight was the “Heroes of India” sketches performed by children who attend weekly Moral Values classes run by the organisers, community group Soor Seva and Satsang.
Mayor of Bexley Eileen Pallen was a special guest at the event and spoke about the importance of a community hub where people can come together.
David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, discussed the long and historical relationship between the UK and India, as well as the great opportunities for trade and cultural developments in the future.
Other special guests included the First Secretary of the Indian High Commission and Bollywood dance star Honey Kalaria.
Event organiser Bhaven Pathak said: “As a community, we have the highest rates of employment and education, and the lowest rates of crime - but we tend to get on with things quietly. This often means we lack a voice and are underrepresented when it comes to important issues.
“The absence of a community hub and place of worship in Bexley is a good example and comes up again and again when we speak to the community.
“It was really positive to see our community come together in large numbers and provide a strong and united voice on this and other issues of importance.