UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the Diwali spirit of the victory of light over darkness and good over evil as he delivered a message of optimism about overcoming the coronavirus pandemic for a first-of-its-kind virtual Diwali festival this weekend.
Johnson appealed for a "huge collective effort" as England entered its second stay-at-home lockdown earlier this week, to last at least until December 2.
"While undoubtedly there are huge challenges ahead, I have every confidence in the resilience and resolve and good sense of people across the country and that together we will overcome this virus, just as Diwali teaches us that light triumphs over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance," said Johnson.
"Just as Lord Rama and his wife Sita found their way home after the defeat of the demon king Ravana, their way lit by many millions of lamps, so too we shall find our way through this, and we shall do so triumphantly," he said.
Acknowledging that people would find it particularly difficult this year with all the lockdown restrictions, Johnson praised the Indian diaspora in the UK for all their sacrifices and efforts at working towards a safe and secure Diwali.
He praised the "fantastic virtual Diwali festival" for bringing the spirit of Diwali into people's homes while helping people stay safe.
"I know that celebrating at a distance isn't easy when you want to get together with all your family or visit your friends or share with them the Diwali fun, as well of course the odd samosa or gulab jamun," said Johnson, in his inaugural address to the 'iGlobal Diwali Fest 2020'.