UK PM Boris Johnson
UK PM Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday hailed the Diwali spirit of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance as he delivered his Diwali message of optimism about defeating the coronavirus pandemic like Lord Rama defeated the demon king Ravana.

Johnson also thanked the British Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for going "out of their way to help others throughout this pandemic". Along with Diwali, he also wished the Sikhs on the occasion of Bandi Chhor Divas.

Here is the full text of UK PM Boris Johnson's Diwali message:

Namaste and Happy Diwali everybody. All over the world millions of lamps are once again being lit as the spectacular joyful festival of Diwali is here to burst through the autumnal darkness. Of course I know this year, as with so many other events, Diwali is not going to be the same. People across this country are making huge sacrifices, your lives have been put on hold.

I know, your work and businesses are disrupted. And all of us, and most particularly all those living in high alert level areas, are enduring restrictions the like of which none of us have seen in our lives. And so while I know it is disappointing that many Diwali celebrations can't go ahead in the usual way and getting together with friends and family is not always going to be possible this year, perhaps more than any other Diwali holds a potent meaning for all of us. Because just as surely as Lord Rama defeated the demon king Ravana and brought his wife Sita home. And just as Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance.

So too, I am every confidence we shall triumph over COVID-19. And as we all pull together, and play our part in defeating this virus I am filled with awe and respect for the way the British Hindus, Sikhs and Jains have risen to this challenge, and have gone out of their way to help others. From the amazing doctors and nurses on the frontline who have cared for the sick throughout the crisis. To the temples that have used their kitchens to feed the vulnerable and support our key workers. And the heroes in every community who have carried our acts with kindness to support friends, family and neighbours.

So, this Diwali, as we remember the mantra to wash our hands, wear a face covering, and keep our distance from anyone we don't live with, let us all take comfort from the meaning at the heart of this fantastic festival. And the many millions of Diwali lights all over the world shine through the darkness as beacons of hope for a better future. Shubh Diwali everyone. Once again I wish you a happy Diwali and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

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Free Press Journal