Celebrations of Republic day of India in London 
February 9, 2008 

The 60th Republic Day of India was celebrated by the National Excecutive Committee of Overseas Friends of BJP at SKLP Sports and Community Centre, Northolt on 3rd February. 

Avinash Khanna
Chief Guest Avinash Khanna, MP from Hoshiarpur, lit the lamp and inaugurated the function. He later gave an inspirational speech. Mr. Barry Gardiner, MP from Brent North and special representative on forestry to the Prime Minister, Councilor Dr. Ashok Kapoor, MP for Middlesborough South and East Cleveland, Chairman Dr. Surendra Sharma and several Councilors and members from the Indian High Commission were among the distinguished guests. 

The program began with the national song Vande Mataram brilliantly sung by Raksha followed by a dance recital by Ragasudha Vinjamuri. The dance presentation included Bho Shambho, a composition of Swami Dayananda Saraswati on Lord Shiva in Revathi raga, an ode to Nataraja, the Lord of dance whose graceful cosmic dance enthralls everyone, and Raja Rajeshwari Ashtakam, a composition of Shri Adi Shankaracharya on Goddess Parvati. 

Bho Shambho hails Lord Shiva as a self- manifested form and the source of mighty river Ganges, the merciful beyond time and timelessness, and the blissful revered by the sages and saints. Carrying dhamaruka instrument in his hand that represents the Shabda "Aum," wearing crescent Moon which symbolizes tranquil mind, snakes all over his body symbolic of the mental powers, Shambhu - the Lord Shiva is the source of blessings.   

Raja Rajeshwari Ashtakam is an auspicious Stotra the chanting of which leads all to salvation.  Different manifestations of the Goddess Parvati from terrifying to the beautiful were displayed elegantly in the eight verses. Seated on a lion (veerasana samsthitha), she, Shambhavi - wife of Shambhu, Ambaa - the mother of the universe, is Chidrupi – an embodiment of divine knowledge. Bright and brilliant as Savitri, attractive and charming as Mohini, pleasant and auspicious as 8- armed Bhadrakali holding shoola (spear) dhanush (bow), kusa (noose) and ankusha (goad), fierce as Kali, the slayer of many demons with garland of skulls around her neck, she protects her devotees with gentle glances filled with unconditional love. The audience saw all these aspects of the Divine Supreme displayed vividly. 
Barry Gardiner's speech showcased his in-depth knowledge of Indian culture and pre-independent times. Councilor of London Borough of Hounslow Shri Grewal spoke briefly. The bhajans, short extemporaneous poetic recitations, patriotic songs all made the evening nostalgic and proud of the rich heritage of India. Amitabh Soni’s hosting of the entire show was brilliant. Vote of thanks was given by Sheila Maharaj.