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LETTER FROM UK: Bollywood Tunes at Queen’s Historic Pageant

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By A Correspondent

Bollywood tunes will be played at the historic and spectacular Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in London on June three, celebrating 60 years of service of Her Majesty The Queen of United Kingdom (UK) Elizabeth II.

Said to be the largest live public event ever held in London, this unique spectacle will include 11 kilometers long flotilla on Thames River, about 20,000 participants on the water on 1,000 vessels including Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, 50 large viewing screens in London, and a million spectators with a global audience in billions.

Large parts of Central London riverside and bridges will be pedestrianised for this event, described as "the biggest street and river party in the nation’s history". The London Philharmonic Orchestra will also be playing pieces relevant to buildings it passes en route on river, including the theme music to the James Bond films. Organizers are encouraging riverside properties to “dress” their buildings on this event providing “biggest collection of historic vessels ever assembled on the Thames” with boats dating back to 1740 CE.

Welcoming the inclusion of traditional Indian melodies in this grand Pageant, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), pointed out that it was a “step in the right direction” in view of increasingly diverse demographics of UK.

Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip reportedly visited Hindu Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Edgware in Greater London on the first day of her Diamond Jubilee tour on March 29. In 2010, Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England, acknowledged contributions of “all faiths” while inaugurating Ninth General Synod of the Church of England in Westminster (UK). In 2009, Queen hosted Bollywood and Bhangra dances at Buckingham Palace in London. Queen has watched the Bollywood dancing during a visit to Bradford (UK). In 2002, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Highgate Hill Murugan Hindu Temple in North London in 2002.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was remarkable on the part of the Queen to speak about “all faiths” and “great faith traditions” instead of just talking about Church of England. Applauding Queen’s inclusive approach, Zed argued that UK was now a multi-faith society and urged Queen to extend her support to make the opening prayers in both houses of UK Parliament multi-faith instead of the current only belonging to Christian faith.

Rajan Zed also urged the Queen to visit a Hindu temple on the next Diwali, which falls on November 13.

Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band & Dhol Ensemble, including 50 musicians from Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band and Shree Muktajeevan Dhol Academy, will reportedly play the Bollywood anthems and traditional Indian melodies at the Pageant. This Band was established in 1972 by the devotees of London’s Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan in honor of Gurudev Adya Acharyapravar Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and now plays at public festivals and events worldwide. Lord Swaminarayan established Shree Swaminarayan Gadi in India in the 18th Century. Dave Khimani and Ravi Vekaria are Band Secretary and Drum Major respectively.

Lord Salisbury, Michael Lockett and Adrian Evans are Chairman, Chief Executive and Pageant Master respectively of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations mark 60 years of The Queen's reign who came to the throne on February 6, 1952 and her coronation took place on June 2, 1953.

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