In prelude to the Delhi Rajat Pratishtha Mahotsav, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree visited India Gate, the monument in New Delhi built to honour the brave soldiers, who had died during World War II.

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1st October 2003

In prelude to the Rajat Pratishtha Mahotsav, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree visited India Gate, the monument in New Delhi built to honour the brave soldiers, who had died during World War II. The purpose of today's visit was to honour these martyrs. On this occasion, Shree Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Cabinet Minister of Textiles had been invited to accompany Acharya Swamishree in these tributes. Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band had arrived from London to salute the brave soldiers.

The India Gate region is a restricted zone. Special permission is required to even enter the forecourts. Laying a wreath at the Monument is a privilege that is granted only to heads of state. However, on this occasion, special access had been granted by the Government of India. This was an exceptional event in India 's history. For the first time ever, a religious leader had placed a wreath at India Gate.

Shree Syed Shahnawaz Hussain arrived at the forecourt to India Gate for Acharya Swamishree's darshan at 5pm , where He was saluted by Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band. The Band then led Acharya Swamishree and the honoured guest to the India Gate monument, where Acharya Swamishree laid a commemorative wreath to honour and bless those that had courageously given their lives fighting for their country. Whilst Acharya Swamishree laid the wreath, the Sants recited Ved Mantras of peace, and prayed for the peace and salvation of the deceased. Shree Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, and representatives of Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band also laid wreaths in memory of those fallen soldiers. Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band saluted the brave soldiers by playing India 's National Anthem, the Rashtra Geet.

Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band then saluted His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree and Shree Syed Shahnawaz Hussain before leading them to a congregation of gathered sants and devotees. Acharya Swamishree then blessed the honoured guest by presenting Him with a prasanta paag and flower garlands. Shree Syed Shahnawaz Hussain then took a few moments to express his delight and gratitude of being invited to such an auspicious event:

“I am honoured and truly blessed to be a part of your celebrations, and on behalf of my colleagues in Parliament and Government, I would like to thank you for bringing such a spectacle to the city of New Delhi today.

“I represent the Muslim community, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank Acharya Swamishree for His pioneering work in bring people of castes and creeds together through events such as these.

“I ask Acharya Swamishree today, to continue His immense efforts in spreading the message of peace and unity, and to continue to serve as an example and inspiration to me and others in leadership.”

The was a special Shree Swaminarayan Mahamantra dhoon held in the congregation, followed by a 2 minute silence, to remember and honour the deceased soldiers.

Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band then led Shree Syed Shahnawaz Hussain from the congregation and paid a final salute to him as he prepared to leave. In an sincere show of emotion and humility, the cabinet minister ran back to Acharya Swamishree to have His divine darshan one final time before leaving.

Many press reporters were present during the entire events. Acharya Swamishree and the Minister gave television interview. All this was covered in the radio, newspapers, internet and television throughout the world.

As the congregation was breaking, a group of British parliamentary representatives were passing having finished business at the nearby parliament building. The group included the Vice Charman of the Conservative Party, Shree Saileshbhai Vara and the representative of the Blaby, Leicestershire constituency, Mr Andrew Robathan. They too were attracted by His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree and wished to have His Darshan. They were delighted to see the Scottish regalia of Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band and prayed to Acharya Swamishree to allow them to here some of their music. Acharya Swamishree acknowledged their prayers and the Band played a special medley for the unexpected guests. The delegation was amazed to learn that the members of the Band were all professionals and volunteers residing in London . The members of parliament then took the opportunity to have their photographs taken with Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band before conveying their gratitude to Acharya Swamishree for presenting them with this unique opportunity.