Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition Labour Party, visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London – popularly known as Neasden Temple – this week to celebrate the festival of Diwali.
After arriving in the assembly hall, Sir Keir addressed the congregation: “I stand in awe of the celebrations here and the selfless sewa of thousands of volunteers – working with such care and commitment to make this iconic occasion a reality.
“Their extraordinary efforts do not go unnoticed. A temple of this scale and perfection and the spirit of limitless sacrifice and dedication that animates it does not come about by chance.
“Neasden Temple is a beacon of compassion and harmony for everyone – regardless of creed or background [and] an integral part of the religious and cultural landscape of Great Britain. To British Indians, I want to express my admiration and respect for everything you do for our country. Quite simply, the UK would be diminished in so many ways without you.”
During his time at the temple, Sir Keir immersed himself in the Diwali festivities, joining in ceremonial prayers and experiencing the warmth of the community spirit. He also engaged with young and senior volunteers of the Temple and learned of its various contributions to the community.
Dr Mayank Shah, a Trustee and volunteer at the Temple, noted: “We were honoured to have Sir Keir Starmer with us at Neasden Temple today during such an auspicious time of the year.
“We appreciate the time he took out to join the local community of British Hindus in celebrating and reinforcing key Hindu values such as family respect, civic duty, and public service – values which are also quintessentially British values.”
Sir Keir departed the assembly after receiving a special gift representing fulfilment and auspiciousness.
*Info: Neasden Temple
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