Prime Minister Boris Johnson led 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day celebrations in the UK on Monday with a throwback image from Sabarmati Ashram during his visit to Gujarat earlier this year.
“Congratulations to the people of India on 75 years of independence,” he said.
”During my recent visit to Gujarat and New Delhi I saw for myself the thriving Living Bridge between our countries. I look forward to seeing these bonds go from strength to strength in the next 75 years,” Johnson tweeted, along with an image of him paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad.
Opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer also took to Twitter to convey Independence Day wishes to Indians and British Indians.
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“I’m proud of Labour Party’s role in supporting India to gain independence,” Starmer said in his video message.
“Our 1945 manifesto made clear our commitment to Indian self-government. And in 1947, Clement Attlee, as Labour Prime Minister, passed the Indian Independence Act.
“Since then, Labour has been at the forefront of promoting values of internationalism and cooperation abroad while building an inclusive society at home. Today we celebrate the vibrant, multi-faith democracy that India has become,” he is heard saying in the video, alongside images from his visits to temples in the UK.
Navendu Mishra, a Labour Party member of Parliament of Indian-origin, also issued a statement to announce that the Opposition party was reviving an Indian diaspora-focussed group to coincide with the 75th Independence anniversary celebrations.
“The Labour Convention for Indian Organisations (LCIO) has been reinvigorated to inclusively connect British Indians to Labour and to engage India on the big issues of our time – namely the climate crisis, sustainable development and enhancing internationalism,” he said.
Admitting a challenging relationship with India and the diaspora in recent years, he added: “Watching British Indians such as [Conservative Party leadership finalist] Rishi Sunak rise to the top is inspiring for many people in the British Indian community.” “Organisations such as the Conservative Friends of India regularly engage with the community and organise for the community’s interests within the party. Thus, reinvigorating the Labour Convention of Indian Organisations on India’s 75th Independence Day is crucial for the rebirth of the Labour-India relationship,” Mishra said.
During the annual flag hoisting ceremony at the Indian High Commission in London, Acting High Commissioner of India – Sujit Ghosh – read from President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the nation.
The traditional Independence Day celebrations included a rendition of the National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and patriotic songs and concluded with the distribution of certificates to the winners of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Quiz Competition’.
The Indian consulates around the UK have been similarly celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ with a series of events and initiatives over the course of the year.
The special 75th anniversary of Independence celebrations in the UK also includes the arrival of INS Tarangini at the West India Docks at Canary Wharf in east London, welcomed with an enthusiastic diaspora turnout on Sunday.
The Indian Navy tall sailing ship will be based at the Thames Quay until Thursday and play host to a special Independence Day celebration on Monday evening.
Resonating with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, members of the Indian diaspora also unfurled a tricolour at a home in west London where Indian spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo lived in the 19th century.
“Independence Day 2022 coincides with the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo, great freedom fighter, yogi, philosopher, poet & nationalist! On this occasion, taking the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign to the building in Shepherd’s Bush, London where Sri Aurobindo lived in 1884-87,” the Indian High Commission tweeted.