UK's Labour Party Embraces Holi To Connect With Indian Diaspora – News18

Last Updated: March 29, 2024, 13:26 IST
London, United Kingdom (UK)
Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition speaks during Prime Minister's Questions, at the House of Commons in London, Britain. (Reuters File Photo)
The UK’s Opposition Labour Party used Holi to reach out to the Indian diaspora, with party leader Keir Starmer tapping into the spring festival’s message of ushering in the new in an election year.
During an event organised by British-Indian think-tank 1928 Institute in London this week, Starmer was joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and members of his Shadow Cabinet to celebrate the festival of colours. Leader of the Opposition Starmer said the occasion offered the ideal opportunity for the party to highlight its message of “national renewal” as the country prepares for a general election, expected later this year.
“As we welcome the incoming spring, it’s a time to celebrate new beginnings; to put the old to bed and welcome in the new. And, I have to say, in election year, that message has a real particular resonance with me,” said Starmer, whose Labour Party is leading in most pre-election opinion polls.
“It’s a time for us to give thanks for the rich contribution of Hindus across this country, to the tapestry of our national life and recognise the strength of our shared values and our commitment to one another… the enduring themes of Holi of inclusiveness and hard work, of renewal, of reform, of celebration and compassion, are so important in a world where frankly there is such great uncertainty at the moment. It gives us not just joy together but hope for the future; hope that good prevails over evil, that light overcomes darkness,” he said.
Wes Streeting, Starmer’s shadow secretary of state for health and social care, echoed the message of renewal as he reached out to the British-Indian diaspora electorate, highlighting the India-UK collaboration in the health sector. “I’m incredibly proud of the immense contribution that people of Indian heritage have made to our National Health Service (NHS),” he said.
“As we look to the future, just as we celebrate so much of its past, we know that the contribution of our British-Indian community will be vital in the future of the NHS,” he said. The Holi celebration attracted diaspora representatives from diverse fields, including medicine, business and the arts.
Dr Nikita Ved, co-chair of the 1928 Institute, said, “Our research shows that more than half of British-Indians face barriers in accessing physical health care, with 76 per cent facing barriers in accessing mental health care. Many people here are healthcare professionals, inspired by ’sewa (service)’, and choose to work in underserved communities to help address these inequities, which is truly inspiring.”
She further said, “Whilst the journey hasn’t always been easy, we are reminded of the legacy between the Indian community and our treasured healthcare system.” The event, which included a musical performance by London-based Indian singer and actor Raageshwari, is expected to become an annual event in the diaspora’s festive calendar.


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