Punjab-born Jaswant Singh Birdi will be Chairman of the City Council
UNITED KINGDOM: The Sikh Councilor of Indian origin has created history by being appointed as the new Lord Mayor of UK Coventry, a city in the West Midlands of England.
As Lord Mayor, Punjab-born Jaswant Singh Birdi will be Chairman of the City Council and, as Coventry's first citizen, will be the non-political ceremonial head of the city. In a statement, Jaswant Singh Birdi said, "I am very proud to be the Lord Mayor of the city. It has given so much to me and my family over the years and I will be honored to show why I love it so much."
He said, "Being a Sikh, it also means that I will wear the chain of office and the turban. It will help show what a happy multicultural city we have and maybe inspire others too."
Born in Punjab, Birdi moved to UK Coventry 60 years ago and has spent 17 years as a councilor in the city, representing the Bablake ward for the past nine years after two terms in the Hillfields ward in the 1990s. He grew up in a village in the Indian part of Punjab and spent time as a child in Lahore and West Bengal. In the mid-1950s Birdi moved with his parents to Kenya in East Africa, where he received his primary and secondary education, and moved to the UK in the 60s to continue his further education.
Besides being a councillor, he has been actively participating in establishing religious, social and community projects in the city. He have named his chosen charities for the year as Muscular Dystrophy Charity, Coventry Resource Center for the Blind, and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Charity.