UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently extended his wishes to the Sikh community on the occasion of Vaisakhi. In a video message shared on social media, Sunak said, “I want to wish Sikhs in the UK and around the world a very happy Vaisakhi.”
Sunak, who is of Indian origin, acknowledged the significant contributions made by the Sikh community in the UK. And also, praised their values of hard work, compassion, and community service. He also recognized the challenges faced by the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. He thanked them for their efforts in supporting those in need.
Vaisakhi is a significant festival for Sikhs and marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year. It is celebrated on April 13 or 14 every year. It commemorates the formation of the Khalsa, a community of initiated Sikhs, by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
More About The Festival
The festival is marked by prayers, processions, and the serving of free food in gurdwaras, or Sikh temples. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations have been scaled down this year, with many gurdwaras opting for virtual events.
Sunak’s message was well-received by the Sikh community, with many expressing their gratitude on social media. The Sikh Federation UK, a political advocacy group, also thanked Sunak for his wishes and urged him to address issues such as hate crime and discrimination faced by Sikhs in the UK.
Conversely, the UK is home to a large Sikh community, with estimates suggesting that there are over 700,000 Sikhs in the country. Sikhs have a long history in the UK. And moreover, have made significant contributions in fields such as business, politics, and the armed forces.
Sunak’s message comes at a time when the Sikh community in the UK has been in the spotlight due to the ongoing farmer protests in India. Besides, the protests, which began in November 2020, have garnered widespread support from Sikhs around the world, including in the UK.