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The British Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Theresa May, visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 3 June 2017.
This was her second visit to the Mandir, having previously attended as the guest of honour and keynote speaker at the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations in March 2013.
Accompanied by her husband Philip May, the Prime Minister was greeted in traditional Indian manner with auspicious marks of welcome and goodwill. She then performed an abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni, before proceeding to the inner sanctum where she offered flower petals at the central shrine of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
After meeting young and old volunteers of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, she met leaders of other Hindu organisations and members of the Hindu community.
Sejal Saglani, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London, introduced Theresa May to the guests and worshippers attending the evening assembly. She recalled the then Home Secretary’s inspiring messages at the IWD convention in 2013, and thanked Ms May for her glowing tribute to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj upon his passing in August 2016.
The Prime Minister addressed the congregation of more than 2,000 people and praised
British Indians for being “inspiring role models” and encouraged them to help her make Britain the “world’s great meritocracy”.
She drew upon the “positive energy” and “strong sense of purpose and community spirit” that she experienced at the Mandir. “What you have accomplished here – and at so many Hindu temples across Britain – is not just a source of great pride for British Hindus but an inspiration for all British citizens.”
She praised British Indians for being “inspiring role models across all walks of life” and said their achievements were built “on the very best of British and Indian values”.
Ms May also reflected upon His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s legacy of selfless service that “will continue to benefit humanity for a long time to come”.
“Inspired by his own predecessor, Pramukh Swami dared to dream. He lived up to his motto that ‘In the joy of others lies our own.’ That mission is now being continued by Mahant Swami, who I am pleased to learn will visit London later this month.”
The Prime Minister was presented with mementos of her visit before meeting several of the congregation as she departed the Mandir.