2020-08-17 by Daisy I.
British MP sings ‘Yeh jo des hai mera, swades hai mera’
A virtual celebration on Saturday of India’s Independence Day brought to the fore singing skills of a British MP of Indian origin, while MPs, members of the House of Lords and leading lights from the community extolled the ‘living bridge’ between India and the UK.
The virtual event organised by the Indian high commission included an address by envoy Gaitri Kumar, a message from Tariq Ahmad, minister for Asia in the Boris Johnson government, and members of the House of Lords Swraj Paul and Karan Bilimoria, among others.
As speakers recalled India’s journey to freedom and achievements over the decades, Labour MP Navendu Mishra hit the screen with not words but a feeling rendition of the popular number from the film ‘Swades’ (2004: ‘Yeh jo des hai mera, swades hai mera’.
Mishra, whose parents hail from Uttar Pradesh, is a first-time MP, elected from Stockport in Greater Manchester in December 2019. Also joining the virtual celebration were Harrow mayor Nitin Parekh (Labour and London deputy mayor Rajesh Agarwal (Labour.
Some anti-India elements organised a protest demonstration outside India House, which last year witnessed violence on August 15, when people who gathered to celebrate the day were attacked. The police said an appropriate policing plan is in place to prevent a recurrence.
India, Kumar said, is looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson “soon”, as she dwelt in her address on several people-to-people linkages between India and the UK, including the Indian doctors and nurses dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in the NHS.
Noting the help extended by the community to the thousands of Indians stranded earlier this year, Kumar said: “High Commission of India complemented the selfless efforts of our diaspora and worked day and night to help more than 28000 stranded Indians reach their homes in India”.
“This is the spirit of our diaspora, not only a living bridge, but also a loving one”, she added.
Individuals who contributed to the virtual celebration live or in recorded messages included Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, Usha Parashar of Ficci UK, Northern Ireland deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill, industrialist Nat Puri, and Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, and Rupanjana Dutta of the Indian Journalists Association..