Ace social activist, traveller and social media influencer Harjinder Singh Kukreja shares moments spent when Britain’s first turbaned Sikh Member of Parliament Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, aka Tan Dhesi, hosted him at the British House of Commons early last week.
From Ludhiana with love. From the chaos of Ludhiana to the order of London. From the biting cold of Ludhiana to the chilly winds of London winter. On my maiden trip to the UK, fraternal warmth and love greeted me as I started the London leg of my tour right from the word go with the first turbaned Sikh Member Parliament Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi hosting me and my family at the British House of Commons. In the Christmas season, on New Year’s Eve, the celebratory mood was palpable and so was British hospitality at its best.
During the short tour of the House of Commons, I had the privilege to meet Nick Brown -the Chief Whip of the Labour party, Member of Parliament of Newcastle upon Tyne East and share the need of an inclusive world society and acknowledge Great Britain as an inclusive country despite innumerable challenges.
As the Sikh world gears up to commemorate and celebrate 550 years of the advent of the First Master Guru Nanak Sahib, from the portals of the British House of Commons, I kicked off the 550-year celebrations by presenting a portrait of Guru Nanak Sahib to my Sikh co-traveller in public life, member parliament Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi.
In my note amidst the Tan Dhesi team, I applauded the work being done by Tan Dhesi and the values that we mutually share of world peace and humanitarianism.
Excitement brimmed through me since the day the Slough Member Parliament confirmed this meeting nearly a month back. It was a privilege and an honour to meet Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi or Tan Dhesi as he is popularly known, in the portals of the Parliament and I deeply appreciate this unique opportunity. In the hour that I spent there, I was enamoured of his personality and stature. His sweet mannerisms, welcoming attitude and typical English accent are unforgettable.
“As the Sikh world gears up to commemorate and celebrate 550 years of the advent of the First Master Guru Nanak Sahib, from the portals of the British House of Commons, I kicked off the 550-year celebrations by presenting a portrait of Guru Nanak Sahib to my Sikh co-traveller in public life, member parliament Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi.”
With awe and appreciation, my wife Harkirat Kaur acknowledged the pride of the moment and congratulated Tan Dhesi for making it big by making his way to Parliament on the strength of his constituency work and pro-people policies.
My association with Sardar Dhesi is a tribute to the spirit of a true Sikh that is part and parcel of the personality of Sardar Dhesi. What better day than this one to meet him when just a day before he had moved an Early Day Motion in the British House of Commons for the setting up of a National Sikh War Memorial in Central London. As part of the centennial celebrations of World War I, this is a most befitting step.
A Sikh War Memorial in London is a common cause as I have had the opportunity to visit Ieper in Belgium, Forli in Italy and St. Tropez in France to create awareness about Sikh military history. Congratulating Tan Dhesi for this historic cause, I promised him to be there when the memorial is set up and to promote this in the honour of thousands of Sikh soldiers who laid down their lives for Great Britain and its allies.
Tan Dhesi is the pride of his constituents and his Labour party and for me, he is the pride of Sikhs and humanity, standing up for causes boldly and systematically. With his initiative and persuasive efforts, flights between Amritsar and London and Birmingham will soon be a reality. Advocating for the rights of Rohingya Muslims requires courage and grit and when he raised the issue in British Parliament, he once again reiterated the Sikh call of “Sarbat da Bhala” -Welfare for all humanity. When he sought pay rise for British labourers, he showed his commitment to social justice.
Humbled by the admiration showered by the tall and handsome member parliament and his teammates, I believe that we have connected to spread goodness around the world, uphold the values of truthfulness, dwelling in the will of God, sharing and honest labour. I will continue this journey.
“A Sikh War Memorial in London as proposed by Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi is a common cause as I have had the opportunity to visit Ieper in Belgium, Forli in Italy and St. Tropez in France to create awareness about Sikh military history.”
Walking down the Westminster with the British Parliament and the London Giant Wheel in the background, courtesy Visit Britain, in the company of Tan Dhesi and my family were moments I will cherish for long. With his large heart, exuding warmth Tan Dhesi congratulated me for my one million Twitter followers reach and wished me more success in my endeavours for which I am indeed very grateful.
Departing from Tan Dhesi and the British House of Commons, with love and prayer in my heart, I thanked Guru Nanak and promised to follow the Guru’s path -to travel far and wide to spread the spirit of goodness and stand up for humanitarian rights. Last but never the least, to stay humble and acknowledge the Almighty.
As we move into the New Year, thank you Tan Dhesi and may Almighty shower his grace on you and your family and may you continue to serve your people and humanity.