British opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer on Friday (6) lauded former BAPS (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) guru and president Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921-2016) whose birth centenary celebrations are currently underway in India saying the spiritual leader had built more than 1,200 temples and the effort has been recognised across the world.
Appearing in a video, the Labour leader said, “I have been privileged to visit Neasden Temple in London, created by His Holiness (HH). It truly is a landmark for Hindus and the whole of the United Kingdom.”
Praising the massive followership of the spiritual leader and how several people have been encouraged to serve the society, Starmer said, “It was incredible to see firsthand how thousands of volunteers have been inspired to serve society. This was clearly visible during the pandemic, the Ukraine crisis, and now the cost of living crisis.”
The politician said he looked forward to welcoming HH Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current guru and president of BAPS, to the UK.
The month-long celebrations kicked off in Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat in December 2022 by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
The celebrations, which will continue till January 15, feature daily events, exhibitions, and thought-provoking pavilions, according to sources in the Indian government.
“Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj touched countless lives all over the world with his impeccable service, humility and wisdom,” Modi had tweeted after the inauguration.
HH Mahant Swami Maharaj was also present at the inauguration ceremony.
On the occasion, Modi recalled his conversation with Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the wake of the terror attack at the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, in 2002. He said the late guru had asked if his residence was affected as it was near the temple.
Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time.