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The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan: Mayor Ken Livingstone Joins Bhavan Centre's Republic Day Celebrations

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, visited the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in West Kensington as Chief Guest on the Bhavan’s Republic Day celebration on the 26th February. Also present were His Excellency Sri Kamalesh Sharma- the High Commissioner for India, Lord Dholakia and the Deputy Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Cllr Andrew Johnson.


Ken Livingstone with Mr Maneck Dalal , Chairman, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan

The Bhavan’s Chairman, Mr Maneck Dalal OBE welcomed the Mayor of London and said that the name of Ken Livingstone was synonymous with the great city of London. Mr Dalal said that the Bhavan was a centre of excellence as far as Indian culture was concerned and that the organisation was keen to join the mainstream of British cultural life.

The Deputy Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Councillor Andrew Johnson, welcomed the Mayor of London on behalf of the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.


Ken Livingstone addressing the gathering. Left: Maneck Dalal and Lord Dholakia

In his address, The High Commissioner for India, His Excellency Sri Kamalesh Sharma said that there was a special relationship between India and London. Many thousands of Indian companies did business in London and India was the second largest investor in the city.

The Mayor of London, Mr Ken Livingstone said;

‘London is the hub of the Indian community and culture in Europe, and home to the largest Hindu and Sikh temples outside India. The Indian community’s success is apparent through their strong socio–economic position, business success, role in the creative industry sector, levels of educational achievement and contribution to health services and culture. This summer we will be hosting ‘India Now’, a three-month festival of Indian culture in London that will help Londoners without any Indian cultural history to learn more.


Ken Livingstone with the artists of the Bhavan

‘India is not only one of the world’s most important and rapidly growing economies – it is a rising superpower. It also has one of the world’s most important cultures. London is the most multicultural city in the world and within it, those of Indian origin are the single largest minority. We have a vital interest in strengthening our links with India. That is why I will be visiting India in November and next year I will be opening two Mayoral offices in India – one in Delhi and one in Mumbai. With the arrival of more and more Indian companies India’s cultural impact on London is only going to increase further.’


Ken Livingstone with the students and teachers of the Bhavan

Lord Dholakia gave a vote of thanks in which he paid tribute to the Bhavan and the exemplary leadership of its chairman. He also recalled his days at the GLC when he had first met ‘Red Ken’. The evening concluded with a cultural programme of Indian music and dance.

For further information, please contact Dominika Sulinska, The Bhavan Centre, 4a Castletown Road, LONDON W14 9HE. Tel: 020 7381 3086 Fax 020 7381 8758 Website – www.bhavan.net e-mail: dominika@bhavan.net

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