Sadiq Khan Becomes First London Mayor to Celebrate Vaisakhi

On Sunday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan attended a Vaisakhi parade in the city’s Southall neighbourhood, becoming the first mayor of the British capital to participate in the event. The parade is among the largest open-air celebrations of any festival in Europe.

Later in the day, Khan declared on Twitter while referring to the event, “Londoners don’t just tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.”

He had been joined by fellow Labour MPs Seema Malhotra and Virender Sharma at the Vaiskahi celebrations at the Sri Guru SIngh Sabha.

Khan with members of Sikh for Labour. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@SadiqKhan)

Khan has also attended Diwali celebrations in the city in the past, and has made the "celebration and understanding of diversity" a cornerstone of his term as London Mayor.

Khan serves as one of the volunteers at the langar at the event. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@SadiqKhan)
Khan poses with young cadets volunteering at the Vaiskahi celebrations. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@SadiqKhan)

The Vaisakhi celebrations were not Khan’s first, though. He had earlier attended the event when he was MP from Tooting in London. Sunday’s visit, however, was his first as Mayor.

Khan, who took over the post in 2016, is part of the party's ‘soft left’ and has been characterised as a a social democrat.

Khan also attended the Southall Nagar Kirtan, which kicked off the parade. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@SadiqKhan)
Khan addresses the media before the celebrations begin. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@SadiqKhan)

Vaisakhi marks the Sikh new year and commemorates the formation of the Khalsa panth of warriors by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. It is also a spring harvest festival, usually celebrated around 13 or 14 April.