Jaswant Singh Birdi, a Sikh councilor of Indian origin, has created history by becoming the newly appointed Lord Mayor of Coventry, a city in England’s West Midlands region.
As Lord Mayor, Jaswant Singh Birdi will serve as the Chairman of the City Council. As the first citizen of Coventry, he will hold a non-political and ceremonial position, symbolizing the city’s leadership.
Expressing his pride, Birdi stated, “I am immensely proud to be appointed as the Lord Mayor of my beloved adopted city. Over the years, Coventry has given me and my family so much, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to showcase my love for this city and its remarkable inhabitants.”
During a recent annual general meeting at Coventry Cathedral, Birdi was bestowed with the Chains of Office, a significant regalia is worn by the Mayor.
“As a Sikh, it holds great significance for me to wear the Chains of Office and my turban. It is a representation of our vibrant multicultural city and may also serve as an inspiration to others,” he added.
Having migrated to Coventry from Punjab six decades ago, Birdi has served as a councilor for 17 years. He represented the Bablake Ward for the past nine years, following two terms in the Hillfields Ward during the 1990s.
After fulfilling the role of Deputy Lord Mayor for the preceding 12 months, Birdi succeeds Councillor Kevin Maton as the Lord Mayor.
Birdi’s childhood was spent in a village in Punjab, and he also lived in Lahore and West Bengal during his family’s employment-related travels. In the mid-1950s, he emigrated with his parents to Kenya in East Africa, where he completed his primary and secondary education before relocating to the UK in the 1960s for further studies.
Aside from his council duties, Birdi has actively contributed to establishing religious, social, and community initiatives within the city.
For the upcoming year, Birdi has chosen the Muscular Dystrophy charity, the Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Charity as his designated charities.