Jaswant Singh Birdi creates history as Mayor of Coventry
The Punjab native will be the first turbaned Mayor in British history.
May 31, 2023
A British Sikh has created history as the first turbaned individual to serve as the Mayor of the English city of Coventry, locatedin the West Midlands. Jaswant Singh Birdi, a native of Punjab, in his role as Mayor will preside over the City Council as its chairman and serve as the ceremonial, non-political ruler of Coventry.
Birdi has served as a councillor for the city for 16 years, the last nine of which have been spent representing Bablake Ward and two terms representing Hillfields Ward in the 90s. In addition to serving as a councilman, he has been actively involved in starting community, social, and religious projects in the city.
Raised in pre-partitioned Punjab, Birdi’s family had to immigrate for employment. He moved to Kenya in East Africa in the middle of the 1950s with his parents, where he completed his primary and secondary education. In the 1960s, he moved to the UK to continue his studies.
“I am so proud to become Lord Mayor of my adopted home city. It has given so much to myself and my family over the years and I will be honoured to show why I love it so much and to promote the city and the wonderful people who live here,” Birdi said. “As a Sikh, it also means so much that I will be wearing the Chains of Office and the turban. It will help show what a happy multicultural city we have and maybe inspire others as well."
In taking office, Birdi nominated the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, the Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Charity as his three preferred charities for the coming year.