The City of London honours Rev. Daaji with the prestigious Freedom of the City award

The City of London honours Rev. Daaji with the prestigious Freedom of the City award

The City of London honours

23rd May 2024, London, United Kingdom – In yet another moment of pride for India, the City of London has conferred upon Rev Daaji – the Guide of Heartfulness & President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission the prestigious Freedom of the City of London Award at Guildhall in recognition of his lifetime dedicated to humanity and noteworthy efforts in education, wellness, and environmental initiatives. As the Guide of Heartfulness, Daaji has made meditation accessible to millions of people around the world and has helped bring transformation in their lives, thereby the award ceremony also aptly coincided with World Meditation Day.

The Freedom of the City of London Award is the greatest honor that is in the power of the City of London to bestow. The past recipients of the coveted award were Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Nelson Mandela, as President of South Africa; Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru – the first Prime Minister of India; Bill Gates – Co-Founder of Microsoft; J K Rowling – renowned author and many other prominent personalities. Recent high-profile recipients include Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, who initiated and led the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine; theatre entrepreneurs, Dame Rosemary Squire and Sir Howard Panter; and former Managing Director and Chief Privacy Officer at the London Stock Exchange, Vivienne Artz.

Known as ‘Daaji’ by his followers and celebrated for his teachings on meditation and spirituality, Shri Kamlesh Patel (Daaji) was nominated by the City of London Corporation’s Policy Chairman, Mr. Chris Hayward, and the Chair of the organization’s Freedom Applications Sub-Committee, Ms. Rehana Ameer. Daaji’s ceremony was attended by members of his family, friends, and local Heartfulness practitioners, and was conducted by the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, Ms. Laura Miller.

Expressing his gratitude upon being conferred the honour, Rev. Daaji – Guide of Hreartfulness & President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission said, “I am delighted to reconnect with the United Kingdom and accept the Freedom of the City Award. This recognition is an honour to all the volunteers and practitioners of Heartfulness not just in London, but around the world. Now more than ever, unity and harmony are important. Meditation serves as an important means to bring the world together.”

Speaking after the Freedom ceremony, City Corporation Policy Chairman Mr. Chris Hayward said, “It was my pleasure to nominate Kamlesh D. Patel for the Freedom, which can be awarded to individuals in recognition of their contribution to public life, and which continues to attract people from a wide range of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Mr. Patel received a very warm welcome from my colleagues at Guildhall and I hope that he and his guests enjoyed the ceremony and will remember it for many years to come.”

Former Chair of the City Corporation’s Freedom Applications Sub-Committee, Rehana Ameer, said, “I admire people who make a tangible difference to other people’s lives, and who feel fulfilled and derive pleasure from their work. I was delighted to support the nomination for Kamlesh D. Patel Ji, whose work on meditation and spirituality will have helped bring a sense of calm, peace, and improvements in the mental health and well-being of so many people over the years. As a woman with a proud Indian heritage and someone who recognises Daaji’s contribution to the diverse communities as a spiritual leader and author, this award from the City goes some way towards thanking him for his achievements in education, environment, and wellness over the last four decades.”

One of the City of London’s ancient traditions, Freedom is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade. As well as being nominated for, or applying for, the Freedom, it is also offered by the City of London Corporation to individuals as a way of paying tribute to their outstanding contribution to London or public life, or to celebrate a very significant achievement.

Earlier this year Rev. Daaji was also appointed as the Global Ambassador for Peacebuilding and Faith to the Commonwealth by Her Excellency Patricia Scotland, KC, Commonwealth Secretary General. Last year The House of Lords conferred the India-UK Triumph Award upon Rev. Daaji for his extraordinary contribution to the world as a spiritual catalyst for a heart-centered approach to life. Rev. Daaji is also a Padma Bhushan recipient in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the world.

This is Rev. Daaji’s first visit to the UK in a decade. The other chief highlights of his visit are marked by signing a special Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth Secretariat, delivering a speech at the 22nd Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference at Marlborough House, engaging with Members of Parliament at the House of Lords, and meeting with practitioners of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha at the Neasden Temple in London.