It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, that makes all the difference, they say. There is a scene in the latest outstanding Gurdinder Chadha movie, ‘Blinded by the Light’ where the British Pakistani teenager who is a Bruce Springsteen fan, is finally accepted by his father on the basis Springsteen sounds like Springstein, and he may be a Jewish role model.
Like that father I am over the moon this paper has created the Asian-Jewish Business Network as the only business networking group bringing Jewish and Asian business leaders together. I am sure we at City Hindu Network (cityhindus.org) will support them. Their first event is a must-attend - https://ajbn.co.uk .
The two key complaints Hindus make about each other - first that we do not help each other, secondly we actively put obstacles in the path of each other. Of course these are generalisations and like all communities we could do more.
Hindu’s often point to the Jewish community as a role model for co-operation. And indeed, when I worked in Congress I studies the Israeli lobby group, AIPAC, as the admirable role model on how a community working together can effectively influence Government policy.
A while ago a friend of a friend came to see me. He had been out of work for 7 years. He was Jewish. He was beaten by rejections. His attitude smelt of defeat. Every time I gave him advice on finding a job, he would interrupt about how it wouldn’t work.
I told him, he is sucking the energy out of the room. Why would anybody employ him? But I also remembered the words from the week before I had read in New Delhi, at Birla House, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated – ‘the job of a leader is to inspire fearlessness’.
And so it was for one hour I sat with this stranger and gave him idea upon idea on getting a job. But the best idea I had – I told him that I would write to some wealthy Jewish friends of mine, and say to them, ‘My Indian community holds your Jewish community up as a role model for co-operation. I met someone from your Jewish community.
He’s a good man. I’m going to help him. But I want you to prove me right, and meet him and help him too. And then, when you do, I am going to write about it, and give my own community a specific example of the role models you are and indeed an example that if we Indians and Hindus do not help each other, then those that do will ensure we are left behind.
So prove yourselves to be the role models we believe you to be, and motivate the best in my Indian community to be like the best in yours.’
How does this story end? My Jewish friends did indeed write back. They couldn’t offer jobs – which is fair enough. But they made the effort. That’s how communities are built. Hope you will join me at the Asian Jewish Business Network.