As part of the 50-year celebrations of Gujarat Samachar, a prestigious event, "Diamonds are Forever, So Are Morals" was organised on March 6, 2023, at the House of Lords to honour Shri Govindbhai Dholakia, a visionary leader, diamond baron, and philanthropist from India. The event was held to unite the Asian communities across the UK and understand each other in a better way to recall our culture, values, and morals.
Shree Govind Dholakia is the founder and chairman of Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. (SRK), a global diamond company with more than 7,000 team members. His contribution has touched several thousand people’s lives through selfless social welfare work over five decades. Under his various trusts, over 3 million people have received financial support for educational scholarships and medical exigencies.
The event was hosted by Lord Loomba CBE. Subhash Thakrar was the master of the ceremony. Among the distinguished guests were: Lord Parekh, Lord Ranger, Lord Dholakia, Lady Dholakia, The Mayor Cllr Sunil Chopra, Mayoress Varsha Chopra, Shailesh Vara MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Gagan Mohindra MP, H.E. Nimisha Madhvani, Ms Ovessa Iqbal, FS, High Com. of India, Amish Tripathi, Dr M Nandakumar, Anand Dhamecha and Mr Sriram.
Dignitaries from International Diamond Sector: Marwan Nicolas C., Sarah Kuijlaars, Nigel Simson, Abhinav Gattani, Melanie Grant, Neil Philip Holness, Neil Anthony J., Rinat Rakefet J., Thomas Stephen D, Rohit Gupta, Vivek Khandelwal, Aviel Simon B and Sanjay Khandelwal.
Academics: Prof David Dabydeen, Dr Karam Marwah, Simrat Marwah, Dr Keshav Singhal, Dr Varun Uberoi, Prof Parag Singhal, Dr Neha Singhal and Dr Nitin B Parekh.
Community members included: Mukeshbhai Patel, Dilipbhai Mithani, Dr Jayshree Mehta, Krishna Pujara, Kantibhai Nagda, Vinod Thakrar, Mavji bhai, Ms Shika Soni, Amit Raja and Keisha Shah.
From Dholakia Family: GovindBhai Dholakia, Champaben Dholakia, Shreyans Dholakia, Sweety Dholakia, Minaxi Sojitra, Anil Sojitra, Sweta Kevadia, Krishiv Kevadia, Dhruval Dholakia, Dhyey Sojitra, Hill Seliya, Arpit Narola, Pearl Sojitra and Kamlesh Yagnik.
Editor-in-Chief, CB Patel, spoke about Shree Govindbhai Dholakia’s book “Diamonds Are Forever, So Are Morals and welcomed the eminent guests present at the event.
Solidifying our community and culture
In the welcome speech, host Lord Raj Loomba said, "Tonight is part of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Gujarat Samachar. We are recognizing and honouring entrepreneurs and philanthropists from India. This recognition will not only inspire others, but it will also strengthen our community and our culture. Culture, as we all know, serves as a bond that brings people together."
He continued saying, "At the same time, giving back to the community is very important. I always believe that the secret to a happy life is giving. When you give back, you help the needy. Giving back does not mean that you give money. In fact, you can help people by giving your time, your expertise and your moral support, which will improve and make the lives of people better in our community, our country, and possibly around the world."
The identities of the two countries are interwoven
In the keynote speech, speaking about the history and relationship between Britain and India, Lord Bhikhu Parekh stated, "Britain created India by giving us distinct civic and political culture, political institutions, and economic institutions. It created India whenever it needed to be defended against the Russians and others; the whole of Britain was involved in it, which was involved in this exercise of hands over India. For all of these reasons, India was one of the most significant causes that led to Britain being a single country with a shared past and a sense of identity. So that is the first thing we need to keep in mind. The identities of the two nations are also extremely intertwined because India contributed to the creation of Britain and Britain had created India. You could not define Britain without understanding India, and you cannot define India without understanding Britain."
He added, "My first important point, to all of you, is to remember; we cannot be wished away by the bridge. We are proud of our British identity. We are at the heart of what it is to be British, and we are an integral part of Britain's self-understanding. And one consequence of that is something we tend to remember sometimes and forget other times. That means to be a part of the empire. Indians were free to go anywhere. When Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of nonviolence, was recruiting soldiers for the army in the First World War, people said, "Why are you doing this? Then he said that because Britain has protected me, given me the chance to go throughout the empire, I must fight for it when it’s in danger."
"India has shaped Britain, and now Indians are shaping Britain. Indians, not only in the shape of the present Prime Minister, but also in the shape of you and me and lots of other Indians, through medicine, the law, and others in their own ways, are shaping the country. So, we should not feel any kind of inferiority complex. This country is ours, not because we are staying here; it is ours because we have helped create it, just as the British can come and say we are India because we created it. First India created Britain; now Indians are creating Britain," he said.
India-UK relations and Indian values
Talking about trade relations between the UK and India, the Guest of Honour, Shri Govindbhai Dholakia said, "India and the UK have longer-standing, deeper trade ties as well as a stronger relationship. For both nations, it has resulted in significant financial gain. We have prospered and found employment as a result of this association. Prime Minister Narendra Modi supported the idea that the slogan "One Earth. One Family. One Future" or "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" under India's G20 presidency will enable every nation to benefit. Partnership in the areas of culture, society, and economy has long existed between India and the UK. By utilising the advantages that both nations can provide one another, we can build a better future. India has infrastructure, buildings, IT, and services, whereas the UK leads in innovation. And because of these goals and our creative collaboration, we can foster a successful economy."
Speaking about incorporating Indian values into his life, he said, "By the time I was 16 years old, I had memorised every shloka in the Bhagavad Gita, which I had been reading since I was 11 years old. After that, I began living according to the principles in the Holy Book in all aspects of my life, including my business."
He added, "I live by the advice of my Hindu saint and preacher, Dongreji Maharaj, who once remarked, "Don't strive to make a difference; if you change your perspective, the world will change itself."
While addressing the event, Lord Rami Ranger said, "We are tremendously proud of folks who not only shine in India but also around the world as a result of their work. I remember that CB Patel was the one who made us do community services, and he is the biggest believer in dharma. He is an institution in itself."
The vote of thanks was presented by Group Editor Mahesh Liloriya.
(photo credit: Raj D Bakrania, PrMediapix)