At a moving ceremony and the banquet following it on 21st July, Hull City Council has conferred the rare 'Honour of Freedom of the City' on Lord Bhikhu Parekh. Lord Parekh, a world famous political theorist, was born in the village of Amalsad in the province of Gujarat, India. He was made a Life Peer in 2000 and has been a recipient of several awards and accolades.
During the past 100 years or so the Hull City Council has conferred this'Honour of Freedom of the City' only on about 20 eminent individuals including Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu and Lord Prescott. The citation on a scroll contained in a silver casket referred to Professor Parekh’s valuable services to the city, the esteem in which he is held both in the U.K. and in India, and the way in which he has enhanced the global standing of the University of Hull and increased the prestige of the Indian community.
In his response Lord Parekh said that when he first came to Hull he could have hardly imagined that he would one day becomes its Honorary Freeman. He thanked the University for the great freedom and opportunities it had given him for his academic work. He then went on to pay a great tribute to the city of Hull for its non-conformist history, its warmth, its capacity to throw up such great men as William Wilberforce and Philip Larkin without being overawed by them, and its quiet and unpretentious way of carrying pockets of excellence. He said he had always been proud to be a resident of Hull and his new status had intensified that feeling.
The ceremony was attended by Councillors, eminent residents of Hull and Lord Parekh’s family and friends. Lord Parekh is one of the few Indians to have received Freedom of the City in which they have lived.