Patel, Javid break glass ceiling

Rupanjana Dutta Tuesday 12th May 2015 09:04 EDT

The British Asian community is overjoyed at the latest appointment of the first ever Indian-origin woman MP to the Tory Cabinet. Priti Patel has become the Minister of State for Employment and will attend Cabinet, emerging as an inspiration to many Asians, especially women (including mothers), who now dream to join politics and believe that Britain can definitely have a Prime Minister, from their community.

Sajid Javid, another inspiration for the community has gone on to become Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills in the new government of Prime Minister David Cameron. They are perhaps also the first cabinet Ministers without any Oxbridge education, to take charge of such an important portfolios.

Educated at a grammar school in Watford and Keele University, where she studied economics, sociology and social anthropology, Priti joined the party under John Major. Married with a son, Miss Patel is the daughter of Ugandan Asians who ran a post office in rural Norfolk, followed by a small shop in London. Her father Sushilbhai Kantibhai Nathabhai Patel, an Aeronautical engineer, originally from Tarapur, Gujarat, came to Britain from Kampala, Uganda in 1965 for further studies. He married Priti's mother Anjana in 1970, also from Kampala, Uganda, with roots in Sunav, Gujarat.

Speaking to Asian Voice, her uncle Kirit (father's brother, who joined the family in Britain during Idi Amin's expulsion), and aunt Sushila Patel, said they have always believed that Priti is extremely talented and are really proud of her achievements. They currently run a shop in White Hart Lane, Tottenham.

Last year Priti was appointed to be the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and also served PM Cameron's government as UK's first Indian Diaspora Champion.

Elected an MP for the first time in 2010, the new responsibility confirms Javid's rapid rise in British politics. He was previously Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and compered the unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi's statue at Westminster in March.

Son of a Lancashire bus driver and formerly an executive at Deutsche Bank, he was in his childhood impressed by the Bollywood blockbuster Sholay. Born in Rochdale in 1969, he is the middle child of five sons. His father Abdul, who came to Britain from Pakistan, worked around the clock, earning him the nickname 'Mr Night And Day'. When Mr Javid was four, his father took over a ladies' wear shop in inner-city Bristol, and the family moved into a two-bedroom flat above it, where Sajid shared room with one of his other brothers and parents.

He was educated at Downend School, a state comprehensive school near Bristol, followed by Filton Technical College, also near Bristol, before he went on to study Economics and Politics at University of Exeter, Devon.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter