The spread is global. The threat is real. And, isolation is the new normal. For the first in the social media era, the term viral has found its literal meaning in novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
It is not any hilarious meme or digital bug that can crash your electronic devices. It is a biological virus that has posed an enormous challenge to the mankind.
As the world comes to a standstill, we understand that your anxiety is not unfounded. Like the Covid-19 spread, the grief, loss and pain of the people are pandemic too.
With a firm belief in the ‘Gyan Yagya, Seva Yagya’ (knowledge sharing is no less than a community service), we decided to shoulder the big responsibility of publishing Gujarat Samachar in April 1976. The maiden editor’s note was self-explanatory (see below).
By god’s grace, we have managed to run Gujarat Samachar, Asian Voice and our other publications adhering to our Panchamitra (five elements) – inform, entertain, inspire, energise and empower as mentioned in my first note to the readers 44 years ago. As we intend to be part of your grief in today’s trying times, we reiterate our pledge to provide you the best read.
Readers, subscribers, advertisers, supporters have always been our pillars of strength, not to mention my family, friends and a growing ABPL team.
The past decades have seen us taking up the cause of our community every time we are required to. These are extraordinary times, which require extraordinary measures. Temples are closed. Flights remain grounded. It can be especially overwhelming for the people settled abroad who are always in pursuit of happiness for their loved ones.
Campaigning for the welfare of people and supporting their fights has always been our focus area. We have never shied away from taking up the cause of our community in need. As we make relentless efforts to extended helping hands to the needy, we acknowledge the help we get from the community and leaders. The credit also goes to our readers for their continued support.
As we remain confined to our homes, the practice of applauding from our doors, balconies those engaged in providing essential services is a welcome move. But at the same time, some concrete measures are the need of the hour to overcome the unprecedented challenges arising out of the Covid-19 spread, lockdown and its economic fallout, particularly for those, who discharge their duties, in spite of the risks.
Om Namah Shivay.
With immense pleasure and by God’s grace, I present to you Gujarat Samachar. I feel humbled to have this responsibility come my way. The fact that I have the support of partners from other ventures along with my family’s, provides me the much needed assurance.
I’m indebted to Lord Shiva for enabling us to set up a system wherein Gujarat Samachar will for a very long time remain the newspaper of Gujaratis– in the UK and India.
It’s a matter of great pleasure to rollout the first issue. Please pardon us for any mistakes occurred due to lack of time and fresher minds.
It is my humble request to all the subscribers, readers and advertisers to read Gujarat Samachar without any judgement in its initial phase, though we wholeheartedly welcome criticism and suggestions as we embark on a mission to make the paper the best read for you.
The credit for the first edition goes to Editor Mr Vipul Kalyani, Chief Manager Mr Rasikbhai Patel, Consulting Editor Mrs Kusumben Shah, Marketing and Circulation head Mr V M Patel, composing head Mr Sukhalal Lala and for printing, Mr Asraf and Chetan Shah.
For sharing their knowledge and experience, we are grateful to Africa Samachar leaders, including Mr Himmatbhai Bhatt and Mr Gulabbhai Tailor. Kindly pardon us for not being able to mention names of other elderly, friends and well-wishers due to lack of space.
Om 'Sah Navavatu
Your Gujarat Samachar has reached a very crucial juncture in its journey.
Since its inception, in one or the other way, has continuously fought for Indians settled miles away in Europe. It has gone through good and bad phases on many occasions. Our objective is not to filter these phases.
A lot of challenges come in the way of publishing a Gujarati daily or weekly outside Gujarat. To take on these challenges, Gujarat Samachar’s publication had to be suspended or delayed on certain occasions.
From this issue, Gujarat Samachar has been reborn and changes may not go unnoticed.
A new group have taken over Gujarat Samachar’s publishing rights and management from April. Former owner and editor Mrs Kusumben Shah has been relieved of her official duties. But she will continue providing her services as the consulting editor.
Honourable Kusumben had kept Gujarat Samachar going even in the most unfavourable conditions, which is a testimony to her courage and soaring spirit.
As we shared earlier, it is not an easy task to publish and nurture a Gujarati newspaper away from India. Fortunately, the publication of various Indian languages dailies/weeklies have continued. For us, to publish and nurture a Gujarati weekly, has been a pleasant and successful experiment.
Along with Mrs Kusumben, Mr Ramniklal Solanki has joined the mission of connecting the community of immigrants by publishing Garvi Gujarat. At the end of eight years, it has achieved several milestones, which deserve commendation.
Besides, our journalist friend from Uganda, Mr Vanu Jivraj, has charted a new territory with the publication of bilingual Nav-Britain from Stoke-on-Trent. Efforts to launch magazines from Leicester and other areas have been welcomed.
There has been an upsurge in the demand of magazines and newspapers providing reading materials on various subjects including sports and leisure for Indians settled in Britain and the rest of Europe. This is our small effort to quench their thirst for knowledge. .
We came away from our ancestral homes as foreigner but have integrated here effortlessly. Gujarat Samachar will consciously make efforts to keep this tradition alive. It is a firm and true voice of circumstantial injustices faced by immigrants, who are minority in their new territories.
This weekly is not a mouthpiece for any particular religion, caste, creed or community and aims to make a mark of its own.
We do not want to just become the flag-bearer of the Indian diaspora. We wish to be their foundation. As Mr Gordhamram Tripath Ghardivda said, “Ghardivda Thai Ne Jabukta rehvu” (we will keep burning like an earthen lamp to light up your house).
We intend to turn Gujarat Samachar into a charitable trust as soon as it stands on its own feet. Our idea is to donate the profit to religious, educational, social organisations in UK, India and abroad.
We hope our readers will welcome the new avatar of Gujarat Samachar. Your continued support will be much appreciated.
At this beginning, we appeal to writers, thinkers, poets and all those interested in public life to send their written contributions to make Gujarat Samachar into a successful venture.
Om Sah navvvtu, sah nau bhunaktu, sah virya karwa wahe,
Tejashiv navadhitam astu, maa vidvishawahe,
Om shanti shanti shanti.
May we (both) be protected; may we (both) be nourished;
May we work together with great energy, May our knowledge be radiant
May there be no differences or disputes between us
Om, peace (inside), peace (around), peace (between)