This is the last time I meet you through this column in 2019. We will meet again in the New Year after a short break. With utmost sincerity I appreciate several feedback from readers both in the UK and abroad. I especially am the most grateful for all the various suggestions and ideas I have received. Some of them are as follows :
A) The British-Indian community as well as the Indian diaspora everywhere could take a page out of the Jewish experience. For 2500 years, after they were forcibly thrown out of their ancestral land of Israel, the community found itself wandering here, there and everywhere. In western Europe for example, they were welcomed in Spain, Britain, and elsewhere, however, at the whim of the rulers they were also expelled lock, stock and barrel. The Jews have experienced persecution unparalleled in recorded history. Nazi genocide of some 6 million Jews on the mainland of Europe is an unforgettable chapter in world continuum. That was only about 80 odd years ago.
Today, the Jews everywhere not only participate but excel in all human endeavours, be it arts, literature, entertainment, science, commerce, industry, politics, philanthropy, et al. Now, the tiny state of Israel is a giant in the Middle East. How has this happened? How come the Board of British Jewry and the worldwide Jewish organisations were able to inspire and bring together the people of power, influence and capability?
Not only Indians, but especially Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists have a lesson to learn here. In the New Year, it has been proposed to me to write about this very valued suggestion and I earnestly request all my readers and others to send their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or contributions to enable me and my team to do the best.
B) The second theme I have been receiving suggestions, advice, and even demands for some time affects the Patel community. I have to be honest, I am a bit reluctant. Recently, I met a very prominent Patel professional who has been living in Britain for 60 years and his is a name to reckon with in the public life of this country. He's married to an English lady and their family itself is an example of outstanding success. His three children are making a distinct mark. This Patel gentleman is an ideal blend of the east and the west. He's very anglicised but he strongly believes he owes his success to his ancestors, values and traditions as well. He in his own subtle way has tried to imbibe values to his children and grandchildren. In conversation with him, he raised some pertinent questions.
i) The Patel population is around 15 to 16 million. (Almost as much as the Jewish population worldwide) In the UK, in education, professional, commerce, industry, and other activities, Patels are as successful as any and perhaps better than many. But, there is something which is deterring the community's profile on the national and international scale. Why? Patels are very liberal and essentially though known as proud people, they are self-effacing and don't tell children or others about their glorious history or what successful Patels have gained from that. There is another dimension. For e.g. In businesses in India, among top entrepreneurs five are Gujaratis. Tatas, Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji, Gautam Adani, and Pankaj Patel. There are many more Patels in the second rung of the entrepreneurial success. Why we don't hear about more and more Patels reaching such heights in India and especially UK? I know there are some Patels like Bhikhu and Vijay Patel and several more. Why don't they get due publicity and recognition?
I have also been told its my fault. May be I'm shy of being a Patel? I will not comment whether this is true of false. But I have to admit here. A focus on outstanding people will surely inspire many people. Patels or no Patels.
ii) There are several Hindu religious denominations where Patels put large sums of money. Or in the ancestral homes in India, and in enormous human service activities. Education, philanthropy, a lot of sections are generously financed by Patels. But, this gentlemen, 'Mr Patel' believes because the community is “dangerously divided into various groups and loyalties”, our subsequent younger generations do not understand the nitty gritty of various divisions and the Patel profile is not as it should be in reality.
I would really welcome your thoughts and advice on the above themes. Please write to me as soon as possible to [email protected]
I would like to once again, convey my gratitude for your support as readers and in other ways to Asian Voice, Gujarat Samachar, and other publications and projects of ABPL. We are committed to do our most in your service. I wish you and your family members and friends, a happy, healthy, and safe festivities and a peaceful, prosperous New Year.