In a spectacular show of popular support, India has elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team for a second productive term in office. His highly anticipated victory in the 2019 Indian Lok Sabha elections received steady and in-depth analysis both by the national and international media as people of the largest democracy in the world took to the ballot. In my viewing of these reports, I found several media entities and leaders who can't be called well-versed in Indian politics and the general operating style of Prime Minister Modi, were rather surprised by his win. I have to admit, while I never expect foreign media to blindly accept the fact that an entire country unanimously decided to vote for Modi, I did not expect such blunt ignorance either.
There are numerous signals that showcase Modi as the one true visionary of India. People cannot begin to comprehend the kind of evolution, nor, revolution that he has planned in his mind for his country. In the initial 65 years of the Indian independence, its economy was at what was called a 'Hindu rate of growth'; All because the people and their government did not have enough gumption to think outside of the box.
To all those holding their breath to point at his shortfalls, I would like to admit that Modi hasn't been successful in completely delivering on his campaign promises. However, as is evident by the election results, he has performed better than any Indian politician today. Whether you like it or not, Modi is on the right track and in my case, I am not surprised because such are the qualities of an entrepreneur and visionary. There are of course several internal and external factors that have helped his case, but it is Modi who brought in a distinct flavor of audacity, can-do attitude, implementation of technology, and an accelerated growth of productivity.
His methods and focus have been altogether a different race ever since the beginning of his first term. For instance, there has not been a single Indian Prime Minister who has declared from the Red Fort, on Independence Day, a national need for cleanliness and toilets in every home. It remains unthinkable to this day as to why a Prime Minister would even address the topic, let alone on such a prestigious day. Eventually, after the announcement, people saw 80 million or so houses getting individual toilets built for them. Similarly, can you imagine millions of women being facilitated with gas cylinders in their kitchens, after years of constant exposure to hazards of smoke caused by burning wood, coal, and cow dung cakes while cooking. The rate of construction of infrastructure has increased phenomenally in the last five years, and most importantly, there have been no financial scandals that could in any way implicate the ruling party.
All the success, no doubt gave Modi the confidence to achieve the unimaginable and beyond. But, of course, he is not the only individual behind all the merit. Any state, despite how powerful it is, needs an individual to set fearless, confident, and cumulative growth, but more fundamentally a team dedicated to his vision. This, is not just confined to India.
Consider the UK for an example. Yesterday's immigrants from India, or Indians from other countries, who arrived on these shores with aspirations but limited physical resources have today achieved tremendously for which half of the credit goes to the British administrators and its people. In my humble observation, some communities perform better than others.
Let me take you back a bit. When the Indian community, or the Asians migrated to East Africa, during the turn of the 18th century to the 19th. Very few people were able to see into the future. Amidst lack of education and schooling in the region, there were boarding schools begun by the Patels and Kutchis, in Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam, for the sole purpose of helping everyone. Youngsters from places with no resources soon flocked into such institutions.
In Britain today, smaller communities are at the forefront of change. They religiously follow down the path of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy- “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I am aware of the happenings in the Bohras, Memons, Ishnaris, Ismailis and other Muslim groups in the UK. They provide so many initiatives for their communities, facilitating people of all age groups. When it comes to the Sikhs, there are several sub-groups within the large community and each one of them in their own way, have great reach. I have always been in awe of the community spirit of the Sikhs.
When it comes to the Hindus and Jains, Gujaratis, especially the Lohanas account for some 30,000-40,000 people in the UK; traditionally a warrier caste, they have now taken up businesses and professions in magnum proportions. The Lohanas, like the Oshwals, have made a distinct impact in the UK very rapidly. Lohanas have a unique system that reflects their unity. For e.g. in the cases of someone's bereavement, everybody within the community is informed and volunteers proactively provide services on a voluntary basis without charging for their services. And I have myself seen hundreds of people from common folks to big tycoons including Lords, and other distinguished leaders personally paying their respects during the prayer seminars.
As for the Oshwals, this community requires some special mention. Until 1899, according to my knowledge, nobody from the community migrated to Africa. A lady organised a meeting of the Oshwals in a village in Jamnagar where representatives of the communities were settled and dependent primarily on agriculture. However, the land was not very fertile and the rain was scant. Dr Bharat Shah, co-chairman of Sigma Pharmaceuticals had published a book few years ago. It illustrates the history of the Oshwals. The Oshwal Association of UK, like other organisations of the UK, is active on various levels- career, family, and welfare among others.
A major event was held in the headquarters of Potters Bar, on Sunday. It was a one day programme on health and care awareness. I was honoured to be in attendance and was surprised to see it to be much more than just a regular health seminar. More details on the day will be published in the paper in due course. The organisation has also started a series of regular talks by Oshwal academicians, educators, inspirers, and achievers. The guest speaker for the session on June 5 is none other than Dr. Bharat Shah, himself and his topic is 'How to start, grow, sustain, and hand-over a family business'. Such talks are regularly held by the community, keeping its people engaged and enlightened.
Smaller communities provide sterling services. British-Asians today know no boundaries, and are now waiting and preparing to contribute more. A ripple has been created and the waves positively affect all members of all societies.