This article acknowledges the immense contribution of South Asian minority population (mostly, Gujaratis and Punjabis) to the socio-political and economic growth of the United Kingdom.
Hope is the only power of being cheerful during circumstances that we know to be desperate. We often convince ourselves that we cannot change and overcome the circumstances of our lives. This philosophy reiterates and reflects the essence of an acclaimed American Lebanese-Jordanian businessman and a motivational speaker, Nido Quebein’s message to all those who consistently thrive to excel and outshine in the life. Nido believes: “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”.
In the early August of 1972, then President of Uganda and a notorious dictator, Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of his country’s South Asian minority giving them only 90 days to leave the country. Amin defended the expulsion by arguing that he was giving Uganda back to ethnic Ugandans. Most of the expellees were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and thus moved to Great Britain as The British Protectorate of Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire from 1894 to 1962.
The expellees from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania thereafter sought refuge under adverse conditions in the United Kingdom. They settled in various parts of Britain, with a large concentration in the east Midlands town of Leicester, which, over the years, has become a poster town of Britain’s multiculturalism. Almost all expellees then had little money to survive, no decent dwellings to reside and stared at a grim and bleak future during the harsh British-winter of 1972. But, those homeless and newcomers to the UK were valiant and entrepreneurial, and very passionate about their new beginning on another soil. They truly believed in the motto: “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Today, those expellees from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and their children (and, grand children) have turned Leicester city into a cultural territory of India! Also a gracious walk across ‘Bazaar’ area of Melton and Belgrave Roads would certainly prove beyond doubt that the British-Asian community living in the city of Leicester has contributed immensely to the GDP of the United Kingdom over a period of time. And, British-Asians in the United Kingdom are scaling the heights of politics, law, accountancy, medicine, pharmacy, arts and entertainment, diplomacy and journalism – careers to which earlier generations rarely had an access. The gradual and prominent rise of prosperous British-Asian traders and affluent Gujarati and Punjabi businessmen in the UK over the years vehemently disproves what PM Winston Churchill mused about 60 years ago about the “problems which will arise if many coloured people settle here in Great Britain”.
One of the eminent British-Indian and Lohana community couples residing in Leicester city and also, expellees of the 1972 crisis, Prakash and Saraswati Bhojani recently donated £100,000 to the British campaign group ‘Action Homeless’ towards providing rented accommodation to homeless people in the United Kingdom. The newly renovated four houses owned by Bhojani family’s company are being leased to the campaign group for a nominal fee.
An affluent businessman, owner of a real estate venture, promoter of England’s highly reputed knitted accessories manufacturing unit and a Wigston-resident, Prakash Bhojani said: “I strongly believe in the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi who said : A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he has done to his fellowmen. The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
Behavioral science identifies a range of factors that influence donations, and inspire eminent people like Prakash Bhojani keep giving contributions in the longer term. Research has revealed that spending money on others actually makes rich people happier than spending it on themselves.
Prakash Bhojani’s strong commitment towards the charity work in the UK will continue to influence millions of rich and famous Indians across the globe to strongly believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – a Sanskrit message written in ‘Maha Upanishad’, which means “the world is one family”.