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Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar (ABPL Group) are the best-selling newspaper serving the large Indian community outside India and are the foremost weekly news publications for British Asians. Mr C.B.Patel, the Editor and the Chairman of the ABPL Group, is a prominent Hindu leader and a Chief of the Patrons Council of the Hindu Forum of Britain. He has always taken up the cause of NRIs and was presented diversity championship award by Labour party and was given a Special NRI Award by the Vishwa Gujarati Samaj.


We are delighted to give a very warm welcome to Mr C B Patel to our Pattni Connection website.


Hosts and hospitality

Shri C. B. Patel


The other day, several top Indian tycoons hosted a reception for a gentleman on his elevation to the House of Lords. It was very appropriate and arranged at a very prestigious place in central London. The speeches were few and almost to the point. Unlike some other such events, timekeeping was also very noteworthy.

Some thoughts, I would like to venture loudly with utmost respect to all the hosts. It is my privilege that I have had the pleasure of knowing all of them, almost all of them for a very long time and I admire their success in their chosen field and also applaud their gesture in honouring someone who has done exceptionally well in his career.

* Why the host list was confined to just some tycoons? I wonder whether it would have been more appropriate if some members from public life, especially the House of Lords and House of Commons were involved too.

* In order to attend an event in central London, most travel at least an hour on an average to the venue and back home. I also believe out of those few hundred people, most were aged 50 or more. Chances are that a large number of guests would have some health condition i.e. diabetes, blood-pressure or whatever.

To expect all to stand throughout the proceedings is perhaps a good yoga position but  not necessarily beneficial for everyone. (Of course there were a few chairs but the seating position would not have been ideal for the event.)

* When ten or more top tycoons arrange such a wonderful event, is it satisfactory to have drinks and some snacks on canapés alone? Please don’t misunderstand me. I live very much in central London and have my strict dietary regime. But if you want to honour a person of some worthy achievement, was it not right and proper to have some more dignified catering arrangement?


Competition is good. But...


Some years back I read a brilliant book titled Jews in Britain. And there were chapters on various facets of Jewish life in Great Britain.

I distinctly remember a separate chapter called “Business of Charity”. Comparatively, a small community of 320,000 has excelled in most fields but especially in economic progress and philanthropy.

Jewish philanthropy does not stop at the Jewish cause alone, though for British Jews as well as for the state of Israel, Jews will contribute as much as possible.

I remember 6th June, 1967. I was at the Lincoln’s Inn when I heard the news of the beginning of the 6-day war. Next morning, I read in the newspapers that Lord Seif had organised a meeting the previous evening and the top few tycoons had contributed millions of their pounds for their homeland.

I am not just referring to such history-making events but on a day-to-day mundane matters, somehow a Jew would contribute more pro-rata than an Asian.

Yes, you might possibly say because they can afford it. No arguments. But...

What about all those really rich Asians? How much they contribute for human service activities in this country or even in the countries of their origin? Sometimes I come across the figures. Very rarely, there are generous contribution figures to the extent that are worthy to their wealth.

Competition is very important, in all walks of life. I would concede that without competition our ancestors may not have left those caves or even trees. But competition can be both constructive and destructive.

I have a distinct memory when a senior reporter of Indian origin from New York visited London around 20 years ago. He asked me for top two tycoon’s brief details and their contact numbers. Over the next couple of days, he met both of them and before returning to New York, he phoned me to thank me for my help? But he said something more disturbing.

“I met Mr. A and he spoke for two hours only about himself, his wealth and his family. Then I met Mr. B, who also spoke with me for two hours. After a few brief details about himself, most of the time he spoke about Mr. A.”

How interesting!


CB Patel

His thought provoking article “Rich List - Poor List” 
makes us aware that high profiling of financial or economic success can only generate envy, jealousy and hatred. So don't show off wealth is the hard hitting message.

Rich List - Poor List

by Mr C B Patel

Every year, for nearly two decades, come spring and The Sunday Times rich-list is published. In the near future, there will be other lists too - maybe Asian, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and so on. As far as I know, there is no such Jewish rich-list. Not that the Jews are not (God forbid) well-off. Proportionately speaking, there are many and much richer too. But they are aware that high profiling of financial or economic success can only generate envy, jealousy and hatred.


Jews have not forgotten the horrible holocaust. In a so-called civilized nation like Germany, when six million Jews were exterminated, their only offence (if not crime) was their exceptional success. One hopes, even prays, that no such calamity would ever happen in this country. But are we really sure? That is the danger and futility, if not risk, of such a rich-list. Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar publish no such lists.


Wealth creation is indeed very important. Hindu scriptures have a very inspiring mantra - Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Wealth), Kaam (Pleasure) and Moksha (Salvation). Wealth, power and fame attract almost every human being. One of the motivating force is happiness. But the real happiness comes only when you live for others, when you share and care for others.


It is the Asian entrepreneurship which has given us both respect and acceptance, here and elsewhere too. Think for a moment who were among the richest fifty, hundred or few hundred years ago. Surely, there must have been many but you only recollect Bhama Shah (the great philanthroper of Rajasthan) or Carnegie. Today’s Bill Gates or Warren Buffet will perhaps be remembered for a very long time. This is an opportunity for really wealthy people to use their wealth for helping others ensuring more permanant and positive memories.


In the aftermath of the rich-list publication, two headlines in the national daily drew my attention. One said: “Rich-list top 10 dominated by seven foreign billionaires” (The Daily Telegraph, April 30, 2007)


In several other papers it was highlighted that the richest in this country don’t pay any tax other than council tax. I bet it would bring congratulatory messages to the tycoons from hard-working British people who do not have the technical expertise to be so clever!!!


The Sunday Times claims that it is a “definitive guide to the richest 1,000 in Britain and Ireland”. One hopes. I distinctly remember that a few years ago, one of the included names that was loudly proclaimed was declared bankrupt even before the list was published.


Many years ago Philip Beresford visited my office and I was able to give him few names for his research. He has done very well. He has also refrained from publishing names of several individuals who do not wish to be included in such lists. As I am very well aware, there are many who will qualify to be included.


I am aware that several tycoons keep no stone unturned, not to be included in the rich-list. Similarly some in the rich-list are very pro-active if not keen and a little bit aggressive to be included and furnish all sorts of information to justify their claims.

If wealth creation is much welcome, then the competition amongst rich people for glory is also natural. Nothing wrong with it. But its a very funny feeling that the name in the rich-list does not qualify for more gearing or some special respect amongst the ordinary citizen.


In developing economies, a rich man (or woman for that matter) is always looked upto, partly because people believe that in a rainy day, he or she might be able to extend the umbrella. But in Britain, where the Social Security net gives everyone some sense of pride and self-respect, there is an assurance that come what may, one will not starve.


The best in The Sunday Times Rich-List on pages 4, 5 and 6 was the report on how notable donors have learnt to “stand up and be counted”.

In future one hopes that more and more publicity is given to the socially responsible rich people.


Mazel Tov!


Last Wednesday (April 25, 2007) was the President’s dinner of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The guest of honour was Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the exchequer for the next few weeks and then Prime Minister.

I was amongst the selected few non-jews invited for the dinner; alongwith several Christians and some other Hindus and Muslims. I will remember this dinner for a very long time for the following reasons:


1. Gordon Brown, who normally does not attend such events stayed from beginning till end with his wife Sarah. He spoke extensively and very generously about the Jewish contribution to Great Britain. He also extended his unequivocal and strong support to the State of Israel besides saluting the Jewish excellence in all walks of life.


2. During the “Grace After Meals: Birchat Hamezon”, almost all Jews were reciting clearly and loudly the prayers. No wonder, so few can contribute so much wherever they are settled.


3. A book, “Darfur: A Jewish Response” published by the Pears Foundation was given to every guest. It’s a moving story of the suffering of the Muslim people. It was especially noteworthy that the Jews have the heart to remember those unfortunate people at such a historic event; especially non-Jews. If you haven’t got the book, please request The Pears Foundation for a copy. Their web-address is


Gujarat at a glance


1st of May is celebrated as Gujarat Day all over the world.


Gujarat was formed as a separate state within the Indian Union on 1st May 1960. The state has taken giant strides in economic development in the last 47 years. It ranks first (at least second) as an industrial investment destination.


With 5.2 percent of the country’s area and a little over 5 percent of the population, Gujarat contributes phenomenally in savings, investments, industrial production and exports. Some statistics are merely an illustration. Polished diamonds (90%), petroleum oil (40%), pharmaceutical (45%), cement, ceramics, wind and biogas sector (50% or more), salt (90%), industrial production (14%), exports (17%) and investment in stocks and shares (29%) compared to the national statistics.


Over 5 million Gujaratis live outside the state. Similarly, it is a preferred destination for large number of workers from Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states. Over 80 percent of Civil Service cadres (IAS, IPS and others) come from other states in India.


What is even more striking is that more and more “foreigners” are living in Gujarat and travelling to Gujarat to be a part of its various industries and commerce. The Narmada river irrigation and power generation has already started irrigating millions of acres of land and producing huge amounts of electricity to be shared in between Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.


Recently Gujarat has been under media scrutiny - sometimes slated, sometimes it is their duty. Some reports of what happened in the aftermath of the burning of Hindus (56 Hindus - mainly women and children) in the train at Godhra station has certainly a huge dose of vested interest.


Recently reports are coming out about alleged fake encounters. The Gujarat Government has admitted to a very large extent, the role and responsibility of state police. All the same, it is most tragic and shameful that such incidents occur in Gujarat. Albeit, whether in Northern Ireland, Iraq or elsewhere, security forces sometimes behave ghastily. That could not be an excuse. It could only be a small consolation.


Gujarati language has assimilated vast numbers of words from Persian, Arabic, Portugese, English and other languages. People from Gujarat have also been sea-farers for thousands of years especially travelling to the Middle-East, Africa and the spicy islands of the Far East.


Amongst the 1.4 billion people of Indian origin in Britain, almost half, if not more are of the Gujarati stock. The same thing can be said for USA, Canada, East Africa and several other countries.


The Gujarati diaspora is renowned for its business acumen. They are settled in different proportions in over 130 countries. For exports and imports, technical collaboration and other connectivity, Gujarati language itself has proved to be an added advantage.


With business schools giving more and more emphasis to networking, especially social networking, the community spirit in Gujaratis proves to be in their favour.

British Gujaratis are proportionately higher achievers in education, profession, entrepreneurship as well as other walks of life. The most remarkable achievement of Gujarati heritage can be illustrated with the fact that there are least number of Gujarati prisoners in Britain.


In the history of India, Gujarat has shown a unique presence over the last several thousand years. In the Ashoka empire, Gujarat was a leading part of Bharatvarsh. At Girnar, in Saurashtra stands an inscription by Emperor Ashoka. Excavations near Dwaraka have found archeological evidences of a civilization dating back 9000 years.


Ancient Gujarat has also remained active in the making of modern India.  In the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi, largest number of Gujaratis took part in Satyagraha and  other actions. It maybe of special interest to our readers that the first trading post (factory) of the British East India Company was at Surat in Gujarat - not too far from Dandi of the famous 1930 salt satyagraha which rang the bell denoting the end of British imperialism in India.


Gujarat has given national leaders like Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Vitthalbhai Patel, Kulapati Munshi and many more. It has also equally benefitted from the knowledge and presence of other leaders such as Shri Arvind Ghosh, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar among others in academic life and administration.


British Gujaratis are already at the spearhead of progress, especially peaceful progress of Great Britain.and they are destined to play an even larger role.


Jai Gujarat, Jai Hind, Jai Great Britain.