UK Interfaith Unite Against Grooming Gangs

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Twitter: @kk_OEG

In what can only be described as one of the most dramatic announcements in recent times, the representatives of many Interfaith national bodies in the United Kingdom came together to voice their grave concern with regarding to Grooming Gangs that exploit the vulnerable and target women of certain faith and ethnicities.

The letter below is self-explanatory and does not require this writer to add any commentary.

 

The following letter was sent to the British Hone Secretary, The RT Hon Sajid Javid MP on 5th June 2018.

A faith response: tackling religiously motivated sexual grooming

                      Joint letter sent to the Home Secretary 5th June 2018

As faith representatives, we support the ongoing efforts of Sarah Champion MP who has asked the government to take further steps in tackling the issue of child sexual exploitation. A recent letter coordinated by Champion dated 25 May 2018, and co-signed by a group of 20 cross party politicians requests the Home Secretary and Minister for Children and Families to do more for the victims of Britain’s sexual grooming gang epidemic[1].

The cross party group have requested the Home Secretary pays heed to the 2015 report Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation[2], and have asked the government to commission research into better understanding the ‘operation and motivation’ and ‘drivers’ behind sexual grooming gangs. We believe this is important, however we also believe some aspects of the ‘motivation’ and ‘drivers’ behind sexual grooming/child rape gangs are already abundantly clear.

Firstly earlier this year, a survivor of these rape gangs has confirmed she was targeted for being a ‘white slag’, because she was ‘non-Muslim’[3]. Judges like Gerald Clifton who sentenced men in Rochdale in 2012, made a similar observation in sentencing remarks. He said the Muslim men had targeted their victims because they were not part of the offenders’ ‘community or religion.[4]’A (2017) report from counter-extremist think tank Quilliam looked at 58 grooming gang cases since 2005, and found 84% were ‘Asian’, of which the majority were comprised of men ‘of Pakistani origin, with Muslim heritage.[5]’

This analysis was preceded by the Jay report into Rotherham (2014), which concluded, ‘agencies should acknowledge the suspected model of localised grooming of young white girls by men of Pakistani heritage, instead of being inhibited by the fear of affecting community relations.[6]’ The report concluded an estimated 1,400 children, (mainly white girls) had been abused by predominantly British Pakistani men. Muslim girls are rarely targeted, and despite authorities failing to recognise the phenomenon, Sikh and Hindu communities have been complaining about ‘grooming’ since the 1980s.

We as faith communities want the government to do the right thing and call out the motivation for the majority of sexual grooming gangs for what it is. We believe the evidence overwhelmingly points to an inconvenient truth. That is: non-Muslim girls (this includes Sikh, Hindu and Christian girls) have been systematically targeted in Britain due to a form of religiously motivated hate. We must have the courage to face the reality if we are serious about finding a solution to Britain’s sexual grooming gang epidemic. We support Baroness Warsi’s brave stance when she said, “a small minority” of Pakistani men see white girls as “fair game”[7], and ask the government to help the Muslim community tackle this stain on an otherwise law-abiding community, with appropriate funding if necessary.

Signatories:

Lord Singh of Wimbledon – Network of Sikh Organisations

Wilson Chowdhry – British Pakistani Christian Association

Satish K Sharma – National Council of Hindu Temples

Trupti Patel – Hindu Forum of Britain

Ashish Joshi – Sikh Media Monitoring Group

Mohan Singh – Sikh Awareness Society

[Ends]

[1] https://news.sky.com/story/rotherham-child-abuse-whistleblower-victims-are-being-forgotten-11388560

[2]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/408604/2903652_RotherhamResponse_acc2.pdf

[3] https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/rotherham-grooming-gang-sexual-abuse-muslim-islamist-racism-white-girls-religious-extremism-a8261831.html

[4] https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/you-preyed-on-girls-because-they-were-687987

[5] https://www.quilliaminternational.com/press-release-new-quilliam-report-on-grooming-gangs/

[6]http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18117529

 

The letter will certainly raise a huge debate in the corridors of power, but suffice to say, this phenomenon may not be unique to the UK alone.  In the era of ‘#Metoo’ is it not striking that there is a deafening silence from the self-confessed champions of equality and diversity? One has to question their integrity, their honesty and the ethics on which they shout out so loudly on certain issues, but remain so silent on others.  Surely, we cannot allow the faith of the perpetrators to hold society to ransom? We diminish ourselves when we pick and choose when to show our contempt.  Protection of ALL women, regardless of their backgrounds, must be one of the cornerstones of any civilised society.

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Labour and Anti-Semitism

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Labour and Anti-Semitism

 

The astute reader of international politics would have noted that in the UK the Labour Party (socialist) has been having a torrid time of late.  In particular, accusation after accusation has surfaced, both from within the Party membership as well as from those on the outside.  So, what say you all are these accusations related to?  And the answer in a nutshell, it’s with regard to overt and covert racism against the Jewish community, and the turning of a blind eye to the anti-Semitism that appears to be rife in some corners of the Labour Party.

There has been a long-standing myth that the Labour Party in the UK is on the side of the ethnic minorities.  I use the word, ‘myth’, because in my view and experience it has become apparent over the past several decades that maybe this perception that the Labour Party has enjoyed thus far might not be a true representation of its real under belly.

So let’s start with the new leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.  He became the unexpected leader of the Labour Party on 12th September 2015. I say unexpected since even his own MP’s did not want him, yet by a quirk of the voting methods used by the Labour Party, the vote bank politics of the Unions and the far-left dominated membership he was brought to power.  The victory of Corbyn was almost like a signal to the far-left of the Party to do whatever they wanted to do. To the horror of the centrist Labour MP’s, Corbyn supporters saw this as a green signal and went on a political rampage.  Within a short period of time a far-left group calling itself ‘Momentum’ started to take over the Labour Party narrative.  It was almost as if the old Labour Party had been hijacked by the far-left, and the Unions who now seemed to have been given unchecked access to do whatever they wanted to do.  In effect the Labour far left seemed to be empowered to attack anyone who stood in their way, or in the way of their leader.  The pent-up venom over decades of frustration of the far-left was unleashed, and it seemed that their initial targets appeared to be their own MP’s and the centre of the Party membership.

The alarm bells were not just ringing, they were exploding with the news that the old guard of the Labour Party was finished and the new comrades of Corbyn were now in power.  Labour MP’s in their last-ditch stand passed a vote of no confidence in Corbyn by 172 votes to 40 following the resignation of around two-thirds of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.  Now under any other democracy and for any other leader who had any honour and integrity, that would certainly mean walking away.  However, Corbyn defied all logic in the knowledge that he had a majority of the membership votes, and the vote bank of the Unions that would keep him in place anyway.  Labour MP’s were no longer in any position of influence.  Labour had reached a bizarre position where the Parliamentary MP’s overwhelmingly rejected Jeremy Corbyn, yet the Party membership voted him in.  The Labour Party as we knew it was finished.

So by now you must be asking the question, where and how does this anti-Semitism issue arise?  Well, in 2016 the Labour Party instigated what was called the Chakrabarti Inquiry.  It was to investigate allegations of antisemitism and other forms of racism in the Labour Party. At that time comments made by two high-profile Labour figures, Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone had been deemed to have been anti-Semitic in nature were therefore to be investigated. On 30 June 2016 the findings were presented stating that although antisemitism and other types of racism were not endemic within Labour, there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere”.  The report was seen by most independent readers as a white wash.  This became even more toxic when the British public discovered months later that the Chair of the same inquiry, Shami Chakrabarti was suddenly made the Labour appointment to the House of Lords.  Marie van der Syl, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called it a whitewash for peerages scandal.  The tone was set, increasingly it became clear to most people that something was not quite right.  The Jewish community was outraged to the core.  If this was not bad enough for the Labour Party, a cross-party Select Committee on antisemitism described the Chakrabarti Inquiry as “compromised”.  It criticised the Labour party’s handling of anti-Semitism, concluding “the failure of the Labour Party consistently to deal with anti-Semitic incidents in recent years risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-Semitic”.

Now to most sane people you would have thought that the writing was on the wall, and it was very clear.  However, either the Leader of the Labour Party was deluded, compromised, part of the problem or just plain stupid to grasp the seriousness of the issues emerging.  Whatever might the truth be, what was abundantly clear to most independent by-standers was that Labour was in trouble on the anti-Semitism issue and that it was not going to go away.

In early 2018 devastating news broke.  It turns out that Jeremy Corbyn (and some other senior members of the Labour Party) were part of several Facebook groups.  It also emerged that in some of the discussions taking place in these groups, there seemed to be anti-Semitic views expressed openly.  In what became a farce, Corbyn’s defence was that he did not know of these views being expressed in these groups, even though he was a member. In the end the leaders of British Jewry wrote an open letter to the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn stating, ‘enough is enough’.  Never in the history of modern day politics has the Jewish community been so outraged, and so abused, that they felt compelled to write in the bluntest fashion that they had, had enough of the rhetoric and platitudes from the Labour leader.

I have of course touched on just the tip of this messy racist iceberg.  The Labour Party has hitherto ridden a wave of support from various ethnic minority groups who have seen it as a champion for equality and human rights.  However, and increasingly, people are beginning to question whether this is in fact a true representation of the Labour Party now, or whether it has managed to escape close scrutiny by offloading such accusations onto the Conservative Party.

I have done a bit of digging myself and it seems that it is not just the Jewish community that is angry with the Labour Party.  I have come across many community leaders from the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities who have also expressed serious concern and reservations about the Labour Party.  When you delve a bit further you come across time and again, community leader after community leader telling you that they now perceive the Labour Party to be anti-India.  In fact, they went on and stated that the impression they were getting was that Corbyn was fundamentally anti-Modi with some suggesting that he was also anti-Hindu.

I am reminded of the first visit by PM Modi to the UK.  It was under the stewardship of the then PM, David Cameron who welcomed the Indian PM with incredible hospitality.  I remember the huge event that took place at Wembley Stadium when PM Cameron and PM Modi were on stage together as good friends.  During that visit it was remarkable how the senior figures from the Labour Party were absent at most of events taking place.  It was almost as if they had gone into hiding, trying their best to avoid coming into contact with PM Modi.  The people noticed this open undermining of the Indian PM by the Labour Party.  It was only towards the end of the visit that a hastily arranged meeting between the Labour leader and PM Modi took place – which I am told was a face-saving exercise for Corbyn.  I am told, PM Modi gave him a few minutes only. A clear sign to the labour leadership that they cannot disrespect the biggest democracy on the planet and hope to get away with it so easily.

I asked many community leaders as to why the leader of the Labour Party had behaved in such a disgraceful fashion.  Their answer was enlightening. As far as they were concerned the Labour Party was now a Party that was intertwined with the Pakistani community.  Labour needed the Sunni and Kashmiri vote and could not do anything to alienate that community.  In effect it seems the Labour Party had decided that harvesting the Sunni vote was more productive to them than trying to keep the votes of the other minorities.  Again, one was left a bit perplexed.  Surely such a strategy would be disastrous. And once again the very same leaders came back to me and said, not quite.  It seems that the Labour Party had rightly concluded that the Hindu, Sikh and Jain vote was in the bag anyway, and given that these communities are not as well united and organised like the Pakistani community, they would not be able to damage their overall votes.  There is a lot of truth in that view.  History showed us there is still a sizeable Hindu, Sikh and Jain vote that always goes to the labour Party.  This blind allegiance means that the Labour Party can get away with disrespecting their faith, their culture and their country of origin, knowing that they groups are too brainwashed to vote for anyone else.  The Jewish vote for Labour on the other hand has gone down dramatically – they know how to show their displeasure.

When you investigate the matter further it transpires that most of the EDM (Early Day Motions in Parliament) that are negative to Israel and India tend to be led by Labour MP’s.  No surprise there I suppose.  In fact the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn supported an EDM seeking a Visa ban for Shri Narendra Modi.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Even more startling, he wanted to ban PM Modi from the entering the UK.  So readers in India, think about this seriously.  You now have the leader of the Labour Party in the UK, who could potentially become the next PM of UK, who has openly sought to ban PM Modi from the UK.  Add to that the fact that you still have some Indians in the UK who will blindly vote for Corbyn and Labour.  I am informed that some of these very same Indians are also key advisors to PM Modi.  Now how mad is that?  It’s almost as if the Indian PM is being advised by, and is listening to, the very people who want to undermine him and India.  Folks you cannot make this up if you tried.  This is ground reality and I would hope that someone in PM Modi’s camp might see enlightenment and act accordingly, and quickly.  If they want to know more, then I am always available to share my thoughts.

So let us move back to how the under belly of the Labour started to get exposed.  The Jewish lobby is very powerful in the UK (as it is anywhere else in the world). I salute the Jewish community since they have learnt the lessons of history and have concluded, never again will they allow the racist from the far left, or the far right, to dictate the agenda and leave them in a precarious position. As soon as they raised their voice and took proactive action, we saw the fear in the Labour Party spreading.  Jeremy Corbyn was forced to accept that his ideological positioning was not compatible with British society.  Every media channel, including the pro-Labour media, ran the story to the end with remarkable editorials that more or less showed that Jeremy Corbyn was unfit to be a leader. We had endless apologies from him as well his senior MP’s in the Shadow Cabinet.  Do I think the public believed a word of it?  Simple answer, it seems most of the British public don’t believe a word he utters on this subject.  It has become toxic to such an extent that even his own Jewish MP’s like Luciana Berger stated in Parliament that anti-Semitism within the party has become “commonplace, conspicuous and corrosive”.  In May of this year, in many parts of the UK we had our Local Elections to elect Councillors and Councils.  The Labour Party had been stating for months that this would be a total wipe out for the Conservative Party.  The reality has now hit them hard.  As the results were announced, the vast majority of Labour supporters were left devastated. Their prediction of winning everything in sight was way off the mark. In the end, the Conservative Party after 8 years in Government held on to most of the Councils and the wipe out that was predicted, never materialised. The reason, the anti-Semitism row took its toll. The Jewish community showed that not only can they affect and impact elections where they are in large numbers, but their reach goes much wider and affected results across the country.

India is the emerging giant. India under PM Modi has garnered huge respect around the world.  However, it has yet to take people to task when India or Indians are undermined or disrespected. PM Modi needs all the support he can get from the nation.  However with that support he, and his Government, must also deliver on some of the core issues emerging.  India stands at the gateway of a glorious future.  The dreams of Bharat Varsh can be achieved where each and every Indian will be respected, valued and will find a place in the nation to fulfil their aspirations. This is not a time to blink, it’s time to stare your destiny in the eye and secure it.

In the words of Swami Vivekananda ji: “Arise awake and stop not until the goal is achieved.”

The Mother of all Elections – UK 2017

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The Mother of all Elections – UK 2017

UK GE-2017

The UK has seen some incredible developments over the past few years.  No sooner had PM Cameron won the public vote in 2015 that he declared the date for the EU referendum.  Otherwise known as Brexit.  At that time, I had advised the politicians that for the UK, Brexit was the right choice and indeed in my view, the British electorate would choose that as their preferred option.  On Thursday June 23, 2016, the British electorate did exactly as I had predicted and voted to leave the EU.  This set into motion a series of events that have hitherto never happened before.  Within hours PM Cameron stepped down as the Prime Minister.  He really had no choice since he backed the ‘remain’ campaign which obviously failed.

Of course, this led immediately to the selection of the next Conservative Party leader and therefore the new PM of UK.  And what a battle that turned out to be with the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Theresa May all throwing their hats in the ring.  The victor as we now know was PM T May.

theresa may 3

The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats also lost their leaders at the same time and we had several months when every major party in the UK was scrambling to select their new leader.  In the end the Labour Party chose MP Jeremy Corbyn and the Liberal Democrats MP Tim Farron.

The stage was set to action Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.  The first step in the process of the UK leaving the EU.  Months of turmoil with opposition politicians playing all the games they could, to if not halt the process, to slow it down to a crawl.  In the end, PM May put the opposition to the sword in a parliamentary vote, and guess what, the Article 50 Bill passed in Parliament by a margin of 498 to 114.  So much so for the defiant opposition that crumbled in the wake of ground reality, that being that the British public would not stand for any politician who stood in the way of the decision they had made.

Under normal circumstances one would have thought that the matter was settled and the British government should just get on with the task in hand.  However, modern politics is no longer that straight forward.  The opposition which has a majority in the upper house (House of Lords) declared that they would do everything to frustrate the process and by so doing, undermine the negotiating strength of the British Government for Brexit.  The European bureaucrats in Brussels were loving this, knowing they also wanted to make life hard for Britain as well.  As it turned out, most of the leading economic indicators continued to be favourable to the British economy.  The doom merchants were being proven wrong as Britain continued to outshine most of its European partners.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) having already lost one referendum for independence wanted to instigate another one.  The SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon saw an opportunity of the Brexit vote and used that to promote her favourite policy for independence.  However, the continuous sniping by British opposition politicians finally pushed PM May to decide enough was enough.  PM May out foxed not only the opposition, and the media, but also her own party members when she declared that she wanted a snap election to take place on 8th June 2017.  In the UK, we have what is called a ‘Fixed Parliament Act’.  In effect, it means an election take place every 5 years.  If you want one earlier, then Parliament must vote by 2/3rd majority for it to take place.  Generally speaking, this would mean getting the opposition to vote with the Government of the day.  Of course, when PM May threw this gauntlet down she knew that the main opposition had no choice but to back her call for an early election.  Namely, how on earth can any opposition run timid from an election?  Even when it knows it’s in a bad way, political expediency means the Labour Party had no choice but to say yes.

The state of play for the main political parties is as follows:

UK GE17 – LATEST VOTING INTENTION

           
  Con Lab Ldem UKIP Lead
2-May 47 28 8 8 Con +19
28-Apr 47 28 9 7 Con +19
27-Apr 42 31 10 8 Con +11
26-Apr 45 29 10 7 Con +16

The above table indicates the current trend in voting intentions of the British electorate.  It does not take a genius to conclude that short of a minor miracle, the Labour Party will be defeated with devastating ease.  They say that on current polling the seat sharing might look like:  Con=388, Lab=177, LDem=7 and UKIP=0.  The SNP in Scotland = 56.  In my view, there is much that can still happen.  As they say a week in politics is a long time.

This is of course just an exercise in playing with numbers.  My interpretation is kept simple.  The Conservative Party will win with ease and have a significant majority to get most of its legislation through the next Parliament.  They will have 5 years in which to cement in their advantage subject to their policies working out and the public don’t get tired of the leadership.

The Labour Party will be crippled to such a degree that either it will have to dump its current unpopular leader, Jeremy Corbyn and get in a centrist like David Miliband (yes you read that correctly) or the Party as it stands will have to split.  One faction (supported by most of its MPs) will try to galvanise the centre ground in politics whilst the other faction will turn into a far-left party with its dedicated core voters synchronised with its far-left ideology.  What we can say is that unless the Labour Party takes some very tough decisions, and quickly, it won’t get into power in Britain for a good decade and maybe even longer. Make no bones, this is now crunch time for the Labour Party, it’s very existence is now in question and if it fails then don’t be too surprised if a Centre Left Party emerges of a coalition of colours to challenge the incumbent Government.

 

What does all this mean for UK and India relations?

The answer in short, a huge opportunity to reset the relationship so it is fit for the 21st Century.  Britain is no longer an imperial power with an Empire to govern.  It is a small island, be it a very important and influential island, just off the coast of Europe.  The fact that UK will be free of the EU means anything and everything is now on the table for discussions.  The fact that India has emerged as an established 21st century powerhouse means it can demand, and it will get, what it needs.  Be that from the UK or a host of other countries around the world lining up to cosy with the new India under the stewardship of its nationally popular leader, PM Modi.

Both these countries, linked by history of course, find themselves in very similar situations.  Facing the 21st Century with new found freedom, new opportunities and renewed self-confidence.  Deals are there to be made in the interest of both.  India finds itself in a powerful position that it has not seen for thousands of years.  I have no doubt that these two old partners will find a new working relationship based on respect and shared values.

Europe on the other hand is in dire straits.  The free for all immigration policies of the past decade are now catching up with devastating consequences.  The majority of European politicians live in their ivory towers.  They hide behind politically correct rhetoric and platitudes ignoring the plight of their own people and the surge of negativity being unleased from the silent majority via the new social media networks.  The establishment elite can no longer control information flow and the diet of misinformation it depended upon to hoodwink the electorate.  The news media that has failed to properly scrutinise the so called politically correct rhetoric is also coming in for some legitimate roasting.  When politicians fail their electorate, the media ignore the truth for want of being PC – then it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens.  And this we have witnessed in France with the far-right leader Maria Le Pen being elevated to new heights of being able to challenge for the French presidency.  Think about it, in a major European country like France there is a huge proportion of people so disenfranchised that they are willing to vote for the very extreme far-right group.  That means at the very grass roots millions of citizens are shouting, enough is enough, ignore us at your peril.

Brexit does not make the British electorate racist.  The French have not suddenly become racist.  And we can say that for most European countries now.  What we see and experience is a cry for help from a sizeable silent majority.  Unfortunately, the downside being that many of us who are classified as immigrants end up getting the brunt of these failed political policies.

The challenge for the EU is to accept its mistakes and correct them urgently.  In my view, they won’t do that with the resultant outcome, massive street wide public disturbances on a regular basis.  In 2017/18, we will see the streets of Europe resemble war zone, and folks that is no exaggeration.

Back to the British election.  The win for the Conservative Party is clear and so on 9th June a new era beacons and I for one would hope that for India and UK, it means a much more productive relationship that safe guards each country not only on the economic front, but also from the advances of extremism and terrorism.

The Labour Party in Britain has increasingly moved towards the Islamic community.  In particular, towards the Pakistani community.  It seems it is now very much reliant on the Pakistani community for votes en masse to ensure it secures some of their seats.  This has created a situation whereby it is now seen by many as anti-Hindu and anti-Jew.  Both of these communities are looking at the Conservative party as a natural home for them in the knowledge that at least there are some aspects of shared values and goals.  The Labour Party born from the Unions is also seen to be edging ever closer to some militant unions and with that many of moderate voters feel left out.  We see many of these voters begin to move away from the Labour Party in favour of the Conservatives.  What is even more surprising is that the working-class roots of the Labour Party also feel that they have been abandoned by their own party.  We have seen a sizeable proportion of this group voting for Brexit as well as UKIP (very much the right of right party in the UK).  For India one could conclude easily that a defeat for the Labour Party is the best option.  The Conservatives offer the best choice for the best partnerships now and for the future.  I would not be too surprised if PM Modi builds on the excellent relations he forged with PM Cameron and can now enhance those with his interaction with PM May.

With Brexit on its way, and with the General Election on 8th June, I see my glass to be full.  Half with new found freedom, half with new opportunities for the new millennial.  This is a time to forge stronger bonds to protect the economy, but to stand firm against the disease of extremism and terrorism that affects both our countries.

 

 

Konversations with Kapil

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rig-veda-enters-uk-house-of-lords-with-newest-british-indian-peer

Much has happened in the UK since my last column.  The UK has voted for Brexit, PM Cameron has stepped down, PM May now leads the nation and whilst all of this was happening, people could be forgiven for missing a very important announcement for the Indian community.  I bring to you the appointment of a good friend of the Indian community, a champion for the diaspora and now, the Lord Gadhia.  To be accurate the title is: Baron Gadhia, of Northwood in the County of Middlesex.

I have known Lord Gadhia for a number of years and it was clear from the start that in him the Indian community had a champion of Industry, of Commerce, of Public Service and a man whose core is based on the values of Sanathan Dharma.  Indeed, Lord Gadhia sought the blessings of the Rig Veda during his swearing in ceremony in the House of Lords. A first in British history.

 

Background:

Lord Gadhia is a British Citizen of Indian origin, born in Uganda and raised in the UK.  His family came to Britain during the expulsion of 50,000+ Asians from Uganda in 1972. He was educated at Cambridge University and also the London Business School.

He is an investment banker and has worked with major banks like Barings, ABN AMRO and Barclays before joining Blackstone as a Senior Managing Director, and is an expert on BRIC economies.

Lord Gadhia has demonstrated an active record of public service deploying his financial experience, strategic skills and international networks for the benefit of public bodies and helping the UK’s public global business relationships.  Indeed, he has been recognised as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, which convenes with world leaders in Davos.

In April 2016, Lord Gadhia was appointed by HM Treasury to the Board of UK Government Investments (UKGI), which brings together UKFI and all the other assets owned by the UK Government under one umbrella holding company becoming the Government’s centre of excellence in corporate finance and corporate governance.

Lord Gadhia has provided significant input in strengthening UK-India relations and has accompanied delegations to the subcontinent with former Prime Minister David Cameron, former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. He is a Member of the UK-India CEO Forum which was established during Prime Narendra Modi’s historic visit to UK in November 2015.

I met up with Lord Gadhia and asked him a few questions:

  1. What is your current position?

I now have, what is euphemistically called, a “plural” career.  I thought this would give me greater flexibility and a better work-life balance, but I am busier now than ever, particularly given my recent appointment to the House of Lords.

On the private side, I am a Director of BGL Group, which owns comparethemarket.com.  I also advise Intas Pharmaceuticals, a global generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in India which has just made the largest investment by an Indian company in UK, post-Brexit, of over £600 million.

 

  1. You have had an extraordinary journey from your birth country to your home now in the UK. Can you tell us a bit about your toughest challenges, your proudest achievements and of course, your incredible success as a businessman, and now also within the political arena?

It has been quite a journey from a village in Gujarat to the suburbs of London via the hills of Kampala.  Having a triple identity – Indian origin, born in Uganda and raised in Britain might seem challenging for many but I see it as a unique advantage.   The beauty of wearing “three hats” – either separately or all at the same time – is that you don’t feel confined to any one culture and you can transcend them all.

As a young banker, I lived through the collapse of Barings in 1995.  It was a “Black Swan” moment for all of us working at Barings and, indeed, the City fraternity more widely.  We eventually came through this difficultly but the whole episode taught me to “expect the unexpected” and this has helped me develop a sense of perspective about similar events.

 

  1. Who/What inspires you?

I am most inspired by people who have been successful and yet retained their authenticity.   Whether it’s an investor like Warren Buffet in US, an entrepreneur like Sir James Dyson in UK or a politician like PM Narendra Modi in India.  They all have a gift for articulating a powerful vision and at the same time they also demonstrably “walk the talk”.

 

  1. What has been the biggest obstacle in your career?

When RBS took over ABN AMRO, I found myself in a difficult situation. My team faced an uncertain future in a new organisation which had an ambiguous commitment to our business area.   I was loathed to see our successful franchise lose momentum and break-up but I could foresee a period of slow but sure attrition ahead.  Fortunately, I was able to find safe harbour for 50 people at Barclays Capital – but these type of large team moves, en masse, happen very rarely in the City.

 

  1. Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?

It is difficult to point to a single individual but I would say that the quality of experience which I gained working at Barings in the corporate finance team during the 1990s has been an enduring influence through my subsequent career. I had the best training possible and worked with some outstanding individuals who have gone onto excel in different roles.

 

  1. What would you like to achieve before GE2020?

I would like to see all the political parties select more British Indian candidates for winnable seats in the House of Commons.  There are currently 9 people of Indian origin (and one more if you count Bob Blackman MP, who is an honorary Indian and a great friend of our community).  It would be wonderful if we could double this to 20 British Indians in the House of Commons by 2020.

 

  1. If you were Prime Minister, what one policy would you like to implement?

Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaks of making Britain a great meritocracy, a place where advantage is based on merit not privilege; where it’s your talent and hard work that matter, not where you were born, who your parents are or what your accent sounds like.  This is music to my ears.

British Indians were promised during the EU referendum that being outside the EU would enable more talented people, including Indian students and professionals to come to the UK.  I believe this promise needs to be honoured.

 

  1. The Prime Minister considers you as a leading expert on UK Indian Diaspora relations, can you share with us your thoughts on the special bonds between the two nations and how this will develop over the coming decades?

It is no exaggeration to say that the next decade for Britain will be dominated by Brexit and therefore the bilateral relationship with India will be framed in this context.  It is a defining moment in British history as we grapple with these new realities.  We stand at a crossroads for the UK and its future relationship with the rest of the world.  In this context, I hope that India will view us as: “a friend in need is a friend indeed” and recognise both the necessities and opportunities opened up by our departure from the European Union.

We also need to constantly work on the relationship and can’t be complacent.  A respected Indian businessman described the UK-India relationship to me as being like a long married couple.  We are so familiar with each other that it is easy to take each other for granted and sometimes we need to find a new spark to revive the relationship.  I hope some of us can encourage those new sparks.

 

  1. Your faith is very important to you; can you tell us how it has helped you in your life?

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Being anchored in a set of timeless values provides you with a sense of perspective and balance.  I believe that both Dharma (right conduct) and Karma (you reap what you sow) are also good ways to approach other aspects of your life – be they personal or business relationships.

As a result, you shouldn’t seek to be “somebody” but achieve “something”.  If you do your duty, then everything else will fall into place.  In the political world this philosophy is sometimes considered as naïve.  But we need to change that mindset and encourage more people to get on with doing the right thing.

 

  1. If you were marooned on a desert island, whichever historical figure would you like to spend your time with, and why?

Since being isolated on a desert island could become quite depressing, it would have to be an entertainer that has made me laugh the most: Robin Williams, a great comedian and actor from films like Good Will Hunting, Mrs Doubtfire and Dead Poets Society.  And, together, we could seize the day.

 

KK: I trust you found my ‘Konversation’ with Lord Gadhia interesting.  Watch this space as I bring many more interesting personalities to you over the coming months.  Do remember, you can also follow me on twitter, though you might need to have a robust constitution since I don’t mix my words and can be rather blunt on occasions.

Time the World Woke Up

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Kapil’s Khichadi

Follow me on Twitter: @kdudakia

Time the World Woke Up

 

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President Elect Trump and Family

As the world woke up on Wednesday 9th November, people got a shock of the century. Or did they? I accept the shock was real for the establishment both in the US, as well as many western countries. It was a shock for the paid liberal media that had thrown everything at Trump to destroy him and they failed. Yes, it was also a shock for the pollsters who frankly have still not learnt a simple lesson, the world paradigm has changed and therefore their traditional models just don’t work any longer. It was a monumental shock for the divas of show business who went out of their way to promote Hillary Clinton and demonise Trump. It was a shock because no one wanted to listen to the people. The establishment and the liberal socialist PC brigade forgot the people. All they wanted to do was preserve their elite power base by hoodwinking their core voters again. However, the Earthquake that started in the east in 2014, established a new era in world politics which many ignored at their peril.

So, let’s go to the epicentre of this global earthquake, India. The Indian paid media, political parties, show business and societal elite demonised the then CM Modi who was standing to be the Prime Minister of India. We saw them use every dirty trick in the book to undermine CM Modi, and we also saw the absurd scenario when even the BJP insiders were actively undermining his campaign. The media and the pollsters connived to present a negative picture of CM Modi, presenting polling that was totally skewed. Despite this mafia style attack on CM Modi, in May 2014 he did not just win the Indian election, in so doing he destroyed the very backbone of the corrupt opposition. The Indian people at the grassroots showed their contempt for the establishment. The opposition has still not come to terms with the thrashing they got in 2014.

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PM Modi – adored by the Indian masses

That was the start. The huge upset reverberated throughout the world since the ‘establishment’ in many western countries wanted their pet poodle ‘Sonia’s Congress’ to win in India. They did not heed the message.

In June 2016, Great Britain had their EU referendum (otherwise known as Brexit). Again, we saw the same pattern. The media, political parties (here in the UK as well as the meddling politicians from the EU and USA), show business and societal elite demonised all Brexit voters. There was wall to wall coverage painting every Brexiter as racist, xenophobic and illiterate thugs. When the big day came, the ‘remainers’ – i.e. the establishment, started their celebrations showing the polls confirming that Britain would stay in the EU. Well we all know how wrong they all got that and their rhetoric failed in every way possible. The British people at the grassroots sent a message, listen to what we are saying. If you don’t, we’ll give you the political establishment a bloody nose. Today we see that even after such a humiliating defeat, the ‘remainers’ continue to do everything to thwart the will of the people. I have already stated, they do so at their peril. If they think Brexit was a bloody nose, then in GE2020 they’ll get a lot more than that if they don’t get their act together.

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Brexit shows the way…….

So, we come to the USA and November 2016. We have seen the very same events unfolding. The establishment refused to listen to the people. They refused to listen to common sense. They did everything in their power to ensure that the Washington click stayed in power, one way or another. They had become so corrupt that even when they could see the wholesale misadventures of Hillary Clinton, collectively they all turned a blind eye. Remember, Hillary had the media, show business, the establishment, big businesses all on her side. She also had the President, Barak Obama who became the first outgoing President to take such an active part in a presidential election. If that was not enough, even Michelle Obama took to the stage to influence (or was it to hoodwink) the ‘minority’ voters. Then we add on top the USD 1.3 Billion which the democrats spent in promoting Hillary. Yes, USD 1.3 Billion and they still lost.

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

So, what is going on? After more than 60 years of political match fixing in many of our western democracies, there is now a people’s revolt that is taking place. It is NOT the racists as the establishment will paint. They are NOT xenophobic and nor are they dumb. In the real world where we all live, you have some crazy people on the extreme left, on the extreme right and yes, even some in the middle. However, to paint vast groups of law abiding good people with such crass labels is not only wrong, it is defamation on a monumental scale. You cannot win any election with just the ultra-left, or the ultra-right – you also need the people in the middle (the silent majority), a fact many people ignored.

This wind of change is already present in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany and don’t rule out Austria, Holland and Hungary. If the EU politicians don’t wake up, they are all in for a shocking future.

And so, we end with one clear exposition, Brexit was right for the UK. This is now our time to reset the country so we can take advantage of a new global paradigm. It’s time to be positive and brave. The bigger story is not that Trump won, but that almost everyone in what we call the ‘establishment’ is so out of touch with the grassroots. When Trump said, it was going to be Brexit plus plus plus, there was a clue for the establishment!  Do they get it tough?

Time Indians Woke Up

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Kapil’s Khichadi

Follow me on Twitter: @kdudakia

Time Indians Woke Up

Astute readers of Asian Voice and Kapil’s Khichadi will be aware that for the best part of the past 5 years, I have been warning our community of the stealth transformation occurring in the Labour Party.  In these five years, I have had a lot of abuse from many prominent Indians who belong to the Labour Party.  They missed the point, they ended up shooting the messenger rather than facing the real prospect that their party was turning into a nightmare.  Time is a silent witness that helps to prove one’s correct stance, and being on the right side of history is a blessing.

So, what am I talking about?  Well I wrote an article titled, ‘Is Labour Going Sharia’? In that I articulated that the Labour Party was being influence disproportionately by the Pakistani (Kashmiri Separatist) groups in the UK.  This week we see further evidence that the Labour Party have lost the plot in their pursuit of appeasement politics to secure the Islamic vote.

Over the past week, London had been transformed by the Jammu and Kashmir Festival taking place at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, The Nehru Centre and even the Houses of Parliament.  A diverse group of performers from Jammu and Kashmir came to the UK to promote their beautiful home state.  They represented various parts of the region as well as the different faiths.  And each of them had one view – for Pakistan and Pakistani sponsored terrorists to stay out of India, and for Pakistani Occupied Kashmir (POK) to become part of Bharat again.

Jammu Kashmir Integral to India
Jammu Kashmir Integral to India

Then on 26th October 2016, the Shadow Justice Minister (Labour) Yasmin Qureshi raised a question in Parliament in which she used the term ‘Indian Occupied Kashmir’. Her unparliamentary question was answered with contempt by PM May, and rightly so.  However, what is very important for all of us to recognise is that when any MP who is sitting on the front bench of any political party makes such a statement in Parliament, it basically means it’s the Party policy. Just in case some readers don’t get the point, it means the Labour Party seems to be clearly stating that India is occupying Kashmir and it believes Kashmir is Pakistani.  The Labour Party is now clearly coming across as Pro-Pakistan and Anti-India.  Ironically, 26th October 1947 was also the date on which the then Maharaja signed the Accession document with our Queens representative, Lord Mountbatten, legally confirming that the whole of J&K was integral to India.

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And here we have the Grandson of the Maharaja, at the Houses of Parliament with Bob Blackman MP on 26th October 2016, with a copy of the very same Accession document.

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Let’s move forward by a day.  On the 27th October 2016, the Labour peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed took part in a demonstration outside the Indian Embassy in London.  I just happen to be passing by and witnessed the anti-India demonstration first hand.  You can actually view his charade on YouTube if you like and make up your own mind.

The Pakistani MPs in the Labour Party (as well as Councillors) feel so empowered that they can say whatever they like, knowing that the senior management of the party is either in on it giving tacit support, or they are too scared to say anything lest they lose the votes.

Remember, it was only last month on 18th September that state sponsored Pakistani terrorists attacked India killing Indian soldiers who were guarding the Line of Control at Uri.  The result of that was clear, Pakistan was isolated on the world stage.  And India gave a fitting reply for Uri, as well as to other cross border violations including the most recent in the Keran sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

I have asked Labour MPs Seema Malhotra, Valerie Vaz, Dawn Butler, Jonathan Ashworth and Barry Gardiner if they will denounce the comments of Yasmin Qureshi. So far, no response.  I suppose that says it all!

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What does this tell us?  To me, at least, it states that whilst Pakistani MPs and Councillors can say and do what they like in the Labour Party, we have many Labour MPs (getting large numbers of votes from Indians) who basically don’t care a damn about India or Indians.  If they did, I would like to see evidence that they get up in Parliament and disassociate themselves from the statement made by Yasmin Qureshi, and to make a statement in support of India and that POK must be vacated and handed back to India immediately.  Will these cowards have the spine to say that?  Take my advice, don’t hold your breath.

There is an organisation with a grand title called ‘Labour Friends of India’.  As far as I can make out, not one person from that organisation has rebuked Yasmin Qureshi or Lord Nasir so far.  How can you be a ‘friend of India’ and exhibit no spine in standing up to the extremists that threaten India? In fact, on their Facebook page, the last entry was on 25th June 2014.  Yes, it seems the election of PM Modi in May 2014 must have upset them so much, that their interaction on anything India related has stopped.

We have all just celebrated Diwali.  The lessons of Diwali are many, but let us note that the main one being that wherever you see adharmic forces in action, those of dharma must stand up.  The ‘ravanas’ of this world are gathering, often unhindered and possibly even supported by those masquerading as our friends.  We however must see beyond and protect Dharma, for those who protect Dharma, Dharma will protect you.  The darkness we witness daily, we cannot rid it by hiding, or by our cowardice or by appeasing the extremists. So, your duty is simple, if you are of Indian origin, then it is your personal duty to ensure that you use your vote purposefully. It’s your choice, you decide and then you live with the consequences.

 

 

 

Bharat Mata ki Jai

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indian-flag3Bharat Mata ki Jai

On 18th September state sponsored Pakistani terrorists attacked India killing Indian soldiers who were guarding the Line of Control to ensure the security of India and Indian citizens.  The whole world knows that those who attacked must have been facilitated by Pakistani officials.  In India it drew massive reaction from the public and of course the vast majority wanted immediate retaliation.  Armchair pundits were on every TV channel dissecting the news into so many pieces that in the end, most of them were unable to see the bigger picture.  So what was the bigger picture?

PM Modi has always worked in a way that is not only different, but very often like a chess player who has multiple options and sees moves many steps ahead.  Like in chess, in order to secure check-mate you do need to first move some key pieces to the right place.  PM Modi and his team began briefing all key international partners so they were left in no doubt that either they were with India, or they were with the terrorists.  Countries that historically had shown two faces were put in a corner and with diplomatic bluntness, they were informed that India is now fully under new management.  The old days of appeasement were over.

At the same time the armed forces had already been informed that they will be given a right for full retaliation, and that they should put in place a master plan of what can be done in various phases.  Yes, you read that correctly, in various phases means what you have witnessed in only phase one.

At the United Nations Pakistan’s international beggar, PM Nawaz Sharif went with his begging bowl and found the place empty to his pleadings.  It what must have been one of the most embarrassing speeches at the UN, to an empty auditorium, he read out a script written by his terrorist loving army chiefs.  His body language confirmed that even he did not believe a word of what he was saying, let alone trying to hoodwink the rest of the world.  He left disgraced to return to the gutter from whence he came.

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India’s First Secretary to the United Nations, the young self-confident determined Smt Eenam Gambhir gave one of the most devastating rebuttals in just under 3 mins. She destroyed Pakistan and the terrorist state it has become.  If that was not enough, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj followed this up a few days later with what will go down as one of the most ‘surgically’ targeted speeches ever made against Pakistan.  Whilst she spent most of her time discussing global issues (as a developed global player would do on the world stage) she left her most ferocious attack for Pakistan.  There was no doubt, at the UN she declared with absolute clarity – Jammu and Kashmir are integral to India and will remain so, permanently.

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However, all this was just a precursor to what was really about to happen.  By now Pakistan was totally isolated on the world stage.  Apart from China showing mild support, every other country denounced Pakistan and left it stranded. And at this time PM Modi made his speech.  Most people did not understand his speech, including many in the media and even the so called pundits.  Read in between the lines PM Modi stated with precision to Pakistan, India will split Pakistan into four.  As the specialist were debating the speech, orders had already been given to the armed forces, Phase One was a go.  Indian special forces infiltrated way deep into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (remember, technically India had entered its own territory).  They had been monitoring the launch pads for terrorist attacks and had every angle covered.  Delhi said, go and within a matter of hours the Indian armed forces had destroyed the launch pads, killed all the terrorist and also some Pakistani soldiers.  They returned back to India before the world was awake and with minimal injuries to rapturous commendations from everyone.

If that was not enough humiliation for Pakistan, the SAARC conference was boycotted by everyone. Who wants to sit with the head of a terrorist state?

So whilst you and I sit here in the UK, what can we do you all ask?  Well we cannot be at the LOC and take the bullets.  However, there is something that every true Indian in the UK can do.  I ask you all to sign the following petition (please go the website immediately):

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168107/

The idea of the petition is to register our voice, to send a message to the politicians of what we think and to even get the Government of the day (which by the way is very pro-India anyway) to make a special statement.  So all you have to do, and that means everyone in your family and in your network, is to sign this petition.  Surely we Indians can all be united on this very simple matter?

I end by saying, we are entering one of the most important phases for India. Pakistan will split into four in the very near future.  The atrocities and genocide in Baluchistan is finally an international issue thanks to PM Modi. The issue of Gilgit-Baltistan and the plight of thousands of Pashtuns was also highlighted. The Sun is rising from the East, the world needs India and it is incumbent on all of us to ensure the land of Dharma Rakshaks rises to it deserved status.

Bharat Mata ki Jai, Bharat Mata ki Jai, Bharat Mata ki Jai.

 

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