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On 1st May I attended a function at the House of Commons (HoC) to celebrate the 54th Anniversary of Gujarat Foundation Day. The event was organised by the National Congress of Gujarati Organisations (NCGO) and hosted by the dynamic Gujarati Conservative MP, Priti Patel.
As always when attending such events you have the wonderful opportunity of meeting many friends from all corners of the UK. I have to say I was impressed with the speech given by Priti Patel, she skilfully balanced her ancestral bonds with Gujarat and India, with the opportunities afforded to us in Great Britain. As the official Government Champion for the Indian Diaspora she is well equipped to look after our interest and also promote aspects that would benefit the ties that bind the UK to India.
Following on from Priti was none other than our own Alpesh Patel. Alpesh does not need any introductions. Nursing a sore throat he walked to the podium with great determination. You could sense that within his very essence, this son of Gujarat was going to explode with pride overflowing of his ancestral roots. We were not disappointed. He told the audience in no uncertain terms that enough is enough. The time had come for Gujaratis to rise up and take their rightful place in society. Gujaratis have been at the very forefront of fighting for freedom from tyranny, dictatorships, empires and enslavement. Recent history shows that it was two Gujaratis who stood up to the great and mighty British Raj and bring it to its knees. Gujaratis helped proactively to give birth to the biggest and most comprehensive democracy in the world that is now known as India. And whilst we are the product of that lineage, why on earth should we ever be apologetic of our successes in the world? With resounding applause from the audience he concluded as defiantly as he had started. The lion of Gujarat roared in Alpesh, as it has doing in me for many years – it is now time that it roared in the whole Gujarati community.
The event had its low points also, but let’s say it might be better to put those to one side for the time being. I am sure the organisers will reflect whether some of the items on the programme did any justice to the integrity of Gujarat Foundation Day.
Whilst the celebrations were taking place word came to me that Labour MP Mike Wood had insulted the Gujarati community in the UK (and India) by hosting an event in the HoC which appears to have been used to spread anti Narendra Modi propaganda. The meeting, in Committee Room 14, even charged attendees £2 for a book entitled, ‘Narendra Modi Exposed, Challenging the Myths Surrounding the BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate‘. I ask all Gujarati’s – are you going to allow any Labour MP to facilitate such extremists so they can show disrespect to us on the very day we celebrate our Gujarat Day? I call upon Ed Miliband to denounce these extremists who in exhibiting anti-modi sentiments are also at the same time showing such disrespect to Hindus and Gujarati’s in the UK.
In Kapil’s Khichadi I had previously raised these issues openly so the leader of the Labour Party would be well informed and hopefully take the right course of action. Let me remind you, we were let down on the Caste issue and the Lord Harries amendment. Since then on 26th February some Labour MP’s including John McDonnell hosted Awaaz and the TMG-UK at the HoC where some people openly expressed anti-modi and anti-Hindu sentiments. And now on Gujarat Day itself, we have yet again seen another Labour MP willing to undermine and disrespect the next Prime Minister of India. These MPs have full right to conduct themselves in any way they so choose. However with such behaviour they must also face the consequences. And I hope Hindus and Gujaratis will now wake up and smell the coffee. It is time each and every one of you understood your personal responsibility to your ancestors, your faith, your community and your family. Blind allegiance is but for the fools in society. Do not allow your apathy to destroy the honour of your heritage; your children will never forgive you.
News coming in from India suggests that Narendrabhai Modi will indeed take the BJP and its partners to a victory in the Indian elections. The hopes and aspirations of all Indians rests with him becoming the Prime Minister and taking India forward on an upward trajectory, with honour, integrity and pride in the nation and its people. The anti-Modi western politicians and media have done everything to destroy him and it seems they have all failed. The role of these rogue agents who have steadfastly plotted to undermine Narendrabhai no doubt will not be forgotten. I am just glad that Britain with David Cameron was the first in 2010 to engage purposefully with Gujarat. This will bode well for us in the UK and no doubt the engagement between our two countries will increase significantly. Jai Hind, Jai Gujarat and Jai Ho to NaMo.