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As we approach the end of yet another year, I felt that maybe the years final Kapil’s Khichadi should be a bit more uplifting. I could have given you a number of stories but there is one that has stuck in my mind given it happened right in front of me. Have a look at the photo below:
Photo: PM Cameron with his wife Samantha, and Ms Ranjanbala Patel
The photo hides a story that has not been told to date, even though the incident happened in front of some 1500 people during the Diwali Reception and Launch of the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism event on 27th October 2014.
The Prime Minister began his speech and was just getting into full flow when suddenly he stopped. I wondered why. We could all hear him say, ‘would you like some water’? He was obviously speaking to someone in the crowd but in the front row. After a short while he carried on making quite a remarkable speech that enthralled the audience.
I spoke to several people afterwards to gauge what the commotion was all about? It transpired that a lady was feeling faint and unsteady on her feet. The Prime Minister whilst making the speech stopped and immediately asked if she was alright. Noting that she was unwell and feeling faint he immediately gave his glass of water to her. He asked several times to make sure she was alright. And then with smiles back on everyone’s faces he carried on with his speech.
The name of the lady in question? Smt Ranjanbala Patel who you see in the photo. The photo was taken once the speech had completed and Mrs Samantha Cameron leaned forward to ask if everything was fine.
This one simple touch of compassion showed a side to our Prime Minister and his wife that hitherto people might not have been aware of, or one that remains hidden amidst the noise of the non-stop political headlines we see every day. It is all too easy for us the public to forget that our politicians, like them or hate them, they are like us and they also possess that human touch. We vilify our politicians, often rightly, but as we do we must also take note that often we don’t see their sensitive side. On this occasion we witnessed firsthand a Prime Minister who was so observant that not only did he notice something in the crowd that worried him, but he was willing to stop and do the right thing.
Smt Ranjanbalaji wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and I share this with you below:
Dear Prime Minister,
It is with great pleasure that I write to you to thank you for the compassion you showed me at the Conservative Party Diwali Reception and Launch of the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism on Monday, 27 October 2014. You no doubt will recall that I was standing in the front row during your address. Unfortunately for a moment my legs started giving way and I felt a little faint. You interrupted your address to offer me a glass of water which was greatly appreciated. At the end of your address you still found time to come to me with your lovely wife to ensure that I was all right. It was most gracious of you to have the presence of mind and caring to take so much trouble in ensuring that I had recovered.
On my return home I shared the experience with my family who are extremely impressed with the way and manner in which you conducted yourself. I also shared the incident with the Gujarati Women’s Group, of which I am a member, and I can say to you their respect for you has increased many fold since it resonates with the core values of our faith also. I am proud to support a Prime Minister who takes time to ensure the well being of citizens, and who has the interest of the people and the nation in his heart. As a country we are fortunate that we have in you a Prime Minister who exhibits a range of human values and is not shy to show them in action and in practice.
And below we have the Prime Ministers reply:
So this year we have celebrated Diwali with great enthusiasm. We now approach Christmas and I take this opportunity to say to you all, this story of a Prime Minister and a citizen shows why we live in a great country. Let’s never forget our Rastra Dharma, and in so doing, we celebrate and serve a great nation together. Merry Christmas and see you in 2015 which promises to be one humdinger of a year for all of us.