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Home > Business > Pravasi Bharatiya Divas


'I feel humbled by the honour I have received'

January 09, 2003 18:56 IST

I feel humbled by the honor I have received from India.

Although I have been recognised by the Queen of England [who awarded him the Order of the British Empire], but when your own country recognises you, it is the greatest honour you can expect in your lifetime.

Besides an award, this conference will give me the tremendous opportunity for networking with our people from other parts of the world. It will also identify the common ground between Indians and Indian Diaspora.

We expect that there will be a follow up.

I am interested in what is happening in India but what I will never do is interfere in the political process. I am president of a political party and I am only geared up for England. I have put my future in UK where I am going to give my best, but I'll never ever forget the land from where I came.

I would also like to admit that I would have never succeeded in India as well as I have in the UK because in my young days, it was quite difficult to succeed here. It very much mattered who you are? Whom do you know? How influential you are? I have seen many talented people fall by the wayside in India. In the UK, it is different. If you have the ability, you move forward.

Now, my expectations from India is to build a relation with the third and fourth generation of overseas Indians who are growing up now.  We don't want our children to grow up in a vacuum. We want those Indian ideas which have stood the test of time over thousands of years in the lives of our children.

I hail from the barber's community of Bhavnagar, a city in the Kathiawad area of in Gujarat. I don't hide my identity, I am very proud of it. Not just Gujarat, there is a Kathiawad preserved within me. When in Bhavnagar, at public functions people introduce me and announce, 'This great man from Gujarat', I always say, 'Forget it, say this great man belongs to Kathiawad!'

You just can't take it away that from me. I love my holidays at my ancestors home where I sway on my hindola (large wooden swings) from morning to lunch time.

I love every moment there.

My father, Parmanand Mulji, was employed by the East African Tanzania Railway. He went their in his 30s by a Arab dhow, which took six months to ship him to Tanzania.

For him, every Englishman was a Sir. Now his son is Lord Dholakia.

I regret that he died before I became a Member of the British Parliament.

I am deeply entrenched in Indian ethos. My wife Anne is a Scottish and my daughter Anjali is married to Scotsman. Three months ago she gave a birth to a daughter and do you know, without asking, what she named her?

India Jane.

I was so happy to hear that. I didn't ask for it but she gave this name.

On the day I was appointed to the House of Lords , I was walking with a huge bundle of papers. A police colleague of mine, a superintendent of police, met me outside the House of Lords. He was working with me when I was dealing with the Police Complaint Authority. He offered to carry my briefcase and I smiled. I was not smiling because I had became a member of the House of Lords but I was smiling because for 250 years, Britishers ruled India and we carried their bags. Now a policeman was carrying my bag. That's called equality. That is what I always fight for.

Navneet Dholakia, a member of the House of Lords and President of the Liberal Democratic Party, spoke to Senior Editor Sheela Bhatt.



Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

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Number of User Comments: 1




Sub: re-article and dual nationality

great story of lord dholkia.i think most of the nri's feel like that and i think its a great idea of our primeminister to pass ...


Posted by DR.NAVDEEP JOHAR




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