SPA UK Sandesh 2017 - Page 37

Reasons to be Cheerful: Indian Independence India, as we know it, is 70 years old. 70 years ago, many of our Prajapati elders knew the country in a different light: low economic growth, race riots and a turbulent society. And, India’s cricket team wasn’t all too great either. Our elders soon left India. They left that India for a more prosperous, safer way of life in East Africa, USA, and the UK in the 1950s and onwards. These countries promised jobs, stable economies and a ‘familiarish’ way of life. We left a turbulent India Many Prajapatis in the UK, and overseas, likely harboured dreams of returning to India when things became safer. 70 years on, that just isn’t the case… As a Prajapati community, we generally have British passports, can speak several English languages (‘Guj-glish’, office English, Cockney, Yorkshire). Most importantly we’ve built our support networks around us here in the UK. Surely then, we’re at our strongest in the UK? We look to an optimistic India But then Indian Independence comes around, and you do pay attention. India is a far more optimistic proposition now than has been in the past. India, the land our elders left for jobs, stability and a better quality of life elsewhere, now provides just that; 5.7% GDP growth last year, unemployment rates halved since the 1990s and a newly elected government have brought about a wave of optimism in India, especially for Gujaratis. Indian independence: a belief in a better future With plenty changing today on British shores, whether it is job- related, political, or cricket-related, I find it incredibly comforting to look East and see a country in full-flow. So, if Virat Kohli comes to the UK and scores a double-century at the Oval or Narendra Modi speaks at Wembley Stadium, as British Indians, go see them. Funnily enough, you might share some Indian heritage with them. More importantly, you’ll also share a belief in a better future. Just remember, that same belief kept our elders going when they first came to the UK. Indian Independence matters. It reminds us a lot can happen in 70 years, for a family, a community and a country… By Vinay Chhana, Hornchurch, East London vol. 42 | Prajapati Sandesh 2017 35