Asian businesses in UK
to lead fight in global recession
by Rita Payne
This has been a turbulent year rocked by what some analysts have called the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression nearly 80 years ago.
However, the latest edition of Asian Who’s Who International was launched at a glitzy event here in London with encouraging words of hope from leading members of the business community. The editor’s note summed up the prevailing mood: “ I firmly believe that Asian businesses in the United Kingdom will lead the fight against the global recession and come out as winners.”
Awards were handed out in several categories and individual stories of the winners were inspirational and heart-warming. The award for “Asian Leadership in Charity” went to Gautam Lewis, who was abandoned in Calcutta in India at the age of three after contracting polio. He was rescued by Mother Teresa’s missionaries, adopted by a female nuclear physicist with dual UK and Irish nationality and grew up in Britain. Among other things he became a music manager looking after some top British pop stars. He took up photography, trained as a pilot and is now spearheading a campaign to eradicate polio in India and worldwide.
The title of “Asian of the Year” went to Ranjit Singh Baxi, a businessman and recognised expert in the recycling business. The award was presented by Lord Swraj Paul a past winner of the title. In his address, Lord Paul said, “If anyone can withstand the credit crunch it will be the Asian community.”
A new addition to the awards this year was one for “Asian Leadership in Music and Culture,” which was won by Channi Singh, a singer who has become an idol for fans of Bhangra music in the UK and around the world.
Speakers paid tribute to Jasbir Singh Sachar, who founded the Asian Who’s Who directory in 1975 at a time when a large influx of Asians from Asia and Africa were beginning to make their mark in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Sachar recalled the difficult early days. “They worked hard in factories, sold newspapers in their corner-shops and were not shy of doing any menial job for their survival.”
The Asian community has come a long way since then with ever-increasing numbers playing a leading role in fields as diverse as economy, politics, travel, tourism, religion, entertainment and arts. Their enterprise and determination could now play a key role in helping to overcome the current economic downturn. As their success and influence continues to grow, Asian Who’s Who International has become an essential point of reference for people within the community and outside.