Current History of Kadwa Patidar Community in UK
Migration from Gujarat to Africa
The contribution, which the Indian settlers have made to the economic development of Eastern African countries, needs no elaboration. The Indian traders, even at the risk of their lives, had travelled to the furthest corners of East Africa before any roads were built or railways were constructed. Some of them made outstanding contributions to the growth of those countries.
‘It is the Indian trader, who penetrating himself in all sorts of places which no white man would or in which no white man could earn any living, has more than anyone else developed in the early beginning of trade and opened up the first slender means of communications. It was by Indian labour that the one vital railway on which everything else depends was constructed.’.... (My African Journey ... Sir Winston Churchill).
Some of the early pioneers of Kadwa Patidars who migrated to Africa from Gujarat in late19th Centrury include
- Shri Madhavji Trikamji Adodra from Bhavnagar Saurashtra. Settled in Kenya in 1892, then moved in Uganda. He established a sugarcan farm at Kakira, near Jinja. This farm became a part of Madhavani Sugar Plantation
- Shri VashrambhaiMuljibhai Saparia from Kolki Saurashtra. Settled at Kabete near Nairobi, Kenya, in 1895
- Shri Devjibhai Ladhabhai Aghera from Ranavav Saurashtra. Settled at Nairobi, Kenya, around 1895. He is still remembered as a pioneer in printing business who established a well known firm, D.L. Patel Press
- Shri Hirajibhai Gangajibhai Nagaria from Kolki Saurashtra. Settled at Petermerizburg, South Africa, in 1890
- Shri Laljibhai Juthabhai Jalavadia from Vansjalia Saurashtra. Settled at Nairobi, Kenya, in 1896.
Following the footsteps of these bold pioneers many hundreds went to these countries in the early 20th century and settled down in various parts All these pioneers contributed to economic development of these countries . They played their role in fostering trade and industries and social awakening in deep interiors of these countries.
Moving to United Kingdom and United States of America and Canada
After great difficulty in settling down in the countries of Africa, there was wind of change in just 60-70 years. As a result everyone was caught and entangled in the governmental unsteady and stormy policies. Seeing uncertain future in the country and events taking place suddenly and unexpectedly, residents who were settled for decades left with heavy hearts and took shelter in the unknown and unseen land of Britain.
In the year 1968 many in numbers came from Kenya and settled in Britain. Thereafter in the year 1972 came the influx of those who were driven out of Uganda. Thus in the beginning of the eighties there were about two thousand people settled in the country, all living in different towns and cities.Today according to the Samaj record there are 3000 Kadwa Patidars young and old.
Ignoring the traumas of 60s and 70s and various political uncertainties in those African countries, today there are still about 150 families living in Africa. They are helping those countries in building their economy, business and industries, thus making an important contribution to their progress.
From the 60s Kadwa Patidars started living in America. Today it is estimated there are approximately five thousand Kadwa Patidars young and old living in USA & Canada. All the Kadwa Patidar families living in the large country of America are keeping in touch with each other. They share a common brotherhood under the roof of Kadwa Patidar Samaj of America, thus maintaining our community’s traditions and dynamism. . Dr. Mafatlal Patel past editor of DHARTI monthly magazine of Ahmedabad recently published a well known book called "Overseas Patidars" in which detailed information of Kadwa Patidars settled in USA. appears.
Early Years in United Kingdom
After the upsurge in nationalistic forces and the change in political wind, which swept so fast in these countries in the 1960s posed enormous problems and pain for the settlers.
Many had to leave their adopted lands. Most of them arrived in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For most of them they had not seen this country before. For them this was a new country new environment; weather and climate unknown before. They had to start a new life again from scratch.
After arriving in this country, for a few years they all had to struggle to settle down in this new land. Communication and interconnection amongst themselves and social life enjoyed in African countries was lost. Everyone was eager and anxious to rebuild the pattern of social life and feeling of brotherhood and intimacy among Gnati member enjoyed in African countries They were all settled in different parts of the country and in different locations, and had no contact among themselves.
The first generation inevitably endure the most difficulties but, in spite of problems and pains, our first quarter of the century in this country is most appropriately attribute to the achievements of the pioneering spirit of our community.
During the late 1950’s and early 1960s a few young members of the community from East African countries came into Britain for further studies: but settled down in UK after completion of their studies. These included:
Dr. Maganlal Popatlal Ardeshna, who arrived in the UK in 1953 and Mr. Narayandas Vashrambhai Sapana, who arrived in 1959.
These energetic and enthusiastic youths occasionally met and kept K.P. Gnati spirit alive They and elderly experienced members, newly arrived in this country from African countries Joined hands to set up a link between all the members of the community The Late Mr. Govindbhai Haribhai Garala did much of the groundwork which deserves our special appreciation.
Formation of the Kadwa Patidar Samaj UK and its current activites
On 1st June 1974 at a wedding at St. Mary Virgin Parish Church Hall Kenton, members assembled felt the need to form a community organisation. They all agreed to form an organisation for all Kadwa Patidars residing all over the UK. A working adhoc Committee under the chairmanship of Mr.Harilal Becharbhai Kansagra was appointed to do further necessary groundwork.
In the first General Meeting held on 27th July 1975 the first Executive Committee was elected and the present name - Shree Kadwa Patidar Samaj UK was approved unanimously The present constitution was prepared by a subcommittee headed by Mr. Purshottanbhai V. Dalsania and was approved by this Executive Committee in its meeting held on 23rd November 1975 and recfifed by all the members present in the following Annual General Meeting held on 30th May 1976.
Dr. Maganlal Popatlal Ardeshna who was the first president elected under the constitution served the Samaj continuously for nearly a decade. He nourished the organisation in its infancy.He was supported in the early critical years by Mr. Purshottambhai V. Dalsania and Late Mr. Pursottambhai Ghodasara.
The aim of the Samaj was to instil in our members our cultural and religious values which are the strength behind our integrity and success, hoping our children will carry on these values for their future generation in spite of the integration of the Western way of life.
To keep our social and cultural traditions alive among members particularly in the new generation of the Samaj from the year of its formation held several functions during the year were held at various school an dother halls in North London. This included Diwali gathering, Navratri festival ,other religious festivals like Rama Navami, Janmashtami and Sivratri.
To encourage our youths - boys and girls - in various sports, the Samaj started holding an Annual Sports Day. The first annual Sports Day was organised on 28th August 1985 at Dunstable, with competitions held for various games. The trophies were donated by Valjibhai Sanghi Kaneria.
To promote interest in our traditional cultural activities, the first Cultural Variety Show was organised in 1987 by the youth committee. This proved to be very successful. This too has become an annual event in which our youths - boys and girls - show their excellent cultural talent in traditional dance, music and drama, and keep their love for our cultural values. The Samaj presentsSpecial Awards on this day and honour all those who graduate in various fields in the year.
To provide members with information, regarding the Samaj activities the first literary magazine in English and Gujarati , Pragati was published in 1987.Pragati made enormous progress for the next six/seven years under the editorship of Mr. Laxmanbhai B. Patel. A bumper Special Souvenir edititon was published on the Inauguration of our Kadwa Patidar Centre on 17th October 1993;
To facilitate members to communicate with each other, the Samaj published its first Directory of Members in 1975; The Late Mr. Vithalbhai M. Aghera travelled from place to place, from house to house to collect the required data for this first Directory. His tremendous contribution to the services of the Samaj deserves a special appreciation. Since then over half a dozen revised Editions were published at regular intervals to provide up to date information.Since than Mr Nathalal H Dadhania , as Registrar of the Samaj has dedicated his selfless services to revise and update the Directory which is very time-consuming and tedious work. He deserves special praise
Retired members of the Samaj formed their Senior Citizens Mandal in September 1998 . At present there are over 100 members meeting regularly every Tuesday ,playing cards, doing bhajans and having a jolly good luch. . Occasionally they organise day trips to visit interesting places in UK
The Kadwa Patidar Samaj is not merely an inward looking society. As a part of the general community at large, the Samaj undertakes various activities to raise funds to help the needy, for any good cause that benefits the community at large. . The Samaj set up its own charity organisation Kadwa Patidar Samaj (UK) Ltd. in 1991.
KADWA PATIDAR CENTRE
To undertake various activities to achieve the noble objectives of the Samaj, the Samaj needed its own premises. A building committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Babubhai Hirjibhai Makadia made enormous efforts for many years in searching for a suitable land for the building. In 1990, Harrow Council offered this site on which our Centre stands to over 300 organisations for community use. Mr. Rajnibhai Kansagra and Mr. Satish G. Patel (Nungara) negotiated for almost two years with the Council and procured it for us against fierce competition and high odds. The project was going to cost £2 Million. To raise a large sum like this was a tremendous task for a small community like ours. It is really a divine miracle. Credit goes to our the-then President, Dr. Sushilaben D. Bhut and our current President, Mr. Rajnibhai. S Kansagra, whose determination and strong will Inspired and built our confidence in the success of this project, together with joint efforts and dedication of all our members associated with this project, and divine blessings from Mother Umiyaji, made this project a grand success. The Centre is a lasting memory of that great effort and a story of self help
Shree Shantilal Nathalal Kansagra and family, who supported this project very generously, consecrated and laid the foundation stone in the presence of nearly four hundred members on 27th September 1992.
The project was completed within a year. On the historical day of 17th October 1993, the Late Shree Govindbhai Virjibhai Dhulashia and family, who supported the project very wholeheartedly, officially opened the Centre in the presence of nearly twelve hundred members with great joy and festive celebrations. These celebrations are simply unforgettable and will remain forever in our memories The Samaj is fortunate for having a number of energetic, selfless, hardworking workers dedicated to high ideals and objectives of the Samaj. It is difficult to recognise them without leaving someone out. Hence, without naming anyone, the Samaj wholeheartedly thanks all these members. On this memorable occasion we would like to remember all our members, including those who are not with us now, and pay glowing tribute for their invaluable contributions towards cherishing and cultivating the immortal values and the principle of unity and brotherhood among our community members our unique heritage - wherever we live, living as one family, as children of Mother Umiyaji.
Edited by Bipin Kantaria
Acknlowledgement : Mr. Laxmanbhai B. Patel