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News 2006
News ->Brent mourns loss of founding father figure


BRENT MOURNS LOSS OF FOUNDING FATHER FIGURE
(4 June 2006)

Nalinikant PandyaShree Nalinikant Tribhovandas Pandya MBE, a major force in community relations in Brent, passed away on 27th May 2006 after suffering a stroke at the age of 90 years. He was a freedom fighter actively involved in the satyagraha - a struggle for Independent of India lead by Mahatma Gandhi. In the UK, he lead a symbolic 'salt-march' signifying the 'dandi-kutch' in memory of Mahatma Gandhi as an Hon Secretary of Gandhi Bapu Memorial Trust.

He has shared his memories of being with Gandhi Bapu, Jawarharlal and Sardar with the family members. He never stopped being revolutionary and a pioneering spirit even after the Indian Independence. He contributed enormously in Uganda to promote heritage of Indian culture, establishing a school and temple.

As a Vice-Chairman of Brent Community Relations Council, he played a major role in promoting good race relations and supporting schemes such as 'help on arrest' and community liaison committees. He passionately believed in community cohesion where diversity is respected to address the needs of the community.

He also served on many projects and public bodies. It included: Steering Committee for Wembley Conference Centre, Brent and Harrow Health Authority, Family Parishioners Committee, Art Council and Youth and Community Services various initiatives. He was also a candidate for the Brent Labour Party in the Local Elections for the Gladstone Ward, later joined the Conservative Party.

He also founded the Federation of Guajarati Associations in his bid to unite the community. He established the UK's first Sardar Patel Memorial Committee to celebrate one of India's great leader with whom he had an opportunity to be part of struggle for Independence.

He was regarded as a 'Father Figure', a mentor for some and mediator for those in disputes with in various the Indian Communities in Brent. The Indian Community in Brent has lost a dedicated community worker who had given over 50 year's voluntary contribution to the Borough. A pioneering spirit, he played an active role in the field of Race Relations and Community Cohesion, and truly followed the motto- "serving other above ones self" was embedded in the work of the Brent Indian Association [BIA] that he was associated since its foundation.

He took the lead in ensuring an appropriate response of the organisation to the crisis and needs of the Asian community as a result of the decision of the mad leader of Uganda in 1972. He worked very closely with the Leader of the Council Late Ald Phill Hartley and visited resettlement camps and played a crucial role for their resettlement in the United Kingdom. His strategic vision added a new focus, transforming the BIA from a cultural organisation to a more pro-active, social welfare, care and education organisation.

He succeeded in established Brent's first Gujarati Library, followed by acquiring the first Urban-Aid grant from the Home Office. This was used to establish the Brent Indian Community Centre on Ealing Road in 1976. During Mid-70s, the late Shree Pranlal Sheth CBE, former Vice-Chairman of Commission for Racial Equality joined him to start a publication of an ethnic weekly newspaper - Gujarat Samachar. He also started a School for children of Indian origin.

He was knowledgeable in Sanskrit and Bhagwat Geeta. He carried a dream of building a Hindu Temple in Brent to meet the spiritual needs of this community since early 70s.

His efforts brought about the first largest celebration of the Hindu Festival of Navratri and opened the way for celebration of Ramayana Sahpata starting in the famous Roundwood Park in Brent. For the first time the holy water from river Yamuna was brought to England to celebrate Yamuna Lotiji Mohotsava.

In 1978, he planted the seeds to build a Sanatan Hindu Mandir that will be inclusive of almost all sections of the faith. The team he led succeeded in raising sufficient resources to purchase a Temple in Leyton Stone. As an Honorary Secretary General of Shree Vallabh Nidhi UK, he completed one of its major projects and brought the other (Sanatan Mandir) to nearer to its completion. He embarked upon the second project for Wembley.

Regardless of factional disputes and politicking, he remained steadfast on the mission to complete the Temple which will be a unique piece of heritage for the Hindu community, a pure Sanatan - belonging to neither any individual nor any Guru or Sadhu, but to the people.

ABOUT NALINIKANT TRIBHOVANDAS PANDYA

Nalinikant Tribhovandas Pandya MBE was born in Brahmin family on 1st March 1916 in Borsad, Gujarat State, India. After Graduation his career started as a Bank Manager which took him to Africa.

He contributed to establishing Schools and Temple in Uganda before arriving in the UK in early 60s. After joining a City firm of Accountants, his entrepreneurial desire lead him to establish a designing firm and first Gujarati weekly newspaper - Gujarat Samachar in the UK.

He was recipient of Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal and the Order of Member of British Empire (MBE) for his services to the community. He was also awarded Citizen's Award by the Brent Council and an Award for his efforts for World Peace by an international NGO.

He leaves his wife Savitaben and three children: Daughter-Meena, Sons Kaushik and Buddhdev and eight grandchildren and five great grand children.

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