The family unit is one of the most important building blocks of society. An individual’s aspiration, ambition and ethos proceed from their family values, and from how they were brought up.
Over the course of the weeks leading up to the general election, Election Masala will be posting excerpts from interviews that we have recently conducted with members of the British Indian community. Every week is headed by a particular theme: this week’s theme is family.
I got married at the age of 24. I have lived the happy and humble family life ever since, at the same time as I’ve single-handedly set up a business. In my career pursuits, I have never encroached on any friends or family, but instead I have always relied on my inner drive to succeed and to make a difference. As an Independent Financial Advisor, I have been able to help my community and its leaders to manage the community’s economy. Being involved in charity work (Sewa Day and my weekly commitments to Shakha and Watford Hindu Group Gujarati schools) keeps me very active in the community, and I am happy to have been awarded for my contributions. Juggling maternal responsibilities and business is very challenging…but I would not have it any other way.
As a British Indian what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?
My parents have always been hard workers, they’ve always lived within their means, and they’ve valued every pound they earned. At a very young age I started doing paper rounds to learn the value of money. Then followed part-time jobs in supermarkets. At the same time, the importance and value of education was never forgotten. My parents were firm believers in life’s balance, and that hard work would pave the way for well-being and for future betterment.
Later I went on to set up my own business. I want to be an inspiration to my children, especially to my daughter, to show her that being a woman does not mean that you cannot be successful. I can hold my values, be a mother and give back to the community… It’s all about priorities, and what you believe in.
Your proudest British Indian moment?
Being a Gujarati woman and running a successful Property and Finance company, in an industry which is heavily dominated by men. Oh! and the unveiling of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in London.
RAGA D’SILVA is a mother of twins and a serial entrepreneur, currently running a successful international marketing company with offices in London, India and New Zealand. Her business provides business to business platforms for companies and speakers (performers and trainers as well) predominantly in India, UK and New Zealand and recently extended services into China, the Middle East and other parts of Europe. Having had the pleasure of living in India and New Zealand, she now considers London her home.
“I have challenged many stereotypes in my lifetime and I always aim to lead by example. In 2009, I was the first woman to be elected to sit on the board of the India New Zealand business council, and I have held numerous other very senior positions internationally. A regular on media for my expertise on doing business in India, I have, since 2012, also been engaged in a fight against diabetes in our community, and I am currently the South Asian ambassador for Diabetes UK.”
Biggest contribution of the British Indian community in the UK?
As an immigrant, I see numerous contributions and each one is as precious and special. What stands out for me is the contribution British Indian’s have made to the economy here, despite most starting from scratch. This also demonstrates that UK promises equal opportunity to all those who have aspirations and ambition. I see a wonderful cohesiveness amongst both communities. I feel very proud to be bringing up teenagers in this country.
As a British Indian what personal values do you associate with the Conservative Party?
My values match those of the conservative party as well as it matches any individual, or groups or organisation, that can provide a platform and balance to individuals who have the aspirations to grow, work hard and do good. I work well in such an eco-system of shared values. As the Prime Minister said in his speech at the unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, quoting Mahatma Gandhi: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’
Your proudest British Indian moment?
The unveiling of Gandhiji’s statue on 14th March at the Parliament Square, Westminster, which I attended despite a very swollen ankle, was one the proudest moments for me as a British Indian.