Theme of the week: Service

Community and service are values integral to any good society where the focus is not just on receiving benefits but also on giving something back. This week’s theme is “Service” and we speak to two inspirational ladies who have not only given back to  society but also encouraged others to do so — by way of passion and compassion.

10336676_10202802196363034_6261533147828072321_nARPITA RAY is a mother, home maker and a gynaecologist. She loves working within the community, and for the community.    “Last year we, Essex Indians, started charity fund raising for terminally ill kids suffering from cancer. We as a group raised £9500 for the charities. We successfully hosted 3 charity events, and through these we were able to bring the community together.”

The Conservative party values aspiration, hard work, family and service above self. As a British Indian, what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?

My personal values are — work hard, be a good person and contribute to your community locally and globally. These are the values every individual should have irrespective of their political belief. We have created politics, politics didn’t create us.

arpita family

When you think of the word ‘achiever’, who comes to mind and why?

Rabindranath Tagore and Nelson Mandela, for their obvious contribution to mankind. Recently 17 year old Malala Yousafzai showed the world that if you are sufficiently determined, then you can  make your dream a reality and inspire people to do the same. My son is lucky to have a role model like her in his generation.

As a British Indian, what do you see as the community’s biggest contribution to the UK?

Supporting and maintaining the vital services in different sectors of the society. I must say, I never expected to see so many curry houses when I arrived in this country 15 years back. Introducing spices to English cuisine is probably the biggest contribution.

If you can wish for one thing, what would it be?

Encourage your kids to know their roots, their heritage and the spirit of giving back to society.

2011 - Usha 2
, an Indian Classical Dancer and ‘Guru’ was born and brought up in Chennai, India. Having moved to London a few decades ago along with her husband, Usha established her own dance institute, ‘Kalasagara UK’, in the 1990s. She has trained hundreds of students, many of whom are now dance professionals.


What, according to you, is the British Indian community’s biggest contribution to the UK?

The British Indian community has been a major contributor to the successful creation of a multicultural society in the UK. The way we have integrated with the native British is simply exemplary and promotional of the virtues of peaceful coexistence of people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

As a British Indian what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?

When I came to London about two decades ago, there were very few professional practitioners of Indian classical dance in its pure form. With hope and determination I founded my dance institute Kalasagara UK to perform and to promote the art. With hardly a handful of students (of whom my daughter was one!), it was not easy for me to pursue my passion and profession in a new country. With sheer hard work and the support of my family I managed to firmly establish myself and my school. Today, if I am recognised and appreciated for my work, it is due to my unwavering faith in values like hard work, perseverance, service above self and the fact that being aspirational is seen as a virtue here, the same values that the Conservative Party cherishes.

Class 6

When you think of the word ‘achiever’, who comes to mind and why?

My mother who instilled strong values in me comes to my mind as an achiever. A woman of determination and self- confidence, she took to working full-time when women were expected to stay at home to raise children. She, by example, showed me that it was possible to succeed, rising above society’s prejudices, if you believed in yourself. My father was a great support to her. Together they raised their daughters to believe in their capabilities and potential and realise their dreams.

Usha 180

If you can wish for one thing, what would it be?

I wish I can meet the Her Majesty The Queen of England one day and perform for her this very beautiful dance form.


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