OUR SAMAJ OUTSIDE INDIA.

Shri Gurjar Kshatriya Gnati Mandal, London-UK

Evolutionary Indian philosophy and culture in all spheres of life has substantially contributed to take mankind where it is today - and when the world is becoming compact, horizons of knowledge expanding, and Indians all over the world contributing their worthy mite in this revolutionary evolution; our community website aims at exposing and reminding our community members all over the world and more particularly the new generation of our strong roots to further reinforce our mettle. Our website’s chaste blissful viewing will also vividly portray our strong Indian and Kshatriya heritage, which has sustained and outlived various onslaughts during our migrations and settlements and every time emerged stronger.

Some 400 years ago we migrated from Rajasthan and settled down as farmers in Kutch and Saurashtra regions of Gujarat. If serious attempt is made to carry out some research on our family roots in Rajasthan now, we would surely find links with the Kshatriya families there. After years of our settlement in Kutch and Saurashtra of Gujarat, farming on its own could not meet the economic needs of our extended families and hence further migration continued during the early 1920’s to places like Karachi and as far as Rangoon in Burma and in early 1940’s, some left the western ports of India to come to East Africa on small dhows and later in ships. The popular destinations at that time were: Kenya, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Uganda. In Tanganyika and especially in its capital city of Dar es Salaam, our community settlement under the leadership of Shri Nathalalbhai Rudabhai Solanki grew to over a 100 families. Shree Gurjar Kshatriya Gnati Mandal, Dar es Salaam was established in the late 1940’s; under his leadership, assisted by dedicated community members like: Mohanbhai Bhamabhai Manani, Samjibhai Ramjibhai Rathod, Dharamsibhai Kalyanjibhai Javia, Dhanjibhai Laxmanbhai Varu, Dhanjibhai Bhavanbhai Shapriya, Monjibhai Chotalia, Tapubhai Tank, Mohan Gokal Gohil, Bhimjibhai Tapubhai Parmar and Ramjibhai Devjibhai Tank to name a few, who were not only instrumental in strengthening our Samaj in Dar es Salaam but had inspired the leadership of our 36 Halar villages back in India. The leadership and dedication of Shri N R Solanki was exceptional, his care for each and every family he had called and settled in Dar es Salaam is fondly remembered by our East African community here in the United Kingdom, Canada and in India even today.

In Kenya - particularly in Nairobi and Mombasa, Shri Gordhanbhai Harjibhai Parmar, Kanjibhai Chauhan, Karsanbhai Chauhan, Becharbhai Gangani - as far as my memory goes - were notable initial settlers in Kenya who had subsequently called their relatives and settled them to prosper. In Uganda, particularly in its capital city Kampala, an appreciable number of our families had settled and were earning their livelihood.

In the sixties these three East African countries got independence from Britain one after the other; after political upheavals and Africanisation policies pursued by the new indigenous Governments, many came to the United Kingdom and a few went back to India, retaining their British passports. In the early 1960’s, Gordhanbhai Manani and Jethalal Manani came from Dar es Salaam and settled in Leicester - UK. Their determination to struggle and survive encouraged many of our community members from East Africa to come and settle in the city of Leicester. Towards the end of 1962 a handful of people got together and formed Shree Gurjar Kshatriya Gnati Mandal, Leicester, UK. The Leicester Samaj grew in number under the leadership of Gordhanbhai Manani, Monjibhai Chotalia, Hemrajbhai Chotalia, Parshottambhai Solanki, Prabhulalbhai Manani, and Chandubhai Tank - to mention just a few. Over the years the Samaj has grown to well over 2500 members in Leicester and in its surrounding areas. Our Leicester Samaj has developed its website sgks.co.uk which gives information on the Samaj activities being regularly carried out.

By 1975 some 20-odd families had also settled in London, therefore, a London Samaj was formed in 1975 under the leadership of Chhaganbhai Varu, Dayabhai Varu, Vrajlalbhai Rathod, Manjibhai Varu, Tapulalbhai Tank and Avsarbhai Parmar - to name a few. In three decades from 1975 to date, a settlement of some 500 members of our community has been registered in London, Greater London and its surrounding areas such as St. Albans, Luton, Kent and Swindon. A good percentage has migrated from Leicester - mainly the younger generation - for better opportunities and others are the second generation members of our community who were brought up and educated here in London. Some younger families have come directly from India and have prospered with their hard work and determination to succeed. Our London Samaj has remained active socially since then; pushing forward the community spirit and dedication year after year by young, dedicated leaders such as Mansukh ManjibhaiVaru, Ramesh Tapulalbhai Tank, Mahendra Tapulalbhai Tank, Ramesh Changanlalbhai Tank, Pravin Harilal Chotalia, Bhagwanji Mohanbhai Manani, Ramesh Mohanbhai Manani, Pravin Dhanjibhai Shapriya, Pritidaben Damjibhai Rathod and Bharat Bhimjibhai Parmar, to name a few. They have been guided and supported by the equally dedicated and tested leaders like Avsarbhai Parmar, Vrajlalbhai Rathod, Chhaganbhai Varu, Dayabhai Varu, Ramchandrabhai Rathod, Babulal Kacha, Govindbhai Parmar, Dr. Amarsibhai Gohel and Thakersibhai Chauhan. Since the last three years an elected Executive Committee headed by Avsarbhai Parmar have endeavoured to carry out annual functions filled with interesting programmes with interesting cultural stage items which have motivated our community members. As a result, the participation and attendance of members at large have been increasing year after year. The Executive Committee of London Samaj has also established some benchmarks such as London Samaj Logo. It drafted and got approved, the constitution of Shree Gurjar Kshatriya Gnati Mandal, London - UK. Last year we have launched a very rich information-filled website of the London Samaj, shreegkg.com which is being enjoyed by our community members worldwide.

In Canada as far as I can remember, Jethalalbhai Jivabhai Manani, Bachubhai Jivabhai Manani, Chimanlal Govindbhai Varu, Deepakbhai Bhimjibhai Parmar, Bhagwanjibhai Nathalalbhai Solanki, Ashokbhai Jivanbhai Manani, Purshottambhai Chotalia and Babubhai Maru were the initial settlers. Our community members now have grown to over 200 numbers including the migration directly from Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat - India and many younger families again migrated from the United Kingdom. Under the leadership of Chimanlalbhai Varu over these many years our Samaj in Canada has united together and have been carrying out community activities. Recently the newly elected Executive Committee under the leadership of Bakulbhai Solanki, the President and Vinaybhai Rathod the General Secretary are consolidating whatever has been achieved so far and are now trying to bring in new ideas and programmes for the benefit of our Samaj as a whole and for the younger generation in particular.

Our recent USA settlement of young families spilled over from Canada, the United Kingdom and few directly migrated from India and Tanzania are doing well. They are comparatively better off than their parents because they are highly educated professionals in the field of information technology, medicine, engineering, architecture and finance. Many educated members of our community mostly from cities namely Rajkot, Gondal, Junagadh, Amreli, Dhari, Rajula, Bhavnagar, and Rajula and other villages of Saurashtra identifying as members of Gurjar Kshatriya Kadia Samaj had directly migrated to USA some 50 years back. Similarly many of our community members from Gurjar Kshatriya Kutch Samaj had also directly migrated to USA years ago and have prospered. Their highly educated and americanised second and third generations are now very successful individuals who have achieved their parents’ cherished American Dream.

THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED BY :
Damjibhai Rathod- General Secretary,
Shri Gurjar Kshatriya Gnati Mandal,
London-UK

7th August 2006

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