H.E the President of the republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, H.E the High Commissioner of India to Uganda Mr. S.N Ray, Hon Sanjay Tanna, All dignitaries and holders of high office, captains of various business houses & communities present , India Association Board of trustees and Executive committee, distinguished guest & all present.
Ladies & Gentlemen
Good evening to all of you
It is our pride /profound privilege to celebrate Diwali at statehouse for the second consecutive year. Thank you Mr. President, for honouring us, and allowing our community, to celebrate, our biggest Indian festival with you.
Diwali at State House, outside India ,is celebrated only in few countries, like Uganda, UK, USA & Mauritius. And thus, such moments are, very memorable for our community
On behalf of the Indian Community, we wish to convey our sincere thanks, for hosting us and for all the support, you have given, to our business community over the years.
Mr. President Sir, we look Indian because of our Brown Skin, but we are nationals of many other countries like America, British, Canada, Kenya & Uganda. The only common thing among us is that we are all of Indian Origin
In Hindi we refer to our Birth place as Janam Bhoomi, which are in different countries, but what we have in common, is that Uganda is our Karama Bhoomi; i.e. our work place & adopted home
Our community in Uganda is approximately 10,000-12,000 in numbers which is about 0.04 % of the total Ugandan population but we contribute more than 60% to the government’s domestic revenue, which you are well aware of. This shows the Internal strength and business acumen ship of our community
However our community, have our own values of life and we strongly believe in religion & culture. A religion binds us away, from all evil activities. A religion could be any, Hinduism, Christianity, Muslim, Sikhism or Jainism. When we come here, to Uganda we not only bring Investment , Employment , technical Expertise , Market or revenue to the exchequer but we also bring, strong values of religion & culture, which unfortunately is losing its values, in some parts of the world
We have built more than 20 small or big temples /churches /mosques of different faiths in this country
Buddhism which was originated from India, with high values & practice was adopted by many countries in South East Asia like China, Thailand, Japan, etc etc but today it is getting lost at the cost of “no religion concept” This in the long run can create major problems for the world.
India conquered and dominated china and several other surrounding Asian countries culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her boarders
Mr. President Sir, you will agree with me, religion & culture are very important assets, for us, and it should never depreciate.
India is the birth place of Mahtma Gandhi a man now called the father of the Indian independence movement. Gandhi led a non-violent way of protesting against injustices and to date he has remained a hero in the hearts of many. Mr. President Sir, we are peace loving people
Mr. President Sir, I would like to mention again from my speech of last year, we Indian owned corporate’s, undertake several projects, of social benefits in this country, which portrays the magnanimous heart, of our community people.
Indians have a glory to be proud of, like, India never invaded any country, in her last 10,000 years of history, India invented the number system, zero, algebra, trigonometry and calculus Sanskrit, the Indian language, is the mother of all European languages. World’s first university was established in India in Takshsila in 700BC
Following a successful space mission to the Moon in the past. On 5th November 2013. India has now joined the elite nations Mars expedition.
If I quote Albert Einstein, he said, “We owe a lot to Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery, could have been made.”
And hence Mark Twain describes India as –India is the cradle of the human race, the mother of History, the grandmother of legend and the grandmother of tradition. Most valuable, and the most instructive materials, in the history of man, are treasured up, in India.
Looking around the room, I can see our business people, who have given, enormous amounts of contributions, in terms of business & commerce to this country. People of Indian origin, around the world, are known for their successful, business accumenship.
Your Excellency Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to raise a major issue, on behalf of our business community
Most of the Indian Owned Industry is facing the challenge of getting work permits for their key staff. Work permits applications are rejected arbitrarly and there is no neutral panel to listen to our genuine concerns.
Indians came to Uganda, more than 10 decades ago, when nobody else was willing to come, to this part of the world. We have participated, in the development of Uganda & Africa since the beginning
This small population of 10,000-12,000 people who grew over a period of last 100 years have created millions of jobs in Uganda
We have established, business in the deep down villages, of Uganda, and this is helping the indigenous community, to get the access of those products, which were otherwise, unable to reach them at affordable prices. This has greatly helped Uganda in its, wealth distribution & capacity building exercise.
Now Immigration Department is rejecting the Work Permits of these investors is the name of Petty Traders.
It also needs to be noted that hardly there isn’t any Indian Trader in the Kikubo Market, which is the trading hub of Uganda. Rather our business people are in deep down villages
The problem of rejection of work permits in the last few months has started affecting even big business houses which was never a case earlier.
Most of the business owners /investors present here today have been affected/ or are fearing this problem relating to Immigration.
Your Excellency sir, the Indian Business community needs your help & intervention.
The other current burning issue, is with regard to, de-licensing of Traders, in the name of Petty traders with no clarity or /policy on paper, therefore, creating barrier in your vision.
In this regards, we strongly urge, that traders, who have been given licenses, earlier by the regulatory body, need not be canceled, rather any new license, may not be issued, until all new guidelines are adhered to
Change of policy retrospectively/ or cancelling of the licenses, already granted, is not a healthy sign. These so called traders, have come to Uganda, and have worked hard in this country, for all these years. They have closed all their businesses, in the county from where, they have come. Now with such a move we will make them, stranded
Mr. President Sir, As the leader of Indian Association once again I request for a meeting with you, with few representatives, as per your convenient time, as soon as possible, so that we can present, & detail these issues in a more appropriate manner
Uganda has a huge potential because of its endowment like, Oil, Lake Victoria, the climate, mineral wealth, location, Flora & fauna, a task force of over a million, young educated youths. We as Indian Association would like to pledge to you Mr. President if the government supports us, we will join hands to fulfill & support, your vision.
For example Mr. President Sir, Uganda has quality English speaking youth and thus is a very Ideal destination for BPO & IT activities.I would even say, it is a better destination than India
In this BPO & IT sector, we Indians, with a success story in India, can play a major role & can work towards, revolutionizing the Ugandan economy.
Even E-governance, in Uganda needs to be put on the fast track.
Uganda needs, a world class hospital & some good universities, so that an indigenous Ugandan, has no need to go outside .Our business community, can play a role here, in channelizing & achieving these goals
Your Excellency Sir, the festival of Diwali, carries innumerable lessons, for all of us. So this time, as we light the sacred lamp, lets be aware of, how this lamp, symbolizes the triumph of: Enlightment over blind faith, prosperity over poverty ,knowledge over ignorance , good health and well being over disease and ill health , freedom over bondage
Also as we light the lamp, and pray to the Goddess Laxmi, we need to remember, that, from our position, of well being and prosperity, that there are many who are less fortunate, and deprived, and that we will have to work together, to formulate ways of helping, to respond to the grinding poverty and desperation, in some areas of the country. The Indian Community has always supported the cause to develop this country which we call our home and we will continue to do so.
This year; we should also celebrate, Not just Diwali, but also celebrate the incredible success of multi-racial, multi-cultural Uganda, that is made up of people who have come from all corners of the world, who have all sorts of different faiths, religions and ethnicities.
Mr. President Sir , for the Festival of Lights, please accept our best wishes, for a happy Diwali, for health, and for good fortune, For Uganda may light shine upon all the development plans throughout the coming year.
I wish everyone a very happy Diwali. Nutan Varsh Abhinandan.
Good Evening to you all,
Every Father knows that one day his daughter will find a great man, fly the nest and get married. Every Father also wishes his daughter the best of luck in finding the right boy, one that will make her happy beyond belief and when the time comes, when this happens, all the Father can do is observe and hope for the best of her. Today, that is my role.
All my Guest who are here tonight from the side of Shri Anilji Chordia and Sarojji Chordia, Friends of Aditya, from all over the world, my and Pratibha’s friends and relatives, Friends of Krati and Savi.
Tonight I am blessed and happy to be with my Mother, my in laws, my Friends and Colleagues / guests from Dubai, Canada, America, Congo, South Africa, Bombay, Chennai, Jaipur, Delhi and most special from Uganda, where I have spent 20 years of my cream life. My school and College friends,my CA friends, my colleagues from Vikram Ispat.
You are all welcome and thank you for being with us tonight.
The moment Krati was born was one of the best days of my life. I felt privileged to be a Father to such a beautiful baby girl. In our family Krati is the first girl born in last 4 generations. She is the Laxmi of our family.
Since 19th July 1991, she started growing up, learning to crawl, and then walk and talk. Within a blink of an eye she could tie her own shoelaces and ride a bike. She went to school one morning and the next thing that I remember her in a prom dress and now in a wedding dress.
The day Krati was born, I started dreaming and planning about her wedding. Tonight the D-Day has come. For all these 25 years I have been scribbling bullet points in my Diary as how different and royal her wedding should be.
10 years before we as family had a boat ride to Jag Mandir and I promised Krati to have her wedding at Jag Mandir and today with God’s Grace, we have witnessed her wedding at this historical Palace.
Krati, I remember the day, when I first saw you and you caught my fingers tight, I remember the journey when we took you in a Video Coach to shift from Udaipur to Bombay and you were 6 months old, I remember the journey as how you grew, started walking and talking at Alibag, I remember the time at Alibag, where you were darling, of all our neighbours, I remember days when your mother used to tie you, with a string, while she was arranging the house, I remember the days at Vikram Ispat Colony, where you used to have evening walk with me, while holding my fingers tightly, I remember the day, when we decided your name after deliberations in front of Principle of your first School Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, I remember the day when I took you, to your first day of school on Bajaj scooter, when how excited you were and soon you started crying and refused to say bye to me, when I handled you to the maid of the school. I remember the day when you performed, first time on the stage in a fancy dress and started crying. I remember the day when you used to sit on my lap and, report the daily event in evening. I remember the day when we used to roam on the streets of Bombay, while you were sitted on my shoulders. I remember how you used to show your leadership skills on your fellow colleagues in the Colony. I remember the days when early morning you used to say “Allow me to sleep for another “0” minute”. See how creative she was.
I can’t forget the day when you woke up early morning, dressed up and went to see your sister Savi for the first time in the hospital, carrying a toffee for Savi who was just few hours old.
MOVING OUT OF INDIA/KRATI’S CAREER
Krati at the age of 5 years, moved with us out of India to become what she is today. She landed in French speaking country, Congo, pushed the Dictator Mabutu out of the country and finishing the assigned task took her Dad to Kampala, Uganda so that she can study in English as she wanted to go to United Kingdom. Krati as usual again made us proud, when she got admitted to London School of Economics.
By the time Krati was in Class X she travelled, UK, Europe, USA, Acia Pacific. At the end Class X, we took her to various Medical and Engineering Colleagues in India. We travelled to Ahmedabad, Bombay, Chenai, Bangalore, and Manglore to see various Colleges.
Immediately after the tour,and even before leaving India, she gave her judgment, which she kept as reserved for I don’t know for how many years. She pronounced her verdict as:
After hearing you all, visiting all Colleges and , cities, listening all testimonies of your idol children’s, I came to a conclusion that I cannot go for Medical Course as I have to study for 12 years before I really make money and enjoy my life. Also I cannot see the Blood of Others. The Engineering Degree in India and USA takes 4 years and in United Kingdom it takes 3 years to accomplish, hence I wish to go to United Kingdom for Engineering.
By the way she had one more reason for not studying in India as she saw in Chennai all girls were coming to classes in Salvar Suits.
Krati always have a very good clarity, on the decision making process.
Krati is quite and obedient daughter of ours. For Miss India Uganda pageant in the year ______, she never wanted to participate but to make her Mom happy, she participated and when she was declared as runner’s up she started crying instead of getting happy. She said to us, while crying with tears, all over – “Papa I lost it”.
KRATI IS NOT BEHIND MATERNAL THINGS
As a Indian parent, we never expect thank you from your childrens’, and that is how, we brought up, Krati and Savi, but when Krati came to Uganda, for the first time, after she joined University of Kent in United Kingdom and we celebrated her grand 18th Birthday, she said Thank you Papa, while watching the preparation a night before, I can’t forget the moment. The next day, she gave a very touch speech, for us as a parent, in presence of 350 guests. That’s our Krati.
Krati has no interest, in gossiping or bitching, and hence I can assure my in laws, that she will never create problems.
THANKS TO ADITYA
In December 2015, Krati wanted us to meet Aditya for a dinner in London. My wife Pratibha, saw Aditya coming towards our table, her immediate reaction was, in sign language, by way of putting her thumbs up to all of us.
We know, when Aditya does not call Krati, in Dubai or delay in calling Krati, Krati gets frustrated. This is the power of love. Thank you Aditya, for being with Krati and accepting her.
Just before Krati graduating at LSE, I used to tell Pratibha you, get a boy for Krati, and I will do all the preparation for the grand wedding.
Aditya, let me tell you a fact, I know Krati loves you but be aware that Krati loved me first.
When we introduced and declared, about Aditya coming into the life of Krati, to our family and friends, it was a vow from all of them. All credit was given to Krati’s good nature and deed. Krati made me feel as a proud father. Aditya, the most effective way to remember your wedding anniversary is to forget once.
THANKS TO CHORDIA SB
But with all the Blessing of the Almighty God, Anilji Chordia Sb called us, from India that we should come to Udaipur, and meet them, at Ranakpur Temple. It was at Ranakpur, we both family decided that Krati and Aditya, to get married soon. Thank you Mr. Anilji Chordia and Sarojji for accepting our daughter, as a daughter, in the way she is, and not as a daughter in law.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me first thank Krati and Aditya, for making me the happiest, and proudest Father today. Thank you.
Secondly, to all of you, for joining us, in our celebrations here today. You have all helped, make it such a magnificent occasion. I will give you, a personnel thank you, when I see you.
Let them have, every happiness imaginable, and remember we must look after them well, as it will be they who will choose my retirement home.
Last but not the least, thank you to my beloved daughter Savi for helping me in organizing this event in the way it is. You have been a very good Secretary.
For my Dear Wife, no thank you to you, you deserve Congratulations, Congratulations and Congratulations.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me and Pratibha, as I wish the Bride and Groom all the happiness in the World. The Krati and Aditya.
Krati you are my Simbha the lion king and Aditya you are our son and friend for all the years to come.
Indian & Indian origin community of Uganda, Indian Association Board of Trustees & Executive Committee members
Chairmen & other representatives of all other communities, up country representatives of Indian Association, Indian Association subcommittee’s members and all eminent business personalities of Uganda.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon to you all. I welcome you all to this Annual General Meeting of Indian Association, Uganda
When I became the chairman of Indian Association, I knew we had a hard slog, ahead of us. But I was determined, to give it my all. I was always taught, that it doesn’t matter, what you do in life, as long as you do it, to the best of your ability.
We were disciplined. We were united. And, yes, we did make progress.
I am profoundly, grateful for the privilege of having, led you.
It is with great humility, and honour for me, to be here before you, to give my final speech, as the outgoing chairman, of Indian Association, Uganda.
I agree, with those who say: a good farewell speech, should be like a woman’s skirt. Long enough, to cover the subject, and short enough, to create interest. I will try to stick to this rule.
Today, this AGM is a day of accountability. In a professional world, if we do not perform we always have fear of losing our jobs, or contracts, but in a social organization, many times, we take leadership positions, in society with no fear, of losing or accountability. Promises are dropped, just as casually as they are made, because we see that there are no penalties, for failure. I tried, to change this, in my term of office,and even today at this moment, I am trying to emphasis that, social positions should not be taken, if we do not have time, to do the duty, to our society. Let us practice accountability
When we stood in front of you, at the beginning of our term, we made some pledges. We promised to make Indian Association, Uganda stronger, more open and more visible. Most of our promises list, is ticked and I feel I can step down from the chair, proudly. Our lists of projects, were not, too ambitious, as mentioned, by some members, at that time.
At my investiture, I promised you things. That my work would remain transparent, and responsive to your direction. I pledged that I would remain, focused on the activities, that needed to be done but with more publicity. The brand “Indian” was made visible through effective use of the media, Newspapers, TV’s and radio stations.
We now, have a more controlled system for dissemination of information,
which reaches far & wide through, face book, email, and telephone blocks.
The membership, is more energised, and better informed, thanks to the Namesta, issued periodically.
I hope, I was able to meet, your expectations on these.
Major Activities undertaken
Instead of a dull report, full of numbers and statistics, let me simply say, that these two years, were years of the first times, in many aspects.
Our team was the first one
- To launch Indi Vision in the New Vision
- To celebrate Diwali at State House with the President of Uganda
- To launch Indian Association Face book with a success of having over 11,000 members
- To register members online with maximum details as possible
- To sign an MOU for undertaking CSR activities with 1) UNICEF
- To organize Indian Film Festival
- To run scholarship project with the allocation of 144 scholarship till today
- To run an organized blood donation drive with the achievement of 4000 units of blood collected.
- Also we were the first to launch a photo album of Indian community activities in Uganda on our website
- To participate in the parade at the Kololo Airstrip to celebrate 50 years of Uganda’s Independence
- To participate in the KCCA – carnival by physical presence & also through a float highlighting contribution
- To organize intercommunity sports
- To get a seat for Indian Association on the Board of Uganda manufacturers’ Association.
- To launch a 15 minutes documentary on the Journey & contributions of Indians in Uganda
receive awards & certificates for Indian Association from;
- Visionary of Uganda
- Uganda Red Cross
- Uganda Manufactures Association
- Best float award from KCCA
May today not be the end, but the beginning, of many first’s to come. Let us do something, that makes the world better, than what we found.
While narrating our achievements, I cannot forget the hurdles we faced in the last 2 years. Some of which, needs to be mentioned;
When we organized a dinner, with Hon Smita Irani MP from India, many members were lobbying to get invitations, and if not invited, were blaming Indian Association, but when Indian Association wanted names for participants at the 9th October parade, or carnival of KCCA, members were shying away or finding excuses. Thanks to the members who participated in the parade & KCCA carnival.
Many subcommittees were formed, but some sub of them did not even launch a single project, of theirs. I urge members not to take positions in the Executive Committee, if you do not have time.
Tried hard, to find ways, of getting a property, for Indian Association, but failed completely. On this property, where we sit today, we have shares but it does not belong to us. I request, our board of trustees, to take this project as priority no.1, so that nobody can tell us to vacate.
One of the important unfinished task of our committee is the launch of our business forum. I urge the incoming Executive Committee to focus on this.
About Indian Association
Indian Association has done, and is doing things, but I also need to echo, that Indian Association, can do more.
I urge all our community members, to be proud of Indian Association, as it is the only Indian Association in the world, which represents all people, of Indian origin, of a country. We started our Association 90 years ago, which is alive, with full of energy & vigor, as of now.
Let us use, Indian Association for personal use, no problem, but do not harm Indian Association, in the process, which happens sometimes, and this has a long term, negative effects, on our Association.
Whatever the nationalities, the passports we have, our skins/or DNA routes, from the magnificently, incredible India
In Uganda, whether we have been here for 100 years, or just arrived with the title, “Rochet” given to us, by some of our friends, it doesn’t matter to us. At the end of the day, we are all Indians, through and through. Even the people who call us, Rockets have the same roots.
If we have Indian blood, let us not shy, to be called as Indians. It is not possible, to change the DNA, or the colour of our skin, so why force, this unnatural activity
Indian association, if supported, by all business houses, we jointly, can influence a great number, of government policies. We can jointly add a lot of contributions, in making a strong, Ugandan economy. Jointly, we can face the Chinese math, otherwise we have a lot to lose, in the coming years
I appeal, to all our associated organizations, to use Indian Association name, on all banners and pull up’s, and at all venues of activities, of their association. This would enhance our strength, and would be seen, as united, thus making us powerful.
To everything, there is a season, and a time, to every purpose, under the heaven. Today is the time, for expressing gratitude, to all my well wishers. I would first want to thank all members of our Board of Trustees, the Executive committee members, the Indian High commission, all officers at the Indian High commission, all colleagues of Graphic Systems group, without whose support, I would, not have, achieved anything
Thanks, to all well-wishers, who have sent us, hundreds of emails /Sms& comments, expressing appreciation, to our activities, in the last two years
Thanks, to all the media houses, all my Ugandan friends, who used to call & motivate me, in my various endeavors.
Thanks, in no small measure, to the tireless work of visionaries, like Hon Sanjay Tanna & Pradeep Karia & Mr. Parminder Katongole. These individuals, and others like them, in our association, had the audacity, to see potential, where, so many others, only saw limitations.
I would also like to thank, a very special person in my life, the rock that has held, all the pieces together, to make me, a better chairman and manager, my wife Pratibha Chaplot .She has been my coach, to point out the mistakes, I made, and to keep my spirits high, even when I lost my way. I had her, to remind me, that it was normal to fall; I have to, to rise up again and learn from it.
Many times, I ran out of breath. There were, some moments too, when my eyes were fixed, on something that I wanted, to reach so badly, that I forgot to look, at my feet and accidentally, tripped and fell. But through every curve, I knew that I had, Naren Mehta with me, telling me that, we could keep going despite the fact, that ,we had bad luck, and in spite of the hundreds of bloopers.
I had Tushar Upadhyay, to constantly inject in me, liters of optimism, to inspire me into working, harder, to serve selflessly and supporting me in small & big tasks day and night, with a full and committed heart at all times.
Chirag Dave, to give me an extra foot, along the way.
Kalpesh Mehta, Ashish Shinghvi, Shailesh Salvi Manoj Patel & Ravi Patel, to cheer me, on when, I really needed help.
Sanjeev Patel, Kishore Dattani & Sham Ramarao, to keep me excited about our projects.
Divyang Patel and Dilip Bhandari, to make the road to the finish line so colorful.
Thanks to Nitin Vakheria & Dharmesh Patel & Raju Vaya as they were always, strategically available when I needed them.
Thanks to Hon. Rajni Tailor for helping me & the community.
Mr. Shailendra Kundra & Dr. Prakash Patel for all your motivating words.
I had my whole Executive committee members as driving forces and according me approvals which I wanted. Lastly, I had Miria, my secretary Susan, Cathy & James, as my teammates, working with me, in the course and running for me, when my legs, were giving up. Recruiting, a Uganda administrator Miria, was a very successful experiment. Thank you Miria, for your hard work and support.
These special people gave me all the strength, I needed to endure the obstacles, I was faced with. They are the reason, why I am here, with my head up.
I want to apologize to all, I have hurt, offended or simply appalled, whether wittingly or unwittingly. I don’t think, I’ve made, many new enemies, but I know, I have found, quite a few new friends.
I left this exact spot, two years ago, to begin my race, with a heart beating so fast. Now, the finish line, is just a few meters away, but I am going to cherish, the beautiful experience, that I had gone through, in the years, that passed by.
After executing all the projects, experiencing all the mistakes and victories that came with it, and carrying out the role of being your chairperson, leadership, has been redefined for me. I have learned that indeed, it is about genuine service. It is about doing something, for others with the uncertainty, of being acknowledged, for it or not. It is about seeing, beyond the masks, that people wear and taking risks, by reaching out to them. It is about, tirelessly working, for something that you believe in. It is about being strong, even when people question your character, and your intentions.
It tests the heart – because service is about love. And, as the Indian Association chairperson, it was about, loving more than 25,000 people who used to be, complete strangers to me. These are the little things, that I have picked up, from the track. I never thought, they could ever be, so real to me.
We are one big family here, and each one of you, completes it.
Chance to New comers
Nelson Madela the greatest Icon of our time & I have something in common. We share the same Birthday, and we shall both be leaving office, immediately after one term. A good leader should never stick, to his office permanently, but should allow new comers, to join & take positions, so that we get new & vibrant ideas.
I remember the day I was elected unanimously as the Chairman of Indian Association; I remember the projects we promised for Indian Association at the start of our term, I remember the day when we were in State house celebrating Diwali with His Excellency, I remember the day when Indi Vision was launched, I remember the day when you all contributed more than 300 million Ugx in Just half an hour, I remember all the occasions when all of the different associations invited me for your functions, I remember all the motivating sms /emails /telephone calls you made to me, I remember the day when his Excellency the Ambassador of America addressed our community ,I remember the day when our first issue of Namesta was released, I remember the day when we participated in the Jubilee celebrations of Uganda’s Independence, I remember the day when we had our float at the KCCA carnival, I remember our first ever Indian film festival, I remember the day when we launched our documentary on Indian community in Uganda.
I remember all & will always remember & cherish those moments in my life. Thank you all for putting your trust in me. I always felt proud, to represent you
I will miss, all the invitation, you used to send to the chair, I was holding. My humble request is that, continue sending, me those invitations, now as Rajesh Chaplot
I stand here with a deep sense of humility, and appreciation to the members, of this association, to the people, who placed their trust and faith in me, I am proud, to stand here today, and proclaim that, with your support, I have never let you down, and never will.
And rest assured, I’m not going anywhere. I will remain, an active and vocal force.
It’s been an honor to be your Chairman. I hope, you feel that, I have represented you, and us well. When I step off, this stage today, I would, have reached the finish line. Thank you, for believing in us.
As, I pass the torch on to the New Chairman, my message is; the track is yours. You have dreamt, of the same things, so I wish you luck, as you fulfill your aspirations. A new course, lies ahead of you, but know that, you have nothing to fear. May God, use you well, as an instrument of His plan, for the next years.
So as you leave this Annual General Meeting, my last message to you as chairman, is this: hold your heads up high, be strong and of good courage, unite behind a new leader, and then fight, to build a better Indian Association. Go for it, let’s shoot for the stars, and if we miss, will at least land on the moon.
And so, I end my term as your chairperson, in the words of St. Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have run the race, I have kept the Faith.”
Once again, I thank you for trusting me; and your trust was the wind, beneath my wings
It’s been an honour to be your chairman.
Long live Indian Association, long live its members .Thank you all & God bless.
H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,
H.E the High Commissioner of India to Uganda Mr. Ravi Shankar,
Hon Sanjay Tanna, Mr. Parmindar Katongole & All dignitaries and holders of high office,
Indian Association Board of trustees, Chairman Mr. Chirag Dave and the Executive committee members,
Captains of various business houses & communities present,
Ladies & Gentlemen
Your Excellency Sir,
First and foremost, we would like to congratulate you upon your landslide victory in the last election. Under your tenure, Uganda will continue to develop & maintain national unity and social stability. Our community looks forward in working with you to strengthen our ties of friendship and solidarity
Your Excellency with your leadership, we are optimistic that the future is bright & promising. Our great hope is that together we can address key challenges of common interest, which we face as Uganda, for the betterment of our people and Uganda as a whole.
Your Excellency, we look Indian because of our Brown Skin, but we are nationals of many other countries like America, British, Canada, Kenya & Uganda etc. The only common thing among us is that we are all of Indian Origin
In Hindi we refer to our Birth place as Janam Bhoomi, which are in different countries, but what we have in common, is that Uganda is our Karama Bhoomi; i.e. our work place & adopted home
Looking around, I can see our business people, who have given, enormous amounts of contributions, in terms of business & commerce to this country. People of Indian origin, around the world, are known for their successful, business accumenship.
Now let me talk a bit about some myths about Africa in the Western world and our role as Ambassadors of Uganda
Africa in the past used to be known for
- Countries meant for Tourism
- Tribal war zone
- Uneducated population
But today Africa has
- Stable Government
- Right policies & regulatory bodies in place
- Discovered huge natural resources & minerals
- Huge mass of educated youth
And due to this Africa is the future of the world.
We all seated here and celebrating Diwali at State House with HE are the Ambassadors of Uganda and need to change the perception about Africa in general and sell Uganda to the International Business community
At this juncture, let me highlight & mention that according to one Harvard University research; Uganda & India both top the list of the fastest growing economies of the world.
Uganda has a huge potential because of its endowment like, Oil, Lake Victoria, the climate, mineral wealth, location, Flora & fauna & a task force of over a million, young educated youths.
We as Indian Association would like to pledge to you Mr. President that, we will join your hands to fulfill & support, your vision.
On this occasion of Diwali Celebrations at State House, I would like to inform our business people that on Wednesday 6th Dec as the chairman of a Technical Working Group of PIRT on “competiveness & ease of doing business in Uganda”. I presented our concerns of the BUBU guidelines to HE and he immediately advised PPDA to ensure that all manufacturing companies which are located in Uganda are to be considered as “Local Service Provider”
Your Excellency Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you in a special way. You have really helped to make things run smoothly for investors in Uganda. You have taken us as your own children. Our business community, really appreciates your support & help for streamlining important business matters, wherever needed
(Can I request us all to stand up and give a big Thank you to His Excellency the President)
Thank you Sir once gain
Your Excellency Sir, Tonight I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention some of our key proposition and appeals
- Our Women wing, Indian Women Association, have been actively involved in various charitable activities and spend more than Ugx 500M/per annum in various charitable activities
Your Excellency Sir, the Indian Women Association own property at Nakasero, since 1956. Recently i.e. last year some unsolicited element created a fake title of the same land and tried to occupy the property. In the night, they demolished a part of their building and humiliated our women. We humbly beg for your support to help resolve this matter so that our ladies can restart their charitable activities from the premises.
Your Excellency Sir, the Chairperson of Indian Women Association is here & she has a dossier which she will like to handover to your office with a request for help.
- Since beginning of this year, department of Immigration does not have a Board and thus we the investors are unable to renew our certificate of residence. This is generating a lot of inconvenience and hardships to us
It is our humble appeal that the Immigration Board maybe appointed as soon as possible
- Your Excellency Sir, if possible our Indian business forum, would like to play, an active advisory role, in URA, UIA, Tourism Board & The National Budget, PIRT & other such institutions. Indian Businesses are important stakeholders for these organizations and hence our input will surely be instrumental. Your Excellency Sir, Indian Business Houses would be honored, if they are given a position on the Board of these institutions. We assure you; we would play an important role & contribute to the economy of the country.
- Your Excellency Sir, we have one humble proposition. The people of Indian origin have been part of the development of Uganda for the last 100 Yrs. The first speaker of the Parliament of Uganda was Hon. Narendra M. Patel, a person of Indian origin, Later Mr. Shafiq Arein was being appointed as a minister in the Government of Uganda. Keeping this same tradition some of our brothers of Ugandan origin, have been in active politics like Mr. Pradeep Karia, Mr. Sanjay Tanna & Mr. Parminder Katongole. As the Indian community, we humbly wish, if our request can be considered for some representation in the Government Ministry.
- Your Excellency Sir, in Uganda we have around 20 temples of different faiths some of which are over 100 Yrs old and the First in East Africa. We also have one of our temples on the top of the hill & very near to the State House, Entebbe.
Your Excellency Sir, Our Community has not been fortunate to worship with you, we therefore would like to officially invite you, to one of our temples to worship with us for the continued blessing of Uganda and You Mr. President.
- The Indian Association of Uganda appreciates your government’s continued effort and commitment in facilitating peace & development. Indian Association as an organization has been in Uganda for the last 90 years engaging in various charitable activities with the Indigenous communities.
It’s with this back ground that we humbly request Your Excellency to be allocated at least 1 acre of Land within the city Centre of Kampala City to build a community hall to accommodate and handle most of our community activities
- Your Excellency Sir, in your speeches & programs you have continuously echoed the importance of Agriculture and in your statement identifying the 10 strategic bottlenecks the No. 8 talks about the under development of Agriculture. You also mentioned that there is no complete commercialization of agriculture, no irrigation, low use of fertilizers, poor disease control etc
Your Excellency Sir, Uganda recently hosted the CII Exim Bank of India Business Conclave. We the Indian Business Forum with the support of Indian High commission ensured to bring Indian business delegates with expertise in Irrigation, Fertilizers & pesticides
Also recently many investors from India have invested in Agriculture especially in cotton, tea, rice etc
Also noted is point No. 7 of the 10 strategic bottlenecks. You have mentioned about the under developed service sector. Your Excellency Sir, our business community is trying to do something in that areas especially in regards to the Medical sector. We have established Norvick hospital on Bombo Road, International Medical Centre(IHK) in Namuwongo and Victoria Hospital in Kamwonya, Agarwal Eye Hospital and many Dental Hospitals are there to offer specialized medical care.
Very soon Agha Khan Hospital a Multi-specialty hospital will be operational
- As noted in your statement identifying the 10 strategic bottlenecks Your Excellency, We the business community also face the same problem of non-availability of skilled man power. As said earlier, Uganda has a huge number of Educated Youth, but how many of them have Technical/Managerial/professional or Entrepreneurial skills. This gap in skills needs to be addressed. Uganda has a project called” Skilling Uganda”
Various MDA’s are working for this project in their own way. But this Project skilling Uganda lacks a coordinated effort. It needs an IT enabled Management solution to coordinate all stake holders like Ministry of Education, Vocational Institute, demand of Industry, Youths desirous of getting skills, unemployed skilled workers & various donors.
Your Excellency Sir, Our Indian IT companies can certainly play a major role in this project of “Skilling Uganda”
- Your Excellency Sir, today is a day of celebration, and not a day, to discuss business. Our business community, in a small group, of say 25 business houses, seeks an appointment, with you to bring to your attention, some other business concerns & suggestions, which need immediate attention.
Your Excellency Sir, We have all contributed to the Ugandan Story. At the heart of the Story, is our belief, in Uganda, belief, that we can turn vulnerability and despair, into confidence and hope; belief, that out of the trauma of separation, we could build, a modern metropolis and a beautiful home; belief, that whatever the challenges of this uncertain world, we can thrive and prosper, as one united people.
Let this belief and spirit, burn bright in each one of us, and guide us forward, for the years to come.
Together, let us be the pioneers, of our generation. Together, let us create, a brighter future, for all Ugandans.
Mr. President Sir, please accept our best wishes and good fortune on the occasion of Diwali; the festival of lights.
A very happy Diwali & A Happy New Year.