01 December, 2020

The Benign Foreign Hand

Indians in Britain and the US give an overwhelming response to calls for aid for Gujarat's victims

The Benign Foreign Hand
When grisly TV pictures conveyed the mammoth scale of devastation in Gujarat, Indian expatriate families promptly drove down to the Swaminarayan temple in Willesden and the Kutch temple in Kenton, London, donating what is perhaps the most disposable of items: old and discarded clothes. Soon the heap of clothes became so huge that youngsters organised teams to cart them into the basement, where others sorted it out and ladies sat stitching bags to put them in. But it was to no avail: the cost of flying down the clothes wasn't only prohibitive, but it was discovered that Gujarat didn't need them anyway.

"The only kind of help that really matters is cash," says Shantoo Ruparell of the National Council of Gujarati Organisations. "That way people in Gujarat can decide what to spend on." And cash from the prosperous Gujarati community of Britain was coming in aplenty, with estimates of the total collection ranging from £2 to £10 million. Donors have a bewildering range of charities to choose from. The Indian High Commission in London was pressing for donations to the Prime...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Sanjay Suri

Latest Magazine

December 07, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section