Swraj Paul one of the richest Indians in the UK has been awarded the Lifetime Contribution-Midlands Business Awards 2019 for his contribution in the Midlands region.
NRI Industrialist Swraj Paul, one of the richest Indians in the UK, has been awarded for his lifetime contribution in the Midlands region that is home to a large Indian diaspora. Also a member of the House of Lords, Paul received the Lifetime Contribution-Midlands Business Awards 2019 from Harj Sandher, founder of the awards, at an event in Leicester on March 8.
Paul, the founder of Caparo Group of industries, who set up his first companies in Birmingham in the 1960s recalled the entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian community in the region, and said, “I first began business in the Midlands nearly 50 years ago. It was then a very different place but there was a feature that I found particularly encouraging – it was a region of opportunity.”
“In the decades since then, we have had good times and difficult times, but that attribute remains an essential part of our commercial and social DNA and it is what sustains our economic environment; and we must nourish it,” he added.
The 88-year-old is also the Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, one of the leading institutions of higher education in the region. He was the first person of Indian origin to hold the post of deputy speaker of the House of Lords. In 1983, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India.
After Idi Amin’s policy of expulsion of Asians in Uganda in the early 1970s, a large number of Indian-origin people moved to Leicester and the Midlands. Since then the Asians have revived the region’s economy and culture in such a way that Leicester is now seen as the ‘poster town’ of UK’s multicultural policies.
“The Midlands is perhaps the centre of this country’s multiculturalism. Over the years, one of the extraordinary features of this has been how different people have flourished in its social and economic ethos and yet retained their values and their cultural essence,” said Paul.
“It gives me some pride to see how well those of us who came from the Indian sub-continent have become involved with, learned from and contributed to the Midlands, particularly here in Leicester”, he added.
Along with his seat in the House of Lords and chancellory of the institution, Lord Paul places on the Sunday Times Rich List as the 38th wealthiest person in the UK.
Soon after the Pulwama attacks, Paul donated INR 100,000 each to the families of victims of the terror attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Pulwama, a small district in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.