Asians had a tough time being loyal to the British rulers and quietly helping the African freedom fighters.
Lord Petre spoke of the gratitude he was aware those present felt to the British Government for assisting their immigration at such a dire time, but also said he felt this should not overshadow the gratitude due from Britain to the Ugandan Asians, who had brought their knowledge, innovation, and enthusiasm for work, and had contributed so much to the country since their arrival.
Lord Petre stressed that the government’s obligation to take the refugees was fulfilled. Praful Patel, Chair of the India Overseas Trust that has organised the year-long activities, welcomed Lord Petre’s tribute and added: ‘This occasion is a major event for the British Asian community and for Indo-British relations.
It should also be noted that this one year celebration was an initiative by British Uganda Asians in the UK.
Many British politicians could not attend because of heavy Parliamentary schedule in both Houses.
Since their arrival in Britain, the thousands of people forced to leave Uganda, with no more than £50 and one suitcase of belongings, have made lifelong friendships with those who welcomed them to their towns and homes in a dark hour.’ The Trust also received a special message from the Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: ‘The British Uganda Asian community has made an enormous contribution to our society and offers us a wealth of examples of hard work and charity, yielding real success and lasting achievement.
This plaque and this celebration are a fitting culmination of a year of commemoration of the momentous events of 1972.’ Marcella M’Rabety, Stansted Airport’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said: “Stansted Airport is very pleased to support the India Overseas Trust as it marks the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda.
Asians continued to flourish in business and the professions.
In the next general elections in 1979, an Asian lawyer, Krishan Gautama won a parliamentary seat.
We’re also pleased be the home of the commemorative plaque that remembers this special anniversary.” Jenny Kartupelis MBE, who has been Director of the commemorative programme, concluded the ceremony by thanking everyone who had made it possible and paying tribute to the vision and determination of Mr Patel and the Committee in planning the historic year that had recognised the achievements of so many people.