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Britain's Indians flaunt riches

india Updated: Oct 30, 2006 03:13 IST
Vijay Dutt
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Britain's super-rich Indians now have a new destination — Northwood. They are transforming the quiet west London suburb into the country's first ‘millionaires’ row’ for a single ethnic minority.

Homes worth over £1 million (Rs 8.5 crore) on Astons Road in Northwood are being snapped up, and then pulled down to make way for mansions worth up to £5 million — complete with indoor pools, sweeping marble staircases and extravagant landscaped gardens, reported the Sunday Times.

The latest invasion of Northwood is a natural corollary of British Indians becoming truly rich, with increasing political, economic and social worth.

Wealthy Indians have been "infiltrating" many of London's exclusive upmarket areas, which even till the late 1970s did not have a single Indian owning property there. According to an estimate, Indians now own properties worth around £1 trillion in Britain.

Northwood residents claim nine out of 10 new buyers on Astons Road are Indians, eager to take advantage of the area's classy private schools, and some of the best golf courses within the motorway.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the National Ethnic Minority Task Force and MP for Leicester East, said: "What the Moor Park community shows us is the real nature of what happens to first-generation immigration. They have shown through hard work, dedication and enterprise that they are first-class contributors to our country (Britain)."

Lord Bikhu Parekh, who has studied Asians in Britain extensively, told HT: "The trend of developing a suburb of their own is typical of many minorities. They live close to one another for reasons of security. This was true of the Jews. Such areas gradually acquire an Indian ambiance that leads to the building up of a community. Worship places, communal halls and associations also crop up."

Raj Loomba, who owns a sprawling house today, with a foyer resembling a courtyard in a Rajasthan palace, on Astons Road, had started off as an ice-cream van driver. He later made it big in the garment export business.

Rami Ranger, who made his money shipping cargo, owns a designer house with a manicured lawn in Moor Park. Kulwinder Dhadwal, a management consultant and property developer, has been looking at houses on Astons Road. "The Indian community is still fairly conservative about displaying its wealth, but that's changing," he said.

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