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Banquets of benevolence

world Updated: Nov 17, 2008 02:04 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Over £100,000 was raised at a dinner hosted by Surina Narula and a fashion show for the Consortium for Street Children for protecting homeless children from 52 countries, including India from atrocities and abuse. Nearly £200,000 was collected at a Ball organised by Nisha Paul of Magic Bus, for the welfare of street children in Mumbai and a few smaller events are yet to take place.

“Such collection with recession biting everyone is indeed commendable. It shows that credit crunch cannot dim the innate desire to help in humanitarian causes,” said Barry Gardiner, MP and chair of the Labour Friends of India.

Greater London Mayor, Boris Johnson makes it a point to “cycle down” to charity functions for Indian causes.

At the Diwali banquet hosted by the Loomba Trust, to provide education to over 3,600 children of poor Indian widows, Cherie Blair said, “We should light a candle…and give to them a ray of hope.”

Tessa Jowell at Magic Bus personally appealed for generous contributions. In recognition of their efforts Narula was honoured with an MBE and Loomba with a CBE.

It took nearly 150 years after the Royal Caledonian Ball, the first charity-related event organised in London in 1840s to help Scottish causes, for a few Indians here to also start hosting charity events. It is to the credit of the likes of Narula who have diverted their energy, time, money for philanthropy that these events have become the most awaited ones in the London calendar. Bidders at after-dinner auctions dip deep in their pockets. Bids were high for offer for golf with Mark Rampraksh, dinner with Ian Botham, following Surina Narula’s appeal at the Consortium for Street Children dinner:

“It is a travesty that numbers of innocent children continue to work helplessly on the streets of their countries. The injustices and hardships that they face go beyond belief… they are subjected to lives of social rejection and deemed as deviants.”

Major banks like Barclays, Deutsche Bank, corporate bodies London First and wealthy NRIs and ministers are now sponsoring the India charity events. In fact, ‘Jeopardy In Jaisalmer’ which funds preservation of Jaisalmer architecture is run by UK residents.

To them there are no boundaries for giving help to those who need it.