The bubble burst in 2008 and financially Britain woke from a collective dream of high standards of living to the harsh reality that the party was over.
Over 1.5 million Indians residing in Britain too suffered the tremors of recession but, with their prudence in spending and dislike for successive mortgages and loans showed more resilience and escaped from the extreme rigours of the credit crunch.
As Lord Bikhu Parekh summing up the tumultuous 2008 for Indians said, “Indians have been economically hit too and consequently their clout has gone down. But at the same time because they are more in family businesses and are averse to debts they have better chances for quick recovery.
Lord Swraj Paul created history by becoming the first Indian Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords. Arvind Adiga won the Booker Prize, Salman Rushdie won the Best of Bookers for the second time.
The diplomat Vikas Swaru became a household name when the movie Slumdog Millionaire based on his novel Q&A became a milestone in British film industry. The wax figure of Salman Khan found a place with that of Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya and Shah Rukh at Madame Tussauds. And a Bollywood training academy was opened in Ealing by Anupam Kher.
The Indo-UK bilateral trade continued to burgeon. Ratan Tata won over even the hard-nosed right-wingers when he acquired Jaguar and Land Rove, the two most prized British icons and was praised for the suavity with which he treated the workers. Charities set up by Indians collectively raised almost a million pounds for charitable works in India. Raj Loomba was honoured with CIE and Surina Narula was awarded MBE for their social and charity work. Over 35 British Indians figured in the Sunday Times Rich List with Mittal at the top and Hindujas at fourth slot.
Bhaskar Das Gupta, a senior financial consultant agreed with Lord Parekh. He said while the “situation is grim, with millions losing jobs in the City, fortunately most Indians who lost jobs there or were declared redundant by companies were taken over by companies like Infosys or Wipro.”
Lord Megnad Desai was succinct. “Shahs of corner shops are suffering due to the meltdown. But, Indians on an average are richer than the whites, because they are savers.” The conclusion is obvious.