The Call To Civic Duty and Public Service

This speech, this audience, this place – my whole life I had waited to give. At the House of Lords to the Young Patidar/Patel Federation last week on Civic Duty. Why? Because the greatest honour is always to speak to your own.

This Parliament decided long before you were born whether you would be born free or not. It was this Parliament that decided your independence. If you do not think the big decisions in human history and even your family history have been and continue to be made in this Parliament then you are wrong and dangerously wrong.

It is why your voice must be counted here. Your Indian forefathers fought for the Independence of Britain in the Second World War. Before your Indian Independence could be granted, you had to fight for Britain’s independence. Do not think your voice has no right to be heard in this Parliament. Your bloodline is your birthright. Indians should never ever feel inferior to anyone.

How dare anybody determine our independence? How dare anyone every make slaves of us? How dare anyone determine whether you of the oldest of all civilisations of all faiths should be born free or not? In this Parliament – let your voice be heard here. Our masters have become our allies. Now our duty is to lift them and ourselves by the same action.

The secrets to success. They are simple. First earn this name. Remember who you are. For me it’s simple. And every family has a story out of which they gain a sense of who they are, and what they must do in life – what is their duty and their right – you do not have to be a Royal Family to have that motto – ‘Mon Deau et Mon Droit’ (My God and My Right). For me it is that my maternal grandmother’s uncle is Sardar Patel.

That my paternal grandfather and great grandfather were in the British Army, part of the British Independence movement. Success is about continuing your family’s story in your actions.

The secret of success is that someone breathes easier because you have lived. Your parents do because you have top grades. So what? Well done. Now is time to do something really successful. Broaden how many can breathe easier beyond your family. Impact more people.

We speak too often nowadays of human rights. You are here with access to Parliament. You have no right to speak of human rights – you should speak of human duties. Your duties now that you are well educated bankers and developers and accountants and doctors and auditors? You have only duties – the duty to earn your name and be truly successful – ensure a community, no, a country breathes easier because you have lived. You have all the tools you need, because you have your education, now go and finish the job Sardar Patel and the greatest generation of global Indians that ever lived started. So you know success and earn your right to be free and Independent.

Alpesh B Patel

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