No rich Mittals in British Happy List!

Monday, 28 April 2008, 04:55 Hrs
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London: A former businessman who works for India's development and a housewife who launched a cultural association while nursing her ailing husband are two ethnic Indians figuring in a Happy List launched Sunday to showcase "values other than materialism".

"Who needs rich lists, when there are so many other things that are worth celebrating?" the Independent on Sunday newspaper said introducing its list of 100 people who, it said, had helped make a Britain "a happier place to live in".

The list came out on the day the Sunday Times published its annual Rich List of the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain - headed by Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, a man whose personal wealth is valued at an astonishing 27.7 billion pounds.

But, said the Independent on Sunday, it was time "someone produced an antidote".

"The Wealth List, Power List, Influence List, Celebrity List... almost every week some publication or other is worshipping at the shrine of the wealthy and famous," the newspaper said.

"So here it is: the Happy List, celebrating those Britons who have given back, enhanced the lives of others and realised that in an acquisitive society there's a crying need for values other than mere materialism."

Figuring in the list, which includes charity workers, health workers, and environmentalists and entertainers among other categories, are Ram Gidoomal, a former businessman, and Lalita Patel, who spreads awareness of Asian culture.

Gidoomal, who runs the Christmas Cracker charity, is in the category of volunteers/time givers.

"Combining fundraising and youth education, his novel charity saw child volunteers set up restaurants using donated food - raising more than ?500,000 for development in India. Motivated by this success, they set up newspapers and radio stations. The former businessman was shocked into action after visiting a slum in India," said the list.

A second ethnic Indian on the Happy List is Lalita Patel, who runs the Bromley Asian Cultural Association.

Named for excellence in community service, Patel is described as a "devoted wife who, while caring for her husband after he had a brain haemorrhage, founded an association to bring members of the Asian community together."

"It has grown from having just 10 members to more than 120 and from being a social meeting place to offering a range of activities, including IT, yoga and swimming lessons," the newspaper said.
Source: IANS
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