The Chronicle – “Almost took award”

A Tyneside campaigner has narrowly missed out on a top award for his work in promoting racial harmony. Davender Ghai, president of the Newcastle based Anglo Asian Friendship Society, was a finalist for a GG2 Leadership and Diversity Award.

Hosted by the Asian Media and Marketing Group, the ceremony recognises talent within ethnic minority communities.

Mr Ghai, 71, of Gosforth, who has been leading a fight for open-air funeral pyres in the UK despite ill health and financial problems, was one of two people shortlisted in the category of achievement through adversity. At a ceremony in London, the prize went to Narendra Thakrar, executive chairman of Shree Vallabh Nidhi UK. The organisation opened the £16m Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir temple in Wembley earlier this year.


Before the award ceremony, Narendra Thakrar the chairman of Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir, has sent a letter to Baba Ghai congratulating him on the upcoming win. To the surprise of the recipients involved the award went to… Narendra. The committee chairman was Remi Ranger…

8th July 2010

Baba Daveinder Kumar Ghai
Founding President
Anglo Asian Friendship Society

Respected Baba Ghai,

It is our pleasure to congratulate your victory in the Court of Appeal victory on behalf of British Hindus and Hindu cremation rites. We are grateful for your praiseworthy efforts and sacrifices made in order to achieve this landmark victory for Hindu Sanatan Dharma, human rights and freedom of choice.

Hindu Sanatan Dharma respectfully embraces a wide range of beliefs, traditions and practices. Nevertheless, there is significant demand for designated funeral pyre cremations amongst our congregation and we are united in our support for this important cause.

The sanskara rituals of Hindu Sanatan Dharma form an ancient spiritual science, rigorously preserved in the hands of ritual pandits (Hindu clergy) and thrive throughout India and other enlightened countries across the world.

We urge central and local government authorities to collaborate constructively with you towards establishing designated sites where funeral pyre cremations can be performed safely, respectfully and responsibly.

It is an honour to stand with you in the cause and assist by any means in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Narendra Thakrar

Executive Chairman, Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir

Vice-Admiral Charles Montgomery CBE ADC,
Narendra Thakrar, Davender Kumar Ghai

Vice-Admiral Charles Montgomery CBE ADC,
Narendra Thakrar, Ramniklal Solanki CBE and Lisa Aziz

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