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It was with great sadness that Sewa Day learned the news that Arjan Karsandas Vekaria (Arjan bhai) had passed away while he was travelling in India on Saturday the 23rd November 2013. Our condolences to Jayaben, Panna and Khyati Vekaria and to Arjanbhai’s family and friends. A founding supporter of Sewa Day, Arjan bhai will be missed by all. Sewa Day Chairman, Arup Ganguly pays tribute to Arjan bhai and the impact he had on us all at Sewa Day.
In memorium of Sriman Arjan Karsandas Verkaria
6 December 1954 – 23 November 2013
Farewell to Our Bondhu…
“Bondhu” means friend in Bengali and with Arjan Vekaria’s passing over the weekend Sewa Day has lost a great friend, supporter and benefactor.
Greatness comes in many forms. All of us have at different times been inspired by the stories and teachings of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Swami Vivekananda to name but a few. However, greatness and inspiration sometimes comes in the form of much less vaulted individuals. I believe Arjan bhai was such a man. A founding member and subsequent chairman of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Arjan worked tirelessly for the UK Hindu community and the positive impact of his work can be felt right across communities and faith groups – he was one of the most energetic proponents of social cohesion. Indeed, recognition of his work in this field lead to his appointment as one of 13 faith advisers by UK Communities Secretary. The huge number of messages of condolence from people all over the world and all walks of life are a testimony to how he touched so many lives.
To say that his death is a loss to the community at large is an understatement. His loss is devastating for the community here and anyone who has been involved in social action and/ or faith projects in the UK for any length of time will know what I’m talking about. Certainly, just from the perspective of Sewa Day, we will miss his support and guiding hand. He was on board with our initiative from day one. An ardent fan of what we were and are trying to achieve, he used his network and knowledge to promote our actions and to put us in touch with those he believed would further our cause. Thank you Arjan bhai from everyone from in the Sewa day team. We will strive to continue on in the spirit you imbibed in us.
On a personal level, Arjan and I were always overjoyed to see each other. He always addressed me as “bondhu” and although, in relative terms, I hadn’t know him that long he quickly became a mentor to me. Arjan bhai inspired me (and many others) to be better human beings. For that I thank you sir. I just regret we will not be able to catch up for dinner next week as we had planned. As Gauri Das ji at ISKCON said to me on Sunday, “never expected…it’s just one moment of time that separates us from the other side”.
He was a larger than life character who seemed to be everywhere at the same time! I will never forget him showing up for the first Sewa Day (2010) in full British commando regalia! He and the SKLP community had organised projects in support of the British Army personnel in Afghanistan, so he took the opportunity to fulfil some boyhood fantasies. He had great sense of humour.
In the prime of his life, he was a chap who burnt the proverbial candle at both ends – for his family, his community and his business (a character trait, incidentally, that his daughters seem to have inherited). So prolific was he that I often asked him, “when the heck do you sleep brother?!” I guess he’ll finally lay his head to rest now.
God bless you.
Arup K, Ganguly
Chairman – Sewa Day.