We British Asians Look with Sorrow at the Spread of Divorce, Children Born outside Marriage and What Might Be Taught about Homosexuality. I Wish the Party I Love Would Do More to Support the Family; as Jack Straw Praises Traditional Asian Family Values .

Daily Mail (London), March 24, 2000 | Go to article overview

We British Asians Look with Sorrow at the Spread of Divorce, Children Born outside Marriage and What Might Be Taught about Homosexuality. I Wish the Party I Love Would Do More to Support the Family; as Jack Straw Praises Traditional Asian Family Values .


Byline: LORD PAUL

JACK STRAW'S wise words about the strength and resilience of the traditional Asian family will be welcomed by the millions of British subjects whose origins lie in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It is one more sign that this Government genuinely believes that we are a legitimate part of this country and our values and attitudes are an asset, not a source of embarrassment.

Those of us who are ourselves immigrants - I am one, I came here in 1966 - know how right the Home Secretary is to emphasise the importance of marriage to the stability and progress of the Asian community.

We desperately needed the backing of our wives and children in those early days. Quite simply, we would not have survived and prospered without the support provided by marriage - proper, traditional marriage.

And, without the discipline imposed on us by the knowledge that we had a continuing legal and religious obligation (as well as an obligation founded on love) to support our wives and children, we would certainly not have found the strength and the stability needed to build up mighty businesses and to plan for our domestic futures in our new homeland.

We would not have settled in as well as we have, we would not have contributed as much and, I suspect, we would not have been as readily accepted.

That is why I am convinced that the Government must do much more to recognise and support the institution of marriage and pay less attention to those trendy liberals who argue that all 'relationships' are much of a muchness.

They are not. Marriage is a unique public declaration of commitment and I hope that the Government I support will do more to emphasise that uniqueness.

In my case, I came to this country in 1966 to be with my beloved daughter, Ambika, who was being treated for leukaemia here. When she died, my wife and I were so heartbroken that we determined to stay on to be near her. That is why I founded my business here instead of going back home to join the family firm.

Thirty years later I was in a position to hand over what had become a commercial giant to the day-to- day control of my three sons, Ambar, Akash and Angad. But they insisted that I stay on as chairman and they give me due deference.

I know they do not always think I am right, but they accept that I am a source of experience and wisdom and have been around for a long time. Above all, they know that I try to think like the head of an extended family with responsibilities which extend down the generations.

I am proud, not embarrassed, to say that mine is a family business which I hope will, in time, be handed on to my grandchildren. I believe that extended families can run and build businesses with long-term views and a clear sense of social responsibility.

In the societies from which we came, it was generally accepted that marriage (not liaisons, continuing or casual) was the foundation stone on which our communities,our nations and our prosperity were built. …

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