Many of the elders around Lajpur worked on the railway line to Surat, so had that connection with the British, and then they went to England to work in textiles. My father visited England, but he didn’t like the weather there, living in a small house and having to be inside all the time. So he came back and I was born in Lajpur.
I left because I married an English girl. Her family is from Lajpur, her father went to work in textiles and all his children were born in England. She’s born and bred Yorkshire. She visited here once but doesn’t like it. It’s too hot! I’ve been living in England since the early ’80s. It’s a long time so the only thing I miss is my parents, and I’ve no choice about English weather because I live there.
There’s a big difference between people born in Gujarat and those born in England, in every department. In Gujarat the boys are business people. The English companies come and they want to get established so the local people get involved in that. That’s why Mr Modi is encouraging investment from foreign companies, a lot of it in Gujarat. Whereas in England they go through the system and get educated and do all different kinds of work where you can make money.
But there are also a lot of people around Lajpur who work in a factory and have just enough money for food. If they’re sick there’s no money for health care. So it’s through the foreign connections that people find money to build hospitals, orphanages and so on, like in Lajpur, Alipor and Navsari.