Britain’s newest peer swore his oath of allegiance on an ancient Hindu Scriptures —the Rig Veda.
At 46, Jitesh Gadhia is the youngest Briton of Indian origin in the House of Lords, where the average age of 800 peers is about 69. Gadhia has been part of some of the largest investment flows between the UK and India and also helped craft Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech last November to a full house at Wembley Stadium.
Gadhia, a businessman of Gujarati descent has made history by pledging allegiance to the British Monarch, using the ancient Vedic text of the Rig Veda, considered the world’s oldest religious scripture dating back to 1500 BC. He was accompanied by his 90-year grandmother Gulabben Gadhia, mother Hansaben and wife Angeli.
Gadhia’ s parents came to Britain in 1972 when Idi Amin expelled Asians from Uganda. He was 2-years old at that time.
He was picked by former Prime Minister David Cameron to join the upper chamber of the British parliament and officially sworn in officially on Monday 12th September.
“Having multiple generations of my family with me for this ceremony was hugely important. I wanted a copy of the original Sanskrit text of the Rig Veda but my research took me to this edition,” he explained.
The 167-year-old copy of the Rig Veda that Gadhia took with him and later gifted to the Parliament has special significance. It is a copy of the first edition published in 1849 by Max Mueller, the German academic and pioneer of Sanskrit and Vedic studies in Europe. It is in Devanagari script, and was published under the patronage of the East India Company.
Newly created peers, dressed in red ermine robes, take a writ from the serving monarch, called the Letters Newly created peers, dressed in red ermine robes, take a writ from the serving monarch, called the Letters Patent, to be read out in front of the assembled chamber. As part of the investiture ceremony, new members pledge their allegiance to the monarch and sign the roll of peers and the House of Lords code of conduct.
“A peerage is a job, not an honour. I will be joining Parliament at a defining moment in British history as we grapple with the new realities post-Brexit. “
“One of my priorities is to help strengthen our international economic links, notably between UK and India and finally, and certainly not least, to connect parliament and key decision makers with 1.5 million British Indians.” He says
Fellow peer and noted economist Meghnad Desai welcomed his new colleague. “He’s a very well-deserved candidate,” Lord Desai said. “He knows the British economic scene and he will get enough opportunity to shape public policy and debates. This is always a very fulfilling job.”