Anvi Prabhu

Last Friday, The Bhavan, London bid farewell with a grand celebration to Sri Joginder Sanger,
who retired from his position as the Chairman after years of service.
The evening began with prayers by Executive Director Sri. Mattur Nandakumara. Sri.
Subhanu Saxena, who is now succeeding Joginder ji as the Chairman, gave a warm welcome
address. He expressed his gratitude to Joginder ji for his leadership of many decades and his
selfless service to The Bhavan. He felt it was a great challenge to walk on the path paved by
Dalal ji and Joginder ji.
The felicitation speeches included short words by Sri Virendra Sharma (member of
parliament), Lord Dholakia OBE PC (Patron of The Bhavan UK), Lord Swarj Paul PC
(Patron of The Bhavan UK), Barry Gardener MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Sri Varinder Singh
(Executive Committee Member, The Bhavan UK), Mr Gopichand Hinduja (Industrialist),
Message conveyed from Sri Indra Sethia (Executive Committee Member, The Bhavan UK)
which is also given below in full, and by Executive Director Dr. Mattur Nandakumara.
Nanda ji also mentioned that Bhavan’s President Sri Mehta and Director General Dastur ji
have thanked Joginder ji for his services and wished him the best, and also welcomed
Subhanu as The Bhavan’s new Chairman.
What was evident in everyone’s speeches was the indelible mark Joginder ji had created
during his time. His impeccable business sense, combined with the qualities of humility,
helpfulness and friendliness made him a great leader. Under his supervision, The Bhavan
saw remarkable financial growth, and the inauguration of the annual Diwali Banquet which, to this day, is an extremely memorable and successful day in the Bhavan’s calendar.
Joginder ji responded to all the felicitations and shared a few of his thoughts, reminisced on his long journey at The Bhavan. He felt it was the greatest honour to serve The Bhavan, a place where everyone who has love and regards for our culture is always openly welcomed. He felt that by serving The Bhavan he was serving himself.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Dr Surekha Mehta (Vice-Chair, The Bhavan UK) which was followed by a short cultural program by The Bhavan students and dinner for all the guests.
The message conveyed by Sri. Indra Sethia, shared by Smt. Shanti at the program, throws
light on Joginder ji’s achievements and sums up the thoughts and emotions perfectly:
‘I joined the Executive Committee in 1977, soon after we moved into the present
premises. I was put in the Treasury team and worked under Kishor Bhai Devani and
Rati Bhai Chandaria. 
Half the content of each monthly EC Meetings was spent on how to raise funds just to
survive and attract more students, let alone expand meaningfully. 
I knew Joginder ji through a mutual banker friend, and suggested to Dalal ji that
perhaps we could speak to him, as I knew of their old, close days at Air India. This was around 1987, and The Bhavan has never had a single day’s money problem
thereafter. This enabled The Bhavan to really grow and rapidly become a professional
institution, with high class teachers.  Because of his incredible humility and magnanimity, it has never been fully recorded what all he has done for The Bhavan, and his name does not appear amongst our Donor Boards. He suggested the idea of the Diwali Banquets, and ensured he would generate around £50,000 each year, whether by ‘sale’ of tables and advertisements or by picking up the heavy food – or both.
Please just think about the huge money he has effectively donated in this
period. If that was not enough, he has also introduced some excellent EC members who are continuing to take up the good work to assist his worthy successor as Chairman.
Joginder ji’s style was also unique in another way. Unlike just passing on names to
Nanda ji to follow up on, he personally used to ring many of the donors, and
instruct them that he has ‘kindly’ allocated so many tables/donations to them. His
responsibilities then extended to visiting some reluctant donors, and to pick
up signed cheques – in one case to my knowledge, some three years after payment
was due. 
"His contacts – and personal deposits with Indian banks- further got us better deposit
rates than would normally have been available. 
It must also be noted that this invariably meant that he personally had to donate
generously to pet projects of others, which we cannot even begin to quantify. 
And ALL of this because he wanted to ensure that our next generations should
maintain contact with their glorious past traditions. If I had not witnessed this, I would not have believed that such a person could
exist in our ‘Kaliyuga’. He has further proved – to me- that The Bhavan is Gods own work- how it could attract people like Dalal ji and Mathur ji, Joginder ji and Nanda ji to work in
tandem- just amazing!’

The Vote of Thanks was given by Dr Surekha Mehta (Vice-Chair, The Bhavan UK) which was followed by a short cultural program by The Bhavan students and dinner for all the guests. As many of the speakers expressed, any felicitation/award that can be given by The Bhavan, or even the Government of India, would be inadequate to fully do justice to the giant of a man that Sri Joginder ji has always been.