Lord Ranger’s Peerage – Letter to Editors

Posted September 10, 2019
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

10 September 2019

Letter to numerous editors congratulating Rami Ranger’s appointment to the House of Lords.

Sir,

I was delighted to learn that Rami Ranger was today conferred a peerage to become Lord Rami Ranger.
 
The concept of the American Dream is well known. That the highest aspirations can be achieved by working hard. However, few speak of the British Dream which today has been manifested through the achivements of Lord Ranger. The Lord came to Great Britain as a refugee boy and started a business in 1987 with no more than a couple of pounds. The past 30 years has seen him win numerous Queen’s Awards whilst growing the Sun Mark Limited empire.
 
The Lord has been a ferocious champion of promoting British products both at home and abroad. During a trip to Gambia, I was surprised to see just how many supermarkets were selling Sun Mark Limited’s products which included a wide range of soft drinks. The Lord has not only championed British business but has also been a huge champion for stronger community cohesion and has often spoken of his vision of seeing a more representative British Parliament. Having followed Lord Ranger’s speeches over the years, he has taught me two key lessons. The first is that there is no shortcuts to success and consistent hardwork is necessary to achieve your dreams. The second is the importance of serving and representing the communities you live in. After all, Lord Ranger says “if you do not set the example, who will?” The Lord’s story is one from rags to riches. It shows the British Dream is very much alive and should be an inspirational example to all.
 
Cllr Pranav Bhanot

 

 

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August 2019: Ilford Recorder – Pranav’s Spiritual Life Column

Posted August 2, 2019
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

Raksha Bandhan – with rights come responsibilities to others.

 

It has often been said that with rights come responsibilities to others. The notion of responsibility is celebrated by Hindus on the festival of Raksha Bandhan (meaning “bond of protection”) taking place on 15 August 2019.  Alongside the principle of responsibility, underpinning the festival is a social contract between siblings who promise to care and protect each other. It is common for sisters to tie a Rakhi (a sacred string) on their brothers and in return receive a gift. In reality, the festival is not limited to an agreement between siblings but can be extended to wider family and community members.  In the 21st century, the irony of social media and technology is that it has created a world where people are both more connected yet potentially more isolated from each other than ever before. It is far easier to social media message someone than make the effort to spend quality face to face time with them. With over nine million lonely people in the UK with four million of them being older people there is no reason why the principles underpinning the festival of Raksha Bandhan cannot be used to remind the wider Redbridge and UK population of the importance of responsibility to each other in order to create stronger links between the diverse range of communities that exist. My faith has taught me that all human beings are one big family. Consequently, through implementating the principles of Raksha Bandhan, why not use this summer to make time to personally meet colleagues, friends and family to remind them of your mutual responsibilities of protection and care to one another.

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Pranav Bhanot shortlisted “Junior Lawyer of the Year 2019” – Law Society Excellence Awards

Posted August 2, 2019
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

Litigation Solicitor and Mediator has been shortlisted for the Law Society’s prestigious Excellence Awards 2019 – “Junior Lawyer of the Year”, the highest accolade for law firms and lawyers in England and Wales.

Delighted to be nominated for the award, Bhanot said: “I am humbled to have been considered for this award. The entry demonstrates my commitment to improve access to justice through technology both within the wedding industry through The Wedding Lawyer and assisting employees with the smooth termination of their employment via My Settlement Agreement. Congratulations to all those shortlisted, and good luck”. 

Law Society president Simon Davis said: “There are more than 140,000 solicitors in England and Wales – to be shortlisted for an Excellence Award is to be recognised as among the very best of the profession. “The firms and solicitors shortlisted should be commended for going above and beyond to support their clients, often navigating tricky and sometimes contentious areas of the law. The winners will be announced at a prestigious black-tie awards dinner in London on 23 October 2019.”

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Youngest parish councillor candidate for Chigwell Row wins by-election

Posted August 2, 2019
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

See original Epping Forest Guardian Article here

The youngest parish council candidate to represent Chigwell Row ever has been elected in a by-election.

Pranav Bhanot, 30, of Station Road, Chigwell, beat Liberal Democrat rival Joanne Alexander-Sefre by 344 votes to 288 on Thursday, July 11.

The new parish councillor hopes to kick start his tenure by introducing grassroots community engagement projects and innovation through technology to deal with casework for residents.

Speaking about his win, Cllr Bhanot said: “I am delighted to have been elected as a councillor in Chigwell Row.

“Over the past few weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the majority of residents living in the ward and now look forward to rolling my sleeves up and working hard alongside my Conservative district and county councillors to make Chigwell Row even better.

“I hope to see more young people getting involved in local and national politics.”

Alongside working with parish, county and cistrict council colleagues, the 30-year-old Conservative also plans to keep Chigwell’s streetlights on after 1am and push for extra policing to curb crime.

A five-point plan will be introduced for each street in Chigwell Row in a bid to improve the area, which includes conducting out a road audit and street lighting assessments.

Cllr Bhanot said he is keen to deal with issues relating to social isolation among elderly residents and empowering more young people to enter politics.

Free copies of his book, Get me Elected. Strategies, Tips and Tactics for Election Success, will be given to any young constituents interested in entering politics.

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Has the time come for a dedicated housing court for landlord and tenant possessions?

Posted August 2, 2019
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

The book “The Secret Barrister Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken”, reminded me of the judicial inefficiencies that sometimes exist in not just the criminal justice system but also aspects of the civil justice system across the country.

For property litigators dealing with possession proceedings, spending excessive amounts of time on the phone trying to contact the court, waiting months for a court order or dealing with the court’s occasional misplacement of an important document are unfortunately all too familiar experiences.  Delays become all the more serious when landlords are out of pocket due to rent arrears or tenants are uncertain about their ability to stay in a property.

It is unsurprising that recent research by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) found that four in five private landlords are discontent with their experiences of using the courts to repossess properties and 54 per cent of tenants believe that the current judicial process surrounding possession claims are too complex.

With reforms expected of the Section 21 and Section 8 procedures, there is a possibility that fewer possession cases will be dealt with on the papers alone and will require court hearings for the purposes of adjudication. This risk putting extra pressure on an already stretched existing court infrastructure.

One solution could be the introduction of a dedicated housing court, which could prioritise litigant communication alongside the administration of justice. In an ideal world, provision should be made for litigants and their representatives to speak with a court representative without delay, the introduction of an upgraded and efficient court filing system and a method for landlords and tenants being able to electronically track the progress of their case throughout the lifecycle of a claim.

With a new Minister heading up the Ministry of Justice, it is hoped that this appointment comes with a fresh set of ideas to overcome some of the inefficiencies which exist in the housing possession regime.

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Press Comment: Bhangra Star Guru Randhawa’s pledge not to return to Canada after injury is a loss to thousands of Bhangra fans

Posted July 31, 2019
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Written by Pranav Bhanot
Reports of an altercation between the world famous Bhangra artist Guru Randhawa and an audience member following a concert in Vancouver, Canada which left the superstar needing four stitches just above his right eyebrow has resulted in Guru pledging not to return back to perform in Canada.
 
At a time when Bhangra artists living in India are dominating the global Bhangra industry and the Punjabi film industry, Guru‘s boycott would be a massive blow to Canada, which has a large and vibrant punjabi community. 
 
Pranav Bhanot who is London based lawyer and Bhangra enthusiast says “at a time when music can be downloaded at little to no cost, music artists rely on their live performances to make a living. It is only right that such artists can do so in an environment which is safe and away from intimidation. Future generations of the Punjabi diaspora look to Bhangra artists as not just singers but representatives of their culture who are keeping the roots alive. Therefore, better safeguards should be put in place when artists tour and perform such that they do not return home needing medical treatment and criticising the country they have just performed in.”
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India House Opens New Chapter: UK Welcomes India’s Second Female High Commissioner Since Independence

Posted December 28, 2018
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Written by Pranav Bhanot
It has taken 26 Indian High Commissioners to the UK and the best part of five decades to finally welcome only the second female since India’s independence in 1947 to take charge at India House, London. What has so often been dubbed as an old Indian gentlemen’s club due to the same congregation of London based middle aged men who appear to have a season ticket at events at India House, having a lady in charge heralds refreshing times. Having an additional lady at Indian High Commission events will not only aid in marginally improving the male to female ratio, it would also give India House a renewed sparkle. 
 
If there is one thing I have learnt about Indian High Commissioners in the United Kingdom, they are no longer ordinary civil servants quietly working behind the scenes to further the goals of the department portfolio but are in fact superstars in their own right. Having a female Indian diplomat who is the centre of attention, followed around by the press, chased by invitees at events hoping to capture a quick selfie and of course, being the key note speaker who gets the standing ovation has long been missing at India House. H.E Ghanashyam’s appointment at a critical time in India and UK relations sets a strong message from New Delhi’s Ministry of External Affairs, of the elevated role of Indian women defining the trajectory of India in the 21st century.  This appointment has the potential to inspire and empower a new generation of women in both India and the UK to explore the charms of public service as a career, a sector which needs its thirst for greater female representation quenching. 
 
As H.E Ruchi Ghanashyam settles into her Kensington home and sets up office in Aldwych, the first citizen of India’s appointment is significant. The only female High Commissioner prior to H.E Ghanashyam taking office was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit from 1954 to 1961. Whilst, Vijaya is remembered for her role in steering UK-India relations soon after India’s independence, tables have somewhat reverse. It is now the United Kingdom which has obtained independence from Europe and H.E Ghanashyam will be critical in paving the way for closer relations between the UK and India. The stencil for H.E Ghanashyam’s legacy in London is in place, her job is to now colourfully paint it and she will no doubt be evaluated on her effectiveness to work with Government departments in Westminster and New Delhi to curate an effective trading relationship as the UK’s annexation process from Europe formalises. Apart from her work in India and UK trading relations following the B word (*cough Brexit*), H.E Ghanashyam is well positioned to galvanise the Indian diaspora and in particular the millennials to strengthen the “Living Bridge”. With only 21% of young people in the UK saying that they know “a great deal” or “fair amount” about India compared to 74% of young Indians saying the same about the United Kingdom, a decline in Indian students choosing the United Kingdom as the country of choice to study combined with a decline in the UK’s market share in India’s overall tourist arrivals, there are plenty of challenges for the incoming High Commissioner. When discussing how to deal with such issues, the India Inc, UK-India Young Leaders’ Forum 2018 sponsored by Infosys put together a number of proposals including; a High Commission backed India-UK incubator for start-ups and social initiatives to foster greater interactions between the two countries across a number of fields including finance, technology, the arts and politics. Other ideas included field trips to support national campaigns for political and social change, creating an exchange programme between the UK and India Youth Parliaments and giving more focus to sporting and charitable initiatives (apart from cricket) to advance engagement between the millennials of both countries.
 
The task list for the newly appointed High Commissioner requires extraordinary vision and leadership. However, the UK is beneficiary to no ordinary diplomat.  The tenacity, ambition and commitment of this lady cannot be underestimated. After all, not many can say that they were the first Indian female diplomat posted in Pakistan when harassment of Indian diplomats was rife. Therefore, on behalf of the United Kingdom, we wish the H.E Ghanashyam well in her new post and hope her sparkle will forge a reinvigorated UK-India relation at a time when all eyes are on this potentially winning relationship.
 
Picture Credit: The Indian Express
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UK Prime Minister’s Diwali Reception 2018 & National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Posted November 16, 2018
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

The person in the photo next to me is James Brokenshire MP (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) who stepped in for the Prime Minister at her Diwali Reception on 15 November 2018. Just over a year ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer. On the evening of an important Brexit meeting whilst he sat in a parliamentary room, he found himself coughing up blood.

He went to see his doctor who carried out a CT scan and the results suggested he was clear. To be on the safe side, he then went for a bronchoscopy where the cancer diagnosis was made. At one point, James didn’t know what his chances of survival were. Within less than a year he has made an almost full recovery showing us the strides cancer research and treatment have made.

His message of light over darkness and good over evil this evening not only resonated with the invitees to Diwali at Downing Street/Foreign Office but also to him personally given his recovery and it being National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The press are quick to talk about the failings of politicians but this is a success story.

During our brief conversation today, James stressed that despite the uncertainty that surrounds a lung cancer diagnosis, people do come out of it stronger and today was a clear example of it.

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Pranav organises a multi-faith Poppy planting Afternoon

Posted November 12, 2018
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

Clayhall residents and school children of all ages and religious faiths joined together to mark Remembrance Day for a second year. The afternoon involved adults and children coming together to pay their respects to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who braved the war to give us our freedoms and comforts.   Pranav Bhanot, the organiser of the Poppy planting afternoon said “The afternoon provided an opportunity to not only pay tribute to the diversity of the soldiers in the World Wars but also come together as a diverse community to do so”. Following the planting of Park-Hill Primary school recited poems which were written especially for the occasion. the poppies, over twenty children from

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A not so happy festive season for the victims of Human Trafficking on the India-Nepal Border

Posted November 12, 2018
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Written by Pranav Bhanot

“Diwali at the Savoy” on Saturday 10 November 2018 highlighted the true extent of the number of women and girls trafficked into India from Nepal which has gone up by 500% since 2013.

Human trafficking is one of the biggest human security issues facing Nepal. Many women and girls are sold to brothel owners in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities for approx. £500.

Men and some female sex workers lure girls as young as nine living in border towns in Nepal to work in the glitz and glamour of the large Cities. The reality is that these juveniles are being torn away from their legal guardians such as their parents to serve artificial profit hungry guardians through meeting the needs of men approximately 40-50 times a day. In a recent Indian Government survey, it was found that 60% of women and children worked as commercial sex workers out of poverty and economic compulsion. The abuse and pain these women and children are subjected to go beyond rape but spread to organ and flesh removal.

The work of One Family Supported by the Hemraj Goyal Foundation organised Diwali at the Savoy to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of vulnerable children who are typically trafficked throughout the year. These organisations are working to use Prevention, Rescue and Rehabilitation in a bid to stop human trafficking.

 

Alongside raising funds and awareness, there is a geopolitical issue to this tragic state of affairs. Whilst those over the age of 10 need a form of identification to travel between India and Nepal, it is understood that children under 10 can move between the two countries without identification. With predators taking advantage of thousands of children through this open border (travelling using public transport), surely there is a case to be made for more stringent checks for all people irrespective of age at the border?

Well done to the One Family Team, Avnish Goyal, Anita Goyal, Ravi Bhanot Sushma Bhanot and all the people who made the Diwali at the Savoy a success. It was particularly warming to have our family and many family friends in attendance along with notable supporters such as Tony Matharu, Nitin Ganatra, Naughty Boy, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Talvin Singh and Manish Bhasin.

Learn more:

https://onefamily.org.uk/
https://hgf.org.uk/

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