Tuesday, December 12, 2006


In December, we launched a new bulletin sent free to our network and anyone who requests it. It contains ideas and information about diversity and events that are taking place. To our knowledge, no such information medium exists. We got good feedback on the first issue and even have a section advertising jobs.

To subscribe to the bulletin, visit our website www.diverseethics.com and click the Join Now button on the home page - it is as simple as that.

Monday, November 27, 2006


The news today that Blair will apologise for the British role in slavery is to be welcomed. In the modern mindset, to apologise is a very big thing - yet we all know that it will not bring back the dead or damaged. However, from my Jain culture, apology is an everyday act. So is forgiving others - there is no big deal. To err is human, to forgive, divine. For modernity, apology is equal to admission of guilt, and therefore must be avoided at any cost. Pride is lost as a result of apology. Even if one is wrong, one should try not to admit it. The ego must be protected at any cost.

Here is an opportunity for ethics from a different culture to be implemented in modernity. We all make mistakes - none of us are perfect. Ergo, we should be ready to apologise, and not make a big deal of it. Sincere apology would help us grow, and accept our own fallibility. It would also help us reduce our ego and pride. Perhaps it will create an inner sense of self-esteem rather than a false insecure arrogance. Sorry, I didnt mean to say that. It just came out.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I am a regular contributor to this station and also an advisor and provider of news information and contracts. It is a national radio station broadcast on Digital Radio and on-line and they do a weekly Gujarati programme by Dev Parmar on Wednesday evenings. I was interviewed last Wednesday 15th Nov on the subject of the Queens Speech to Parliament, the Legacy of Tony Blair and Terrorism in Britain. I gave a Gujarati angle to the responses, and was very pleased to receive a call from a local elder and resident who heard me and said how authentic my responses were and how true. I have sent them more ideas for stories for this week and contacts - listen out on Wednesday, and if you miss it, you can catch it on-line.


Photo caption - a tailor in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan - his house is home, shop, open to all visitors and his whole life is plain for all to see - nothing is hidden. This is me and here are my wares - welcome.


Many people in the area have shown interest in learning about India and its culture and beliefs in a systematic way - something which is not offered locally anywhere. I have created this series especially for you all, and will deliver it in a varied and entertaining way, packed with my usual enthusiasm for the subject. I hope that you will sign up promptly so that we can create a positive group atmosphere which embarks on this pilgrimage to India together and have fun along the way.


A unique seminar series for East of England

"If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India"
Max Mueller

Yoga, Indian Food, Bindi, Bollywood, Diwali are just some of the ways India is trickling into people’s lives in Britain. It is a vast and fascinating country, with thousands of years of history, over hundred major languages, and offering some of the best hospitality on this planet. However, it is also a complex culture, not easy to understand. Colchester resident Dr. Atul Shah, Chief Executive of Diverse Ethics Ltd. has compiled this series of seminars especially for the large number of people in this region who have expressed interest in learning about India. He is a writer, broadcaster, lecturer and community leader who has a strong grasp of both Indian and British culture and is an excellent communicator. Dr. Shah is an advisor to the BBC on Religion and Ethics and has contributed to a number of programmes on Radio 4 and World Service.

Who will Benefit: This series is for those interested in India and its culture, and those wishing to explore the deeper meaning and purpose of life. It will benefit Yoga Practitioners, Travellers to India (past and present), Teachers and Headteachers, Seekers and Students of Ancient Wisdom, Members of the Indian community and people working in the field of Diversity. At the end of the series, participants will have a much better understanding of India and its heritage and obtain personal benefit and spiritual fulfilment from learning about Indian wisdom.

"Atul is a thinker, writer and speaker of rare distinction.”
Professor Prem Sikka, University of Essex

Seminars: There will be at least one field trip and ten monthly seminars held at Adult Community Learning, Wilson Marriage Centre, Barrack St, Colchester CO1 2LR, tel 01206-798488 on the third Tuesday of each month, starting on 16th January 2007. Each session will start at 8pm and finish at 9.30pm. Multi-media technology, including film will be used to make sessions informative. If there is sufficient interest, the group may plan a guided tour of India for 2008.

Subjects: Health, Meditation, Spirituality, Religion, Food, Diversity, Personal Development, Business and Work Ethics, Festivals, Art, History and Geography will be covered in the series.

Fees: There is a registration fee of £50 per participant to cover the cost of administration and ensure there is commitment from the delegates. Trips and outings will cost extra.

Bookings: Please send your name, address, email and tel no. with a cheque for £50 payable to Diverse Ethics Ltd. at 9 Redmill, Colchester, CO3 4RT,
Tel: 07804294903. Book early to avoid disappointment.

If you have any questions, email Atul at: atul@diverseethics.com Diverse Ethics is a company specialising in training and consultancy in the field of Diversity. You can subscribe to a monthly email bulletin on diversity for free by visiting the homepage of the website:

Thank you for your interest.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The best way to teach diversity is to experience it live by visiting a cultural place and seeing, listening and soaking the way in which different people live and work. This is the press release for my latest project, which appeared in the Colchester Gazette.

Culture begins at home – and here in the UK is a world of cultures for which we are very fortunate. Colchester-based resident and Diversity expert Dr. Atul Shah took a tour of senior Essex executives to understand and experience different cultures first hand. Mr. Martin Rayson, Head of Strategic Human Resources at Essex County Council and Ms. Joanne Kett from Braintree District Council and member of East of England Diversity Network visited the world famous £10million Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Neasden in London and the newly built £5million Jain temple in Potters Bar, North London. As India becomes a leading world nation, and as trade increases, the understanding of its culture becomes more and more relevant. There are over 2 million Indian-origin people in Britain today, 3% of whom live in Essex and contribute significantly to the local economy.

Speaking about the tour, Mr. Rayson commented: “The tour has given me a great insight into Hinduism and its communities. What I saw and experienced was the power and joy of different communities coming together to share experiences.” Ms. Kett added: “I have attended many courses on Diversity, but to see it live and experience it is a unique memorable experience. I enjoyed the hospitality and feel that when communities are so well organised, they do not become a burden on the state and instead add value to Britain.”

“There is a huge attention given to faith and intolerance in the media today. I am keen to build bridges and encourage businesses and public organisations to experience the beauty of diversity first hand. This is a practical way of making a real difference to people’s lives and understanding,” said tour organiser Dr. Atul Shah of www.diverseethics.com


The award winning Mercury Theatre in Colchester were very honest when I approached them to help with Diversity. "We want to work on it, but do not know how to begin," said Dee Evans, Chief Executive. I invited her to our Hindu Navratri festival and she had a very positive experience. We requested her to address the audience and tell them about Mercury Theatre. She explained that she had a wonderful time to experience the Navratri and join in the dancing (so did Roger, who is an actor) and wanted to invite everyone to the theatre to see a play. I presented her with a copyof a famous play 'The Post Office' by Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Laureate, and requested her to consider it as a Mercury Production. Thus began their journed into Diversity in October.

In November, they sent out invitations on their current production 'Our Country' s Good' to members of the community by way of a personal letter from Dee Evans. The community was very touched by this gesture. Thus began a chapter in attracting Diverse audiences and building bridges and breaking ghettos. Diverse Ethics gave detailed feedback on the play and the experience of breaking new ground. Theatre has a huge potential in building bridges, but it will take time and will require patience and perseverance.

One day, I got a call from a staff member asking me if I could find a Henna painter for one of their actresses as part of a photo shoot. I phoned around, and found someone who was able to go at short notice and provided splendid voluntary support, for which Mercury was very pleased. Sally King wrote: "The design was really very beautiful. Thank you for your prompt and accurate service for a rare request!" This is an example of how Diverse Ethics is making small differences in big ways.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Diwali is increasingly popular in Britain. The Lord Mayor of London, Mr. Ken Livingston organised his fifth annual Diwali party for Londoners at Trafalgar Square and it was a massive success. Even in our own small town of Colchester, Diwali was a big hit and we celebrated it at School (through an assembly for infants at Prettygate School), with the community (through an Ankut gathering at the local school) and at home, through a Diwali party for our children's friends.
This year, I decided to focus on the subject of offering and hospitality, a value which is capable of Universal appeal. Some of my British friends have honestly told me that they are bad at hospitality and really need to learn how to receive others and welcome them and provide for their welfare. I spoke on Indian hospitality and how its central message of sharing is replicable and truly does not lead to loss but to gain and strength. At Prettygate Infants school, I gave the example of candles and how when we light one candle with another, the first candle does not lost its light, but spreads it. This is what all children are - lights capable of spreading. The role of teachers is to spark this inner light.
Headteacher of Prettygate Infants, Mrs. Jackson said - "The Diwali Party which your family helped organise was the best ever event in our school, and this assembly also shows how the message of Diwali is Universal. When your seven year old son Meerav did the assembly, he inspired other children to be bold and to share their culture with others. Thank you very much."



What do you get when you mix various cultures, leadership experts and bring them together at a beautiful new oasis of hope in Central London? A new vision for the future which respects, integrates and empowers each and every person.

This is what resulted at a seminar at St. Ethelburgas in London on the subject of Leadership, Faith and Diversity on 12th October 2006. Speakers Shilpa Unalkat (www.staflow.com) and Lynne Sedgmore (www.centreforexcellence.org.uk) brought together their unique experience of working with and coaching leaders from the commercial and public sector to inspire the audience. Leaders from all over London and afar came together to discuss and debate the future direction of leadership. There was an optimism about the future, an acknowledgment of the uncertainty, and a commitment to wholeness and holistic approaches to leadership. Chair and organiser of the seminar Dr. Atul Shah, Chief Executive of Diverse Ethics (www.diverseethics.com), explained at the end: “No longer is leadership based on command and control sustainable in this day and age. Each and every worker needs to be respected and given space to share and participate in the whole organisation.” Drs. David and Cynthia Capey, Leaders of Suffolk Inter-Faith and inventors of a major new game on Diversity explained that there is a very rich resource of diversity which already exists within workplaces, but it is untapped because nobody talks about faith.

St. Ethelburgas is a unique new Centre for Peace and Reconciliation a few minutes walk from Liverpool St. station and in the very heart of the City. Regular and inspiring events of this type are held there which are open to all – for details visit www.stethelburgas.org

Monday, October 09, 2006


A recent CRE survey showed that over 90% of white people in Britain could not name a ethnic minority close friend. Surprisingly, a similar statistic applied to ethnic minority people also - few had any white friends. Ghettoes are familiar and known territory. However, the world is changing - I know that my children have made a range of friends through school from different backgrounds without prejudice. So there is hope at that level. For adults, it seems that more effort needs to be made to build and nurture mixed friendships and sustain them. And there are too many demands on their lives to break into new ground. Also habit plays a part - if they did not have mixed friends when they were young, they would find it difficult to make them now. I am also sensing that there are separate worlds, which does not help us build unity and diversity. We need to be conscious of our own prejudices to remove prejudice from society. We need to move away from the ghetto of the mind and the locality.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


To actively promote diversity and build bridges, champions are needed. The work is demanding as it requires strong communication skills and a good awareness of at least two cultures. There are very few ethnic minority people with such skills, and those who do have them do not have the resources to provide the advice for free on a continual basis. Also there is a huge demand on their time not least from the communities where they come from. All too often, the wealthy and the resourceful are too busy guarding their wealth to participate in such activities.

There is a demand for people in Schools and institutions which are trying actively to get diverse representatives from different communities. The government needs to invest resources in training such people and motivating them to get involved. Also the mainstream community need to understand and give space to such people and help them become more involved citizens.

Friday, September 22, 2006


True practice of diversity requires humility. One should start with a position of trust and respect for another, and not be prejudiced by stereotypes or personal experiences. This is hard to do. And for those who are 'successful' in the modern world, humility is the hardest to achieve. It is better to look down rather than up - the more one 'succeeds' and comes in the public limelight, the more willing one should be to bow. Silence is also an expression of humility. In the modern world of noise pollution, everyone wants to be heard. However, it is the humble who are likely to make the most difference!

Monday, September 18, 2006


Yesterday, I attended the global launch of the Just-A-Minute peace campaign by the Brahmakumaris (www.just-a-minute.org) at the Wembley Arena in London. The message was simple - everyone should try to spend one minute a day to connect with their inner spirit and reflect and renew. Music, dance, poetry, film and comedy were used to put this message across. It was simple and creative, and very unique and education. The tickets were free and a beautiful CD of practical tools was given to all at the end. It was a truly unique experience and the message of diversity was so clear and powerful without even being spoken! All performers were diverse, the language of silence is universal and the 12,000 crowd was also diverse. This is diversity at its best - when we all feel part of a larger whole beyond ourselves and beyond humanity.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Religion and culture are not separate. They are inter-twined. They both combine to influence habits, world-views and lifestyles. Even someone who says who has no belief and lives a materialistic lifestyle actually has a belief - that there is no God and that materialism is the only truth. It is just that the belief is not explicit or understood in a conventional 'religious' way. Even a materialist has a ritual of going shopping every Saturday or decorating the body through beautiful clothes and lovely food and indulgence in desires. Faith and belief influence our daily life whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, modern media try very hard to dissect faith from culture as by and large, they are anti-religion. In reality, they are ignorant of the role of faith and belief in human life. Also they are ignorant of some religions such as Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism, which have lived peacefully and tolerantly for millenia.


Diversity is about difference. And it is about respect for that difference. It is not about agreeing to the different culture or values. Neither is it about converting oneself to 'multi-culturalism'. If we examine closely, we ourselves are different. Our hands are a different size from our legs. We have two eyes but only one nose. And sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad. That does not mean that people should only respect us when we are happy and not when we are sad. No. It is a simple fact of life that everyone wants to be loved and respected. Diversity acknowledges that fact and patiently tries to weave a community of peace through it. Yes, Diversity requires enormous patience. And it also bring enormous hope for the modern world.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Pluralism allows people to have open minds and be self-critical. It allows one to disagree without being disagreeable. It preserves respect and avoids antagonism. It also means that conversion and prosletization should be restrained. Unfortunately, there is a lot of emotion attached to belief and absolutism and fundamentalism often result from this emotion. This is where the human spirit needs to evolve to have genuine respect and dignity for other people irrespective of their colour, creed or belief. Only then will we have lasting peace in this world.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Ignorance creates barriers. Education has the potential to remove ignorance. No culture or religion is perfect as humans themselves are imperfect. Anyone who says that theirs is the perfect religion should arouse suspicion. However, before we criticise other cultures or beliefs, we must understand them first. And this understanding requires study, experience, travel and patience. And that is the totality of cultural education. If a school has pupils from different backgrounds, it has the greatest potential to educate about diversity, provided it makes use of the diversity that already exists and encourages communication and connectivity. Where a school does not have pupils from diverse backgrounds, it would need to do more active diversity field trips. Fortunately, in Britain today there are many sites one can visit to meet different cultures and experience their beliefs and festivals. It is more difficult to educate adults who are outside the school system and where habits and views are entrenched. However, we must try. For example, the curry is a very popular British meal, and alongside the curry, a restaurant can educate about Indian culture which is as spicy as the curry.

Thursday, August 31, 2006



For community cohesion, we need communities. The Hindus and Jains try hard to build and sustain communities involving young and old alike, but mostly off their own efforts and with little direct support from the government. And they are generally law abiding citizens who save a huge amount of money for the government by not depending on welfare. Also we have a healthy lifestyle with good mental and physical health and strong family support networks. Unfortunately however, in the mainstream, communities are breaking apart. Few participate in churches or any sort of local communal activity. Young parents are busy working full time with little time even for their families – let alone community. Many don’t even know their neighbours and don’t think they need to know them. And therin lies the problem. It is a direct result of materialism and the lack of spiritual and ethical values in modern society. It is also a result of the spread of greed and big business which have directly broken communities and removed relationships of trust and loyalty. Clearly, this is not an easy nut to crack for the Home Office. However, it needs to look at root causes of social break-up and alienation if there is to be peaceful social co-existence in Britain. The young Muslim terrorists feel alienated and lost and become susceptible to such violent actions through their ignorance and vulnerability. Setting a Commission is a first step, but its eyes and ambitions must be for the long term.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The best leader is one who inspires, encourages and sustains. Leadership is both a responsibility and an opportunity, a powerful and lonely job at the same time. For leaders to nourish and stimulate others, they need to stimulate themselves and stay motivated. Spirituality and a belief in the strength of the inner spirit is very often the core strength of great leaders. They have no ego and see themselves as part of a larger cosmos, brought on this earth to perform a duty. Their reward is not in ovation or gratitude from the public but in good responsible service. The best leader is one who is also the best servant of the people.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


There is a lot of talk about diversity today - as different cultures are being brought together by globalisation and being forced to work with one another. This process will create conflicts in a competitive work environment, but can also create opportunities. For example, India and China are regarded as the new boom economies, but how many organisations use their existing ethnic minority staff to tap into these countries through their networks? How many companies hire people locally to help them to understand these countries? In cosmopolitan cities like London, these are great opportunities which can save money and help build trusting relationships in a very effective way. Just as charity begins at home, so does diversity.