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: 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


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 ( and Lynne Sedgmore ( 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 (, 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