History of UK Valam Brahmin Association
It has been almost 30 years since our association was founded and it is appropriate that we look at its history since its inception.
The idea of forming a Valam association was first discussed in 1968 at Vivian Hall, Wembley where a birthday party was organised by the late Mr. Harishbhai Purohit for his sons Jay and Jatin. At this gathering, it was proposed to hold a Diwali function of our community. Some of the main people who actively worked to make this proposal a reality were Messers Bipinbhai Mehta, Late Dineshbhai Gor, Late Manubhai Upadhyay, Late Balmukundbhai Upadhyay, Late Pravinbhai Bhatt and Mrs. Kumudben Shukla.
The first Diwali Sammelan was held in 1969 and that was the birth of our association. In those days, there were no elections and the president was nominated for that day only. The first President was Mr. Manubhai Upadhyay while Late Dineshbhai Gor and Late Pravinbhai Bhatt worked as secretary and convener respectively for a number of years. Some of the ladies who helped in preparing food were Mrs. Hansaben Purohit, Mrs. Vidyaben Upadhyay and Mrs. Jyotsnaben Bhatt. The expenses were paid by the President Manubhai Upadhyay.
The second Diwali gathering was held in 1970 with help from a number of volunteers and office bearers mentioned above. Quite a few gatherings have since been held and later charges were introduced per person or per family to meet the expenses. As mentioned earlier, in the early days, chairpersons were nominated for the day of the function. The members who have acted as Chairpersons since 1969 include Late Manubhai Upadhyay, Bipinbhai Mehta, :ate Balmukundbhai Upadhyay, Dineshbhai Purohit, Late Pravinbhai Bhatt, Late Bhanubhai Purohit, Markand Upadhyay and Sukhdevbhai Gor. During this period, Late Dineshbhai Gor gave his services as secretary.
The UK Valam Brahmin Association as it is known today came into effect in 1982 when a proper constitution was formulated and all the office bearers were elected for a period of one year. Since 1982, the following persons have acted as presidents of the association.
|1982 – 1983||Bhanubhai Vyas|
|1983 – 1984||Bhanubhai Vyas|
|1984 – 1985||Sukhdevbhai Gor|
|1985 – 1986||Bhanubhai Vyas|
|1986 – 1987||Pravinbhai Bhatt|
|1987 – 1988||Harshadbhai Pandya|
|1988 – 1989||Harshadbhai Pandya|
|1989 – 1990||Bhupendrabhai Purohit|
|1990 – 1991||Bhanubhai Vyas|
|1991 – 1992||Bhanubhai Vyas|
|1992 – 1993||Rameshbhai Gor|
|1993 – 1994||Rameshbhai Gor|
|1994 – 1995||Pradip T Acharya|
|1995 – 1996||Pradip T Acharya|
|1996 – 1997||Rameshbhai N Gor|
|1997 – 1998||Rameshbhai N Gor|
|1998 – 1999||Deepakben D Mehta|
|1999 – 2000||Deepakben D Mehta|
|2000 – 2001||Deepakben D Mehta|
|2001 – 2002||Deepakben D Mehta|
|2002 – 2003||Bhaskerbhai I Purohit|
|2003 – 2004||Bhaskerbhai I Purohit|
|2004 – 2006||Rameshbhai N Gor|
In 1982/83, the committee personally approached community members who voluntarily donated funds so that the Association can have substantial balance to cover the expenses. From this year onwards, it was pleasing to note that a group of people or individuals generously donated funds to cover the food expenses at the Annual Sammelan. Our Association, began efforts to obtain charity status in early 1990 and finally after a long struggle it was granted to our Association in 1991, thanks to Mukeshbhai Pandya for his untiring efforts.
The association is affiliated to “Brahmin Federation of Europe”, and actively participates in all its activities. It is also a member of “The Hindu Council” and “Brent Indian Association”. The committee in office, sends delegates to these associations to represent its interests.
The publication of Valam Sandesh remains an integral part of the history of our association. Originally, circulars were photocopied and sent to all the community members. The first Valam Sandesh was published in 1981 and Late Pravinbhai Bhatt, Dineshbhai Purohit and Rameshbhai Pandya played a major part in its publication. A number of issues have since been published and apart from Pravinbhai Bhatt, others who have acted as editors are Rameshbhai Acharya, Lalitbhai Pandya and Anupam Purohit. Upendrabhai K. Gor is currently providing his services as editor of Valam Sandesh.
Currently, the association organises Sports Days and Cricket Tournaments every year. During Navratri Festival, celebrations are held during all the nine nights and a Yagna’ is held on ‘Durga Ashtami’. A Christmas Party for young children, Valentine’s Day Dinner & Dance and Diwali Sammelan are regular activities during the year. Additionally ‘Havans’, ‘Bhajans’ and coach trips are also arranged. The Community is now continuing its success story with the VALAM.ORG website from 2004.