Mr. Bharat G. Shah·
Member of the Board of Indo-Belge Diamantaires Association [IBDA],
HE Minister, HE Ambassador, Minister, Visiting dignitaries, and Honored friends.
I am sure every one of you have
heard about the Kohinoor diamond, mined in Gondola mine in
Some of you must have also heard about the Napoleon Bonaparte has 100 carat plus cushion shaped diamond in his crown jewels.
Many of you must have heard about
the hope diamond stolen from the 3rd eye of a Shiva idol in south
Indeed a diamond is a very mysterious object, and yet fascinating and interesting that every women in the world desires to posses.
Till the 1400’s the west were ignorant about diamonds. However, we Indians knew about diamonds since more than 2,600 years. Lord Buddha in one of the discovers of theory of karma, he compared the diamond with karma, staring that karma are more difficult to cut then diamonds. So Indians not only knew about the existence of diamonds but also the physical and chemical property as one of the strongest element on the earth.
With the extinction of the
In 1962 china invaded
They explained that by keeping
During the subsequent growth of the diamond industry there was no burden on the economy, there was no noise, chemical, air or water pollution. Power consumption was extremely low to the ratio of vale added. And possibly most importantly the semi, and even un-educated work force was converted to efficient artisans and highly paid people.
In order to support this industry
we the Palanpuries and few of the Patel community had
to ensure a constant flow of rough diamonds.
We chose to migrate to
In the last 4 decades slowly and
gradually from 20 we have grown to a group of nearly 300 families who form one
of the highest respected immigrants to reside in
We have almost no criminal records, or financial frauds. Indians here are highly respected in the Banking and government sectors as well.
With ever growing demand of
Indian diamond industry, the Indians kept making contacts, and finding new
places to source their diamonds from.
Today we are the largest buying power in the mines in
Today the diamond trade in
We the Belgian based Indians have continuously worked with our Indian counterparts to improve the industry and structure of the finished product for this we constancy advice our Indian counter parts for all the latest technology like laser sawing, laser drilling, maxi bruting, and computer planning. Over the period of last 3 decades, the industry has grown from a mere 2 million dollar export to 1966 to 10 billion export in 2003. From a small in house cottage industry to giant factories with thousands of employees in each factory. The total employment is over a million people with no labor unrest, labor strikes and so forth.
Today 90% of the world diamonds
mined in the world by weight end up in
But we the Indians in Antwerp
have not only focused on business, we are in constant touch with India and have
stood by during all the problems at home, such as the floods in Orissa, drought in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the earth
quake in Kutch.
We have sponsored a full fledged hospital with 100 beds and a 2 township
for 450 families and 700 families under the umbrella of mayor of
We have not only waited for
troubles at home to help our brothers.
We are constantly supporting, and at times also leading welfare projects
in educational, and health and infra structure.
To give one shining example the famous Lilavati
With a non-alignment policy we
have kept good relationship with all the leading political parties in
We celebrate Diwali and Navratri Holi, fire works and cricket and tennis tournaments. Any Indian function, including weddings and other celebrations are equally well attended by locals.
Truly, ours is a well integrated
and well respected, well placed society, which between two countries,
In spite of all these things it is sad to
learn that we have been conveniently forgotten to be given the benefit of dual
nationality by the government. But, in
my opinion, government has chosen to cut off its link with our 2nd
and 3rd generation, who we feel that will be better educated, highly
placed, and more respected than us. If
the government of
· · Board Member Belgian Rough Dealers Association
· Board Member Diamond High Council (Trade)