THE investment banker Jitesh Gadhia, who was given a peerage in David Cameron’s resignation honours list in 2016, has tried to use his privileged position to be a voice for moderation and common sense on key issues.
Still only 50, his is often the hidden hand behind numerous initiatives. Lord Gadhia will often circulate his ideas on crucial issues – such as how to reopen the economy after the pandemic – to key thinkers in the British establishment.
Occasionally, he will get in touch with influential figures in government and push those he considers suitably talented for faster promotion. His friends could recommend him for a ministerial post but he probably has more power and a great deal more freedom not being a bag carrying parliamentary under-secretary or even a minister of state.
Among his many activities, he has encouraged Asians to think more constructively about organ donation. Historically, Asians like to accept but not give. But he tries to get round age-old cultural and religious inhibitions by reassuring Hindus, for example, that organ donation – seva or daan (giving) – “is part of our heritage”.
He pointed out: “We (Asians) have something like six times the incidence of diabetes compared to the rest of the population, and 50 per cent greater risk of heart disease. And linked to that, we are five times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease – which is why the kidney is the most sought after organ.”
Gadhia is also the person who came up with the idea of the Royal British Legion distributing red poppies made from khadi – Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite cloth – on Remembrance Day on November 11 to commemorate the contribution of Indian soldiers in the two world wars.
Having initially been doubtful about the concept, “the British Legion is