By: Pramod Thomas
BBC presenter Nihal Arthanayake likened Mr and Mrs Solanki’s generation to a mountain range. “We all stand on top of them and their achievements,” he said, adding, “These people were powers in our community.
“They came here before there was a race relations act. “We talk about discrimination, systemic racism, institutional racism – they had no protections from any of those things when they first came here, and yet not only did they survive, they also prospered.
“My memories of Mr Solanki and Parvatiben are as people who had this ability to make you feel at ease around them.
“They were so peaceful. They were surrounded by loving families who were simply adored them and they lived by example. I sometimes wonder if Mrs Solanki looked around at the big events their sons put on so successfully – with dignitaries, billionaires, prime ministers turning up – and I don’t know, I just wondered maybe she sometimes chuckled to herself at them because of the pomp.
“They were such humble people so I just wondered that, because they were just such interesting people to be around. “I don’t think I ever said more than two or three words to Mrs Solanki other than putting my hands together in in a sign of respect and asking how she was. “But there was something quite regal about her, I have to say.”