Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Jul 9, 2010

Trouser Malfunction-5: Story of one great Indian woman's struggle & glory

We are in Leicester for one last time in this 5th post after the trouser malfunction happened here.


If Mr Colin Hall is 552nd Lord Mayor, the story of a determined 550th Lord Mayor is not only  a highly inspirational story but has Indian link too.


This town has many many immigrants and we talk about one determined, brave lady who landed in this place 40 years ago on one cold  day as a bride, from Jullandhur in Punjab.


Her husband had arrived six years before to work. She came here at a time when the tolerance level for immigrants was very low. Idi Amin had ousted thousands of people from Uganda and they were looking for a living everywhere they can.


The city council those days was so much against receiving the immigrants that it placed and advertisement in the Uganda Argus, the govt. owned news  paper that housing and schooling was already under stress and strain and, therefore, “In your own interests and those of your family you should not come to Leicester.”


What a welcome scenario to land up in distant land  to settle down!


The lady was a post graduate and was soon fed up in Leicester. She and her husband – who worked hard  could not afford heating in severe winter. She called up her grandfather one day, unable to bear it & in deep frustration,  to say that she wants to come back to India.


The grand old man knew his daughter well. He said, I have given you education and you should use it now. This is your new home. And he almost hung up.


She tried to teach in primary school and even developed new curriculum for highly diverse &  multi-cultural student groups. In return , she was snubbed by the school principal rather than encouraging her. Her husband’s short and sweet advice was that she should enter politics.


One day when she was feeling very low, having tough time to fight racism, and standing before the statue of Virgin Mary in the local church to seek solace and strength, she heard an inner voice telling her : why are you defeating the woman in you?


She never ever gave up and achieved everything .


Paul Sood  died suddenly in 1996 and did not live long enough to see happily Manjula Sood attain the unique honour of being on 15th May 2008, ,   the first Asian woman to have ascended the chair of  the Lord Mayor of Leicester, or for that matter, for any other city in the UK.


She was awarded prestigious MBE by the Queen. She was also awarded honorary doctorate in 1998 by the University of Leicester.


Needless to mention, she is very prosperous, popular and very active even today.

What great words from the grandfather, from the hubby and what great determination to fight the odds to make the woman within her a winner!

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