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Indian Newslink article

30 October 2013

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History >> First Legal Advisor - Honourable A. D. Patel

(Courtesy of Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam, Fiji Website

Born on 13 March 1905 in a rich family of Gujarat State (India), Mr Ambalal Dhyabhai Patel, completed his BA. and in 1925 proceeded to England for his Bar-at-Law course. While in England he happened to come under the influence of Mr Polak, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa having been influenced earlier by Swami Vivekananda's message and by Gandhiji's work in South Africa and in India, Mr A D. Patel came to Fiji in 1928 as a young Barrister.

His brilliance as a Lawyer drew the attention of the public first; then his eloquence and his great ability to debate with the interest of the people caught the imagination of the people here it was Rev. Swami Avinashananda who influenced Mr. A.D. Patel to join Sangam workers, though (obviously) he was not a South Indian he fully identified himself with the progressive activities of the Sangam and of the country and tried to render help to the best of his abilities. Since the Sangam's constitution was (and IS) such that it had no narrow boundaries, Mr A.D. Patel could involve himself fully in the activities of the Sangam. He led the Sangam leaders in a deputation to the Governor more than once, and to the Director of Education several times. The main object was to make the government recognise and allow the various languages to be taught in the Sangam Schools.

Whenever the Sangam organization was in financial difficulties especially in the beginning stages Mr A.D. Patel came forward with generous donations and took up the responsibilities in partnership along with generous members of the Sangam.

But for his help the Sangam would not have succeeded in persuading the government to support the cause of the organisation. It may be even news for some of the young people that Mr A.D. Patel was the first General Manager of the Sangam Schools looking after the educational activities. He continued to be so, for several years. And, later he continued to be the Legal Advisor to the Sangam; and in this capacity he continued till 2nd October, 1969, when he suddenly passed away. On his demise the whole country, the government and the people, paid their last homage in one of the largest funeral procession ever seen here. Tributes were paid in well-deserved glowing terms.

His services to the people of Fiji for 41 years shall form an indelible mark in our country's history. He was not a born chief. Whatever influence he has been able to exert in moulding this country, is due, primarily to his respect for every man, to the sincerity of his purpose, and his perception of the rights of individuals, societies and the country. He was successful because of his persistent desire and efforts throughout the years to improve the lot of the underprivileged, the weak and the down-trodden.

If any person is responsible for the people of Fiji becoming conscious of their rights and self respect as citizens in democratic society, and if they enjoy this right today in any measure, it is to a large measure due to the efforts of Mr A.D. Patel.

First Legal Advisor - Honourable A. D. Patel