Bharat Gheewala’s dream

We’ve all seen a movie and been inspired to change our lives. Usually, with me, that impulse lasts around as long as it takes me to get home and then I forget or move on. However, in Bharat Gheewala’s case [I can't make that name up - what could be a better name than that?], he plans to act on this impulse.

Gheewala’s inspiration came from an unlikely place — the movie “The Last King of Scotland” which should earn Forest Whitaker an Oscar tonight. Watching the movie reminded Gheewala of his own experiences in Uganda over 30 years ago:

“It was a case of leaving the kitchen and the bathroom and all our belongings and just getting out,” he said. “At first no one knew if Amin had meant what he said. But when it became clear that he had there was real panic… “In the end most of us left with nothing. People knew Amin … was a killer and would carry out his threats if we did not obey him…” [Link]

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p>Interestingly enough, it also made Gheewala, now a successful businessman in the UK, feel he should do something to help Uganda:

“There is a saying that when you prosper you should give something back to the land of your birth, the land that created you as a person and that’s what I want to do.” [Link]

Gheewala says he now wants to build a hydroelectric plant to generate electricity in the south of Uganda, and create a lasting legacy for his family. I can’t tell if he’s serious or not, or if this is all clever PR, but I thought, on Oscar night, it would be nice to spotlight somebody who at least claims to have been inspired by the silver screen.

12 thoughts on “Bharat Gheewala’s dream

  1. Bharat Gheewala’s case [I can’t make that name up – …

    Back in the day, when I was in Bombay, my teachers name was Dosawalla, do not remember her first name. Maybe it’s to make sure that people never forget their name… I have always wondered about that.

  2. Insert-your-profession-herewallah. It’s a Parsi thing. Merchant, Mechanic etc. Same deal sans “wallah”. Bharatbhai does not appear to be Parsi though.

  3. Personally, I’m fond of Hathikhanewallah, taken either way.

    I thought, on Oscar night, it would be nice to spotlight somebody who at least claims to have been inspired by the silver screen.

    Ennis, did you see the cnn thing (I think cnn) where they asked a whole bunch of politicians what their favorite movie was and rendered a snap character analysis for each presidential candidate except Barack Obama? It turned out he hadn’t responded…

  4. I met somebody with the last name “Treasurywala.” I always thought that South Asian last names tended to be either location signifiers (from this town) professions, or something signifying faith.

    Great that he wants to give back. Seems like good timing to announce.

  5. Gheewala says he now wants to build a hydroelectric plant to generate electricity in the south of Uganda, and create a lasting legacy for his family.

    The full article also includes this quote:

    There are some remote villages in the south where families still use candles. It’s a real fire hazard and the kind of thing that we Asians who left and have done well take for granted. I want to use the river to power the electricity and raise the funds to build the power station. I will be inviting the people who made the film to take part in my project to bring light, not just the electricity but true light into people’s lives.

    One has to wonder if he wasn’t also inspired by a particular desi film. ^__^

  6. Why is the name funny? Many last names translate to professions. Do you think Smith and Carter could be made up names? What about Sharma?

  7. I actually know the Gheewala family in East Africa. Their real name was ‘Datta’ but they changed it to gheewala after years in the business.

  8. Well, I actually know the Gheewala family as well, and it’s true that their real name was ‘Datta’ because Umisha just told me. Umisha is Bharat’s youngest daughter

  9. how comes no one is talking about the hydro project.. but making the fun of out sur name… haha…!umisha