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Ujima Radio celebrates Batook’s life…

Bristol mourns the loss of one of it’s most respected and beloved characters today as Batook Pandya, MBE is laid to rest at the age of 67.

Arriving from Kenya at the age of 17, Batook, originally of Indian descent, had little with him but his industrious work ethic and a hunger to learn. Soon enough, he was given the chance to prove his determination to succeed, working for British Aerospace as a trainee Aircraft Technician, assisting on the ‘Concorde’ project amongst others.

Despite his having made a significant contribution to Bristol’s Engineering Industry, Batook’s strong social conscience pulled him in another direction. It was from here that his efforts to tackle Racism and Inequality in the community began to gather momentum, and before long, the organisation known as S.A.R.I. (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) was established. Batook realised that Bristol had a high number of ethnic minority groups but believed that mutual respect and understanding of each other’s ways and methods was the key to a peaceful coexistence.

Determined not to let reports of racism in Bristol fall on deaf ears, S.A.R.I. with Batook as Project Manager and later Director, became a voice for those in the community courageous enough to stand up in defence of their civil rights. Not only did Batook provide the means to report such offences, he also paved the way for others by establishing links between Agencies and the Authorities, getting racism cases the attention they deserved.

Batook was honoured in 2000, when owing to his consistent efforts to improve community relations, he was awarded his MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

A keen supporter of local radio, Batook enjoyed a brief broadcasting spell as a Specialist Presenter of Bollywood hits on Radio Mast. Radio Mast pay a special tribute to their friendship with Batook Pandya on their website homepage. You can read this heartfelt tribute by clicking the link:  http://www.radiomastfm.com/r-i-p-batook-pandya-

Roger Griffiths, Chair of Ujima Radio, who was a friend and supporter to Batook Pandya, shared this message:

“My friend, mentor, community titan Batook Pandya MBE died in his sleep yesterday. You will be sorely missed. Proud to share an anti-racist, anti-hate platform with you my soul brother.”

Sad, though the death of Batook Pandya will be for many, the empowering legacy he leaves behind will strengthen Bristol and it’s many communities for years to come.

For all friends of Batook including the agencies and key professionals he worked with, there will be a celebration of his life next week. We will communicate to all as soon as we have all the details confirmed.  This is where Batook would like all those who knew and worked with him to come and be joyful and remember his huge sense of fun.

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