Deputy British High Commissioner, Bharat Joshi, highlights the nitty-gritty’s of his personal and professional lives. By BEENU
The Joshis were the first Asian family who lived in a province called Kent, known as the garden of England, due to its greenery. Though his family was a proper Gujarati vegetarian household, he never was treated ‘different’ by the people there. He went to the Grammar School and then studied Hotel Management. He worked for three years in the domain, but wasn’t satisfied. It was at this point that his mother advised him to do something which really pulls his interest. This led him to apply for foreign affairs in 1994 and after all the necessary security checks; he successfully took up the position in 1995.
When asked if he had to go through any specific qualification for the role, he replies – “I just had to follow the application process. The role requires intellectual capacity, vision, ‘think on your feet’ attitude, being ready to travel, being tough, diplomatic and good with people engagement.”
After joining Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1995, Bharat had the opportunity to work with and meet several well known people from across the world and was posted in various places such as Gambia, Dhaka and Qatar. He got posted in Chennai in 2013, representing the UK in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala. He was instrumental in enhancing the experience of UK VISA application.
“You don’t need to go to an office where you will have to leave your phones outside, go through bullet proof glasses, but can relax with a cup of coffee as the application process takes place. Our staffs are very good at what they do, which makes the process more efficient”, says the British-born-Indian, who loves being at his motherland.
UK aims to be India’s partner of choice. Fundamentally, they would want to see India achieve a potential in global space whether it is virtually, diplomatically or politically, opines Bharat.
He has rich experience in crisis management and has tackled many life threatening situations. He mentions that the level of destruction in the Chennai floods was shocking and that the response time had to be pretty quick. He advises that it is important to keep practising different methods to handle crisis. “Keep calm and focus. Panicking doesn’t help and it leads to wrong decisions” – he adds.
He has also been closely working to improve the conditions of the sexual violence/burnt victims with various groups. One such group is ‘She Leads – Women of Worth’ which works to educate and create awareness by distributing `handbooks’ in local languages to improve the system and the situation of the victim. He is very specific that only when women are treated with dignity can a society grow!
Bharat, who has met many personalities in South Africa and UK, considers himself blessed to have met Nelson Mandela, who is his inspiration. He also looks forward to an opportunity to meet Narendra Modi whom he calls “an iconic leader”. He is proud to encourage the UK companies to bring people from India as he sees so much challenge, energy and ambition, which can lead to economic contribution to both the sides as job creation is the need of the hour, he says. He is amazed to see the improvement of the country since he has been visiting India from 1995. “I am a massive fan of India because of which I took up this job. IAS officers here are outstanding and I am very positive about the country’s growth and betterment. ”
Though for him ‘work’ comes first, he never misses an opportunity to be with his wife and two beautiful daughters. “I make sure I spend time with my family, go holidaying together, etc. I am a loving father and a doting husband (guess you should ask my wife)” – laughs Bharth before signing out.