Here’s the thing. I’m a girl from Delhi and I don’t suffer fools. I have very little time for people who strut around showing off their baubles and, my biggest bugbear of all is those in power looking down their noses at ordinary people.
So it’s been a bizarre and revealing few days dealing with just that sort of man – the kind of man whose eye-watering donations to the Tory party lands him a peerage; who makes YouTube videos detailing his “accomplishments”; who sits on numerous community organizations that don’t appear to do much for the community and the list goes on. A man going by Lord Ranger – Rami Ranger, founder of Sun Mark, which has, he likes to remind people at every opportunity, received the Queen’s Award no less than 5 “consecutive” times.
At the end of it all, it has raised serious questions as to the behaviour, morals, ethics and judgment of “Baron Ranger of Mayfair”, a man who sits in the House of Lords and as such has a direct impact on millions of ordinary people.
It all began about two weeks ago when a number of Hindu community groups started an online campaign calling for more “transparency” from the Hindu Forum of Britain (HfB). Co-founded by Rami Ranger, HfB claims to be some sort of umbrella organization for Hindu groups across the UK.
Now, to digress a little bit and lay all of my cards on the table at the very outset, I have something of a history with HfB. Some years ago, I was invited to the Nehru Centre in London for an event by the organization. Also invited was Rashmi Mishra, a woman who openly claims to be a Right Wing Hindutva lunatic, who corrals old age pensioners to go and demonstrate against news organizations that are critical of India in any way and who takes every disparaging remark about India or the BJP as a personal affront because, well, it suits her grift.
Ms Mishra it appears wasn’t happy that I too had been invited to this event and demanded that HfB’s other co-founder – Trupti Patel – get me to leave, which I – being a girl from Delhi – impolitely refused to do, leaving Ms Mishra huffing and puffing from the venue.
Back to the present day and I joined the aforementioned debate on social media asking precisely what the HfB does. I am a Hindu and a proud Indian who has lived in the UK for 18 years but neither my life nor that of anyone I know from our community has been improved in any way shape or form as a result of anything the HfB has done. Hell, I’ve been sheltering victims of domestic violence – women and children, Hindu, Muslim – in my own living room for 8 years but had never known HfB.
I have heard of one living being who has received help from the HfB – Shambo the bull. This was an unfortunate bovine living in a Hindu temple in Wales who came down with Bovine Tuberculosis back in 2006 and was ordered to be slaughtered, for the greater good of the farming community in the area which would have been decimated if an infected animal was allowed free reign.
Enter the HfB, which promised to “form a human chain” around the temple to prevent Shambo being put to sleep because, well, such animals were sacred in Hinduism. Alas, common sense prevailed and Shambo was indeed sent to his abode in the sky.
And of course, there are the pictures of committee members posing with politicians in parliament at Diwali.
Aside from that, what does the HFB do? Curiously, why is an organization, led by a man who claims to work for community cohesion, so exclusive? A case in point is the fact that its various steering committees are populated almost entirely by Gujaratis. Another is a recent video in which Rami Ranger’s HfB co-founder Trupti Patel declares that “no Labour-supporter, MP or Labour sympathiser will be invited to MY Diwali event”, to applause from a gleeful audience, some of whom are doubtless among those who, for example, brand people who support Mayor Sadiq Khan – like me – as “anti-Indian” or “Pakistan lovers”.
These and others are the, entirely legitimate, questions raised by members on social media, especially in light of what had recently happened in Leicester – an issue over which HfB has kept basically Schtum.
But it appears that such impertinent questions are a strict no-no in our community. Raising questions of those who have monopolized positions of power is apparently haram! So Lord Ranger – as many in positions of power who are faced with difficult questions are inclined to do – first began by publicly thrashing the people raising the questions, including myself, calling us all “extremists” and blocking us.
Curiously, after blocking me, he still felt the need to send me emails detailing everything he had achieved including of course, sending round that PR puff piece video and mentioning the five consecutive Queen’s Awards for Excellence. It was quite remarkable to behold – a sitting member of the House of Lords who had become outraged that I and others had had the audacity to ask for transparency.
He then, as men of a certain vintage tend to do, appeared to calm down and invited me to a Diwali event that he and the HfB were hosting at Westminster, presumably in a bid to clear the air and make the case for what exactly HfB does. He even suggested that he wanted to “smooth things out”.
He even sent the below message, basically throwing his HFB co-founder Trupti Patel under the bus.
Once there, and to no great surprise, he had anything but that intention. While preening around for the cameras he was least interested in engaging with me in any way, which was absolutely fine with me. What was not however, was his treatment of the numerous representatives from Hindu organizations who had turned up at the event. You can always tell a man of culture and decency in situations like this. He behaved extremely rudely and coarsely towards a number of them, including at one point demanding that they pay 20 pounds each to enter. A multi-millionaire Lord shouting and asking the plebs to cough up twenty quid for a cup of tea and a photo-op.
I soon scarpered as did many of the others who felt deeply insulted. If only Lord Ranger had been as exasperated at the fact that the brochure for the event featured a full-page advertisement for Nithyananda, the so-called Hindu spiritual guru wanted in India on charges of rape and kidnapping and who has been absconding from Indian justice in various Caribbean countries trying to set up his own “Kailaasa”.
After the event, the same groups and individuals who had been treated badly were on social media along with me, questioning the conduct of someone who is held in such high esteem in our community.
But, and once again to no one’s surprise, instead of offering an explanation or an apology, Rami Ranger went on a full frontal attack against those who complained, and me, on Twitter and WhatsApp.
In a bizarre sequence of events over a week, he would first tag me and ask me questions like “what have you achieved”? He was even moved to ask what my father had achieved!
He then bombarded me with WhatsApp messages with pictures of him posing with the Queen, the then-Prince of Wales, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a photograph of him in the House of Lords wearing those silly ornate robes preferred by that bizarre unelected, upper house of the British parliament. He also sent me the YouTube puff piece and various links ruminating in breathless detail about five Queen’s Awards for Excellence his various companies have received. It was like watching the annoying drunk uncle from the colony shouting and gesticulating wildly at the houses after his third peg at 7 pm.
Here’s a bit more of a flavour of his messages to me:
“What is your quality?? Do you have a high profile job? Or Business?” I’m sorry I didn’t realize that having a meaningful life entailed having a “high profile job” or “business”. I mean, who will the likes of Lord Ranger pass laws for if all the plebs had high profile jobs and/or businesses?
“I have been honoured by the Queen on 8 occasions. How many times anyone has honoured you?” Precisely ZERO occasions, Lord Ranger. I’m guessing my chances are even bleaker now that she’s dead. Long Live the King!
“You show a very poor upbringing and disgrace your parents with lack of culture and refinement”. Well, my left-leaning economist father will be cheering from his grave that his little girl has the audacity to call out a member of the House of Lords, so I’m happy about that. As for “culture and refinement”, well I’m not the one ogling on Twitter, dear Lord.
“Unless you change your mindset you continue to show aggression. No aggressive person ever succeeds in life nor do they benefit society with their lives”. This is remarkable from a person who claims to champion women’s rights. Why don’t you Google “suffragettes”, Lord Ranger.
This patronizing and patriarchal way of speaking is very telling about the nature and character of the man. I am, in his eyes, devoid of “culture and refinement” – presumably because I do not and will not conform to his “ideal” of what a woman should be; submissive, quiet, diligent in the kitchen and bedroom, never daring to raise their voice at, let alone in the presence, of such pomposity.
Well, there’s previous form with the man. In 2020, an employment tribunal found Lord Ranger guilty of workplace harassment and gender-based discrimination after he lambasted a young woman for having the audacity to complain about sexual harassment at HIS company. He described her as a “scumbag”, a “silly girl”, a “dirty girl”, telling her that making a complaint would besmirch the “honour” of her parents. His lawyers claim that he had been “entrapped” into saying these things.
Because girls are meant to be ornamental, right? In a tweet on 29 October, Ranger shares a video of a parade of gorgeous young sari-clad women wearing heavy gold jewellery and purrs, “the best place for Gold”.
A few weeks earlier he shared the below tweet. If anyone doesn’t think this is creepy from a 75-year-old Baron, they need to have their head examined.
When I shared this among my followers, he became even more incandescent, first blocking me, then unblocking me and blocking me again and then sending me private messages via WhatsApp and then tagging my employer and raising questions about my “integrity” and “honour”. It is utterly bizarre behaviour that is more than a bit disconcerting. At one point I actually became concerned and reached out to his daughter – after all, he is old enough to be my father – but his daughter wanted nothing to do with him or the situation.
And yet he carries on, this week addressing the Punjabi community at the High Commission, posing with various people in high places. People who are unaware of his actions are still lining up, singing his praises, doubtless after being offered the chance to visit his Lordship at the place of the Lords for a photograph which they can put on Facebook and tell the relatives back home about what they’ve achieved and how far they’ve come. “Hey look, ma, I got a picture with a Lord!” (Please don’t mention the £1.5 million he had to, erm, “donate” and the creepy Twitter messages).
But that’s the way the community works. You can be a part of it or be apart from it. I’d choose the latter 7 days a week and twice on Sunday.
The pattern is always the same. If you, in any way, raise questions about someone in our community who has declared themselves a figure of importance then it becomes a major problem.
They believe that they are above any sort of criticism or accountability because they believe that they have reached a “big position” and should not be questioned in any way shape or form. It’s typical South Asian thinking.
It’s time these people be called out, it’s time they be held accountable. This is a man who spoke about female empowerment in his inaugural speech to the Lord’s, only to call a woman who dares question him a “dirty girl”. He’s so drunk on power that at one point while attacking me on social media he compared himself to Lord Rama!
But this fallacy will one day come crashing down because power and money corrupts and that rot is already very well evident. It’s shameful that the likes of Rami Ranger are celebrated.
But here’s the other thing.
This country is weird in that you can buy your titles and buy “prestige” but this country also gives simple people like me and you to hold power to account and put them in their rightful place!
I for one won’t stop.