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India Made Me Britain Enabled Me : An Autobiography

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The process of writing my autobiography has been thoroughly fulfilling, yet quite exhausting. Going down memory lane and reliving the moments of our lives, reflecting on how and when things happened, our ups and downs, our challenges and struggles, and us staying strong together as a family has been a humbling experience.

I do not say this enough, but I want to take this opportunity to say to my children Shalini, Sheel and Sneh, 'thank you for giving us happiness and also the strength we needed. Your thoughtfulness, care and love for us is unparalleled.'

From the day I met Shankar, as we became husband and wife, he has been my guide, my rock and someone who has been on my side no matter what. I am indebted to him for the life we have been able to create together. His love and concern for me are beyond description. I know that without him, I would not be who I am today. I do not think I will really ever know how to thank him properly.

With God's grace, we have been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Allegra and Xander. Their love and affection touch our hearts every day, and they give me a feeling of inner contentment that is indescribable. I want to say thank you to Katarina and Sneh for giving us our precious gifts.

I believe my upbringing and my happy and confident childhood shaped me into the person I became. I pay my heartfelt tribute to my late parents, to my uncles and aunts and to my brothers Umesh, Suresh and Dinesh for everything they showered on me. My late grandmother has a special place in my heart. I am struggling to find the words, but I know her love and blessings are always with me.

I also pay my deep regards to my late mother in-law and father in-law for their graceful and nurturing love during the time I spent with them as a young bride. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Helena Drakakis for her help in writing my autobiography and to Story Terrace for their support. It has been a huge pleasure to work with Helena and to get to know her.



I had an opportunity to join Asha at the launch

celebrations of AoC India at

the British High Commission in New Delhi on 22 January, 2013. Asha was leading a team of educationalists from the United Kingdom. While in conversation with Ms Susan Pember, a senior British education official, I said, 'My family and our country are grateful to your nation for

bestowing Asha with both opportunity and honour.' Her reply was, 'Mr Agrawal, Britain is grateful to your family and your country for giving us Asha Khemka, who is our Queen of Education.'

The statement, even today, reflects multiple shades of meaning: Great Britain embraces talent and quality with gratitude, and for this nation a person's contribution and the two nations' mutual relations are more important than mere citizenship of the country. Today, I am very proud of both Asha and the United Kingdom.

India's traditional teaching is the creation of great teachers and we feel honoured to see Asha, daughter of Bihar, carry forward the legacy of the land enlightened by visionaries like Gautama Buddha and Kautilya (Chanakya).

Immense love and blessings to you, Asha!

When we think of Asha's achievements as an educationalist in a land thousands of miles away from her own native land, the impossible became inevitable; and this has been possible because of her determination, dedication and discipline.

I wish her all the glory and success and congratulate her for bringing in her experience in the form of this book.

I am confident this book will underscore the integral and eternal relationship of education and educationalist and will inspire the generations to come.

Ram Sharan Agrawal

डेम आशा खेमका डीबीई डीएल (Dame Asha Khemka DBE DL)


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