NRI Dunia
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Rami Ranger moves from Partition rags to House of Lords

Rami Ranger, who survived Partition chaos and started business in London with 2 pounds in 1987 and went on to found a multi-million pound business empire, has been nominated by former Prime Minister Theresa May to the House of Lords.

Every outgoing British prime minister draws up a honours list to recognise former aides and others. Such lists attract criticism of cronyism and praise but are usually approved by the Cabinet Office. May’s list includes 57 individuals, including her cricket hero Geoffrey Boycott.

A donor to the Conservative party, Ranger, 72, is co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India, a lobby group within the party. His company, Sun Mark Ltd, is the only company to have been awarded five consecutive Queens Awards for Enterprise.

Previously conferred royal honours MBE and CBE for services to business and community, Ranger is chairman of the British Sikh Association that earlier this year signed a memorandum with the Hashoo Group of Pakistan to develop infrastructure along the Kartarpur corridor.

Ranger was also among donors for the Mahatma Gandhi statue installed in Parliament Square in 2015 by former Prime Minister David Cameron along with former finance minister Arun Jaitley and actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Son of Sardar Nanak Singh, who opposed Partition but was killed during the turmoil, Ranger was born in Gujranwala in July 1947, and began life with his widowed mother and seven siblings in a refugee camp in Patiala.

Ranger graduated from Government College, Chandigarh, arrived in the UK in 1971 to study law, but discontinued studies due to lack of funds. He took up odds jobs and later started his first company – Sea, Air and Land Forwarding Ltd. – in 1987, focussing on logistics and freight, from a shed in Hayes with 2 pounds as capital.

Ranger’s business soon took off and he launched his export company, Sun Mark Ltd, in 1995, sourcing FMCG British products and exporting them to 120 countries, including India. His company has since received a string of awards.

Ranger narrated his story in a book titled ‘from Nothing to Everything’. He says: “My story shows that one does not need a rich father, an elite education or the old schoolboy network to help one in life. What one needs is self-respect, ethics, commitment, vision and empathy”.

He joins several Indian-origin members in the House of Lords, including Swraj Paul, Bhikhu Parekh, Karan Bilimoria, Meghnad Desai, Navnit Dholakia and Jitesh Gadhia.