Patel: Britain's richest family
Is your surname Patel? Congratulations - you are officially more likely to be a multi-millionaire than anyone else in the country. And if you aren't yet wealthy, you're likely to become so. So what is it about this lot that makes them so much more successful than the rest of us?
For many, the name Patel is synonymous with the corner shop, that emergency port of call that has saved many a person's bacon when the supermarket is shut. But forget Patel the shopkeeper, and step forward Patel the self-made millionaire. For if your surname is Patel, you are seven times more likely to be a multi-millionaire than if your name is Smith.
Dr Philip Beresford, who compiles the annual Rich List, has 37 Patels and 50 Smiths on his database of millionaires worth over £5m. However, there are only around 36,000 Patels compared to 360,000 Smiths on the electoral register.
As well as the 37 multi-millionaires, Dr Beresford says there are also around 500 Patel millionaires in Britain. Not that it came as any surprise to him. "In fact, I think there should be more. It's just my inability to find them and put a value on them," he says.
What does he put their success down to? "Hard work, strong family solidarity, extraordinary determination, ambition to do well that goes from one generation to the other, and belief in education."
According to CB Patel, editor and publisher of the weekly newspaper the Gujarat Samachar/Asian Voice, there are, in fact, around 207,000 Patels in Britain.
Their original homeland is the north-west Indian state of Gujarat, where they settled after migrating from Punjab in 1139AD. Towards the end of the 17th century they acquired land rights and were given the title Patel (meaning landowner). By the mid-19th century further migration had taken them to other parts of India, Fiji, South Africa, the Caribbean, Britain and several of its colonies. Thousands more Patels arrived in Britain in the Seventies from Uganda when Idi Amin ejected all Asians.
The name Patel is now the 24th most common in Britain. The community even produces its own telephone directory.
Leva Patels are direct descendants of Lord Ram via son Luv!