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Indian-origin banker quits high-paying job to serve as volunteer at UAE temple

Dubai, Feb 26, 2024
A 43-year-old Indian-origin investment banker quit his high-paying job in Dubai last year to serve as a full-time volunteer at the BAPS Abu Dhabi temple, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month.

Vishal Patel, a second-generation expat from Gujarat who was brought up in London, was working with the Dubai International Financial Centre and has previously held positions at prominent investment banks and hedge funds, The Khaleej Times reported on Monday.

Vishal spoke of his close association with the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha since childhood, adding that their Mandir in London has been a guiding light in his life.

“Supporting this (Abu Dhabi) Mandir allowed me to make a meaningful impact on society and engage in endeavours that contribute to the greater good. This opportunity was too significant to pass up,” Vishal, who has been living in the UAE since 2016, told the daily.

From placing protective fences at the building site to serving food to guests, Vishal actively participated in the temple’s construction process.

He is now the chief communications officer in a voluntary capacity for the temple and oversees various responsibilities, including media relations and strategic communications.

He told The Times that several other volunteers like him are ready to give up their jobs to serve at the BAPS Sanstha.

“Our spiritual leaders, Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, have left a lasting impact on young minds and inspired many to devote their time and efforts from all corners of the world,” he said.

After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of London, Vishal was struggling with finding employment, and a breakthrough came while volunteering at the BAPS Mandir in London.

He met a senior director at Merrill Lynch who offered him advice on entering the investment banking industry, which led him and other young volunteers to organise fairs at the temple for students and employment seekers.

“That’s why you see youths dedicating themselves as volunteers in BAPS. The Mandir has provided them with a strong foundation in their lives. And that is precisely what this Abu Dhabi Mandir will provide here,” he told The Times.

India and the UAE further cemented their friendship on February 14 with the inauguration of the majestic Rs 700 crore (BAPS) Mandir — the first Hindu temple in the Gulf nation.

In his inaugural speech, Prime Minister Modi showered extraordinary praise on the UAE, saying that the country has won the hearts of 140 crore Indians and written a “golden chapter in human history”.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, donated 13.5 acres of land for the construction of the temple during PM Modi’s visit to the country in 2015, and in January 2019, a further 13.5 acres of land was allocated, making a total of 27 acres of land gifted for the temple.(Agency)

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