-As he leaves power as Honorary Consulate General
At a grand honoring ceremony held Sunday, 21, February at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County, the Indian Community in Liberia paid respects and expressed gratitude to long – serving Honorary Consulate General of India to Liberia, Mr. Upjit S. Sachdeva (Mr. Jetty), who leaves the post after over two decades of services and humanitarian work.
The program witnessed individual members of the Indian community telling their own stories of their experiences with Mr. Jetty, who according to their accounts, went beyond his role as Consulate General to do personal humanitarian works that impacted not just Indians, but Liberians and other residents here.
During an interactive part of the program when members of the audience were given microphones to pose questions to Mr. Jetty, the honoree, in some of his responses to questions indicated that he believes in helping people, and he will do it day and night as long as he remains Jetty, not necessarily Consulate General.
While he recognizes that he is a successful businessman, Mr. Jetty also says he likes to live his life as a philanthropist, when asked to say what he loves being most, choosing between a successful businessperson and a philanthropist.
Mr. Jetty also says if a book is written about him, he would like it to be titled “A Man On A Mission for Humanity.”
In his address to the Indian Community in Liberia, Mr. Jetty recalls his services in Liberia both as India’s Consulate General and as a businessman which date back to civil crisis in Liberia when he had to take risks at some point to intervene in the situations of his people here.
“At that time, mother will not look for their own child. I know what risk I took,” says Mr. Jetty, reflecting on his role in helping his fellow Indians during Liberia’s civil crisis back in the 90s.
“In 2003, my house again in Mamba Point became center of refugees – Indians and Liberians. I never knew who Indians were there, who Liberians were there, but that was my duty and I did it,” says in reflecting on another period of civil crisis that eventually ended former President Charles Ghankay Taylor’s rule.
He says he “evacuated everybody who wanted to leave,” recalling that by the end of 2003, they were only 39 Indians left in Liberia.
Fast forward to the start of the health crisis in Liberia when Ebola broke during former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s administration, Mr. Jetty recalls how he had to come back to Liberia from the United States to attend to the former president and other citizens’ call.
He recalled how the former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wanted the Indians to cremate Ebola bodies, and that she also wanted him back because Indians were getting panic and were running away from the country which would have affected the availability of commodities in the country.
Having flew back to Liberia, Mr. Jetty says, he wore personal protective equipment (PPEs) suits, went ahead and taught them how to do cremation. “The first body, I cremated it myself, and I am standing right in front of you. If you are to die, you are to die. Nothing can change [that],” he says.
He also spoke of hot meal distribution exercise which he has been carrying out for the past time to help homeless folks in Liberia, indicating that he has not received a dime from anyone to do it. He says he will continue the initiative even when he is not in Liberia.
He says he is very thankful to everybody who has supported him over the past 27 years in the discharge of his duty, as well as the Indian community for organizing the event in his honor.
Mr. Jetty urged his fellow Indians to move to a certain stage in life towards small skill industrial sector in Liberia, noting that the investment climate here is very good. “Government has very good policy through NIC (National Investment Commission), I’m sure some of my fellow compatriots are taking advantage of that,” he said.
He said although Indians in Liberia are in a small number, however, they have shown commendable presence in almost all sphere of activities in this country, saying they have significant number of entrepreneurs, investors, successful traders and qualified professionals contributing to every sector of development here.
Earlier in a welcome statement, Mr. Mahendra Shedul of T.Choithram and Sons thanked Mr. Jetty for his dedicated and remarkable service over 26 years of as the Honorary Consulate General of India to Liberia.
“His tenure will not only be remembered in Liberia for how efficiently he has done his duties and achievements …, but also he will be remembered for his passion for helping the Indian community, helping the poor and helping the hungry, doing humanitarian works,” he said. By Winston W. Parley