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Clergyman and Indian business chief reunited

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Clergyman and Indian business chief reunited

A CLERGYMAN from Dumfriesshire has been reunited in India with an old friend after more than 50 years.

REUNION . . . the Rev Gerald Moule in the large garden at the Delhi home of his old friend Ashok Mahindra with the host’s pet golden retrievers Brutus and Kasper

He first met Ashok Mahindra — part of the dynasty behind one of India’s largest international conglomerates — when they were both training in accountancy in 1960s London.

Rev. Moule, who lives in Moffat, said: “Ashok came to the UK to study at St John’s College, Oxford University following in his father’s footsteps.

“We began chartered accountancy training together in the City of London in the mid-sixties and became good friends.

“After qualifying Ashok returned to India remaining in the profession and most recently retired as chairman of Deloittes India. He is also the Indian director of the food giant Nestle.

“Since retirement he has specialised in wildlife photography and has had one book published with another in the pipeline.

“He has also set up a foundation to enable underprivileged children to visit wildlife parks in India.”

Rev. Moule, whose university studies took him to St Andrews and Edinburgh, explained Ashok graduated in mathematics from St. Stephen’s at Delhi University before gaining his philosophy, politics and economics degree from Oxford.

CLOSE-UP . . . a picture of a tiger taken by Ashok Mahindra in the Panna National Park during a tour with the Rev Moule

The two friends were reunited partly through a younger member of Rev. Moule’s family coming across Ashok through social media.

He is also well-known internationally as a leading figure with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in India.

Back home in Moffat, Rev. Moule, described the trip as ‘a great experience’ and praised the hospitality of his old friend, who has become internationally respected for his photography.

He said: “I spent three weeks in India — half of the time with Ashok, who took me on a flying tour to Central India, including Varanassi, the most sacred site of Hinduism, together with boat trips on the River Ganges to see the open air cremations.

“On a safari to Panna National Park we had the good fortune to encounter a female tiger with two cubs. It was one of many highlights of the trip.

“For the other half of my visit I joined a small UK group to see the familiar tourist places including the Taj Mahal in Agra.”


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