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 Robert Masih Nahar, born in a small village of district Gurdaspur of Punjab, is the first Asian to sit in the upper house of Spain. Robert Masih elected senator from Barcelona is the first Indian to break the stream, as elected senator to represent Barcelona province in the Spanish senate.Mr. Masih, settled in Barcelona since 2015, a businessperson, event manager by profession and very well known as cricket and sociocultural events in promoter in Europe founder of the Catalan cricket federation, and Indian Culture centre in Barcelona.

Since 2007 he has been working to promote cricket and culture in the Catalan society (* Catalonia is the northern region in Spain, seeking its independence from Spain, Catalonia has called for a referendum later this year on 1s).

You was born in a small village in Gurdaspur,Can you please share your journey from Gurdaspur to Barcelona city? 

A:Before leaving from India, I have lived in different cities like in Lucknow, Delhi and Pune, and also travelled to many cities in India, I wanted to travel to India, to see different places in India.

In 2002, I left for MEXICO, where I have worked as an English language teacher for a couple of years.  later I went to Italy to visit my parents living there, after that I wanted to visit Barcelona, since Barcelona was marked in my mind since Olympic games in 1992, I landed Barcelona in 2005, since then I have been living in Barcelona.

While living in Barcelona, I used to play cricket with a bunch of Indian friends on weekends. We played in the parks or any other open place available. Therefore, the idea came up to find a right place or any ground to play cricket instead of playing in parks, just not to disturb other people in the parks. We were also fined some times while playing in parks, so just to fulfil our passion to play cricket, so I started knocking the different doors to find a place to play cricket. It was not easy task, first of all the language problem, then not knowing the Catalan sports system, I went to many offices, and it took me 2 years to organize the first official cricket tournament in Barcelona in the year 2009. The local government supported this tournament. I kept on working to promote cricket in Catalonia, Spain. In the year 2010, I founded the Catalan union of clubs and then in the year 2013 we were the official cricket federation of Catalonia, now the Catalan cricket federation have 56 clubs affiliated. In the year 2015, we inaugurated the first official ground for cricket in Catalonia in presence of the ICC president Mr. Zaheer Abbas.

I have also worked in the Spanish schools to give free cricket workshops to promote cricket in the Spanish schools, I have worked in more than 35 schools during last 4 years. It was hard and difficult, but we achieved this. Now there is an official league cricket league in Catalonia and an official cricket ground in Catalonia.

Apart from cricket, I have been working in cultural events since 2007. In the year 2007 and 2008 also worked with some groups sent to Barcelona by ICCR and INDIAN EMBASSY IN MADRID, and have been working with immigrants in Catalonia from south Asian countries, helping the in their paper works, helping them with translations. As we, all know the life of immigrants is not easy in abroad, not every country is like UK, USA or CANADA, where we have second or third generations of Indian immigrants. In Spain, this just first generation, the life is hard for the immigrants.  During all these years working in sports and culture I came to know many people in the Catalan society and local associations. Working with immigrants knowing there problems gave me the courage to join a political party, which has better vision for the better life for immigrants in Catalonia and Catalan society.

How somebody of Indian origin, related to the world of the sport…ends up in politics for ideology or for interest?

A.I believe that politics is also a tool of integration and social cohesion, same as sports or any social work. Afterall, you are working for public at any stage. I have been working to promote sports. Have been working to promote culture and working with the immigrantsof south Asian countries residing in Catalonia, which has been a wonderful experience for me, now I will be able to work for the society from the political stage. While working in the society I was very impressed by the ideology of the left republican party of Catalonia (* ESQUERRA REUPUBLICANA DE CATALUNYA). The work done by the left republican party of Catalonia for the basic rights for all in the society, against the discrimination, against the corruption, and fights for the equal rights for all citizens, no matter from where you come, which skin colour you have and no matter which god you worship.  In 2012, I became a member of the party, and then in 2015 I got the change to be on the Barcelona city council elections list from left Republican Party of Catalonia. Where we did not get enough support, later in the Spanish general elections, the party again trusted on me and put me on the list of senate elections from Barcelona, this time we got the support from the public, and we good very good results, and I became the first senator of Asian origin.

What brings you to be passionate for cricket while living in football loved country?

Well, I am also passionate for football, I love watching football, but from the childhood I have been playing cricket, it is obvious that the sport you have played and seen all the time, you become a part of it.

Which is your aim as a Senator?
Well, same as all other senators we have our parliamentary jobs to do, to work for the country, work for the society, for the rights of the citizens.

What are your expectations from the Senate?
Very little in deed. The right-hand party of Spain have the absolute majority in the senate, but still we must use all the institutions to raise the voice of the citizens, and specially the voice of all Catalans who trusted and elected me as senator from Barcelona. Moreover, I can raise the voice of almost 150.000 south Asians as well, living in Catalonia. In the senate, as I am appointed in the international cooperation and development commission, in which i would able to work for the society on the international platform as well.

Your roots are in India, any plans to work withIndia.

India is my love! I love India. India is a great country, the biggest democracy in world. India is the fastest growing economy in the world. I think there many sectors, like business between small and large-scale companies, renewable energies, cultural exchanges, tourism and sports among many other sectors in which both countries can collaborate and work together. I think the recent visit of Hon’ble prime minister of India Mr. Narendra Modito Spain is very significant and will give an impulse for the strong relations between both countries in various sectors.

We have established the Indian culture centre in Barcelona, which will be inaugurated somewhere in august, most probablynearby 15th of august to celebrate the Independence Day of India and to inaugurate the Indian culture centre.We have plans to work with the cultural troupes from ICCR, to perform in Barcelona, which I have done previously in 2007 and 2008 as well. Indian culture centre Barcelona will work in culture, education, yoga and Hindi coursed in Barcelona, and will work to send cultural troupes to India to promote Catalan and Spanish culture. The centre will work to promote culture between both countries, in which we are looking forward to work closely with ICCR.

Speaking on the independence! What you think about referendum in Catalonia?

Most of Catalans, almost 80% of Catalans are willing to vote for a referendum to decide their future, The Catalan parliament have passed the bill with the majority, to call for the referendum on 1st of October this year to decide its auto determination as an independence state of Europe. I think if the majority of the people wants to vote for a referendum, they must have the right to decide their future.

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