Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London (PRWEB UK) 1 November 2012
Lord Indarjit Singh, the first member of the House of Lords to wear a turban, has been presented with the ‘Punjab Ratan’ (Jewel of Punjab) award by the World Punjabi Organisation, in recognition of his contribution to promoting Punjabi Culture, Heritage and Inter faith services.
Rt. Honourable Grant Shapps, MP, and Lord Andrew Feldman, Chairmen of the Conservative Party, presented the award to Lord Indarjit Singh at a glittering ceremony at the WPO annual dinner held at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square in central London on Oct.26th.
Born in 1932 in Rawalpindi in British India, Indarjit Singh is a journalist and broadcaster, a prominent British Asian active in Sikh and inter-faith activities and editor of the Sikh Messenger.
Since 1993 he has worked for the Sikh community and is probably its best-known representative in Britain.
An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) since June 1996, Lord Singh was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2009. He was made a life peer on Oct 12 last year.
P S Chawla, a former banker, was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award for services to The Punjabi Community.”
Speaking at the Dinner, Ranjit Singh Baxi, President of WPO said “The British-Indian community is the largest ethnic minority group in the United Kingdom, who together make a major contribution to the British economy. British Punjabis and Sikhs make up close to a million people in the UK, they play an important role in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector as well as amongst medium to large Enterprises, and also make contributions in the services sector as Doctors, Lawyers and Teachers.”
He said “some of the core values both of the Sikhs and the Punjabis are hard work, honesty, equality, non-discrimination, justice, and service to humanity.”
“Prime Minister David Cameron’s message of working together to help build stronger communities, helping and supporting the weak and infirm (charitable services) are so close to the principles that are enshrined within the Punjabi scriptures, they really are what the Big Society is all about.
“The UK is a successful example of a multicultural melting pot of diverse communities. Within this pot, I am sure that we the Punjabis working together, carrying forward the torch of our values – of hard work, selfless service etc can together succeed in delivering not only success for us but also for our neighbours, our friends, our communities and above all for our United Kingdom.”
Recalling Prime Minister Cameron’s remarks at the launch of the Conservative Friends of India that there are no glass ceilings – even in politics, and those who work hard for the country could also attain the highest office in the land, Baxi asked the young Punjabis present in the hall to join politics as the “opportunities are limitless if you wish to make politics your career.”
Also present on the occasion were Lord Raj Loomba and Lord Dolar Popat.
Lord Andrew Feldman said the party currently has four Indian-origin MPs including Shailesh Vara and Ms Priti Patel and there was vast scope for further improving the number.
He said “after 13 years, we have extended a hand of friendship to Narendra Modi (Gujarat Chief Minister) which Labour had failed to do, irrespective of many factors”.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps, who is also Minister without portfolio, said Punjabi values such as hard work, family and ethics are the same as the Jewish community to which he belonged.
Mrs Jasminder Kasturia, Counsellor (Press and Information) in the Indian High Commission London lauded the efforts of Punjabis for their achievements here and also for keeping the flag of Punjab flying.
Dr Duggal and Paul Riat, on behalf of WPO presented a cheque to the British Heart Foundation in appreciation of its work.