British Speaker Honours Indian Icons at Bhavan in London….reports Kaliph Anaz
Parliament Speaker Mr John Bercow urged the Indian diaspora in Britain to engage more with mainstream politics and get proper representation in Parliament.
“The community makes a huge contribution to British life, and I hope that its members will continue to build on its successes, both in terms of representation in Parliament and more widely across our national life,” said Mr Bercow.
He was presenting the Asian Lite Pranam Awards to seven prominent members of the British Indian community. The seven award winners are world famous economist Lord Meghnad Desai; the first Asian woman to receive peerage Baroness Flather; BBC’s former sports editor Mihir Bose; refugee turned multi-millionaire Dr Rami Ranger CBE; Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan Executive Director Dr Mattur N. Nandakumara; Rights activist and writer Zerbanoo Gifford; entrepreneur Mr Thembalath Ramachandran, CEO and MD of Bristol Laboratories.
The event held at Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan was attended by several prominent members of the Indian community and British Parliamentarians including Bob Blackman MP. Asian Lite Political Editor Buddhdev Pandya MBE chaired the meeting. Asian Lite editor Azeez Anasudhin delivered the welcome speech and associate editor Kanwal Toor compered the event.
The Pranam Awards were instituted by Asian Lite newspaper to honour members of the Indian community for their contributions to British culture, economy, business, media and sport sectors.
Seven members of the third generation British Asians pay tributes to the award winners. They are poetess Divya Mathur; media personality Rafeek Ravuther; London junior chamber former president Nahas Abdul Jaleel; Here & Now 365 MD Manish Tiwari; journalists Dhiren Katwa and Navdeep Singh.
Baroness Flather, great grand-daughter of Sir Ganga Ram, was the first Asian woman to receive a peerage and the first from the ethnic minorities in the House of Lords. She has worked tirelessly for several humanitarian causes, fighting for social justice, for refugees, community, race relations and for people in prisons.
Baroness Flather, former Mayoress of Windsor, is a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society. She is patron of a number of charities, including the British branch of Child in Need India and the UK population concern charity, Population Matters.
Padmabushan Lord Meghnad Desai is a Labour Peer and spearheaded the campaign to install the Mahatma Gandhi Statue at Parliament Square at Westminster in London. Lord Desai, an ardent supporter of the labour party, wrote several books on economics. As a former professor of London School of Economics (LSE), the world media seek Lord Desai’s opinion on several current isues.
Dr Rami Ranger CBE is one of the most successful Indian-origin businessmen in Britain. His firm Sun mark Ltd won six Queen’s Award, a record, for export. Dr Ranger, the youngest son of martyred Indian freedom Shaheed Nanak Singh, began his life as a refugee boy in Delhi and now runs £200 million turn over company which exports products to 125 countries.
Thembalath Ramachandran aka TR grew Bristol Laboratories from a company with one person and one product in 2001, to the one which employs over 600 people across UK today. His success story is an inspiration to the new generation of British Asians.
Bristol Laboratories market more than 150 molecules and over 300 presentations in the United Kingdom. Their products are available throughout the country, in most pharmacies, as well as NHS hospitals and in the Department of Health. Focused strategic vision and leadership of Mr. T Ramachandran has led the company to being one of the fastest growing generic companies in the country. The company’s business philosophy built on ‘Quality Driven Values’ and ‘Teamwork’, inspires its people to set new benchmarks in generics.
Mr Mihir Bose is an inspiration to British Asians. A burning passion for journalism and writing was what made Mr Bose, who came to England to study engineering but was trained in accountancy, to become one of the most respected journalists of the day. In a career spanning over two decades, he has worked in almost all the premier media houses in the country starting with LBC, to the Sunday Times, to the Daily Telegraph and then to become the first Sport Editor for BBC.
Dr Mattur Nandakumara aka Nandaji is a beacon of Indian culture in London. The Sanskrit scholar who is teaching at prestigious institutions like Cambridge and Eton besides Bhavan is inspiring Indians in Britain to learn more about their motherland and its culture. Hailing from the only Sanskrit speaking village of Mattur in Karnataka in India, Nandakumara is one of the greatest exponent of Sanskrit language and literature in the world today and holds a PhD in devotional literature from School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
Overcoming racial attacks, political disenchantments, legal battles against the Government and a near-death experience, Zerbanoo Gifford’s is a gripping story of a fearless woman who has held fast to the causes of equality and global justice. Zerbanoo is the first non-white woman to stand for British Parliament in 1982, She won several recognitions for her involvement in national and international humanitarian activities. Zerbanoo was elected to the Liberal Party’s Federal Executive, again the first non-white to be elected onto any governing body of a British political party. Her principles, values and positive outlook in life resemble those of her hero, Dadabhai Naoroji, the first Indian to be elected to Parliament in Britain.