Several members of the Indian community in the UK engaged in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been named in the New Year Honours List 2021 released on Thursday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailing their contribution as “outstanding”.
Indian-origin individuals named for some of the highest civilian honours such as OBE, MBE and BEM include popular actor Nina Wadia, who played various characters in films and TV programmes over the years, including Goodness Gracious Me, and singer-songwriter Steven Kapur, better known as ‘Apache Indian’.
Johnson said, “In a year when so many have made sacrifices to protect our National Health Service (NHS) and save people’s lives, the outstanding efforts of those receiving honours today are a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion.”
“The 2021 New Year Honours offer us an opportunity to salute their dedication and recognise many who have gone above and beyond in their contribution to our country. As we begin a new year and continue to come together to fight this virus, may their service and stories be an inspiration to us all,” he added.
The awardees include Jan Thompson, acting British high commissioner in New Delhi for services to British foreign policy. She oversaw the repatriation of thousands of Britons in various parts of India on special flights as Covid-19 spread earlier in the year, among other challenges.
Those linked to the Covid-19 response include Manoj Varsani, founder of a company that supplied vital PPE in London; Mrunel Sisodia, for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly during the pandemic, in Bedford.
Others honoured for their contribution to the response are Alka Surajprakash Ahuja, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, for services to the NHS in Cardiff; Rabinder Nath Bhanot, for services to well-being and community action in Chigwell, Essex; and Avinash Dussaram of the Parliamentary Digital Service, for services to parliament, particularly during the Covid-19 response.
Harjinder Kaur Kandola has been named for services to mental health, particularly during the Covid-19 response in Bedfordshire; besides Asha Rani, day nurse in Leicestershire, Daljit Singh Grewal in west London, and Charandeep Singh, founder of the Sikh Food Bank, for services to charity during the pandemic in Renfrewshire.
Individuals named for OBE include Tanjit Singh Dosanjh, founder of a unique trust that provides eye care services in British prisons and helps rehabilitate prisoners by providing them training in making spectacles and helping them secure paid work with opticians upon release.
Diljit Singh Rana, Belfast-based prominent businessman and member of the House of Lords, has also been named for OBE, for his services to business and to the economy in Northern Ireland.
Aakash Odedra and Anand Bhatt, founders of a cultural enterprise in Leicester, have been honoured for services to dance and to the community, while London-based Chitra Sundaram has been named for services to south Asian dance, and Bhaven Pathak for services to business and British Hinduism in London.
Others from the Indian community in the list include Malini Nebhrajani, for public service, London; Usha Claire Goswami, for services to educational research, Cambridge; Preetha Ramachandran, for services to the unemployed, London; Dipanwita Ganguli, for services to adult education, London; Partha Sarathi Kar, for services to people with diabetes, Hampshire; Harnovdeep Singh Bharaj, for services to people with diabetes in the south Asian community, Greater Manchester; Anand John Chitnis, for services to the NHS, mental health and disabilities, West Midlands; Anita Goyal, for services to diversity and to female empowerment, Essex; Gary Grewal, for services to defence, London; Shravan Jashvantrai Joshi, for services to diversity and to the British Hindu community, London.
The list also named Ruchi Nanda, for services to trade, investment and to business support, Essex; Satyesh Parmar, for services to oral and maxillofacial cancer surgery, West Midlands; Vinaykant Ruparelia, for services to local enterprise, to tourism and to the community in Banffshire; Niraj Kumar Sharma, for public service, abroad; Sunita Ben Singal, for services to diversity and to inclusion, West Midlands; Sasi Srinivasan, for services to education, London; Anjuu Trevedi, for services to business innovation and to the economy in Leicestershire; Maya Joshi, for services to the vulnerable in Leicestershire; Sanjay Jayenedra Kara, for services to community cohesion and public and charitable service in the UK; and Harilal Narandas Patel, for services to community cohesion in Cardiff.