The 7th annual Sikh Awards 2016 returned to London to honour an array of deserving winners from the global Sikh diaspora. They included Mr Ram Singh Nayyar (Sikh in Sport), the first turbaned Sikh to have led a Canadian team to the Olympic games, Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra (Sikhs in Profession), a global financial services industry executive with a consistent track record of driving profitable growth and increasing brand and shareholder value in a broad range of leadership roles with major banking groups such as Standard Chartered Bank, UBS and Bank of America, Canadian billionaire & property entrepreneur Bob Singh Dhillon (Business Man) and an international non-profit aid and relief organization founded on the Sikh principles of selfless service and universal love Khalsa Aid won the Sikhs in Charity award. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum received The Special Recognition Award.
Hosted by Ranvir Singh, a journalist and broadcaster, best known for her presenting role on the ITV Breakfast programme ‘Good Morning Britain’, The Sikh Awards recognises the pivotal contributions made by the Sikh community across a variety of fields, from business, charity, education, entertainment, professional services, seva (selfless service), and sport, with winners selected across the globe from Asia, USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The prestigious event saw 750 guests in attendance from elite international dignitaries to public figures, community heroes, sports stars and celebrities such as the iconic music group Sister Sledge.
Speaking about The Sikh Awards, British Prime Minister Ms Theresa May, said: “I am delighted to send my very best wishes to everyone at this year’s Annual World Sikh Awards. Over half a million British Sikhs make an immense contribution to our country in so many ways. Whether it’s in the fields of enterprise or skills or whether it’s the way hard working families who are doing the right thing and getting on in life – Britain’s Sikhs are a success story and model community that is doing great things for our nation.
World Sikh Awards do a fantastic job of honouring those with exceptional entrepreneurial achievements – people of whom our country can be truly proud of. I would like to take this opportunity to once again to thank the World Sikh Awards for everything you have done and continue to do.”
Mr Sadiq Khan, The Mayor of London, said: “I would like to send my best wishes and congratulations to all the nominees and winners of The Sikh Awards. Guru Nanak was born almost five and a half centuries ago. His ideas were revolutionary and universal. He upheld the rights of the poor and underprivileged in society, and travelled across Asia and the Arab world to preach equality for all people, regardless of caste, religion or gender.
The Sikh community continues to follow in Guru Nanak’s footsteps, be it by feeding the homeless, fighting for equal rights for all, and by working hard in all industries and professions. They are an inspiration to all Londoners. London is an amazingly diverse city, and its communities are what make it unique. Much like Guru Nanak’s vision of the world, London is open to everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from or what they believe in.
This year’s winners included:
Mr. Bob Dhillon (Canada), Founder, President and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp, Canada’s highest performing real estate company, with assets valued over $1.5 Billion – Business Man Award;
- Mrs Kiran Singh (UK), life coach at Design the Lifestyle You Desire, an author and residential and hospitality interior designer at Studio Kiran Singh, founder and chief editor of Vivacious Mum, My Unique Home and Passion for Food – Business Woman Award;
- Mr Supreet Singh Manchanda (USA), CEO of Akal Global a $1Billon global security firm – Entrepreneur award;
- Khalsa Aid (UK), a global charitable organisation with a vision to spread the message of humanity as taught by the Sikh Gurus – Sikh in Charity;
- Dr Brinder Singh Mahon (UK), Chief Executive Officer and Director of The Nishkam School Trust – Sikhs in Education;
- Mrs Manika Kaur (Dubai), Australia born devotional singer from Dubai – Sikhs in Entertainment;
- Akaal Television / Mr Amrik Singh Kooner (UK), Founder of Akaal Television, the most watched Sikh channel in 106 countries – Sikhs in Media;
- Mr Jaspal Singh Bindra (India), a global financial services industry executive with a consistent track record of driving profitable growth and increasing brand and shareholder value in a broad range of leadership roles with major banking groups such as Standard Chartered Bank, UBS and Bank of America. He has successfully led businesses with revenues ranging from $1-13 billion – Sikhs in Profession;
- Mr Gurmeet Singh (India), a 55-year old small business owner from Patna, Bihar in India. For over 20 years he has been visiting the abandoned patient’s ward of Bihar’s biggest government hospital every night with food, medicine and compassion for poor patients who have no one to turn to. – Sikhs in Seva;
- Mr Ram Singh Nayyar (Canada), the first turbaned Sikh to have led a Canadian team to the Olympic games –
- Natasha Kaur Mudhar(UK), CEO & MD of the international communications agency Sterling Media representing United Nations backed projects to end poverty to Bollywood and Hollywood talent – The Sikh People’s Choice Award;
- Sant Baba Iqbal Singh Ji (India), shifted to the Agriculture Department in Himachal Pradesh from Punjab and worked relentlessly to achieve the vision of Sant Attar Singh ji Mastuanewale, of providing value-based education to rural youth. Baba Ji retired as Director of Agriculture, HP and started the first school at Baru Sahib with only 5 kids in 1986. Today he leads a chain of 129 schools, 2 universities benefitting 60,000 rural students across 6450 villages. He is Chancellor of two universities and President of Kalgidhar Trust and Society. – The Sikh Lifetime Achievement Award, and
- His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Dubai) – The Special Recognition Award.
Each year, The Sikh Awards takes a theme as the central focus for the evening’s celebrations. The seventh annual event recognised and honoured two major events: the 547th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who was born in 1469 in Rai Bhoi Di Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. As a child Guru Nanak Dev Ji was extraordinary in many ways; he had a contemplative mind and rational thinking. He amazed his teachers with his sublime knowledge and by the age of 13 he had mastered Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian. Not until 1522 did Guru Nanak Dev Ji settle down at Kartarpur, which was where he spent the rest of his life. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had laid down the foundations of Sikhism and ascended to heavenly abode on 22nd September 1539.
The event also looked ahead of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji which takes place on 5th January 2017. The ancient venerated city of Patna, Bihar, is poised to host a magnificent celebration centered on Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji, Patna Sahib, one of the five seats of spiritual and temporal authority of Sikhism. It is envisaged that over one million Sikh and other pilgrims will visit Patna over a two-month period from 1st December 2016 to 31st January 2017 for the celebrations.
Another highlight of the event, which was hosted by the media organization The Sikh Directory, was the launch of the fifth edition of The Sikh 100 Power List, detailing the world’s most prominent Sikhs in the global community.
The Sikh Awards, was founded by the entrepreneur, Navdeep Singh. Speaking about the event, Navdeep Singh said: “The Sikh Awards is now in its seventh glorious year. Our purpose with the awards is to recognize, Honour and celebrate the enormous achievements of the Sikh community who continue to contribute immensely to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of societies globally, as well as making a difference to people’s lives through philanthropy. I would also like to congratulate all of this year’s winners. May they continue to be a beacon that shines out to future generations, who will continue to strive for excellence in their chosen professions.”