Indians/ PIOs in the UK and the Birthday Honours List

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Naomi Canton, ’Skipping Sikh’, PIO tycoon brothers on UK Queen’s ‘most diverse’ honours list, October 11, 2020: The Times of India

More than 20 British Sikhs have been honoured by the Queen in the Birthday Honours List of 2020 for their outstanding contributions to British society. A pair of Indian-origin billionaire brothers and a leading Oxford University academic were also among those who featured in the “most ethnically diverse honours” list yet, which was delayed from the date of her official birthday in June so that people who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic could also be recognised. This list awards 1,495 honours and 13% of the recipients are from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background.

Rajinder Singh Harzall (73), also known as the “Skipping Sikh”, from Punjab, has received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to health during Covid-19. During the UK lockdown, he shared videos online of himself skipping and doing squats in his allotment to inspire other elderly Sikhs to remain active. He also managed to raise over £12,000 for the NHS through his efforts. “I feel this is my duty and will continue to be until my last breath.”

Yadvinder Singh Malhi, professor of ecosystem science at the University of Oxford, has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his work studying how the ecology of natural ecosystems may be shifting in response to global atmospheric change. Manjit Kaur Gill, who set up the charity Binti to provide menstrual dignity to women all over the world, received an MBE. Other British Sikhs made MBEs included three doctors and a food services assistant at a supermarket who have been awarded for services to the community during Covid-19.

Zuber and Mohsin Issa, who recently hit the headlines with their multi-million-pound acquisition of the UK’s supermarket chain Asda, have both been honoured with CBEs for services to business and charity. The brothers, whose parents moved to the UK from Gujarat in the 1970s, own the Euro Garages chain of petrol stations.

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