Numerous Sikhs and people of Sikh heritage have been honoured by the Queen today in the delayed Birthday Honours List of 2020. The publication of the list was delayed so that people who have gone above and beyond in their work during the pandemic could also be recognised. From scientists and teachers through to the world of healthcare and retail, the Sikh community has received recognition for its dedication to the service of others.
Amongst the notable individuals is Professor Yadvinder Singh Malhi, a renowned ecosystem scientist based at the University of Oxford whose extensive research has looked at the impact of global atmospheric change on the ecology, structure and composition of terrestrial ecosystems. He receives a CBE for his work in this field. Professor Malhi said
I am very surprised and humbled to receive this Honour. I am particularly pleased that it is ‘for services to ecosystem science’, and I hope it brings some more recognition to the vital importance of intact and restored ecosystems to our future. As a member of Britain’s Sikh community, I hope it shows what important role our community can play in engaging with these fundamental issues, both in the UK and internationally, around the sustainability of our impact on the planet.
Manjit Kaur Gill is a respected campaigner and activist who set up the charity Binti to provide menstrual dignity to women all over the world. The charity has volunteers in 12 countries around the world and they have helped tens of thousands of people over the last 6 years. She receives an MBE for her inspirational leadership. Manjit said:
My work has been honest and challenging and I am fuelled by the fire that there is hope in humanity. When I found out I was being included in Her Majesty’s birthday honours, I felt that we were a step closer to our dream to create a world where all women have menstrual dignity. In the 6 years that Binti has been running, we have taken the period revolution to Her Majesty who has in turn, generously recognised our work with one of the highest honours.
Another recipient is Rajinder Singh, also known as the Skipping Sikh. During lockdown, Rajinder decided to share videos online of his skipping fitness routines and inspire others to keep active with him. His exercise videos went viral, and he helped to create a positive attitude for many within the Sikh community. He also managed to raise over £12,000 for the NHS through his efforts. He receives an MBE. When asked about his honour, Rajinder said:
I am truly honoured and humbled to receive it. I feel I am not someone who deserves this honour as I am a selfless sewadar who just wants to give back. I am the son of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and a key principle of my faith is to serve others, so I feel this is my duty and will continue to be until my last breath.
Also receiving an MBE is Rani Kaur, who is a Food Services Assistant at Sainsbury’s and who has been awarded for her services to the community in Bedfordshire during Covid-19. She has been pivotal in obtaining donations of food and groceries from Sainsbury’s for a project providing supplies to vulnerable people which has been run by the local Sikh and Ravidassia communities.
Other recipients of Sikh heritage in the list include:
• Harmohinder Singh BHATIA – For services to Race Relations in the West Midlands particularly during Covid-19 (Smethwick, West Midlands)
• Dr Sarbjit CLARE – Deputy Medical Director, Clinical Lead Acute Medicine, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. For services to the NHS during Covid-19 (Birmingham, West Midlands)
• Sandeep Singh DAHELEY – For services to the Sikh community during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
• Jatinder Singh HARCHOWAL – Chief Pharmacist and Head of Quality Improvement, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. For services to the Pharmaceutical Profession particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
• Manvir HOTHI – Social Worker, Hammersmith and Fulham Council. For services to Social Care particularly during Covid-19 (Biggleswade, Bedfordshire)
• Dr Gurjinder Singh SANDHU – Consultant, Infectious Diseases, London North West University NHS Trust. For services to the NHS during Covid-19 (Slough, Berkshire)
• Dr Carter SINGH – General Practitioner. For services to Healthcare in Nottinghamshire particularly during Covid-19 (Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire)
BIRTHDAY HONOURS 2020
• Herminder Kaur CHANNA JP – Principal, Ark Boulton Academy. For services to Education (Birmingham, West Midlands)
• Sarabjit Singh PUREWAL – Principal Specialist Inspector, Health and Safety Executive. For services to Health and Safety and to Cyber Security (Stockport, Greater Manchester)
• Neeta Avnash Kaur ATKAR JP – Non-Executive Director, British Business Bank. For services to Small Business Finance (Marlow, Buckinghamshire)
• Parminder Kaur KONDRAL – Co-ordinator, UK Sikh Healthcare Chaplaincy. For services to the Sikh community (Ilford, Essex)
• Baljeet Kaur SANDHU – Founder, Centre for Knowledge Equity. For services to Equality and Civil Society (London, Greater London)
• Gurpreet SINGH – Non-Executive Director and lately Consultant Urologist, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust. For services to Healthcare, Equality and Fairness (Southport, Merseyside)
• Amolak Singh DHARIWAL – CFO Global Supply Management and Service Operations, Sodexo. For services to Business
• Parbir Kaur JAGPAL – Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, University of Birmingham. For services to Diversity and Inclusion in Health (Birmingham, West Midlands)
• Parminder Singh PUREWAL – Director, The Normandy Hotel. For services to Hospitality in Renfrew (Bearsden, Glasgow)
• Chief Inspector Manjit Kaur ATWAL, Leicestershire Police
Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs, said:
During the pandemic, Sikhs have gone above and beyond in providing help and support to everyone in need. Gurdwaras have used langar kitchens to prepare hot meals for the vulnerable, and Sikh organisations have helped countless businesses in accessing support by way of loans and advice. The ideals of voluntary service through sewa has been so important during these challenging times, and people such as Rajinder Singh and Rani Kaur are great examples of this.
We are also grateful to those who have contributed to society in other ways. Professor Malhi’s research has been so important in helping scientists better understand what changes are taking place in the delicate ecosystems that surround us, and Manjit Kaur Gill’s ground-breaking project Binti has given dignity to so many women both in the UK and abroad. Congratulations to everyone who has been recognised with an honour.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
For further information or quotes from City Sikhs, Rajinder Singh (Skipping Sikh), or Jasvir Singh, please email
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For quotes from Manjit Kaur Gill or Binti, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For quotes from Professor Malhi, please email email@example.com