Left to Right: Professor Jagjit Singh Chadha OBE, Jasvinder ‘Jaz’ Singh Rai OBE and Rajinder Pryor MBE

Numerous Sikhs and people of Sikh heritage have been honoured by the Queen today in the Birthday Honours List of 2021. From civil servants and community activists through to the industries of banking and transport, the Sikh community has received recognition for its dedication to the service of others.

Amongst the notable individuals is Professor Jagjit Singh Chadha, who is the Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and a renowned expert on financial markets and monetary policy. During his career he has acted as Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Treasury Committee and an academic adviser to both the Bank of England and HM Treasury, as well as to many central banks and the Bank for International Settlements. He receives a OBE for services to economics and economic policy.

Professor Chadha said “From under the long shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am pleased to have been able to contribute, with the work of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, to the understanding of our economy and towards the achievement of better economic policies for all. While the pandemic did not cause all our economic woes, it has exposed many of our previous failings. If we can continue to improve the influence of economic science on policy, I will be proud of my work and that of my colleagues in the economics community.”

Jasvinder ‘Jaz’ Singh Rai is a well respected campaigner and activist who established the Sikh Recovery Network, which supports people with alcohol and drug addictions and specifically tried to tackle the stigma of addiction in the Sikh community. The charity works throughout the country and has been supporting between 50 to 100 people each week during lockdown. He receives an OBE for his inspirational leadership during the pandemic.

Jaz said “I’m overwhelmed to receive an honour. I was addicted to alcohol for over 15 years, and I’m now living a life beyond my wildest dreams helped by fellow addicts in recovery who help me do something I couldn’t do on my own, staying sober. To be able to support others through The Sikh Recovery Network has been a gift to me. Getting clean from alcohol and drug addiction is one of the hardest things to do as well as the most worthwhile. Seeing someone who joined the Network when they hit rock bottom and then celebrating a year of being sober is just amazing. No honour or award can beat that feeling.”

Rajinder Pryor is Senior Account Manager at Network Rail (Telecom) and a trustee of Women in Rail. She has promoted diversity across the rail industry and raised awareness around domestic abuse, particularly during the pandemic, via the Rail to Refuge scheme and Online Safe Spaces. She receives an MBE for her diversity and inclusion work.

Rajinder said “I’m so humbled to be recognised in such a way but it is really down to colleagues from across the rail industry who have stepped up to drive change and support that has made a difference. The rail industry is changing and it’s great to see the increasing diversity and feel included as part of the railway family. So many have inspired me and been role models so I endeavour to follow their lead. Helping others is what motivates me with a passion rooted in the Sikh principle of ‘seva’ (selfless service). It’s a privilege to represent my British Sikh heritage and to highlight the many opportunities across the rail industry whilst helping others.”

Other recipients of Sikh heritage in the list include:

• Jasjyot SINGH – Managing Director, Consumer and Business Banking, Lloyds Banking Group – For services to Financial Services during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)

• Kiran Kumari JASSAL – Senior Operational Manager, HM Prison Winchester – For services to the HM Prison and Probation Service during Covid-19 and to Diversity and Inclusion (Woking, Surrey)
• Davinder John LAIL – Head of Ozone Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Team, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – For services to the Environment (London, Greater London)
• Tammy SANDHU – lately Chair, Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic Network, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – For services to Diversity and Inclusion
• Kermal SINGH – Police Staff, Avon and Somerset Constabulary – For services to Policing and Diversity (Downend, Gloucestershire)

• Harmit AHLUWALIA – For services to the community in East London during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
• Harpreet BAINS – For services to the community in the London Borough of Ealing during the Covid-19 Pandemic (London, Greater London)
• Santokh Singh DHALIWAL – Coordinator and Treasurer, 50 Plus Group, Indian Community Centre Association Nottingham – For services to the Indian community in Nottingham (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)

• Bhupinder Kaur RAI – Temporary Chief Superintendent, Thames Valley Police.

Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs, said “Once again, we can see the breadth of work being done by Sikhs across the United Kingdom during the continuing pandemic. Their contributions have clearly kept the country going, providing much needed support to diverse and vulnerable people as has been carried out by Jaz Rai and Rajinder Pryor, all the way to having a profound national impact through the work of Professor Chadha amongst so many others. We are very proud of everyone who has received an honour in this list, and we hope that others will look to these individuals as role models to emulate and follow in their footsteps. Congratulations to all of the recipients.”

Notable interfaith allies of City Sikhs who have received honours from the Queen include Pasha Shah (Head of Engagement, People, Places and Communities Division at MHCLG) who receives an OBE, and Dilwar Hussain (Chair of New Horizons) who receives an MBE.
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