• Saturday, April 13, 2024


Sir Salman Rushdie heads list of British Asians recognised in Queen’s Honours List

Salman Rushdie (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)


Author Sir Salman Rushdie and cricketer Moeen Ali are among a number of British Asians honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published on Wednesday (1).

With doctors, politicians, educators, authors, community leaders and philanthropists among the 13.3 per cent of recipients coming from an ethnic minority background, this list showcases the immense contribution British Asians make to the nation.

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Following his receipt of a knighthood in 2007, Rushdie is receiving an Order of the Companions of Honour for his services to literature. Ali will receive his Order of the British Empire for services to cricket.

In addition to this, CEO of The Fragrance Shop and Per-Scent Sanjay Vadera receives an MBE for his services to international trade. The child of Ugandan Asian parents who fled the dictatorship of then-President Idi Amin, he set up perfume company Per-Scent in 1990.  After selling 65 per cent of his stake in that company in 2005, he bought The Fragrance Shop the year after.

Sanjay Vadera
Sanjay Vadera (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Financo)

Whilst delighted to receive his MBE, Vadera expressed surprise upon learning about the honour. “On hearing the news I was shocked, it didn’t immediately sink in,” he told Eastern Eye.

Vadera also said how upon finding out he would receive the honour, his first thoughts went to  his family and the staff.

“I was absolutely thrilled but my true first thoughts related to my family, my team and my customers; everything that happens is as a result of a collaborative effort, fuelled by a vision, driven by passion, simplicity and innovation,” he said.

“We want to find a fragrance suitable for everyone, that sparks the emotions, it gives back like we do! This honour makes me even more determined to ‘spray a little happiness’, for my family, my team, my customers, my brand partners and the charities we support,” Vadera explained.

The Birthday Honours list is one of two occasions in the year when the monarch bestows MBEs, CBEs, OBEs and Knight/Damehoods upon notable people for exceptional service in their field.

This year’s Birthday list includes many who helped people in a range of fields during the Covid-19 pandemic. Professor Aziz Sheikh OBE FRSE, the Chair of Primary Care R&D at the University of Edinburgh, will receive a Knighthood for services to Covid-19 research and policy.

Rukeya Khanom Miah the Deputy Associate Director of Nursing and Senior Midwife at the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, receives an MBE for services to Maternity and Healthcare Education, particularly during Covid-19.

Navin Shah
Navin Shah

Navin Fakirchand Shah the former London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow recieves and CBE for political and public service.

Shah expressed delight at learning he would gain the honour. ‘I’m delighted and overwhelmed with this honour. I accept it as a mark of success in reaching out to communities and stakeholders, working in the spirit of partnership to promote social justice, combat racism and discrimination in all forms, support the deprived and to protect and enhance the environment,” he said.

His career in the voluntary sector has spanned over 40 years, as well as spending over two decades as an elected official. Shah’s community engagement began in the 1970s by participating in Harrow’s branch of the anti-apartheid movement. He also set up the Harrow Anti-Racist Alliance in the front room of his house. Through his work on community cohesion, Harrow has become a top borough for community relations.

“I’m still trying to come to terms with this honour. Particularly being a ‘commander’ sounds unreal! It will take time for it to sink in. I’m very grateful for this appreciation and will do my best to live up to the privilege and the honour bestowed on me,” Shah said.

Professor Parveen Yaqoob, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading and joint Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and innovation, has received an MBE for services to higher education.

“I am overwhelmed to be recognised for a job that means so much to me….I grew up in a culture that actively discouraged education for girls, so I was really lucky to get the chance to go to university. Higher education has given me opportunities that I could never have imagined, and so to pay that back in some small way means the world to me,” she told Eastern Eye.

Since joining the university in 1998 as a lecturer in human nutrition, she was promoted to professor in 2010 and became the head of the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy in 2015. She became Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2018, taking on the additional role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2020. Professor Yaqoob also thanked her colleagues for their support during her time at the university.

“I have been at Reading for 24 years now and I have worked with some amazingly talented and generous people. I would like to thank them for all the support that they have given me over the years. This could not have happened without them,” she said.

Chair of Care England and joint-operator of Hallmark Care Homes Avnish Goyal receives a CBE for his services to social care and philanthropy.The former accountant joined forces with his brothers Ram and Vidya to operate what is now 19 high-end care homes across the UK.

Avnish Goyal
Avnish Goyal

Having been brought over by their father Hemraj from East Africa, the family originally had a newsagent shop, before building a modest retail and residential property portfolio. They acquired their first care home in Pontypridd, Wales in 1997 and since then, through the creation of construction company Goldfinch Developments, they’ve created even more.

“I’m deeply humbled to be recognised by her Majesty, the Queen in her special diamond jubilee year for my work in social care and philanthropy as we celebrate our own silver jubilee for Hallmark Care Homes,” Goyal told Eastern Eye.

Since going into the care home business, a desire to help the elderly enjoy a comfortable retirement was central to Goyal’s philosophy.

“I joined the sector because I wanted to make a difference and I knew I had something to offer. Over that time, I’ve worked hard, with my brothers, to establish a care company we can be proud of by delivering high quality care to residents in beautifully designed award-winning care homes and driving quality and care standards in the sector,” he said.

Owner of the Mandeville boutique hotel in London Vinu Bhattessa receives an OBE in recognition of his charitable and voluntary services, in particular during Covid-19.

Vinu Bhattessa
Vinu Bhattessa

“To be given an OBE is a huge honour and to be receiving it in the year of the Queen’s Jubilee is particularly special. I am truly humbled that the charity work I have done for over 30 years has been recognised,” he told Eastern Eye.

As well as owning the Mandeville and Pendley Manor hotels, he is a leading member of the Gujarati community and did much to bring the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in north-London into reality.

Honoured for his political and public service, Councillor Ameet Jogia will receive an MBE for his work. As well as being a councillor on Harrow Council for over eight years, Jogia has been a Conservative Party activist for over two decades. He worked in Parliament for over 10 years as Aide to Lord Popat and recently won a Parliamentary award for long standing service.

In addition to this, he played a central role in his party’s win in Harrow in May’s local elections, the party’s only gain in the country.

Ameet Jogia
Ameet Jogia

He has helped the Party to engage with the British Indian community, serving three Conservative Prime Ministers; David Cameron, Therea May and Boris Johnson. Jogia set up the Conservative Friends of India (the party’s largest affiliate group) in 2012, and played a role in organising the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the country.

“My late parents instilled in me from an early age, the importance of serving our local community and giving back to society. I’m therefore truly honoured and humbled to receive this honour for a role that I truly cherish which I hope will make them proud. I hope that I can continue to do more civic duty in years to come,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to all the winners “I pay tribute to all of this year’s winners. Their stories of courage and compassion are an inspiration to us all,” he said.

The full Queen’s Birthday Honours List can be found at gov.uk.

Covid efforts recognised alongside philanthropists and community leaders

British Asians named among them are:


Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, author, for services to literature (London, Greater London)


Rohinton Minoo Kalifa OBE, chair, Network International, for services to financial services, technology and public service (London, Greater London); Professor Aziz Sheikh OBE FRSE, chair, Primary Care Research and Development, University of Edinburgh, for services to Covid-19 research and policy (Lasswade, Edinburgh)


Avnish Mitter Goyal, chair, Care England, for services to social care and philanthropy (Billericay, Essex); Navin Fakirchand Shah, lately London assembly member for Brent and Harrow, for political and public service (London, Greater London); Ramesh Kanji Vala OBE, consultant, Ince Group, for services to the community and Covid-19 response (London, Greater London)


Shahina Ahmad, principal, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest, for services to education (London, Greater London); Osman Ahmed, senior officer, National Crime Agency, for services to law enforcement (London, Greater London); Professor Babak Akhga, director, Centre for Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research, Sheffield Hallam University, for services to security research (Sheffield, South Yorkshire); Moeen Ali, for services to cricket (Birmingham, West Midlands); Dr Raghib Ali, consultant in acute medicine, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and senior clinical research associate, epidemiology, University of Cambridge, for services to the NHS and Covid-19 response (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire); Kishorkant Bhattessa (Vinu Bhattessa), managing director, Mandeville Hotel Group and trustee, BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, for charitable and voluntary services, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Dr Shamil Chandaria, for services to science and technology, finance and philanthropy (Stanmore, Greater London); Afia Choudhury, foster carer, Tower Hamlets, for services to children (London, Greater London); Jasbir Singh Dhesi, principal and CEO, Cheshire College South and West, for services to education (Wrexham, Clwyd); Dr Noha Elsakka, consultant, medical microbiology and virology and service clinical director, NHS Grampian, for services to the NHS and Covid-19 response (Aberdeen); Abdul Hai, lately cabinet member for young people, equalities and cohesion, Camden, for services to young people and to the community in Camden and London (London, Greater London); Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE DL, regional Prevent co-ordinator, Department for Education, for services to social cohesion (Staffordshire); Dr Azeem Ibrahim, director, New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, for services to the Union, diversity and foreign policy (Glasgow); Haroon Karim, chair, Balham and Tooting mosque and trustee, World Memon Organisation, for services to philanthropy and the community in south London and Pakistan (London, Greater London); Kamruddin Kothia, chair of trustees, Star Academies, for services to education (Blackburn, Lancashire); Shivani Lakhani, society team lead, Covid-19 Task force, Cabinet Office, for services to vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 response (London, Greater London); Sumeet Kaur Matharu, chief pharmacist, Defence Primary Healthcare, Ministry of Defence, for services to armed forces healthcare (Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands); Yasmine Joun Moezinia, deputy director, COP26 Private Finance Hub, Treasury, for services to climate finance (London, Greater London); Rohit Naik, headteacher, Hope School, Liverpool, for services to education (Liverpool, Merseyside); Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics, and head, Centre for Autonomous Systems and Advanced Robotics, for services to robotics (Altrincham, Greater Manchester); Vippen Paul Sagoo, businessman, for services to the Asian community and diversity and inclusion (London, Greater London); Tariq Navid Shah, philanthropist, for services to charity (Doncaster, South Yorkshire); Professor Parveen Yaqoob, deputy vice-chancellor, University of Reading, for services to higher education (Reading, Berkshire); Dr Asim Yusuf, consultant psychiatrist and Islamic scholar, for services to the Muslim community (Wolverhampton, West Midlands); Dr Sabir Zazai FRSE, chief executive, Scottish Refugee Council, for services to refugees (Rutherglen, Lanarkshire)


Rozina Ahmed, principal policy officer, mayor of London’s office, for services to equality, diversity and inclusion in education, culture and sport (London, Greater London); Dr Rizwan Yahya Ahmed, consultant respiratory physician, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, for services to public health during Covid-19 (Bolton, Greater Manchester); Tariq Ali, for services to the community in Wolverhampton during Covid-19 (Wolverhampton, West Midlands); Mohammad Asad, imam and Muslim chaplain, for services to charitable fundraising and the NHS during Covid-19 (Walsall, West Midlands); Mohammed Sadiq Badat, for voluntary and charitable services in Leicester and abroad (Leicester, Leicestershire); Pranav Bhanot, councillor, Chigwell Parish Council, for services to the community in Chigwell, Essex (Chigwell, Essex); Dr Chila Kumari Singh Burman, artist, for services to visual art, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Angela Chada, executive director, Springboard Opportunities, for services to children and young People in Northern Ireland (Belfast); Professor Indranil Chakravorty, chair, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Institute for Health Research and consultant physician, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to the healthcare sector (St Albans, Hertfordshire); Ghazain Choudhry, for services to wheelchair basketball (London, Greater London); Dr Umakant Ramchandra Dave, consultant physician, Swansea Bay University Health Board, for services to the NHS (Swansea, West Glamorgan); Sanjeevini Dutta, director, Kadam Dance, for services to dance (Luton, Bedfordshire); Devika Mihiri Anoja Fernando, research library manager, Department for Work and Pensions, for services to international librarianship (London, Greater London); Razia Tariq Hadait, founder and CEO, Himaya Haven CIC, for services to the community in Birmingham (Birmingham, West Midlands); Humera Haqqani, managing director, Let’s Talk, for services to business and the community in Rochdale (Rochdale, Greater Manchester); Safia Jama, CEO, Women’s Inclusive Team, for services to the voluntary and charitable sector (London, Greater London); Ameet Jogia, councillor, Harrow, and co-chair, Conservative Friends of India, for political and public service (London, Greater London); Dr Manojkumar Narottam Liladhar Joshi DL, volunteer, for voluntary services to the community in Bradford during Covid-19 (Bradford, West Yorkshire); Chunilal Odhavji Kakad, for services to the community in Brent (London, Greater London); Najma Khalid, founder, Women’s CHAI Project and lead organiser, Parent Power Oldham, for services to the community in Oldham (Oldham, Greater Manchester); Zamir Khan, community volunteer, for services to the Blackburn Muslim Burial Society and the community in Blackburn, particularly during Covid-19 (Blackburn, Lancashire); Barjinderpall Lall, head of skills, JGA Group, London, for services to apprenticeships and skills training (Greenford, Greater London); Nitin Natwarlal Madhavji (Nick Madhavji), founder and chief executive, Joskos Solutions, for services to education, business and charity (London, Greater London); Sandeep Mahal, lately director, Nottingham Unesco city of literature, for services to literature, the arts and culture in Nottingham (Walsall, West Midlands); Kiritkumar Jamnadas Modi (Kirit Modi), honorary president, National Kidney Federation and the National Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Transplant Alliance, for services to organ donation particularly in ethnic minority communities (London, Greater London); Professor Srimathi Rajagopalan Murali, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to international doctors working in the NHS (Wigan, Greater Manchester); Professor Daljit Nagra, chair, Royal Society of Literature, for services to literature (London, Greater London); Badrun Nesa Pasha, co-founder, Bangladeshi Women’s Association, for services to the Bangladeshi community in the West Midlands (Birmingham, West Midlands); Sharan Pasricha, founder, Ennismore, for services to the hotel industry (London, Greater London); Kawan Deepakchandra Patel, lately deputy director, head of social contact, Cabinet Office and Covid-19 Directorate lead, Home Office, for services to the Covid-19 response (London, Greater London); Bhawana Ramanbhai Patel, human resources consultant, Defence Business Services, Ministry of Defence, for services to defence (London, Greater London); Bharat Patel, for services to the community in Greater London, particularly during Covid-19 (Watford, Hertfordshire); Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan, south Indian classical vocalist and dancer, and founder director, British Carnatic Choir, for services to the promotion of south Indian classical music and dance (Solihull, West Midlands); Raja Suleman Raza, founder and CEO, Spice Village, for services to business and philanthropy, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Gurvinder Singh Sandher, CEO, Cohesion Plu, for services to the arts and the community in Kent (Longfield, Kent); Harshad Purshottam Saujani JP, community safety educator, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, for services to fire safety (Leicester, Leicestershire); Suman Raj Shrestha, professional lead, Royal College of Nursing and nurse consultant in critical care, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, for services to critical care nursing (Crowthorne, Berkshire); Anwar Uddin, fans, for diversity campaign manager, the Football Supporters’ Association, for services to Association football (London, Greater London); Sanjaykumar Jayantilal Vadera, CEO, The Fragrance Shop and Per-Scent, for services to international trade (Altrincham, Greater Manchester); Ameeta Virk, markets leader, Department for International Trade, for services to the economy (Bristol)


Mansoor Ahmad, for services to the community in Merton during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Mohammed Tahir Ali, for services to the community in Preston during Covid-19 (Preston, Lancashire); Ibrar Ali, volunteer development manager, Bradford Moor Play and Support Service, for voluntary services to the community in Bradford (Bradford, West Yorkshire); Amjid Hussain, director, Bradford Moor Play and Support Service, for voluntary services to the community in Bradford (Leeds, West Yorkshire); Md Nazrul Islam, for services to the community in Tower Hamlets during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Lakshmana Rao Kastala, founder and chair of trustees, DREAMSAI, for charitable services to the community in Milton Keynes (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire); Angela Rosemary Khalil, patron and lately president, British Red Cross, Essex, for voluntary service (Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire); Abrar Khan, for services to the community in Ilford, Redbridge, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Fazle Abbas Kinkhabwala, for services to the Indian and Pakistani communities in Birmingham and the schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham (Birmingham, West Midlands); Indraprasad Limbu, broadcast technician, British Forces Broadcasting Service, for services to the armed forces (Basingstoke, Hampshire); Yaser Hachem Martini, co-founder and trustee, Team Margot Foundation, for services to stem cell donation (London, Greater London); Rukeya Khanom Miah, deputy associate director of nursing and senior midwife, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to maternity and healthcare education, particularly during Covid-19 (Keighley, West Yorkshire); Varsha Kumari Mistry, forensic practitioner, Metropolitan Police Service, for services to diversity and inclusion in policing and the Hindu Community (London, Greater London); Joanne Mohammed, registered nurse, Royal Bolton Hospital, for services to nursing and disability awareness (Blackburn, Lancashire); Md Oliur Rahman, for services to the community in Islington during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Nafesa Salah-Ud-Din, civil service local delivery and engagement lead, Cabinet Office, for public service and services to diversity and inclusion (London, Greater London); Ashfaq Siddique, for services to the community in Barking and Dagenham during Covid-19 (London, Greater London); Jayesh Kumar Dayarambhai Solanki (Jay Kumar Solanki), for services to dance and to the community in Greater London (London, Greater London); Abdul Wakil, director, Islamic Integration Community Centre, for services to the Muslim community in Hounslow (London, Greater London); Thasan Yoganathan, care home manager, Ammanford, for services to people with dementia and the community in Ammanford, Wales (Llanelli, Carmarthenshire)

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