Human rights campaigner and counter-terrorism commissioner Sara Khan, paediatric cardiology professor Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi, Leicester academic professor Kamlesh Khunti and actor Nitin Ganatra are among several British Asians who have been recognised in the New Year Honour’s List published tonight (31).
Khan has been recognised with a damehood, while a knighthood was bestowed on Qureshi.
Khunti, from Leicester University, has been honoured with a CBE and Ganatra was recognised with an OBE.
Twice each year, the honours list recognises the achievements and services of those who have made outstanding contributions to their field or who have dedicated their efforts in service to the community.
The New Year Honours List has 15.1 per cent of recipients from an ethnic minority background, making it for the fourth time running, the most ethnically diverse honours list to date.
Khan was recently made the prime minister’s independent adviser on social cohesion and resilience to work against the impact of extremism in communities. In 2018 she became the first lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism.
Crossbench peer Lord Kakkar has been recognised with a knighthood. He served as chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission and was appointed chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission in 2016. He also served on the science and technology select Committee and an ad hoc Committee on the future of the NHS.
England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the chief government scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have both been recognised with a KCB (Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath) for their efforts in the pandemic.
There are honours too for and deputy medical officers for England, Dr Jenny Harries (damehood) and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam (knighthood).
Broadcaster and founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips (knighthood) and Kevin Fenton, regional director, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, (CBE) are also among those recognised by the Queen.
Professor of paediatric Cardiology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals Foundation Trust, Qureshi told Eastern Eye: “It’s a very nice, privileged feeling as it wasn’t on my list of achievements I was targeting. I just went about my normal work and responsibilities and it’s nice to have those recognised.”
Qureshi, who earned a knighthood, recalled how while growing up and while studying medicine, there were a lot more ethnic minorities, so racism was “not much of an issue”. However, things became challenging afterward.
“When I qualified, the challenges really came up then, which was not being able to get jobs easily because of the colour of the skin. The advice I was getting from various people, bosses I worked for, was I have to work even harder than everybody else in order to make myself appointed,” he recalled.
Qureshi also works pro bono for the charity Chain of Hope, UK, operating on sick children both in the UK and abroad, and trains teams of doctors in less developed countries.
More recently, he has been at the forefront of using and evaluating new heart valves.
Khunti, is a professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester; he has been honoured with a CBE for his services to health.
He told Eastern Eye: “I am really surprised, but at the same time very honoured as well. You don’t expect things like this, but when they do come it is quite humbling.”
The leading academic spoke of hoping to inspire the next generation in academics and medicine.
“We were immigrants who didn’t have anything; my parents didn’t speak English at all. I was fortunate to go to university. It has helped and made the person I am,” he said.
Another famous Asian in the list is Ganatra, known for his role in Eastenders as Mr Masood or Masood Ahmed. The Londoner was honoured with an OBE for not only his acting, but the charitable work he’s involved with.
He told Eastern Eye: “I’m really surprised and honoured. The truth of it is I just go about my life, trying to be a good person, good at my work, trying to help people. And I guess my profile enables me; my success in my work has enabled me to use that to help people.
“I just go about doing that without really seeking any attention or reward. I help people because I think we need to live in a world where we need to help people. So, then, to be recognised for it, it’s really flattering.”
Ganatra followed the footsteps of perseverance of his late father who sadly passed recently in November 2021.
“My father would have been really proud. He would have probably given me a little bit of a lecture as well saying, ‘you see, I told you, if you work hard, like me, I work hard.’
“I get my work ethic from my dad. He is a big influence. He taught us to work hard, he taught us to commit to things,” he recalled.
Similar to Qureshi, Ganatra also faced challenges growing up and getting into acting because of the colour of his skin.
He said: “There weren’t that many Asian actors around at the time. And it was a really difficult industry to get into, and still is.”
This year, of the 15 per cent recipients from ethnic minorities, 8.4 per cent are of Asian origin, while 3.6 per cent are from black communities, according to the Cabinet office.
Professor Iqbal Singh was honoured with a CBE for his work helping BAME doctors and his advocacy for older people.
He told Eastern Eye: “It’s a great honour, but I think it’s not just for the individual contributions, it’s for all the work that I’ve done both in terms of care for older people, and promoting equality and fairness and compassion within the NHS, and the work we have done to support BME doctors especially during Covid.”
Singh remains committed to carry on helping BAME doctors feel recognised and supported so they can progress in their careers and “not feel the inequalities” in the UK.
Shalini Khemka is the CEO of E2E, a company which connects entrepreneurs and creates communities. She too has been made a CBE.
She told Eastern Eye: “I feel totally humbled, very, very overwhelmed and very proud. I feel properly recognised, to be honest, after a lot of hard work. So, it’s really humbling, and very fulfilling.
“It means a huge amount, I think partly because it shows that hard work in the UK is properly recognised, and this country is a meritocracy. There’s been a lot of self-sacrifice in my personal life, in order to build my company, and to make the contribution that we are making, not just me, but all of our members.”
She added: “So many of us from our backgrounds, we’ve run our own companies, and we are the lifeblood of the economy. We create employment, we create wealth, jobs; we drive the GDP of this country. So, if it encourages youngsters, or whatever age really to follow their passion. I feel very humbled to be able to have that opportunity to encourage and inspire others.”
Mahendra Gulabbhai Patel, a pharmacist from West Yorkshire, was honoured with an OBE. He told Eastern Eye: “I am truly honoured and deeply humbled by this highly prestigious award that I have always believed was more deserving for others. That’s not to say I’m not proud of it – far from it, although for me it’s not necessarily about rewards and recognition but more the intricacies of the journey I embark on and the learning and joy that those encounters bring with it.”
Pravesh Kumar, founder and artistic director of Rifco Theatre Company, an Asian touring company, has been recognised with an MBE for his contribution to British theatre.
Kumar said: “I grew up looking at Windsor Castle in the distance from my bedroom in Slough – this feels like a dream. I am delighted to be recognised for my work and be in such esteemed company. I have been making British Asian focused theatre for 21 years now and I feel blessed to have worked with such amazing creatives and actors.”
He hoped the recognition will send a message to the wider British theatre industry about the importance of British Asian theatre, especially at a time when there are vocal calls to “go back to your country”.
Kumar added: “We haven’t quite reached anywhere near equality yet. Theatre remains a mostly white and middle class-led industry, where voices like mine are still rare. I am hoping that I have been able to cut down some of the big grass and clear pathways for other artists and leaders to walk on. It’s vital that we continue the conversation. I want to make theatre that is to truly representative of working-class diverse Britain.”
Among others who are recognised are Professor Ravi Prakash Mahajan, for services to anaesthesia (CBE); Bina Mehta, chair, KPMG UK, for services to trade and investments in the UK and female entrepreneurs (MBE) and Anita Choudhrie, the founder of Path to Success, a charity which supports female disabled athletes. She was awarded an MBE for services to people with disabilities and disability sports.
Syima Aslam, founder, CEO and artistic director of the Bradford Literature Festival has been recognised with an MBE.
Dr Sheila Kanani, the Royal Astronomical Society’s education, outreach and diversity officer, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to astronomy and to diversity in physics.
RAS executive director Philip Diamond said, “Sheila is a huge asset to astronomy and to the Royal Astronomical Society. She has made a huge contribution to public engagement and I’m delighted that this has been recognised with an MBE. My congratulations to her for this well-deserved award.”
Another Asian who was recognised for his work in healthcare is director of healthcare services at Boots UK, Asif Aziz.
He said, “I am deeply honoured to have been awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours List. Supporting the NHS to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the communities that Boots serves has been both demanding and rewarding. This award is testimony to the dedication and commitment of many team members at Boots who have focused on continuing to serve customers and patients throughout the pandemic.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world.
“The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution.”
Asians in the New Year Honours List
Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Sara KHAN Lately Lead Commissioner, Commission for Countering Extremism. For services to Human Rights and Counter Extremism
Knights Commander of the Order of the British Empire
The Right Honourable Professor Ajay Kumar LORD KAKKAR
For services to Healthcare and Public Service (London, Greater London)
Professor Shakeel Ahmed QURESHI
Professor of Paediatric Cardiology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals Foundation Trust.
For services to Paediatric Cardiology and Charity (London, Greater London)
Order of the British Empire
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
Tanweer IKRAM Deputy Senior District Judge, Magistrates’ Court. For services to Judicial Diversity
(Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire)
Shalini KHEMKA For services to Entrepreneurship and to the Economy
(London, Greater London)
Professor Kamlesh KHUNTI
Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine, University of Leicester and General Practitioner, Hockley Farm Medical Practice, Leicester. For services to Health
Professor Ravi Prakash MAHAJAN Lately President, Royal College of Anaesthetists.
For services to Anaesthesia (Alfreton, Derbyshire)
Professor Iqbal SINGH OBE Chair, Centre of Excellence in Safety for Older People. For services to Equality and Inclusion in Healthcare
Officers of the Order of the British Empire
Syed Viqar AHMED Founder and Chair, Community Energy London. For services to Community Energy, Decarbonisation and Community Benefit in London (London, Greater London)
Dr Syed AHMED
Clinical Director, Health Protection Scotland. For services to the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme (Glasgow, City of Glasgow)
Amir ALI Lately Chair, Civil Court Users Association. For services to Court Users and the Law (Walsall, West Midlands)
Mohammed Asif AZIZ Director, Healthcare Services, Boots UK Ltd. For services to Pharmacy, especially Testing for Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Dr Hindpal Singh BHUI Inspection Team Leader, HM Inspectorate of Prisons. For services to Custody Facilities during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Alpesh CHAUHAN Music Director, Birmingham Opera Company. For services to the Arts (Coventry, West Midlands)
Dr Japinder DHESI Lately Team Leader, Cabinet Office. For Public Service (London, Greater London)
Davinder Singh DHILLON Chair, The Chattri Memorial Group. For services to the Commemoration of Indian Forces’ Contribution in the First World War (Hove, East Sussex)
Mohammed Shabir FAZAL Headteacher, Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester. For services to Education (Accrington, Lancashire)
Nitin GANATRA Actor. For services to Drama (London, Greater London)
Sajdah Perveen GHAFOOR For services to Cultural Awareness and Integration in Cumbria (Carlisle, Cumbria)
Jagtar Singh GILL For services to the British Sikh and Interfaith Communities (Kenilworth, Warwickshire)
Professor Ali Sadiq Mohammad JAWAD Professor of Rheumatology, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Consultant Rheumatologist, Barts Health NHS Trust. For services to Healthcare (London, Greater London)
Sharath Kumar JEEVAN Lately Chief Executive Officer, STiR Education. For services to Education (London, Greater London)
Hanif Mohamed KARA Design Director and Co-Founder, AKT II and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology, Harvard Graduate School of Design. For services to Architecture, to Engineering and to Education (London, Greater London)
Amritpal Singh MAAN Philanthropist. For services to the Sikh Community and to Charity (London, Greater London)
Professor Mahendra Gulabbhai PATEL Pharmacist. For services to Pharmacy (Wakefield, West Yorkshire)
Rizwan PATEL Founder, Lint Group. For services to the Disadvantaged Communities in the UK and Abroad, particularly during Covid-19
(London, Greater London)
Arti PRASHAR Artist, Director and Consultant. For charitable services to People Living with Dementia (London, Greater London)
Imran Faisal SHAFI For Public Service (London, Greater London)
Rohini SHARMA JOSHI Lately Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Trust Housing Association, Edinburgh. For services to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (Bonnyrigg, Midlothian)
Dr Malur SUDHANVA Consultant Virologist, South London Specialist Virology Centre, King’s College Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust. For services to Healthcare Science particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Rekha THAWRANI Global Head, NEC Contracts, Thomas Telford Ltd. For services to Infrastructure and British Exports (London, Greater London)
Sanjiv VEDI Assistant Director, Head, Office of the Chief Social Care Officer for Wales. For Public, Charitable and Voluntary Service (Cardiff, South Glamorgan)
Members of the Order of the British Empire
Zulkifl AHMED Lately Special Educational Needs and Disability Group Manager, Worcestershire County Council. For services to Education and to Young People (Walsall, West Midlands)
Dr Seema Safia ARIF For services to Health Care amongst the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Community (Cardiff, South Glamorgan)
Syima ASLAM Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director, Bradford Literature Festival. For services to Literature (Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Dr Subramaniam BALACHANDRAN Doctor and Lead, Cross Infection, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. For services to the NHS during Covid-19 (Cardiff, South Glamorgan)
Sushma BHANOT For services to wellbeing and the community in Chigwell, Essex, particularly during Covid-19 (Chigwell, Essex)
Ayaz Mazeed BHUTA For services to Wheelchair Rugby (Bolton, Greater Manchester)
Sofia BUNCY Founder, Muslim Women in Prison Project. For services to Prisoners and the community in Bradford, West Yorkshire (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
Arjmund Jabeen BUTT For services to HM Revenue and Customs and the BAME Community (Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Anita CHOUDHRIE Founder, Path to Success. For services to Disability Sports (London, Greater London)
Dr Baljinder Singh DHANDA Co-Chair, UK Cyber Security Council Formation Project. For services to Cyber Security (Amersham, Buckinghamshire)
Narinderjit DHANDWAR Business Relationship Manager, Barclays. For services to the Business and Financial Sectors in the West Midlands during Covid-19 (Walsall, West Midlands)
Tara Chand GARLO Paralegal Assistant, Crown Prosecution Service. For Public Service (London, Greater London)
Karime HASSAN Chief Executive and Growth Director, Exeter City Council. For services to Local Government (Honiton, Devon)
Rashid Tahir IQBAL Chief Executive Officer, The Winch. For services to Young People (London, Greater London)
Professor Nazira KARODIA Lately Professor of Science Education, University of Wolverhampton. For services to the Chemical Sciences (Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh)
Mumtaz KHAN For services to tackling Food Poverty in the UK and Abroad (London, Greater London)
Qamar Mahmood KHAN Chair of Trustees, Hamro Foundation. For services to Cricket and to Charity (London, Greater London)
Kaneez KHAN Coordinator, Near Neighbours, West Yorkshire. For services to Interfaith Relations, particularly during Covid-19 (Bingley, West Yorkshire)
Bibi Rabbiyah KHAN President, London Islamic Cultural Society. For services to Local Government and Community Cohesion (London, Greater London)
Pravesh KUMAR For services to Theatre (Slough, Berkshire)
Hardip Parkesh Singh LAWANA Senior Officer, Border Force, Home Office. For services to Border Security and to Workplace Wellbeing (London, Greater London)
Sanjay LOBO Chief Executive Officer and Founder, OnHand. For services to Older People, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Munir Faizal MAMUJEE Managing Director, m2r Education. For services to Education and Exports (Wakefield, West Yorkshire)
Kamini Harshadbhai MEHTA (Bina Mehta) Chair, KPMG UK. For services to Trade and Investments in the UK and Female Entrepreneurs (London, Greater London)
Sobia Iqbal NAWAZ Customer Service Manager, Santander. For services to the Financial Sector and to the community in the London Borough of Hounslow during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Simon Naresh NAYYAR For Political Service (London, Greater London)
Sayyed OSMAN Strategic Director of Adults and Health, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. For services to the community in East Lancashire
Dr Sheila PEARSON (Sheila Kanani) Education, Outreach and Diversity Manager, Royal Astronomical Society. For services to Astronomy and to Diversity in Physics (Fylde, Lancashire)
Irna Mumtaz QURESHI Co-Founder, Bradford Literature Festival. For services to Heritage (Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Avin RABHERU Founder, Housekeep. For services to Entrepreneurship, and to Digital Innovation in the Cleaning Industry (London, Greater London)
Virinder Kuljit Kaur RAI Business Manager, Against Violence and Abuse Charity. For services to the Charity Sector and to the communities in the London Borough of Redbridge and Derbyshire (London, Greater London)
Dr Amar Nath RUGHANI General Practitioner and Provost, Royal College of General Practitioners, South Yorkshire and North Trent. For services to General Practice (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)
Mandip Kaur SAHOTA Founder, Strategies and Stories. For Charitable and Public Service (Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Dr Iram SATTAR General Practitioner and Trustee, Muslim Women’s Network UK and The Passage. For services to the Health and Wellbeing of Vulnerable People (London, Greater London)
Charan Kanwal Singh SEKHON Senior Environment Officer, Environment Agency and Founder Chairman, SEVA Trust UK. For services to Charity, Diversity and the Environment, particularly during Covid-19 (Bedford, Bedfordshire)
Mohammad Sehreen SELEEM For services to Disadvantaged Communities in East London (London, Greater London)
Mitesh Puspakkant SHETH Chief Executive Officer, Redington. For services to Diversity and Inclusion in the Financial Services Sector (Loughton, Essex)
Mamta Rani SINGHAL Volunteer, Institution of Engineering and Technology. For services to Engineering (Langley, Berkshire)
Bharatkumar Jagatsingh SISODIA For services to the Culture, to Heritage and to the community in Greater Manchester (Oldham, Greater Manchester)
Dr Bnar TALABANI Kidney and Transplant Medical Specialist, University of Wales and Immunology Scientist. For services to the NHS and to the Ethnic Minority Communities in Wales, particularly during Covid-19 (Cardiff, South Glamorgan)
Mandy TAYLOR For charitable services in Yorkshire (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
Saleem UDDIN Category Director, Crown Commercial Service, Cabinet Office. For Public and Charitable Services (London, Greater London)
Abeda Suleman VORAJEE For services to Community Integration and Interfaith Understanding in Warwickshire (Nuneaton, Warwickshire)
Professor Nalin Chandra WICKRAMASINGHE For services to Science, Astronomy and Astrobiology (Cardiff, South Glamorgan)
Medallists of the Order of the British Empire
Mohammed Zoinul ABIDIN Head of Universal Services, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. For services to Public Libraries (London, Greater London)
Nadia Nasreen AHMED Lately Community Champion, Morrisons. For services to the community in Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh)
Siraj ALI For services to the community in Coventry, West Midlands particularly during Covid-19 (Coventry, West Midlands)
Muhammad Kamil ALI Volunteer Tutor, BPCD Trust, Luton. For services to Education (Luton, Bedfordshire)
Mohmed Siddik Habiba ALLI Volunteer, Redbridge Covid-19 Mutual Aid. For services to the community in the London Borough of Redbridge during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Hardip Singh ATWAL For charitable service in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway (Annan, Dumfries)
Sulakhan Singh DARD Ambassador, British Heart Foundation. For services to Healthcare in the Sikh Community (Leicester, Leicestershire)
Rabinder Singh DHAMI Prevention Manager, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. For services to Fire and Rescue (Telford, Shropshire)
Adill HADI Senior Youth Worker, Concord Youth Centre, Yardley, Birmingham. For services to Vulnerable Young People during Covid-19 (Birmingham, West Midlands)
Meena HANSPAL Charity Volunteer, Guru Nanak’s Mission and Vegetarian Rasoi. For services to the Sikh community in Nottingham (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)
Akthar HUSSAIN Systems Engineer, Network Rail. For services to Diversity and Inclusion (London, Greater London)
Mohammed Jakir Ahmed JABBAR Customer Services Front Line Manager, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to HMRC and to Diversity and Inclusion (Cardiff, South Glamorgan)
Hamaad Ali KARIM Student Mentor. For voluntary service to Students and the Wider Community during Covid-19 (Marlow, Buckinghamshire)
Jahungir KHAN For services to the community in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, particularly during Covid-19 (Londone, Greater London)
Ranjeet KHARE For services to the community in Woodford, London Borough of Redbridge during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Rajesh MAKWANA Director, Sufra NW London. For services to the community in the London Borough of Brent, particularly during Covid-19
(London, Greater London)
Mukesh MALHOTRA For services to the community in the London Borough of Hounslow, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Mohammed Afruz MIAH For services to Charitable Fundraising and to the community in Oldham during Covid-19 (Oldham, Greater Manchester)
Saira Begum MIR For services to the community in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Gita NATARAJAN For services to the community in Rugby, Warwickshire (Rugby, Warwickshire)
Vinodkumar Mashri Jeram PANKHANIA For services to the community in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire)
Ragini PATEL For services to the community in Northolt, London Borough of Ealing, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Pervez Sazzad QURESHI For services to the Muslim Community in Greater London, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Atikur RAHMAN For services to the community in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Bansari Nilesh RUPARELIA For services to the Hindu Community in Leicestershire (Leicester, Leicestershire)
Khadijah SAFARI Chief Executive Officer, Safari MMA. For services to Inclusion and Diversity in Martial Arts (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire)
Omair Ali SHAH For services to the community in Barking and Dagenham, Greater London during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Irfan Hussain SHAH For services to Young People and the community in the London Borough of Redbridge, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Sabir Mahmood SHAIKH For services to the Muslim Community in Palmers Green, London Borough of Enfield, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Savraj Kaur SINGH For services to the community in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, particularly during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
Gulam Muhammad Ismail TELADIA Vice Chair, Birmingham Muslim Burial Council. For services to the community in Birmingham, particularly during Covid-19 (Birmingham, West Midlands)
Sahil USMAN For services to the community in Blackburn, Lancashire during Covid-19 (Blackburn, Lancashire)
Sajeev VILVARAJAH For services to the community in Clayhall, London Borough of Redbridge during Covid-19 (London, Greater London)
NEW YEAR 2022 OVERSEAS AND INTERNATIONAL LIST ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
Dr Saleemul HUQ, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development. For services to combatting International Climate Change
Dr Asyia KAZMI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For services to Education, particularly Girls’ Education
Dr Dipti PATEL, Chief Medical Officer, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. For services to Government officials and their families and to British nationals overseas
Yasmin BATLIWALA, Chief Executive, Advocates for International Development. For services to Human Rights, the Rule of Law and to International Development
Manohar Narindas MELWANI, Tailor, Hong Kong. For services to Business and Charity in Hong Kong
Dr Mary Cusack and Dr Catherine Morris, Paediatricians, Love the One charity, India, both receive an OBE for services to Healthcare and Child Welfare in India
*The full list of the recipients of the New Year Honours List can be found at gov.uk