"I come from a very ordinary family, so I never considered that I would ever get anything like this"
A record 90 individuals from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2016, the highest ever.
Published on June 10, 2016, in time for HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday celebrations, 1,149 people have received an award.
Ranging across all sectors of British life, many of the recipients (70 per cent) have been honoured for their outstanding work and extraordinary achievements within their own communities and across the UK.
A number of familiar British Asians names appear on the Order of the British Empire list. Of them include TV actor and radio personality, Adil Ray, who receives an OBE for his services to Broadcasting.
Known for popularising British Asian comedy on TV in his hit show, Citizen Khan, Adil admits that he is “incredibly humbled” to receive the honour and dedicates it to his parents, grandparents and the Asian community:
“Many of our forefathers worked and lived as part of the British Empire and I think it says a lot about us as a community today and the progress we have made that we can be honoured like this. I feel incredibly fortunate and wish that we can all go on to follow our dreams.”
Also on the Honours list is Romy Gill. The 44-year-old is the first female Indian chef to own her own restaurant, Romy’s Kitchen, and be head chef. Speaking about her MBE for services to the Hospitality Industry, Romy says:
“I simply couldn’t believe it. I come from a very small village in India, from a very ordinary family, so I never considered that I would ever get anything like this.”
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List also recognises the thriving British Asian business community.
Rajeeb Dey is awarded an MBE for his services to Entrepreneurship. The 30-year-old is the founder and CEO of Enternships which connects students and graduates to entrepreneurial work placements in over 6,500 startups and SMEs.
He is also the co-founder of StartUp Britain, a national campaign to encourage entrepreneurship which was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011. Speaking about the MBE, Dey says:
“My own entrepreneurial journey started aged 17 and ever since I have been passionate about encouraging other young people to pursue more entrepreneurial careers.
“Hearing the stories of young people being inspired by us to launch their own ventures is a reward in itself, however to now be getting an MBE from the Queen is truly humbling.
See the full list of Asians on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016 here:
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
- Professor Usha CHAKRAVARTHY ~ Professor of Ophthalmology, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. For services to Ophthalmology in Northern Ireland and voluntary service to Managing Eye Conditions. (Belfast)
- Honorary Alderman Allah Yar Mushtaq LASHARIE ~ For political service and charitable services in Pakistan through the Jhok Aid Project. (London)
- Bharat Maganlal MEHTA, OBE ~ Chief Executive Officer, Trust for London. For services to Finance in the Charitable and Voluntary Sectors. (London)
- Professor Sabera Nazneen RAHMAN ~ Head of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Professor Nazneen Rahman Cancer Research and Head of Cancer Genetics, The Royal Marsden. For services to Medical Science. (London)
Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
- Shaista, Mrs GOHIR, MBE ~ Trustee and Chair, Muslim Women’s Network UK. For services to Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. (Birmingham, West Midlands)
- Ms Julia LALLA-MAHARAJH ~ Founder, Orchid Project. For services to Supporting an End to Female Genital Cutting. (London)
- Hanif MALIK ~ Chief Executive, Hamara. For services to Sport and the community particularly in Yorkshire. (Leeds, West Yorkshire)
- Sewa Singh MANDLA ~ For services to the Inter-faith and Community Cohesion particularly in the Sikh community. (West Bromwich, West Midlands)
- Dr Nima POOVAYA SMITH ~ Founder and Director, Alchemy Anew. For services to Arts and Museums in Yorkshire. (Leeds, West Yorkshire)
- Ms Bhanu RAMASWAMY ~ Independent Physiotherapy Consultant. For services to Physiotherapy. (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)
- Adil RAY ~ Actor, Radio and Television Presenter. For services to Broadcasting. (London)
- Dhanonday SHRIVASTAV ~ Musician, Instrumentalist and Founder, Inner Baluji Shrivastav Vision Orchestra. For services to Music. (London)
- Dr Geetha UPADHYAYA ~ Co-Founder and lately Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Kala Sangam. For services to South Asian Arts in the UK. (Guiseley, West Yorkshire)
Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
- Mohammed ALI ~ Street Artist. For services to Art and Aerosol Arabic Community Cohesion. (Birmingham, West Midlands)
- Mohammed AMIN ~ Founder Member and Co-Chair, Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester. For services to Community Cohesion and Inter-faith Relations in Greater Manchester. (Whalley Range, Greater Manchester)
- Hitesh CHANDARANA ~ Assistant Officer, Personal Tax Operations, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to Tax Compliance. (Thurmaston, Leicestershire)
- Taiyabur Rahman CHOWDHURY ~ Lately Adoption Social Worker, Bradford City Council. For services to Children and Families. (West Yorkshire)
- Rajeeb DEY ~ Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Enternships. For services to Entrepreneurship. (London)
- Romy, Mrs GILL ~ Founder, Romy’s Kitchen. For services to the Hospitality Industry. (Thornbury, Bristol)
- Iffat, Mrs HAMEED, JP ~ Teacher, King Edward VII School, Sheffield. For services to Education and the community in Sheffield. (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)
- Issam Abbas HORSHI ~ Managing Director, The White Horse Hotel. For services to the Tourism Industry in Northern Ireland. (Waterside, Londonderry)
- Jasprit (Jess), Mrs JEETLY ~ Founder and Managing Director, Jeetly. For services to Entrepreneurship. (Birmingham, West Midlands)
- Santosh Kaur, Mrs JHANGIANI ~ Executive Officer, Home Office. For services to Staff Welfare in the Home Office. (Surrey)
- Ms Ren KAPUR ~ Founder and Chief Executive Officer, X-Forces Mrs Renu Raksha Wing Ltd. For services to Entrepreneurship. (Reading, Berkshire)
- Anwar KASSIM ~ Director, Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture. For services to Inter-faith Relations and the community in Milton Keynes. (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire)
- Gurmit, Mrs KAUR ~ Community Cohesion Inspector, Nottinghamshire Police. For services to Policing. (Mickleover, Derbyshire)
- Bhupendra Harji MAGUDIA ~ Senior Executive Officer, Ministry of Defence. For services in Support of Military Training. (Nailsea, Somerset)
- Canon Yaqub MASIH ~ For services to Community Cohesion and Interfaith Relations in West Yorkshire. (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
- Jewel MIAH ~ For voluntary services to British-Bengali Football. (Oldham, Lancashire)
- Usman MUNSHI, JP ~ For services to Community Cohesion and Engagement in Lancashire. (Lancashire)
- Rashiklal PARMAR ~ Lead Cloud Adviser – Europe and Distinguished Rashik Parmar Engineer, IBM and Board Member, Leeds City Region LEP. For services to Innovation and Business. (Leeds, West Yorkshire)
- Mohammed Akhlak RAUF ~ Manager, Meri Yaadain (My Memories) Dementia Team, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. For services to People with Dementia and their Carers. (Bradford, West Yorkshire)
- Karmjit, Mrs REKHI ~ Faith Officer, Metropolitan Police Service. For services to the community in Hounslow. (Middlesex)
- Nilesh SACHDEV ~ Lately Member, Green Construction Board. For services to Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in the Retail Sector. (Sherington, Buckinghamshire)
- Harshbir Singh SANGHA ~ Head of Strategy, Science and Society, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. For services to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. (Kent)
- Dr Harshadray Nandlal SANGHRAJKA ~ For services to the community and Inter-faith Relations. (Middlesex)
- Daljit SEHBAI ~ For services to Social Cohesion through the National Council of British Indians. (Surrey)
- Santokho Aka San, Mrs SEKHON ~ For services to Community Cohesion in Telford, Shropshire. (Telford, Shropshire)
- John Gurparshad SINGH ~ For services to charity and Disaffected Young People in East London. (Brentwood, Essex)
- Mandeep Singh SOIN ~ Senior Executive Officer, Border Force. For services to Diversity and Faith Awareness in the Home Office. (Middlesex)
- Miss Kousalyaa SOMASUNDRAM ~ For services to Indian Dance, Ethnic Art and the community in Northern Ireland. (Belfast)
Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)
- Kishore BILIMORIA ~ For services to Community Sport and charity. (Middlesex)
- Davinder Singh CHANA ~ For services to Community Sport in West London. (Middlesex)
- Kanchan, Mrs CHUDASAMA ~ Finance Officer, the Art Fund. For services to the Arts. (London)
- Kieran FARRELL-MATHER ~ For services to Boxing and the community in Manchester. (Heywood, Lancashire)
- Ms Rehana KHAN ~ Manager, Shakti Day Centre for Asian Elders and the Bharosa Domestic Abuse Service. For services to Vulnerable People in Birmingham. (Birmingham, West Midlands)
- Shaminder Singh RAI ~ Chief of Operations, Nishkam High School, Birmingham. For services to Education. (Birmingham, West Midlands)
- Shahzada SALEEM ~ For services to the Sport of Stone Lifting. (Kingswinford, West Midlands)
- Sheila Prakash, Mrs SHAH ~ Executive Assistant, HM Treasury. For services to Public Administration. (London)
The 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List truly recognises individuals from all walks of life, and their keen contributions for their country and communities as British citizens.
What is more incredible is the diversity that this year’s Honours list shows, which is the highest (8.2 per cent) it has ever been since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this shows how vital Asian and BAME contributions are to the nation. Congratulations to all the honourees!