India Diaspora
President honours 15 overseas Indians
Jan 9, 2007 - 7:09:58 PM

New Delhi, Jan 9 - Fifteen distinguished overseas Indians, including Indian American publisher Gopal Raju, were honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the concluding day of the 5th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here Tuesday.

The largest number - four - of the awardees is from the United States. Two are from the United Arab Emirates and the others from the United Kingdom, Canada, Fiji, Portugal, Kenya, Malaysia, Germany, Jamaica and South Africa.

The award winners are: Dave Sukhdip Singh Hayer -, Sir Moti Tikaram -, Sibabrata Roy -, P. Jayaraman, Nirmal K. Sinha, Dr. M. Anirudhan and Gopal Raju -, Kenneth S. Benjamin -, Pheroze Nowrojee -, Abdool Magid Abdool Karim Vakil -, Billy Nair -, Dr. K.R. Somasundaram -, Syed M. Salahuddin and B.R. Shetty - and Lord Daljit Rana -.

Roy - and Nair - could not attend the packed function at the Vigyan Bhavan convention centre that included more than 1,100 delegates from as many as 47 countries.

Gopal Raju founded the New York-based India Abroad, the oldest and largest circulated newspaper serving the Indian American community, as well as the India Abroad News Service - that later became what is the present-day Indo-Asian News Service -.

He also started the Indian American Center for Political Awareness - in 1994 to empower the community and to encourage them to participate in the political process and public policy in the US.

Dave Sukhdip Singh Hayer has been playing an active leadership role in the community and has held several important positions in the Canadian government. He is recognised for his contributions in the field of public service.

Sir Moti Tikaram was the first Fijian of Indian origin to be appointed as a judge of that country's Supreme Court in 2000. He is recognised for his outstanding achievements in the field of legal and juridical services and for his contribution to the community.

As president of the German-India Society, Hamburg, Sibabrata Roy has actively promoted Indian culture and tradition in Germany. Roy is a community leader of outstanding repute.

P. Jayaraman is the founder director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan USA and has promoted Indian culture and education in the US. He has been teaching Hindi and Sanskrit and has authored several books on Indian languages and literature.

Nirmal K. Sinha played an important role in mobilising support of prominent American leaders in favour of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. He has been extensively involved in community activities, served on the board of the National Federation of Indian Associations and as president of the Asian Indian-American Business Group.

Dr. M. Anirudhan is a prominent businessman in the field of nutrition and has also actively promoted Indo-US ties. His roles as a director of the National Federation of Indian Associations, as founding director of the US-India Chamber of Commerce of Mid-West, and as director of the Chicago Red Cross Society have won him recognition as a leader of the community.

Kenneth S. Benjamin, an eminent businessman, diplomat, environmentalist and art lover, has been actively promoting Indian culture in Jamaica. He is recognised for his business and political acumen and his role in enhancing understanding of India in the Caribbean region.

A multifaceted personality, Pheroze Nowrojee is one of the most respected members of the Parsi community from India and one of the most successful attorneys in Kenya. He is chairman of the Asian Heritage Foundation and has been actively involved in cultural activities related to migration of Indians to Kenya in particular and Africa in general.

A leading banker and economist, Dr. Abdool Magid Abdool Karim Vakil has served on the boards of several important public sector undertakings of Portugal. He has been very active in the Portuguese Islamic community and is known for his secular and modern approach. Vakil has been decorated by the Portuguese government with several awards.

Billy Nair has been a champion in the fight against apartheid and in protecting the interests of people of Indian origin in KwaZulu Natal Province. He spent 20 years in prison on Robben Island.

Dr. K.R. Somasundaram major contributions include service in the Indian National Army during 1944-1945 and in the Malaysian Indian Congress from 1947 to 1960. He served as a senator in the Malaysian parliament and devoted much of his life for the well being of the plantation workers through the National Land Finance Cooperative Society, which he was instrumental in founding.

Highly regarded in the community, Syed M. Salahuddin has promoted India's interest in the UAE. He has supported sports and cultural activities in the UAE and has made significant contribution towards the construction of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi.

B.R. Shetty was the first Asian to receive the prestigious Abu Dhabi Order Award instituted by the Abu Dhabi government besides several other awards. He was also instrumental in the setting up of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Lord Daljit Rana was made a Member of the British Empire in 1996 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 2004 for his contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland. He is recognised for furthering India's interests and for enhancing the understanding of India.

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