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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Hindujas win lifetime achievement award in Britain

PTI  London, September 07, 2013
First Published: 20:11 IST(7/9/2013) | Last Updated: 20:13 IST(7/9/2013)

British Indian billionaire brothers Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja have been presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to UK's Asian community.

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The London-based scions of the Hinduja Group conglomerate were given the award at the annual Asian Achievers Awards (AAA) in London on Friday night by American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.

"This is a great honour and makes our responsibility greater and harder. Our dharma and duty is to serve the Asian community in Britain as best as we can," Gopichand Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group, said in his acceptance speech.

The Hindujas were nominated alongside another NRI businessman Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal as well as former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain and Indian-born 102-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh.

"It is the greatest recognition to be honoured by one's own community. This year's nominations were extremely close and it was a tough task to pick a winner," said Lord Navnit Dholakia, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat party and chair of this year's AAA panel of judges.

The awards, in their 13th year now, are organised by the ABPL Group, publishers of 'Asian Voice' and 'Gujarat Samachar' newspapers in the UK, to celebrate the achievements of South Asians based in Britain.

"This government sincerely values the immense contribution of Britain's Asian community and as prime minister I am extremely proud to lead a truly diverse nation where people of all backgrounds live and work so well together," said British Prime Minister David Cameron in a special message sent for the awards night.

This year's awards were dedicated towards highlighting the achievements of Asian women and all the money raised from a charity auction was earmarked for the Lily Foundation, a charity working against human trafficking in India and the UK.

"The level of development of a society is not necessarily gauged or judged by its per capita income or even education. I feel it is judged on the status of women.

"Large countries have lots of problems and these take time to solve. But I love the idea of India and I am confident that the time for India has come," said Jaimini Bhagwati, Indian high commissioner to the UK, a special guest at the event along with sari-clad Cherie Blair - the wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair - who described herself as "an honorary member of the Asian community".

Some of the key winners across the other categories included British Indian actress Seeta Indrani for achievement in media, arts and culture; Prof Naina Patel, the founder of Policy Research Institute on Community and Inter-faith Relations, for her contributions to community service and Nandita Parshad, director of the power and energy utilities team at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).


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