London: Acknowledging the contributions of Punjabis to British society, prime minister David Cameron has said the community members through their hard work are helping the country's economy.
"Through hard work and dedication, British Punjabis have made their mark in media and business as well as many other fields, helping the economy and providing very valuable influences in so many ways," Cameron said in a message at the launch of the first annual cultural awards of the Punjabi Circle International.
Cameron also congratulated the winners of the awards and said, "The recipients have all gained international acclaim and senior artistes dedicated their entire lives to poetry, writing, writing lyrics, broadcasting, media or singing. The youngsters played a very important role by remixing music and totally revolutionised it."
Punjabi singer and actor Surinder Shinda was presented with the lifetime achievement award at the ceremony here on Sunday night.
"Shinda is an Indian singer of bhangra music with traditional Punjabi roots who is considered the grandfather of modern Punjabi music. He has numerous hit songs to his credit such as Putt Jattan De, Balbiro Bhabhi, and Kaher Singh De Mout," the citation said.
Shinda has also appeared in Punjabi films such as Putt Jattan De and Uccha Dar Babbe Nanak Da.
Dominic Grieve, Britain's attorney general and Seema Malhotra, the shadow minister for women and equalities, jointly presented the award to Shinda.
Attorney Dominic Grieve said, "The Punjabi contribution to life in the UK is not just an economic and financial one but also it is the sharing of the Punjabi culture with us all."
British-Indian Channi Singh, a bhangra musician known as the Godfather of Bhangra in the West, Sathi Ludhianvi, a multi-lingual socio-political radio broadcaster and Chaman Lal Chaman, a London-based Punjabi poet, lyricist and radio broadcaster were among others awarded by Punjabi Circle International founded by Nirpal Singh Riat.
Speaking at the event, Malhotra said, "The event is a landmark occasion to recognise the talents and contribution of the Punjabi community in Britain."