Lord Indarjit Singh, the first member of the House of Lords to wear a turban, has been presented with the Punjab Ratan (Jewel of Punjab) award by the World Punjabi Organisation (WPO) in recognition of his contribution to promoting Punjabi culture, heritage and inter-faith services.
Grant Shapps, MP, and Lord Andrew Feldman, co-Chairs of the Conservative Party, presented the award to Lord Indarjit Singh at a ceremony at the WPO annual dinner held at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, in central London on Saturday night.
Born in 1932 in Rawalpindi (Pakistan), Indarjit Singh is a journalist and broadcaster, a prominent British Asian active in Sikh and interfaith activities and editor of the Sikh Messenger.
He came to England in 1933, studied engineering at Birmingham University and between 1955 and 1975 worked in mining and civil engineering for the National Coal Board, for construction company Costain as a mine manager in India and in the local government in London.
Since 1993, he has worked for the Sikh community and is probably its best-known representative in Britain. In 1989, he received the Templeton Award for services to spirituality and two years later, he was awarded the Inter-faith Medallion for services to religious broadcasting.
In 2004, he joined Benjamin Zephaniah and Peter Donohoe in being awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Laws) from the University of Leicester.
An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) since June 1996, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2009. He was made a life peer on October 12 last year.
PS Chawla, a former banker, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the Punjabi community.
Speaking on the occasion, Ranjit Singh Baxi, president of WPO, said, "The British-Indian community is the largest ethnic minority group in the UK, which makes a major contribution to the British economy."
Paul Riat, on behalf of the WPO, presented a cheque to the British Heart Foundation.