London mayor Sadiq Khan, son of a bus driver from Pakistan, is the most influential Asian in the UK, according to a list of Britain’s 101 prominent Asians. The list includes Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Hinduja brothers, Laxmi Mittal and musician Zayn Malik.
According to the GG2 Power List brought out by bilingual weekly Garavi Gujarat, 46-year-old Khan “smashed one of the biggest glass ceilings in the country” by becoming the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital.
Launched by Indian Acting High Commissioner to the UK Dinesh Patnaik at the GG2 Leadership Awards at Park Plaza hotel on Thursday, the list ranks Sajid Javid, the business, innovation and skills minister in former prime minister David Cameron’s government, at second place followed by new international development minister Priti Patel, who is of Indian origin.
Nobel laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is the fourth most powerful Asian in the country while the Hinduja family led by S P Hinduja is ranked sixth on the list.
“The UK has the best relations with the Commonwealth countries. So I am sure that the UK will negotiate and try to work more with Commonwealth countries where they have an edge on the EU. With India, the UK has long historical and trade relations,” said Gopi Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group.
The list, compiled by the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG), also includes NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal at seventh position. Pakistani-origin activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is tenth on the list.
Sir Rabinder Singh, one of Britain’s most celebrated high court judges presiding in the south eastern circuit since 2013 is rated 12th on the list.
Lord Navnit Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords is rated 41st followed by NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul at the 42nd spot.
Malik, who signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records last year after his departure from the popular boy band One Direction is ranked 17th on the list.
“The one prime minister who has truly recognised the value of Non-Resident Indians after Mrs Gandhi is Narendra Modi. I think he has been a great prime minister. He is the first one who has been able to deliver respectability to NRIs,” Paul said.
“This is what the NRIs deserve. Mrs Gandhi tried (to do the same) but unfortunately at that time she didn’t have the kind of majority (Modi has) and her own ministers in government also let her down,” the publication quoted him as saying.
Paul said Modi’s policy of engaging with the Indian diaspora has been beneficial both to NRIs and the Indian government.
“I am very optimistic of India. I think Modi and his cabinet members whom I’ve met are all very committed. I think his greatest achievement is you don’t hear of corruption at the top,” he said.