Two NRIs — Rajinder Loomba and Surina Narula — figure in the Queen’s birthday honours list for 2008.
Well-known philanthropist and head of the charity trust to support the education of the children of poor Indian widows, Raj (Rajinder) Loomba, has been honoured with the CBE (Commander of the British Empire).
Another NRI, Surina Narula, has been awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) for her voluntary work with street children in India. They are among 16 other Indian-origin men and women in the list of 959 people on the honours list.
The list pays tribute to outstanding achievement and service across the entire community. Many of those honoured have been involved in charitable or voluntary work. The proportion of previously under-represented groups, including women and people from minority ethnic communities, has increased since the last list.
There are 393 women in the list — including 10 Dames, 15 CBEs and 2 CBs. They comprise 41% of the total, a record high. The list also includes men and women who have “defied time in their contributions to British culture, sport and industry”. For instance, Russell T Davies, the man who revived the fortunes of Doctor Who and Des O'Connor, 76, the talk-show host, singer and latter-day presenter of the Channel 4 show Countdown.
June Brown, another almost eternal presence on the small screen, has been awarded an MBE for playing the sanctimonious Dot Cotton on the BBC soap EastEnders, as well as for her charity work.