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British queen honours Malkit Singh

Bhangra singer Malkit Singh is the first Punjabi singer to figure in the prestigious Queen's Honours List.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2008 05:05 IST

Bhangra singer Malkit Singh says he wants to greet the British queen with a boisterous chak de phatte when he meets her to receive his Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal.

"I have no idea what I will say to her... maybe chak de phatte or balley balley, he said, jocularly using two popular Punjabi phrases typifying the exuberance of the language.

Malkit Singh is the first Punjabi singer to figure in the prestigious Queen's Honours List, which is published twice every year to honour people with a record of distinguished and long-standing service to the nation or the community.

Singh, born in Husseinpur village of Jalandhar district, came to Britain in 1984 from Punjab and cut his first album two years later - it became a trailblazer as bhangra grew in popularity in dance halls and nightclubs all over Britain.

"I worked very hard on my music. And although I had won medals in India when I was in college, my musical journey actually began in Britain," Singh, 45, told IANS from his home in the city of Birmingham.

Malkit Singh was among a large group of Asians figuring in this year's New Year's Honours List.

Heading the list in terms of importance is novelist and playwright Hanif Qureshi who was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

Those who were made Officers of the Order of the British Empire included: Mushtaq Ahmad for services to local government in Lanarkshire, Sri Lankan-born BBC broadcaster George Alagiah, Rajvinder Singh Kandola for services to disadvantaged people and to diversity, Witharandeniye Kassapa for services to the International Buddhist Relief Organisation, Chennakesavalu Rajagopal of the Ministry of Defence, Mohammed Shahid Raza for services to the Muslim community in Leicester, and Kasturi Arachchi Ariya Saman Warna Kulasuriya for services to medicine.

Among the MBE recipients were: Subhash Anand for services to higher education and the textiles industry, Kiran Bali for services to community relations in West Yorkshire, poet and author Debjani Chatterjee, Gurbachan Singh Dhinsa for services to the community in Sandwell, Mahroof Hussain for services to local government in Rotherham, Talat Javed for services to further education, Sukhbinder Johal for services to the arts, Pradeep Balbir Khanna for services to medicine, Arti Kumar for services to higher education, Abdul Bary Malik for services to the ethnic minority community in Bradford, Ranjan Dhirendra Manek for services to older Asian people in Coventry, Bajrang Bahadur Mathur for services to the community in Hillingdon, London; Rajendra Rattan for services to dentistry, Ashwin Shah for services to healthcare, Malkit Singh for services to Punjabi music, Amajit Talwar for services to the music industry and to the community in the West Midlands, and Gunvant Jeshavantray Thacker for services to the community in North West London.