The Dadabhai Naoroji Awards are bestowed by the British government for services to UK-India relations.
The awards were judged by ministers following nominations from the public in 3 categories: commerce, culture and education. They were presented today at a Foreign and Commonwealth Office reception for the British Indian diaspora, attended by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Naoroji Award winners
The award for Culture goes to actor Madhav Sharma, who has worked in a variety of Indo-British roles over the past 50 years, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in West End Shows, in TV in shows such as Coronation Street and in films such as ‘East is East’. His current show, ‘Bharat, Blighty & the Bard’ has recently toured a number of cities in India and he is a true advocate of the closeness of cultural ties between the UK and India.
The other shortlisted candidate was Nitin Sawhney, the celebrated musician, composer, DJ and writer.
Dame Asha Khemka OBE will receive the award for Education. She is principal of Vision West Nottinghamshire College, founding Chair of the Association of Colleges India and member of the Indo-British Trade Council. She has established several partnerships between UK colleges and Indian education providers, and strategic alliances between the UK and key Indian bodies, including the Chamber of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. She plays an active role in promoting UK-India ties in a range of areas, including trade and equality.
The other short-listed candidate was Professor Sunil Khilnani, who established the India Institute at King’s College London, which is one of the foremost concentrations of India (and South Asia) research and teaching capability.
Patricia Hewitt, chair of the UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) receives the award for commerce for her contribution in establishing UK-India Business Centres in major Indian cities, and for her support of small and medium, as well as larger enterprises which set up in India. She was an important player in the creation of the first UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee, and remains an active advocate for UK-India relations.
Other shortlisted nominees for the commerce award included Uday Dholakia OBE (Chair of the Indo-British Trade Council) and the hotelier and restaurateur Lord Diljit Singh Rana MBE.
Presenting the awards, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
It gives me great pleasure to present these awards to 3 outstanding individuals on behalf of the British government. Patricia Hewitt, Asha Khemka and Madhav Sharma have worked tirelessly to strengthen the bond between the UK and India.
As advocates of UK-India relations, their work continues in the same spirit as that of Dadabhai Naoroji, helping our 2 great nations work together to achieve fairness, mutual understanding and economic prosperity.
The awards remind us that our relationship with India is one which we must continue to foster, and one from which both our nations have a great deal to gain.
The awards were announced by the Deputy Prime Minister during his trade mission to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in August and are designed to celebrate individuals who have furthered bilateral relations in the fields of culture, commerce and education.
The new awards are dedicated to Dadabhai Naoroji, the first Asian Member of the British Parliament and the man who brought the first Indian business to the UK. The fact that the awards are in his name pays tribute to his commitment to the Indian people and his key role in historical events.
About the awards
The awards themselves were designed by Andrew Vickers, a prominent stone sculptor from the north of England who creates abstract and figurative sculptures in a variety of stone. He took inspiration from the striking image of Dadabhai Naoroji, whose figure he has set upon a stone block.
More than 80 nominations for the awards were received from members of the public. After a thorough shortlisting process, agreed by a ministerial panel comprising David Laws, Hugo Swire, Lord Livingston, Greg Clarke and Ed Vaizey, the Deputy Prime Minister selected the winner for each category.