Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Sir Sobha Singh

Sir Sobha Singh (1890-1978) was a civil contractor and a prominent builder of Lutyens' Delhi and was once the single largest builder and real estate owner of New Delhi. Sobha was the sole contractor for the South Block (the Secretariat Builidng which houses the most important ministries in the Indian government), the War Memorial Arch ( now India Gate), some parts of the ViceregalSir Sobha Singh had four sons and a daughter by his wife, Lady Varyam Kaur. Writer and author, his son "KS" or Khushwant Singh has made himself known the world over for his audacious and fresh style of writing. House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan) and Vijaya Chowk. Sobha Singh bought as much land in Delhi as he could. He bought several extensive sites at as little as Rs 2 per square yard, freehold. There were few other takers, and he came to be described as adhi dilli da malik (the owner of half of Delhi). He also became the first lndian president of the New Delhi Municipal Council and held the post four times, in 1938, 1942, and 1945-46. He was knighted by the government and appointed a member of the Council of States. Sir Sobha Singh had four sons and a daughter by his wife, Lady Varyam Kaur. Writer and author, Khushwant Singh has made himself known the world over for his audacious and fresh style of writing. Sir Sobha Singh left a large part of his private estate to a charitable trust, The Sobha Singh Trust, which maintains homes and hospices for the terminally ill and aged all over the country, most recently it built, a dharamsala, within the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital complex, in New Delhi in 2005.

Gurbax Singh Malhi

Gurbax Singh Malhi, born October 12 1949 in Chugha Kalan, Punjab, India is a Canadian politician. Malhi was the first "turbaned Sikh" elected to parliament anywhere in the western world. Prior to 1993, Canadian law prohibited members of parliament from wearing headgear of any sort in the Commons. Malhi's insistence on wearing a turban caused the law to be changed shortly after the election. He is currently a member of the Canadian House of Commons and represents the riding of Bramalea—Gore—Malton for the Liberal Party. When Paul Martin became the Prime Minister in 2003, he appointed Malhi as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, with special emphasis on Entrepreneurs and New Canadians. After the 2004 election, he was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and later was named the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue. Malhi has introduced numerous Sikh ceremonies to the Canadian Parliament (including an annual Akhand Path and a Diwali celebration). He was also instrumental in having the government of Canada produce a postage stamp bearing the khanda symbol.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Gurbaksh Singh Chahal

Gurbaksh Chahal, born July 17 1982, is an American entrepreneur, author and TV Personality. He founded his first company at the age of just 16 after dropping out of high school. He was the Founder, Chairman & CEO of two advertising companies which he sold for over $340 million. Recently he has appeared on several talk shows shows and has appeared on the The Oprah Winfrey Show where he discussed his childhood and business journey. He has also appeared on numerous other talks shows including The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and Neil Cavuto. Chahal also starred in the FOX philanthropic reality show Secret Millionaire, where he went undercover in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, California to give away at least $100,000 of his own money. Gurbaksh was the youngest person on FOXs' Secret Millionaire and was the first Indian American on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He has written a book titled The Dream which is published by Palgrave Macmillan (October 23rd, 2008).

Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh, born 2 February 1915 in Hadali, Punjab is a prominent Indian novelist and journalist. He is one of the most well-known and widely read authors in India. Singh's weekly column, "With Malice towards One and All", carried by several Indian newspapers, is among the most widely-read columns in the country. An important Indo-Anglican novelist, Singh is best known for his trenchant secularism, his humor, and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioral characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as editor of several well-known literary and news magazines, as well as two major broadsheet newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. From 1980 through 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 for service to his country. In 1984 he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. However in 2007 the Indian government awarded Singh an even more prestigious honor, the Padma Vibhushan. The Padma Vibhushan is India's second highest civilian honour and consists of a medal and a citation which is awarded by the President of India.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Michael Arthur Macauliffe

Michael MacAuliffe, also known as Max Arthur Macauliffe (10 September 1841 - 15 March 1913), was a senior British administrator in India, who converted to Sikhism. He was a prolific scholar and author. Macauliffe is also known for his translation of sikh scripture and history into English. MacAuliffe was born at Newcastle West, County Limerick, and was educated at Newcastle School, Limerick, and Springfield College. He attended Queen's College Galway between 1857 and 1863, where he was awarded junior scholarships in the Literary Division of the Arts Faculty for 1857-8, 1858-9, and 1859-60. He recieved a B.A. degree with first class honours in Modern Languages in 1860. He obtained a senior scholarship in Ancient Classics for 1860-1, and a senior scholarship in Modern Languages and History for 1861-2. MacAuliffe entered the Indian Civil Service in 1862, and arrived in the Punjab in February 1864. He was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Punjab in 1882, and became a Divisional Judge in 1884. He retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1893.

MacAuliffe wrote the definitive English translation of the Sacred Book of the Sikh religion, the Guru Granth Sahib. He also wrote The Sikh Religion: its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors (six volumes, Oxford University Press, 1909). He was assisted in his works by Pratap Singh Giani, a Sikh scholar. Macauliffe converted to Sikhism in the 1860s and was even derided by his British employers for having "turned a Sikh". His personal assistant remarked in his memoirs that on his death bed, Macauliffe could be heard reciting the Sikh morning prayer, Japji, ten minutes before passing away. At a lecture in Lahore he stated that the Guru Granth Sahib was matchless as a book of holy teachings. You can read the complete volume 1 of Max's brilliant The Sikh Religion (1909) by following this link

Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh (September 27, 1907 – March 23, 1931) was an Indian freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. He gained support when he underwent a 63-day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for Indian and British political prisoners. He was hanged for shooting a police officer in response to the killing of veteran freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. His legacy prompted youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and also increased the rise of socialism in India. Bhagat Singh was born in the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in the Lyallpur district of Punjab. Singh's given name of Bhagat means "devotee". He came from a patriotic Sikh family, some of whom had participated in movements supporting the independence of India and others who had served in Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army. At the age of 13, he began to follow Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement. By doing so he had openly defied the British and had followed Gandhi's wishes by burning his government school books and any British-imported clothing. Following Gandhi's withdrawal of the movement after the violent murders of policemen by villagers from Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, he became disgruntled with Gandhi's nonviolence action, joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began advocating a violent movement against the British. In September 1928, a meeting of various revolutionaries from across India was called at Delhi under the banner of the Kirti Kissan Party. Bhagat Singh was the secretary of the meeting. His later revolutionary activities were carried out as a leader of this association. The capture and hanging of the main HRA Leaders also allowed him to be quickly promoted to higher ranks in the party, along with his fellow revolutionary Sukhdev Thapar.

As a consequence of the actions by the revolutionaries, the British government enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police. The purpose of the Act was to combat revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. The Act was defeated in the council by one vote. However, the Act was then passed under the ordinance that claimed that it was in the best interest of the public. In response to this act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb in the assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed. It was decided that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, another revolutionary, would throw the bomb in the assembly

On April 8, 1929, Singh and Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted "Inquilab Zindabad!" ("Long Live the Revolution!"). The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone. Singh and Dutt claimed that this was deliberate on their part, a claim substantiated both by British forensics investigators who found that the bomb was not powerful enough to cause injury, and by the fact that the bomb was thrown away from people. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb.

While in jail, Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and those facing trial. The reason for the strike was that British murderers and thieves were treated better than Indian political prisoners, who, by law, were meant to be given better rights. The aims in their strike were to ensure a decent standard of food for political prisoners, the availability of books and a daily newspaper, as well as better clothing and the supply of toilet necessities and other hygienic necessities. He also demanded that political prisoners should not be forced to do any labour or undignified work. During this hunger strike that lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians. Before the strike his popularity was limited mainly to the Punjab region.

On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. His supporters, who had been protesting against the hanging, immediately declared him as a shaheed or martyr. Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of Sutlej river. Today, the Bhagat Singh Memorial commemorates freedom fighters of India.

Shaheed Udham Singh

Udham Singh (December 26, 1899 – July 31, 1940), born Sher Singh was an Indian independence activist, he was known for assassinating Michael O'Dwyer in March 1940 in what was an avengement of the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre. Singh is considered one of the best-known of the more extremist revolutionaries of the Indian freedom struggle. He is sometimes referred to as Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh (the expression "Shaheed-i-Azam," means "the great martyr"). In 1940, almost 21 years after the Amritsar Massacre of 1919 in Punjab province of India, Singh shot dead Michael O'Dwyer at Caxton Hall in London. O'Dwyer was the Governor of the Punjab in 1919, when General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer ordered British troops to fire on unarmed Indian protesters, mostly Sikhs. The General Dyer had already died so Udham decided to kill O'Dwyer who had supported General Dyers' action. Sher Singh was born in Sunam (now Sunam Udham Singh Wala) in the Sangrur district of Punjab, as his parents died whilst he was young he was taken in by the Central Khalsa Orphanage Putlighar in Amritsar on October 24, 1907. He was administered the Sikh initiatory rites at the orphanage and received the new name Udham Singh.

After witnessing the Amritsar massacre Udham bathed in the holy sarovar (pool of nectar) and took a silent vow and solemn pledge in front of the Golden Temple to wreak a vengeance on the perpetrators of the crime and to restore honour to what he saw as a humiliated nation. After shooting O'Dwyer Udham was called "fighter for freedom" by The Times, London, and his action was said to be "an expression of the pent-up fury of the down-trodden Indian People". To this day he remains a heroic figure and his action is viewed as patriotic by Indians. On 31 July 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison, London. In July 1974, Udham Singh's remains were exhumed and repatriated to India at the request of S. Sadhu Singh Thind. He asked Indira Gandhi to force the then British Government to hand over Udham Singh's remains to India. Sadhu Singh Thind himself went to England as a special envoy of Indian Government and brought back the remains of the Shaheed. He was given a martyr's reception. He was later cremated in his birthplace of Sunam in Punjab and his ashes were immersed in the Ganga river. His life has been the subject of three films to date, with Shaheed Udham Singh (2000) being the most recent.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Neha Dhupia

Neha Dhupia, born on August 27, 1980, is an Indian model, actress and former Femina Miss India 2002. Neha's father is Commander Pradip Dhupia, who is in the Indian Navy and her mother is called Manpinder. She has an honours degree in History from Mary College, Delhi University. She became famous from the age of 5, when she starred in a drama called Rajdhani and she made her Hindi film debut in Qayamat. She has starred in over 10 Bollywood films, including Chup Chup Ke, Singh is Kinng and Garam Masala. She was crowned Miss India Universe in 2000 and competed at the Miss Universe 2002, in which she finished in the top ten. She has also appeared in music videos. She currently has four films that are due for release.

Baltej Singh Dhillon

Baltej Singh Dhillon was the first Sikh Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer to be allowed to wear a turban. He was born in 1966 in Malaysia and studied criminology to become a criminal lawyer. He helped the RCMP launch Block Watch, which is a neighbourhood watch organisation and subsequently hired by the force to work on the program. When Baltej went to the recruiting office and he met all the initial requirements, but the recruiting officer raised the delicate issue of the turban. RCMP policy did not allow it at the time, however the issue went to then-Commissioner of the RCMP, Norman Inkster. Inkster sided with Dhillon, and pressure was put on the federal government to change the policy. Many people were opposed to the change and believed that the Stetson hat was part of the uniform and allowing a turban wearer would change the face of a national icon. Even though 150,000 people signed petitions to retain the traditional RCMP dress code, Sikhs pointed out that Sikhs had fought in the British army in the two world wars and On March 15, 1990, the federal Solicitor General, Pierre Cadieux, announced in the House of Commons that the policy was amended to permit Sikhs to wear the turban while on active duty in the RCMP.

Parm Kaur Sandhu

Chief Inspector Parm Kaur Sandhu is the highest-ranking Asian officer in the UK. Parm Sandhu joined the police service in 1989 as a constable and was promoted as a Sergeant in 1996, to an inspector in 2000, and to Chief Inspector in 2004. She was the winner of the Asian Woman of Achievement Award in 2006 for being the highest Asian female in the UK police force. She grew up in Birmingham and on joining the force she had to keep it a secret for 6 months, but her parents eventually came around and are now very proud of her achievements.

Raj Singh Kohli

Superintendent Raj Singh Kohli is the highest-ranking Sikh in the British police force. He took over as the head of the safer neighbourhoods teams in London's Camden in 2008. He is the brother of the comedian Sanjeev Kohli and the presenter Hardeep Kohli. Raj was born in London, but educated in Glasgow. He abandoned a masters degree in Biomedical Science to become to join the police force and has been in the police for over 16 years. Raj grew up in the Bishopbriggs area of Glasgow, on the outskirts of Glasgow, his family were the only Asian family in their street and when him and his brothers attended St Aloysius’ College, a Catholic private school in the city, they were the only Asians in their class.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Sukhwinder Singh

Sukhwinder Singh is one of the most in demand singers in Bollywood, he is from Ludhiana, Punjab, India. His most famous song is arguably Chaiya Chaiya from the film Dil Se (1998), the same song was used by Spike Lee in his film Inside Man, which starred Denzel Washington. Sukhwinder started singing from the age of 7 and has also sung songs in Punjabi. In 1999 he won a Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback for the song Chaiya Chaiya. He has also contributed songs amongst others to the films, Taal, Chak de India, Om Shanti Om, Daag and Black & White, which have all helped to make him a household name. Singh got his first break in Bollywood in the Madhuri Dixit film Khilaaf in which he sang Aa Ja Sanam. He is also one of the three judges of STAR Voice of India 2.

Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra, born September 28 1982, is an Indian shooter from Zirakpur, Mohali, Punjab and is the current World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event. By winning the gold in the 10m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games and India's first gold medal since 1980, when the Men's Field Hockey Team won the gold. Abhinav comes from an affulent Sikh family and they were able to have an indoor shooting range installed in their home. He was also the youngest Indian participant in the 2000 Olympic Games. He won a gold in the 10m Air rifle event at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and won another gold in the pair event at the 2006 Commonwealth games. By winning the first individual gold medal in the Olympics, and the first in 28 years, Bindra received many awards. In 2000 he was awarded the Arjuna Award, which recognises outstanding achievement in National Sports and in 2001 he recieved the Khel Ratna which is India's highest sports award.

Harbhajan Singh Yogi

Harbhajan Singh Yogi (August 26, 1929–October 6, 2004), also known as Yogi Bhajan and Siri Singh Sahib, was a spiritual leader who introduced Kundalini Yoga and Sikhism to the USA. He was the spiritual director of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organisation) Foundation, which has become one of the world's largest yoga-teaching bodies. Harbhajan emigrated to Canada in 1968, where he was involved in setting up the first Sikh temple in eastern Canada. In late 1968 he went to meet a friend in Los Angeles, but ended up staying to share his teachings of Kundalini Yoga with the already long haired members of the hippie counterculture of California. It was only when his students started tying turbans like his that he started to teach them about Sikhism and so many of his followers embraced Sikhism. So he was credited with introducing Sikhism to white people in the USA. Back in Amritsar, India he set up the Miri Piri Academy which he founded in 1997, which he named after Guru Hargobind’s two swords, Miri and Piri. These swords represent the mastery and balance of both temporal and spiritual worlds. In 1971 the Akal Takht gave him the title of "Siri Singh Sahib" which means great noble lion. Although Siri Singh Sahib passed away in 2004 he is still very much respected and his 3HO organisation is still going strong. He is survived by his wife Bibi Inderjit Kaur and his 3 children, two sons, Ranbir Singh and Kulbir Singh, and a daughter, Kamaljit Kaur

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Dr Ruby Kaur Dhalla

Dr Ruby Dhalla, born February 18 1974, is a Canadian politician. Ruby has represented the riding of Brampton—Springdale in the Canadian House of Commons since 2004 as a member of the Liberal Party and is the current Canadian Shadow Social Development Minister. Ruby alongside British Columbia Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Nina Grewal are the first Asian and Sikh women to serve in the Canadian House of Commons. According to her website her experience in politics started at a very young age, beginning as a volunteer with her local MP, to knocking on doors in numerous liberal campaigns at the age of 12, to writing a letter advocating for peace to the late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, at the age of 10. Indira Gandhi mentioned the letter in a speech shortly before she died. Ruby was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to an immigrant Sikh family from Punjab, India. Ruby has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Winnipeg and in 1999 she graduated with a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine. In 2005 she was instrumental in organising the Canada for Asia concert which feature prominent Canadian artists and performers, it went on to raise over $4 million for the tsunami relief efforts. She was reported to be running for the leadership of the Liberal party but has since said that it is not the right time for her.

The Singh Twins

Amrit Kaur Singh and Rabindra Kaur Singh are contemporary artists who have become internationally famous. They were born in London to parents from India and their father was a doctor. In their painting the twins use traditional techniques used in Indian miniature painting to produce vibrant, detailed paintings. They sometimes work individually and the subjects of their paintings are influenced by both Asian and Western ideas. Amrit and Rabindra Singh studied Contemporary Western Art at the Liverpool University College of Chester. They have held exhibitions of their art at amongst other places, the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art and Birmingham City Art Gallery (1999), Leeds City Art Gallery (2001), UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, Riverside Art Museum, California USA (2003) and McMaster Gallery of Fine Art, Hamilton Toronto, Canada (2004). They currently have works on loan to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Rabinder Singh QC

Rabinder Singh QC, born 1964 in Britain, is the first Sikh to sit in the high court and wear a turban instead of a wig. He is also thought to have been the youngest person to sit as a judge in the high court. He was one of a group of barristers, along with Cherie Blair the former prime ministers' wife, who founded the Matrix chambers in 1999. He achieved a double first in law at from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1985. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nottingham and currently lectures part time at LSE. He is also one of Britain's leading experts in public and administrative law - the law relating to government departments and public authorities. Rabinder was named the Barrister of the Year by the Lawyer Magazine in 2001 and awarded Silk in 2002, this refers to court dress, which is awarded after a Barrister has served 10 years. In 2003 he was awarded the Legal Excellence Award at the Asian Jewel Awards and in 2004 he was given an honorary Doctorate of Laws by the London Metropolitan University. He has worked on a number of high profile cases and has worked on cases for the human rights organisation Liberty.

Hardeep Singh Kohli

Hardeep Singh Kholi, born 1969 in Glasgow, is a writer, presenter, broadcaster and reporter. After studying law Hardeep was offered a job at BBC Radio Scotland and was chosen as one of a handful of prestigious BBC graduate production trainees. After two years of training in every department of the BBC Hardeep moved into directing Children's TV. In 1994 he was awarded a BAFTA and RTS Award for the kids' science show It'll Never Work. He starred in a comedy series Meet the Magoons for Channel 4 in the UK which he wrote and starred in with his brother Sanjeev Kohli. He presents the radio show Up All Night for BBC Radio 5 Live. He also wrote and presented a one-off documentary, In Search of the Tartan Turban for Channel 4, for which he won a BAFTA. He has also recently presented a series of documentaires titled Hardeep Does... where he tackles different topical issues. He has appeared twice on Question Time, the BBC's political panel programme. He also regularly appears on the One Show on BBC One and Newsnight Review on BBC two. Hardeep is an acid cook and has appeared on Celebrity Masterchef a cooking show in which he was runner-up. He grew up in a working class family and his parents ran a corner shop as well as working other jobs. His mum was a social worker and his dad a teacher, he says his mum was on her feet for 13 hours a day 7 days a week. He is currently a regular reporter on the One Show and presents Get 100 a childrens game show on CBBC. He was a Man Booker Prize judge for 2008, which is a literary prize awarded every year for the best original novel. He has himself written a book called Indian Takeaway released in 2008, in which he travels around India and cooks Bcottish dishes.

Parminder Kaur Nagra

Parminder Nagra, born October 5 1975 in Leicester, England, is an actress. She became famous after starring in the film Bend it Like Beckham (2003) and she currently stars in the American medical drama ER. Parminder was the daughter of working class Sikh parents who fell into acting after completing her A-levels when she was approached by her drama teacher to star in a theatre production. For the film Bend it Like Beckham Parminder had to go through intensive futsal training in Brazil. For her performance she was awarded FIFA's Internation Football Personality of the Year, the first woman to be awarded this. In 2002 she was also awarded the Golden Wave Award at the Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema for "best actress" and Movieline Young Hollywood Award for "best breakthrough performance". After Bend it she starred in Miramax's Ella Enchanted, in which she played Arieda a friend of the title character. She was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Leicester in 2007.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Dr Manmohan Singh

Dr Manmohan Singh, born 26 September 1932, is the 17th and current prime minister of the Republic of India. He also serves as the Union Minister for Finance. He is the first Sikh prime minister of India and was elected to this post on the 22nd May 2004. He is an economist by profession and has worked for organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations. He is an economist by profession and is widely credited for initiating the economic reforms in 1991 whilst he was the Finance Minister. He has a masters degree from St. John's College, Cambridge University and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from the Oxford University. Cambridge University have named a PhD scholarship after him called the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship that is awarded to economically disadvantaged Indian students at the university. He is considered to be the most educated Indian Prime Minister in history. Singh's administration has focused on reducing the fiscal deficit, providing debt-relief to farmers and introducing social programs. He is probably the most famous living Sikh in the World today.

Simon Singh

Dr Simon Singh OBE is a British author, journalist and TV producer who specialises in maths and science. His written works include Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book and Big Bang. He has also produced documentaries for TV to accompany his books. He has won a BAFTA for his documentary on Fermat's Last Theorem and this was also nominated for an Emmy Award in the USA. He has obtained a degree in physics from the Imperial College London and a PhD from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University. His latest book published in 2008 was Trick Or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine On Trial,in which he discusses alternative medicine. He worked on the BBC TV science programme Tomorrow's World for five years. His book Fermat's Last Theorem was also the first mathematical book to be a UK no.1 bestseller.

Tom Singh

Tom Singh OBE, born in 1949, is the founder of New Look a chain of high street fashion stores in the United Kingdom. New Look is currently the third largest womenswear retailer in the UK with over 600 stores. New Look opened its first store in 1969 in Taunton, Somerset when Tom Singh was just 20 years old, it now has a revenue of over £1 billion. He is one of Britain's wealthiest people and was ranked 180 on the Sunday Times' Rich List in 2008. He is the brother of the author Simon Singh. The company also ranks as the 32nd largest private company in the UK.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh, born 12 December 1981 in Chandigarh, India, plays cricket for the Indian team. He is the son of Yograj Singh who was a fast bowler for the Indian team. He made his ODI debut in 200o against Kenya. In the 2007 World Twenty20 cricket tournament Yuvraj hit six sixes in an over against England's Stuart Broad. This has only ever been done three times in any form of senior cricket but was the first time this has happened in International cricket. He first became famous for captaining the U-19 Punjab Cricket team for whom he scored 358 runs against the Bihar team winning the Cooch-Behar trophy. He scored his first 100 runs against Bangladesh in 2003 and since scored centuries against the Zimbabwean and Australian teams. Yuvraj has also reached the fastest fifty ever in a Twenty20 game, this is also the fastest ever in International cricket, he achieved this in just 12 balls. Yuvraj is mainly a left-handed batsman, but can bowl as well. He is also one of the better fielders in the Indian team and has a good aim at the stumps. He has recently had an important role in the test matches against England, where in the first test he scored 85 runs, which is the fourth highest run chase in history and the highest in India. In the Indian Premie League he captains Kings XI Punjab

Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh, born 3 July 1980 in Jalandhar, India, is a bowler for the Indian cricket team. He has the third highest number of wickets by an off spinner and the highest among Indian off spinners. He made his International debut in 1998 against Australia. He is recognised as the second most famous and commercial Indian cricket player after Sachin Tendulkar. He has done promotions and adverts for Indian Airlines. He was signed for the English county team Surrey in 2005. Harbhajan is an attack-minded bowler and regarded for his ball control and ability to vary his length and pace. He is known to have a fiery temper and was involved in an altercation with fellow Indian cricket player Sreesanth who he slapped he was fined for this and given a match ban from playing for the Mumbai Indians team in the IPL. He has taken over 500 wickets in first-class cricket.

Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh, born on april 1st 1911 in India, is 97 years old is a Sikh marathon runner and a world-record holder for his age group. He has completed the London marathon in 6 hours, 2 minutes and his marathon record is 5 hours, 40 minutes. In 2004 he was features in a well publicised advertising campaign for Adidas and replaced David Beckham. Whilst running he has also raised a lot of money for charities BLISS a charity dedicated to premature babies. He started to compete in marathons at the age of 81 after becoming bored of sitting around in his sons house all day. He has taken part in more than 5 London marathons. Fauja also holds another 5 world records

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar was born Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, 25 April 1982 in Luton, Bedfordshire, is a left-arm spinner for the English cricket team. He plays Test and one-day cricket for England, and county cricket for Northamptonshire. He was the first Sikh to represent a country other than India in Test cricket. Monty made his international debut on March 1st 2006 against India and his first wicket was that of the highly respected batsman Sachin Tendulkar. His best bowling was 6 wickets for 37 runs against New Zealand in 2008 Test series. He is a devout Sikh and his family are originally from the Punjab, India. In 2006 he won the Beard of the Year from the Beard Liberation Front, who are a British interest group who campaign in support of beards and oppose discrimination against those who wear them. He was awarded the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2007. He has been quoted as saying in an interview with the Daily mail newspaper, "I am working on my version of the doosra — a ball which turns the other way — but we will just have to see what happens with it. As I gradually add things, it is one of my ambitions to be the best. It would be nice one day to be recognised as that". He is still a relatively newcomer to the game and only time will tell if he will become one of the greats.

Dr Narinder Singh Kapany

Dr Narinder Singh Kapany is shown here meeting with the Prince of Wales, is a physicist who is acknowledged as the father of fibreoptics. He conducted experiments that led to the invention of fibreoptics and this is the technology behind devices used in endoscopy to communication applications. He was named as one of the seven unsung heroes of the century by Forbes magazine. He was born in India, educated in England and has lived in the US. He has published over 100 scientific papers and four books. Besides work in fibreoptics he has over 100 patents and has received numerous awards. His personal interests include philantropy, collecting art and sculpting. As a philantropist he has been a major funder of the Sikh Foundation and been involved with its activities for over 30 years. One such activity was organising the first ever Sikh Film Festival with sikhs in Toronto. He has also funded a Chair of Sikh Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has a big collection of Sikh art, which he loaned to London's Victoria & Albert Museum for part of their acclaimed 'Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms' exhibition in 1999.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Bhagat Puran Singh

Bhagat Puran Singh (June 4, 1904-1992) was born in Rajewal, Ludhiana to a Hindu family and adopted Sikhism later in life. He was a writer, publisher, environmentalist and philanthropist. His most famous achivement was the establishment of Pingalwara, which is a charitable society that takes care of sick, disabled and mental patients. He founded Pingalwara in 1947 with a few discarded patients. Bhagat Puran Singh's contribution in spreading awareness about environmental pollution are also notable and he believed that every Panjabi person should plant a tree as they were being cleared at an alarming rate. Pamphlets with his views on subjects such as environmental awareness etc. were printed on recycled paper and freely distributed. The Indian Government awarded him one of their highest awards the Padma Shri award in 1979, which he swiftly surrendered in the wake of the Indian army's attack on the Golden Temple in 1984. He died on August 5, 1992 at the age of 98 in Amritsar. The charity he founded has seven branches including 5 in India and 2 in Canada and the US. Pingalwara offers many services in remote regions that would otherwise not be offered such as free drug dispensing, blood banks and offers education and shelter to the disabled.

The Indian writer Kushwant Singh once described him as "the bearded Mother Teresa of Punjab. Mother Teresa had the backing of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, the English press and innumerable foundations to give her money. Bhagat Ji Had nothing except his single-minded dedication to serve the poor and the needy. And yet he was able to help thousands of lepers, mentally and physically handicapped and the dying. His name will be written in letters of gold in the history of the world". His legacy lives on with the charity going strong and has recently opened a new branch in Manawala in the district of Amritsar. The organisation is now headed by Dr Inderkit Kaur and the charity is now known as the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society.

Waris Ahluwalia

Waris Ahluwalia born in Amritsar, India is a popular Indian American Actor and jewelry designer, who emigrated to the USA at the age of five with his family. He grew up in New York and has also lived in Los Angeles. His jewelry company is called House of Waris and he has collaborated with the fashion designer Benjamin Cho. Although he has not trained as an actor he has had roles in several films including Inside Man (2006) directed by Spike Lee, in which he plays a sikh banker who is held hostage in a robbery. He also acted in Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2006) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007). He is close friends with the director Wes Anderson and has had a number of small roles in films and commercials for him. He is also a socialite and can be spotted in trendy spots in New York with his friend Chiara Clemente.

Archie Panjabi

Archie Panjabi or Archana Kaur Panjabi is a British Sikh actress born in West London in 1973. She made her breakthrough in East is East (1999) about a mixed-race family with a Pakistani father and white mother, the film was very successful for a low budget film. She has also starred in Bend It Like Beckham (2002) playing Jessi's sister Pinky Bhamra. She has also worked with Angelina Jolie in A mighty Heart (2007). In 2005 she won the Shooting Star Award for her leading role in Yasmin (2004) a film about the muslim community after the 9/11 attacks. She is a university graduate with a degree in Management Studies from Brunel University.

She is very good at accents and has put on accents in most of her films. She has recently acted in the film Traitor (2008) alongside Don Cheadle. She is is a versatile actress and has acted in both comedies like East is East and dramas like Yasmin. She is currently working on more films in Hollywood including House Husbands and Un simple espion. Lets hope she continues to land more brilliant roleas and achieves the recognition she deserves.

Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha OBE is a Sikh director who has achieved considerable success with her films. Most of her films focus on Indians that live in the UK. Some of her notable films are, Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004) and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008). Gurinder was born in Nairobi, Kenya on the 10th of January 1960 but moved to Southall, England at the age of two. She began making documentaries for the BBC in the 1980's and made her first film in 1991 called Nice Arrangement about an British Asian Wedding.

Her most successful film to date was Bend It Like Beckham (2002) which launched the career of Parminder Nagra, a Sikh actress from Leicester, England who has gone on to act in the US drama series ER. Another little known fact is that Gurinder's film was also the breakthrough film for Keira Knightley who has also starred in the Pirates of the Carribean franchise. The video below is of Bend It Like Beckham.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Commonly known as Sher-e-Punjab (the lion of Punjab) (1780-1839) was the first ruler of the Sikh Empire. He was born in Gujranwala at a time when the Punjab was ruled by the Sikhs under the confederate sarbat khalsa and was divided into 11 different territories or misls. His major accomplishment was uniting the Sikh factions into one large kingdom. He ruled his empire, which stretched from Afghanistan to Kashmir, from his capital Lahore and whilst he was alive the British did not dare to attack. He was the father of Maharaja Duleep Singh who was the first sikh settler in Britain. Ranjit Singh was a brilliant ruler as he stopped non-secular practices by treating muslims and hindus equally, he also brought law and order without ever having to use the death penalty. He never forced Sikhism on his subjects in stark contrast to the Mughal rulers of the past who forced mass conversions. He ordered the gold and marble work on the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple. He also ordered the Takht Sri Patna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, the place of Guru Gobind Singhs' ascension to God. After his death in 1839 he was succeeded by Kharak Singh who ruled for just over a year, then Nau Nihal Singh his son ruled, then Sher Singh and finally Maharaja Duleep Singh before the empire was annexed by the British Raj in 1849. The image below is that of Maharaja Ranit Singh's gold throne.


Hello and welcome to famous sikhs, I am a British born sikh who is immensely proud of my religion and the followers of my religion. Through this blog which I hope to be updating on a regular basis I want to create an awareness of the achievements of great sikhs. The sikh religion is only 500 years old but has quickly become one of the major religions of the world, to read more about this great religion I recommend that you visit the following sites:
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