|Judge Mota Singh has been knighted|
Sikhs around the world are celebrating the
highest honour bestowed by the
Queen of Britain on a Sikh, as Judge Mota Singh, has been knighted
London-based Sikh, who is also a Queen's Counsel, has been knighted in
the Queen's New Year Honours List for "services to the Administration of
Justice, Community Relations and to the Voluntary Sector".
Sir Mota Singh said "I really feel little humbled. It is such a great
honour. It means recognition of the services rendered to the British
community at large," an elated Mota Singh, who is also a Queen's Counsel
His decision to wear a white turban in court, instead of a wig, came to
be seen as a sign of a multicultural Britain.
Mota Singh, who had said that he never experienced racism in Britain
when he became the country's first Sikh and Asian judge in 1982 Mota
Singh, who has been a prominent member of Britain's Asian community and
sits on several trusts and boards, had said in a recent speech: "I am a
Sikh. As a Sikh, I have found no difficulty in adjusting to life in
Britain, in integrating into the society here."
"I cannot recall an occasion when I have felt that my way of life was at
risk and, by and large, I have found no difficulty in reconciling my
personal life, lived in accordance with the tenets of my faith, with
life as a fully-fledged member of British society," Mota Singh had said
in the speech.
"At the heart of our thinking is a Britain where Christian, Muslim,
Hindu, Jew, Sikh and others can all work and live together, each
retaining proudly their own faith and identity, but each sharing in
common the bond of being, by birth or choice, British; in stark terms -
in our loyalty to this country, our country," he had s aid.
As a Sikh, Mota Singh was raised and educated in Nairobi, Kenya. In
1954, he shifted to England to complete the remaining part of his
studies of Law. He joined the English bar in 1967.
A Sikh, 79-year-old Mota Singh was raised and educated in
Nairobi, Kenya. In 1954, he shifted to England to compete the remaining
part of his studies of law.
He joined the English bar in 1967 and within months developed a
successful practice in civil law.
Messages and best wishes have been flooding in, Gurmukh Singh, Ret'd
Principal (policy), UK civil service said:
"It is a matter of great pride for the British Sikhs that His Honour
Judge Mota Singh has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen's New Year's
Honours List. As in 1982, when he became Britain's first turban wearing
Sikh and first Asian judge, so in 2009 he is the first "sabat surat"
(full visible identity) Sikh to be knighted. We hope that, as in the
past, he would continue to raise Sikh issues and concerns in his
speeches in future. Of these issues, Sikh monitoring as a distinct and
sizeable British community for ensuring equal treatment in all spheres
of British pluralism, is the most urgent and important.
While many more prominent UK Sikhs deserve such recognition, let us also
hope that the day is not far when we see "sabat surat" Sikhs in both
Houses of Parliament also."
"It is an honour for the community that Mota Singh's services have been
recognised, by the Queen, as an active member of the Sikh community, his
involvement in the social hemispheres are to be commended. We pray he
continue to serve the panth" were the blessings given by Bahi Sahib
Mohinder Singh, Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkan Sewak Jetha
The renowned Dya Singh said "This is a very very proud moment for 'us'
in history. You have done the Sikh 'quom' proud! In the annals of
British/Sikh relations your achievement of attaining a knighthood will
be considered a landmark"
Dr. Jagjit Sing h Taunque, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West said "I have
known Judge Mota Singh for many years. His contribution to humanity in
Africa and in Great Britain is tremendous. He deserves this honour. I
and my wife Satinder Kaur congratulate Judge Mota Singh, his wife and
family for this prestigious achievement. He has raised the name of the
Sikh nation globally."
"We would like to send our sincere congratulations to Sir Mota Singh and
his family, his contributions have allowed us as Sikh to benefit, and
his decision to wear his turban in court has preserved our identity"
said Jaspal Singh, chairman of Eastern Media Group.
The last Indian-origin man to be knighted was the writer Salman Rushdie
Other people of Indian origin who were honoured by the Queen for the
Order of the British Empire Thursday include:
Paramjit Paul Singh Bassi, Chairman of Bond Wolfe, the private
investment company; Vijay Vir Kakkar, Emeritus Professor at University
of London, for services to clinical science; Sujinder Singh Sangha,
principal of Stockton Riverside College in Durham; Hemant Acharya,
Policy Adviser, Office of the Third Sector, Cabinet Office; Ahmad
Shahzad for services to "black and minority ethnic people"; Ghulam Rasul
Shahzad for services to social housing and to the community in Rochdale;
Captain Kandiah Chandran, Chief Executive of Preset Charitable Trust;
Mohammed Aslam, Executive Chef and Managing Director of Aagrah Group of
Restaurants in Shipley; Ramanbhai Barber for services to the Asian
community in Leicester; Ashish Dasgupta, Non-Executive Director,
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust; Sarinder Kaur Dev,
Constable, South Yorkshire Police; Achhar Paul Dharni for services to
business and to the community in Bradford, West Yorkshire; Atma Singh
Gill for services to the community in the North East; Rabindra Nath
Pathak, Chairman of Governors, Featherstone High School, London; Rashmi
Amritlal Popat Executive Officer, Work Welfare and Equality Group,
Department for Work and Pensions; Jasvinder Singh Sidhu for services to
social housing; and Ranjula Takodra for services to the community in