London: Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the fields of arts and politics at a ceremony in the UK’s Parliament complex here.
The annual ‘Political and Public Life Awards’ presented by Britain’s Asian Voice weekly newspaper, now in its 12th year, recognises individuals who have made a significant impact on public life or made a difference in their local communities.
The ceremony at the Members’ Dining Room in the House of Commons building on Thursday evening was attended by parliamentarians, business and community leaders besides members of the UK Armed Forces as they braved extreme weather conditions and travel disruptions caused by days of snowfall across Britain.
“Confidence brings commitment, commitment brings determination, determination brings devotion, and when you have commitment, determination and devotion, besides confidence, then you get passion,” Sinha, 72, said in his acceptance speech.
“In this competitive world you have to prove yourself to be better than the best. If you are unable to prove yourself to be better than the best, at least try and be different from the rest,” he said, adding that the award had given him the opportunity to visit the “historic” Palace of Westminster for the first time.
Sinha, who started his career as an actor in late 1960s, has to his credit over 225 Hindi feature films besides several in other Indian languages.
A member of the ruling BJP, he represents Bihar state’s Patna Sahib constituency in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.
Among the other winners of the year included Pakistani-origin UK Cabinet minister Sajid Javid, who was named Cabinet Minister of the Year.
“It’s very fitting to receive the honour in this setting, the home of our democracy, our cherished freedoms, the freedoms that have made us one of the most open and tolerant countries in the world. A country that just does not celebrate diversity but we actively thrive on the diversity of our country,” said Javid, UK’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
He dedicated his award to his parents, who he described as “heroes” for taking great risks to come to the UK to build a better future.
India’s Colors TV bagged the award for Television Channel of the Year and Jet Airways was judged Airline of the Year. An entrepreneur who has introduced the concept of Bengali cuisine supper clubs called ‘Little Kolkata to the UK’, Prabir Chattopadhyay, was named New Business Entrant of the Year.
“My mantra has always been to stick to classic and authentic Bengali recipes inspired from my grandmother’s kitchen and Kolkata street food. Little Kolkata is about sharing the spirit of Kolkata and its culinary delight with the people of Britain,” said Chattopadhyay.
C B Patel, Publisher and Editor of ‘Asian Voice’, said the awards were set up to recognise great works and incredible people who make huge contributions to public and political life.
“I am so proud that we can celebrate those who have made a positive difference across all walks of life, regardless of political party, race, colour or religion,” he said.
As in previous years, the newspaper’s readers nominated a set of people and an independent panel of judges comprising of prominent personalities from a cross-section of British society selected the winners.