Award-winning musician and composer Nitin Sawhney was one of the 30 personalities of Indian origin named in the United Kingdom’s annual New Year’s Honours List released on Saturday. Sawhney, who has composed music for films like The Namesake and Midnight’s Children and the recent Netflix original Mowgli, was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to music.
Gurinder Singh Josan and Dr Sridevi Kalindindi were also awarded CBEs for political service and services to rehabilitation psychiatry, respectively.
Sawhney, 54, has performed at several concerts and has collaborated with artists such as Paul McCartney, Imogen Heap, Anoushka Shankar, AR Rahman and Sting. Sawhney went on to produce Shankar’s Grammy-nominated 2013 release, “Traces Of You”. He has also performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and his orchestral score for Enslaved, with the Prague Philharmonic, won an Ivor Novello nomination. Last year, he also won the lifetime achievement Ivor Novello Award.
The annual honours list recognises the achievements of a wide range of “extraordinary people”. The list includes England cricketer Alastair Cook and author Philip Pullman, who have been conferred knighthoods.
Other achievers of Indian origin who were conferred knighthood include entrepreneur Vijay Patel for services to business and philanthropy, senior research fellow at Bangor University in Wales Professor Daljit Singh Virk for services to tackle poverty abroad and education in Derby, and Audeliss founder and Chief Executive Officer Sukhjeev Sandhu for services to diversity in business.
Among those on the list of Members of the Order of the British Empire this year are Sujata Banerjee for services to dance, Paramdeep Singh Bhatia for voluntary service to minority communities, Dr Saroj Duggal for services to Asian and ethnic minority women, and Gupta Group founder Gopal Krishan Gupta for services to British business and philanthropy.
Bhatia, founder of campaign group City Sikhs, said he was “incredibly honoured” at the recognition from Queen Elizabeth. “I have been influenced by trailblazers within my family, including my grandfather Professor Sunder Singh Bhatia who was one of the first minority ethnic individuals to graduate from the University of Sheffield almost 90 years ago and who went on to become an education pioneer in India,” Bhatia told the Hindustan Times.
A total of 1,148 people have received an award this year, with 70% of them having undertaken “outstanding work” in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.