NRI entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Baxi, founder of a recycling firm that has emerged as one of the top companies in Europe, has won the restigious 'Asian of the Year Award'.
Baxi, Chairman of J and H Sales (International) Ltd, the company he founded, received the award at a glittering ceremony organised by 'Asian Who's Who International', a publication about leading Asians in the UK, at the Dorchester Hotel here last night.
Matthew Amroliwala and Riz Lateef, the BBC News presentation team, handed over the award to 56-year-old Baxi, who is also President of the European Division of the World Punjabi Organisation.
Lord Swraj Paul, NRI industrialist and winner of the first Asian of the Year Award in 1987-88 who was the Chief Guest at the event, lauded the achievements of the Asian community because of their family values and hard work.
According to the citation, Baxi's company has grown to become one of Europe's leading fibre recycling exporters, operating across the USA, Europe and the Far East. In 2001, the company received the Queen's Award for Enterprise (International Trade).
Baxi was recently appointed President of the Paper Division of the Bureau of International Recycling in Bruxelles, a trade federation representing the recycling industry in over 70 countries.
Teji Singh, founder of international communications agency Sterling Media, bagged the Asian Leadership in Harmony Award while Kamel Hothi, Asian Marketing Director - Corporate Markets, Lloyds TSB Group, received the Asian Leadership in Diversity Award.
Teji Singh was recently presented with the Special Award for Services to Media and Promoting Culture in Britain by Tony McNulty, Minister for Security and Counter-Terrorism who lauded her contribution to the promotion of Asian culture in Britain.
Kamel Hothi is the architect behind the Asian Strategy across Corporate markets, including sponsorship of the Lloyds TSB Awards. With 29 years of experience gained across various businesses, her knowledge and experience in the Asian sector has helped Lloyds TSB understand these communities and develop products and services to meet their needs.
Kolkata-Born Gautam Lewis, a polio victim, accounted for the Asian Leadership in Charity award while Channi Singh, who founded the hottest and most successful Bhangra band in UK, was chosen for the Asian Leadership in Music and culture award.
George Jatania, founder of Lornamead Group in 1978 which now owns over 40 brands selling across 82 countries, received the Asian Leadership in Europe Award.
Jatania's family-owned group is focussed on developing a strategy of acquiring heritage brands such as Harmonay Hairspray, Yardly and Vosene.
At the event, Lord Paul, referring to the current global conomic meltdown, said things are going to be fairly tough. 'The hole banking system has failed. Earlier industries used to fall sick and banks used to finance them. But now the doctor has fallen sick.'
In this country, we are lucky to have a Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) who knows more about finances than anyone in the world. He has really taken decisive steps to save the situation not only in the UK but in the USA and Europe.
Lord Paul hoped that under the leadership of Brown, Britain would emerge stronger. This country has a very bright future, he stated.
Jasbir Singh Sachar, Managing Editor of Asian Who's Who International, said he was pleased to see most of those who were in the First Edition of the publication in 1975, were present at the function and were doing extremely well now.
The main purpose of the publication was to identify and recognise Asian community leaders for their success and achievements.
It was not an easy task for me but I had a vision to fulfil. Fortunately, many statutory bodies and community members came forward to help, and with the active cooperation and support of my late wife Kanwaljit Sachar and the late A F A Sayeed, the birth of the First Edition of the publication took place in 1975, Sachar said.
Prominent among those present at the ceremony included Lord Navnit Dholakia, G S Gujral, Kartar Lalvani, Lord Hameed and Raj Loomba, all winners of the Asians of the Year in the past.
Substantial amounts were also raised for two charities - The Loomba Trust for educating children of widows in India and A P S Chawla's Rocko Cancer, which sponsors mobile medical clinics for detecting breast cancer among women in India.
Lord Paul said he would make his own contribution to match the amount raised for the Rocko Cancer. The amount was not disclosed.