Adil Ray (Image Andy Fallon)
Writer-comedian Adil Ray and a professor of opthalmology are among Asians who have been recognised for their contribution to British life in the Queen’s birthday honours list out today (10). Recipients from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) made up 8.2 per cent (90 people) of the list, the highest number since the Order o the British Empire was founded in 1917.
Ray, star of the popular hit BBC TV show Citizen Kane, who was awarded an OBE, told Eastern Eye: “I feel incredibly humbled to receive this honour. I really thought it was a wind-up when I first got the letter. Or meant for Mr Khan. I would like to dedicate the award to my father, mother and my grandparents and to all those from the British south Asian community.” “Many of our forefathers worked and lived as part of the British empire and I think it says a lot about us as a community today and the progress we have made that we can be honoured like this. I feel incredibly fortunate and wish that we can all go on to follow our dreams.”
Professor Usha Chakravarthy, who is professor of opthalmology at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, picked up a CBE for services to opthalmology in Northern Ireland and voluntary service to managing eye conditions. “On a personal level I am delighted to be a recipient of this award. However I am very conscious that the award is an acknowledgement of my career within the health service and academia in Northern Ireland which would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of my colleagues locally, nationally and internationally,” said Chakravarthy.
For his political service and charitable services in Pakistan through the Jhok Aid Project, Honorary Alderman Allah Yar Mushtaq Lasharie was also awarded an CBE. One of the most recent successful Jkok Aid projects saw a tuition centre for disabled boys in Lalain (Jhang) Pakistan become fully functional. “I’m very honoured, I’m very pleased. It’s an honour for my political and charitable work, “ said Lasharie.
Blind musician Baluji Shrivastav told Eastern Eye that his OBE for services to music was “wonderful” and explained how he had founded the Inner Vision orchestra which is the UK’s only blind orchestra. “The idea for Inner vision came to me because I travel in taxis. I was listening to Turkish music, Greek music and I thought why not have an orchestra which has all kinds of nationalities involved. London was the best place to find this so I was lucky,” said Shrivastav. A Order of St Michael and St George was awarded to Ajay Sharma, former head of Iran Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for services to British foreign policy. Read next week’s Eastern Eye for full coverage of Asians honoured by the Queen.