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The man who helped make chicken tikka masala Britain’s favourite dish has just received an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from Kingston University. Sir Gulam Noon, one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, took time away from the kitchens of Noon Products in West London this week to collect the award at Kingston University’s Faculty of Business graduation ceremony.

Noon, as he prefers to be called, founded the family business that specialises in frozen and chilled Indian meals in 1989. His company now operates the largest factory in the world for ready-made Indian meals. Graduates and academics assembled at Tuesday’s ceremony at the Barbican Centre in London heard how Noon had been appalled by the poor standards of Indian food when he first arrived in Britain. "I wouldn’t eat it and I knew then that this was a market I had to address," he said. "And, yes, I plead guilty to making chicken tikka masala the nation’s favourite."

Noon has devoted his life to the food business after inheriting his father’s company in Mumbai when he was 17. "My father died when I was very young and, as much as I have loved working in business, I always regretted not being able to go on to higher education. That is why I am so delighted by the honour bestowed on me by Kingston University," he said. "Education is crucial for all young people. It opens minds, doors and opportunities. I would say to all young people to get a good education and follow your dream. If you don’t have a dream, how will it come true?"

Noon has added his Kingston University accolade to a growing collection of honorary degrees. Surrey, Middlesex, Guildford and Birmingham Universities have also recognised him for his business expertise.

He believes Britain has some of the best schools and universities in the world. "Universities like Kingston are the Mecca of world education. I would urge all parents to ensure they make the most of the opportunities on offer," Noon said. "As the father of two daughters, I am particularly interested in the education of girls. It is vital girls are given the same opportunities as boys. I believe firmly in the Indian saying that if you educate the girl, you educate the family."

The Dean of the Faculty of Business, Professor Gwyneth Pitt, said Kingston University was proud to recognise Sir Gulam’s outstanding contribution to business and education. "As an industrialist and philanthropist, Sir Gulam Noon is an inspiration to any young graduate starting out in business," she said. "He has combined a hugely successful business with a commitment to the wider community, as demonstrated in his wide range of charity work. In particular, he has championed the importance of education for children and young people, opening up a world of possibilities to them."

Edinburgh Celebrates India’s Republic Day

The Consul General of India, Mr P.S. Randhawa, hosted a reception in the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh, t mark the 56th republic Day of India. The Presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, George Reid, was the chief guest at the function, which was also attended by representatives of the Consular Corps of Edinburgh & Leith and other local dignitaries.

The programme began with a 3-minute silence to honour the victims of the recent tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. Thereafter, the Consul General read out excerpts from the speech of the President of India delivered in New Delhi on the eve of the Republic Day. This was followed by a short cultural programme organised by the Indian children of Edinburgh.

Republic Day & Basant Panchami celebrated in North London

Hindu Cultural Society (North London) celebrated India’s Republic Day and Basant Panchami and the Martyrdom Day of Veer Hakikat Rai and the Holocaust by remembering its victims at their HCS Bhawan, 321 Colney Hatch Lane, Friern Barnet, London in two consecutive months.

The celebrations, as usual, commenced with Havan Yajna. The cultural programme included excellent items from Neha Aggarwal, Ravina and Shivani Bhanot, Neelam Bulsara, Mira Chotai, Deepika Khosla, Priyanka Patel, Chetna and Manisha Punj, Sunaina Rishi, Sankalp Sharma, Karan and Preeti Taneja, Sunaina and an inspiring poem (kavita) from Anil Sharma, Hindi Officer from Bharat Bhawan (Indian High Commission).

There was an enlightening address on the Holocaust from Rev. Bernad Koschland, chairman of the Barnet Inter-faith Forum where he highlighted the historic genocide of Jews. The president Rajinder Chopra proudly introduced and thanked the chief guest, Sh. Michael Whine, Board of the British Jews for his inspiring address which highlighted his contributions to promoting Indian-Jewish friendship.

All the participants received a prize (puraskar) from Sh Michael Whine for their brilliant contributions to the highly enjoyable event. The celebration concluded with preeti-bhojan courtesy of the Taneja family.

Earlier the celebrations for the Republic Day of India, birthdays (jayantis) of Netaji Subhash Bose, Sher-e-Hind Lala Lajpat Rai, Guru Gobind Singh and Swami Viveka Nand and also, Lohri and Makar Snakranti were remembered in their monthly meetings. The cultural programme included excellent items from the youths Anika, Avanika, Catharrin, Chinthu, Chandni, Deepa, Jalpa, Nikhil, Neelam, Kavina, Kavan, Nikta, Mira, Prashant, Ravi, Raxenna, Sangkur family, Sunaina, Toral, Vidhur and Visht.

President of the Society, Rajinder Chopra introduced the chief guest, Indian High Commissioner, His Excellency Sh Kamlesh Sharma and thanked him for his inspiring address. All the participants received prizes from Sh Vidhya Dhar Verma, OBE for their brilliant contributions to the highly enjoyable event. The celebration concluded with preeti-bhojan (dinner) courtesy of Munjal family.
A Tsunami Disaster Appeal by Sh Arjan Sharma, the vice president of the Sewa International, brought a generous donations of £2021.00.


Shri Hemantkumar Gajanan Padhya was honoured by Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma Foundation, Kutch, for his commitment, dedication, efforts and his vital role in bringing the urns [ Asthis ] of a great freedom fighter revolutionary Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma & his wife Bhanumati to India from Geneva and establishing Silver Medals in Memory of Pandit Shyamaji KRISHNAVARMA at Oxford university, England and Sorbonne University in Paris as well as erecting a memorial plaque of Panndit shyamaji at his former house in London. The event was held on 9th January 2005 at the birth place of a great Patriot, Sanskrit scholar Philanthropist Pandit Shyamaji in Mandavi, Kutch India. The Birth Place has now been transformed into a memorial museum where the urns of Pandit Shyamaji are preserved.

Mr Mangal Bhanushali, Trusttee of Pandit S K Foundation, praised the vital role Shri Hemantji played in the process of bringing the urns after 73 years of Pandit Shyamaji’s death and 56 years after Indian independence. He said, "We admire Hemantaji for his selfless service and his love and respects for his motherland and freedom fighters. While most of the Indian people living abroad just investing their time and efforts in making money, Hemantaji spared a great deal of his personal time in service of his motherland and Hindu society and also made his mission to revive and propagate the memory of forgotten Indian Freedom Fighters. Hemantji has worked restlessly on the project of bringing the ASTHIS from Geneva, Switzerland, and without his help this would not have been achieved today. I have a great pride in saying that Hemantaji, not even being a kutchhi, has done great service to re-establish the name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma, a great son of Kutch and Bharat. The big Kutchhi Businessmen and organisations in United Kingdom must take this ideal example and work closely with Hemantji on projects to revive the memory of Pandit Shyamaji, the hero of KUTCHIS.

Mr Hemant Padhya was felicitated traditionally in an Indian way by presenting the traditional Kutchchhi Shawl by Shri Doctorji, the President of the organisation. The beautiful gift of a Peacock (national bird of Bharat) on the tree carved in pure silver was presented on behalf of PANDIT SHYAMAJI KRISHNAVARMA FOUNDATION by Judge Shri Sureshkumar Madhusudan Padhya, coincidently from long lost ancestral Padhya Family. The event also turned into a memorable reunion of two members of the Padhya family who originally hailed from Sidhdhpur. The mayor of Mandavi, Shri Chandubhai Bhanushali along with other prominent personalities of Mandavi and Bhuj and members of the organisations were also present.

Shri Hemant Padhya was also honoured in Mumbai on 11th January 2005 by Shri Prakashbhai Mehta, Leader of BJP, Mumbai, and Shri Kirit Somaiya, EX-MP on behalf of Pandit Shri Shyamaji Krishnavarma Smarak Samiti, Mumbai. A Copper Plaque and Certificate of appreciation were presented with a shawl.

Mr H Padhya thanked all for the unexpected reception at Mumbai and Mandavi and emphasised that what he did was the duty of every Indian enjoying the fruit of free India because of the sacrifice rendered by great revolutionaries like Pandit Shyamaji and others. He expressed his disappointment that the grand project of building Pandit Shyamaji Memorial Museum in Mandavi at the cost of RS 3.5 Crores, announced by The chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendraji Modi on 4th September 2003, has not materialised even after nearly one and half years.

  The full version of this article is available in the print edition.

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