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December 2007 - January 2008


World Punjabi Organisation honours Dev Anand with the ‘Punjab Ratan’ Award

by Krishan Ralleigh

The Annual Dinner of the World Punjabi Organisation is always a memorable event in the social life of Punjabees in Britain. This year, the event was exalted to even higher levels by the introduction of an annual ‘Punjab Ratan’ Award. The event became an historical milestone as the Award was bestowed on one of the greatest ‘Punjabi’, the heart throb of many young women in his golden days and well-known all over the sub-continent as a legendary actor, director and producer of many successful Bollywood films. Yes, the 84-year old Dev Anand was in London to receive the first ‘Punjab Ratan’ Award from Mr. RS Baxi, the President of the World Punjabi Organisation. We congratulate the WPO for selecting this legendary figure for their first Award. No other Punjabi deserved such an award more than him.

Dev Anand has just launched his autobiography “Romancing with Life”, a book of great interest to film critics and common man alike. This is the story of this enduring Indian film legend whose career begn in pre-partition India more than six decades ago and takes in such popular movies as Hum Ek Hain (1946), Aandhiyan (1962), Rahi (1953) Hum Dono (1961), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967) Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971) and many others. His story as a star and his life and loves, is also the story of modern India.

As the evening progressed, the audience gathered round Dev Anand and listened to his anecdotes from his life story. In his response speech after the Award, Dev Anand heaped praise on the Punjabi diaspora spread over the five continents. He felt proud as a Punjabi when he saw that the Punjabees in Britain have been so successful in business and professions. “Love for hard work”, said Dev Anand, “is in the genes of every Punjabi.”

The ambience of the evening at the ‘Landmark’ hotel in Baker Street, London was Dev Anand-oriented. Songs from his films were being blared out from the plasma screens while members enjoyed their delicious dinner. It was a cheerful and melodious evening with good wishes from all to the young 84-year old chief guest who did not give any inkling of retiring from lime light even at this age. The magic of Dev Anand permeated the atmosphere in the hall. Women, young and old, wished to be photographed with Dev Anand. Everyone admired his zest for life.

The executive committee of the World Punjabi Organisation is on record to say that bestowing “Punjab Ratan Award” is going to be a permanent feature of their annual dinner. This is an addition to their other large projects already committed for coming years. We wish them the best of luck!

L to R: RS Baxi, Dr M. Duggal,Lord Swraj Paul,
Dev Anand receiving‘Punjab Ratan” Award from Lord Dholakia,
Dr Mandeep Lamba and Sailesh Vara MP.

L to R: Lord Swraj Paul, Dr Lamba, Dr M. Duggal, RS Baxi,
Dev Anand, Lord Dholakia, Dr Kartar Lalwani, Sailesh Var MP

Dev Anand wih Meena Tandon

Dev Anand with Lord Dhoakia,
addressing the gathering after receiving the Award

A view of the audience

L to R: Dr ~Kartar Lalvani,RS Baxi, Lord Swraj Paul,
Dev Anand, Lord Dholakia & Dr Lamba

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