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August - September 2009
Singh is KingMontek Singh Ahluwalia was chosen unanimously as the Sikh of the Year, 2008, by the Sikh Forum. Who will it be in 2009?
The Sikh Forum organised its annual banquet to honour the Sikh of the Year, 2008, with glamour, pomp and ceremony at the Lincoln’s Inn in central London. Noteworthy individuals from India as well as Britain attended the function. Sikh Forum Executive committe member Mr Gurpal Singh Uppal; vice president of the Sikh Forum, Mr Surinder Singh Aujla; President of the Forum, Mr Ranjit Singh OBE; Lord John Stevens, QPM of Kirkwhelpington; the Indian High Commissioner, Mr Shiv Shankar Mukherjee; Sikh Forum Patron His Honour Judge Mota Singh (retired) QC; Jaspal Singh Bhogal, Viscount Slim and Dr Kulvinder Singh were some of the dignitaries who attended the function.
The Sikh of the Year award was given to Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Government of India and also the Chief Guest of this prestigious gathering of VIPs. Mr Ahluwalia has distinguished himself as a student of New Delhi’s prestigious St. Stephen’s College and was also an Oxford Rhodes scholar. He has been a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s economic advisory council and has also been associated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB). He has written significant number of articles on economics and has also received an honorary MBA from Oxford.
Mr Ahluwalia spoke of India’s progressing economy and mentioned the liberalisation which happened some years ago as pivotal in India’s economic history. “India was set on an upward path,” he said. He spoke of very good progress over the past few years, culminating in “a rate of growth of nine per cent per annum”. He also predicted that the rate of growth would not fall to “less than seven per cent per annum even this year”. Mr Ahluwalia said that India very much welcomes business dealings with persons of Indian origin and sees it as an important part of her economic development. He also spoke about the 300th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib as well as the importance of some specific Sikh Gurudwaras like Nanded.
The Sikh Forum President Mr Ranjit Singh announced a donation of £32,000 to the Prince’s Trust for 2008.
The ceremony was executed in style and everybody was interested and speculative about who will win the honour in the year 2009.