LONDON: Several Indian-origin medics, charity workers, musicians and entrepreneurs were among hundreds of people honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in her annual Birthday Honours list issued today.
A total of 1,149 people from the worlds of celebrity, sport, culture, science, politics and charity have been recognised with what are dubbed as the Queen's "birthday gongs" for their services to the country.
Some of the high-ranking honours of Officers of the Order of the British Empire went to Professor Usha Chakravarthy, Professor of Ophthalmology, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, for services to Ophthalmology in Northern Ireland and voluntary service to managing eye conditions; and Bharat Maganlal Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, Trust for London, for services to Finance in the Charitable and Voluntary Sectors.
Sewa Singh Mandla for services to the Inter-faith and Community Cohesion, particularly in the Sikh community; Bhanu Ramaswamy, Independent Physiotherapy Consultant for services to Physiotherapy; Dhanonday Shrivastav, Musician, Instrumentalist and Founder, Inner Baluji Shrivastav Vision Orchestra for services to music; and Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, Co-Founder and lately Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Kala Sangam for services to South Asian Arts in the UK were among some of the others to receive the honours.
Singer Rod Stewart becomes a 'Sir' as one of the big announcements, whose career has seen him sell more than 100 million records over six decades and is honoured for services to music and charity.
"I've led a wonderful life and have had a tremendous career thanks to the generous support of the great British public. This monumental honour has topped it off and I couldn't ask for anything more," Stewart said.
British astronaut Major Tim Peake was on the International Space Station when he received the news he would become a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for services to space research and scientific education.
There are Commander of the Order of the British Empire honours for England cricket captain Alastair Cook and former footballer Alan Shearer.
The youngest person on the list is 21-year-old apprentice Gary Doyle, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) after taking gold at the World Skills event for his "extraordinary plumbing and heating prowess".
The UK Cabinet Office said it was the "most diverse" since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917 as an honour bestowed by the Queen.
Women make up 47 per cent of the total, 8.2 per cent are from a black and minority ethnic background and 5.2 per cent consider themselves to have a disability.
From the overseas list, Dr Charan Singh Bunger, Founder/Chairman of the Guru Ravidass Educational Assistance Trust, has been honoured with a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to education for deprived and exploited children in India.