In recognition of services to the public, former Leicestershire High Sheriff and community faith leader, Resham Singh Sandhu, has been awarded the highest honour that can be granted to non-resident Indians — the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA).
The award, which was presented by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, is given to people living overseas who are of Indian origin and have made outstanding achievements in their respective fields. It especially recognises efforts to promote better understanding of India abroad and contributions to social & humanitarian causes.
An awards committee comprised of distinguished members from various walks of life considered the nominations for the event and unanimously selected the awardees. At the virtual ceremony on 9 January 2021, 30 awards were then presented to both individuals and organisations from across 25 countries around the world for achievements in different fields including Business, Medicine and Education. Resham was recognised within the field of Public Service. In 2017, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel also received the same award for Public Service and was recognised for “exceptional contribution to national and international politics, her role in strengthening UK-India relations, and for supporting the Indian Diaspora in the UK.”
On receiving the award, the former Leicestershire High Sherriff said: “Getting this award was significant for me, my friends, family and community. It was a great honour, it made me very happy and I’m proud of it. I never thought when doing my community work that I would get an award but it’s come along and that’s thank you to God.”
Resham even says he recently received recognition from the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, for the award at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, hosted in Glasgow last year: “He saw me wearing the medal and he put his hands on my shoulders and said ‘Well done, I’m happy that you’ve achieved this’”. He is clearly overjoyed by the acknowledgement and explains: “Coming from the Prime Minister who is busy 24 hours per day, it meant a lot. It really brought me a lot of happiness.”
Resham intends to carry on with the work he does in the community and explains who continues to inspire him to keep going: “Number one is my father. He spent a number of years fighting in the First World War and received the Indian Order of Merit, which is equivalent to the Victoria Cross. And though he died when I was very little, I still feel inspired when I think about his contribution and his dedication to working within the community itself.”