The Global Punjabi Society does not intend to reach out to just Punjabis across the world. Wherever, whenever we have the opportunity to reach out to any Indian, we will step up, I can promise you that — said Joginder Singh, ex-CBI chief and one of the guests at the Global Punjabi Society (GPS) awards ceremony on Wednesday night. Interestingly, from that point on, Singh switched to Punjabi full-time, a move greeted by loud applause from the packed house at the Le Meridien hotel at Windsor Place. "Jitthe bhi jaao, Mother India tuada welcome karegi, ai vaddi quality hai hindustaani logaan di" (As an Indian, wherever you go, you'll find a little bit of India welcoming you, that's the special quality of our people). The event saw Punjabis ranging from entrepreneurs like Prof. Nat Puri to entertainers like Juggy D and Malkit Singh being honoured. Most speakers expressed their condolences at the death of Sardar Jagmohan Singh, former President of the GPS.
Samajwadi Party familiars Amar Singh and Jaya Prada were also present at the occasion. The former, in particular, seemed in good spirits and delivered a witty if somewhat rambling speech. Pointing towards Joginder Singh, he said, "At one point, he was investigating me, too. If Sardar Joginder Singh had found me guilty, he wouldn't have spared me, even though he was and is my friend. But that's the kind of person Sardar Joginder Singh is." Waxing eloquent about the achievements of the Punjabi community, Singh went on to say, "I don't think of Punjabis as a community. I think being Punjabi is a trait. Uddham Singh was born only to take revenge for Jallianwala Bagh. Bhagat Singh was born to shake his countrymen out of their slumber. Anybody who fights for a principle, fights for a cause is Punjabi."
The event saw Punjabis ranging from entrepreneurs like Prof. Nat Puri to entertainers like Juggy D and Malkit Singh being honoured. Most speakers expressed their condolences at the death of Sardar Jagmohan Singh, former President of the GPS.
Bhangra king Malkit Singh's upbeat, energetic performance was clearly the star attraction of the night. Singh belted out some of his most popular numbers, like Gur Naal Ishq Mithaa and the song Jind Mahi, which was featured in Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham. Perhaps the most remarkable award-winner of the night, however, was Danish singer Anita Lerche. Lerche, who has sung in sixteen languages so far, had released a Punjabi album called Heer From Denmark in 2006. She has the distinction of being the first non-Asian woman to release an album in Punjabi. Very much the cynosure of attention in a dazzling orange sari, Lerche obliged the audience by singing a few flawless lines in Punjabi. As you watched her dance rather uninhibitedly to a Malkit Singh special, you would begin to understand the sheer ebullience and the infectious charm that is uniquely Punjabi.