Feisty Asian women win British award

February 23rd, 2008 - 11:31 am ICT by admin  

London, Feb 23 (IANS) A group of feisty Asian women who fought for a battered wife made famous in the Bollywood film “Provoked” have bagged a lifetime achievement award in London. Southall Black Sisters, a group of politically radical women named after a west London suburb where they have a small office, were handed the Asian Voice Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony in the House of Commons Thursday.

The group shot to fame when they successfully campaigned for Kiranjit Singh Ahluwalia, a Sikh battered wife, who had killed her husband in 1989 after suffering his brutality for 10 years.

Their high-profile campaign - the first of many - led to the release of Ahluwalia from life imprisonment in 1992. The campaign also created sorely needed awareness on domestic violence among the Asian community in Britain. Southall is one of the largest Asian-populated neighbourhoods in London.

Ahluwalia later wrote a book on her life, “Provoked”, which was made into an English-language Bollywood film in 2007.

“We wanted to honour achievements in public services not only through politics but also through community work,” said C. B. Patel, the owner-editor of Asian Voice newspaper, an Asian weekly that has instituted the award.

“The idea is to make it an inclusive award that is multi-racial and cuts across political parties. We also wanted to honour future potentials,” Patel added.

The Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards 2007 were given away by former cabinet minister John Reid at a ceremony held in the Members Dining Room of the House of Commons.

Awardees included: Education Secretary Ed Balls (minister of the year), Tory Party home affairs spokesman David Davies (shadow minister of the year), Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg (politician of the year), Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi (Asian personalities of the year).

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