Breaking barriers and discourse in identities

Wednesday 21st November 2018 13:58 EST

Art or science, fashion or property, Punjabis whether South Asians migrants or native UK born citizens have left their imprint across fields to the degree that they now form an integral part of UK's diverse cultural heritage. Here is a list of some of these people who have made a splash: 


Rupinder Kaur is in final year of her bachelor's in Biomedical sciences at Northampton University. But what drives the young British Sikh to write about partition of undivided India and speak about the Jallianwalabagh massacre?

“When I was 9-years-old I had seen this movie called “The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Ever since I used to see similar movies like Jhansi Ki Rani and I felt so deeply attached because I grew up hearing stories from my grandfather about how he lost his family.”

Kaur's grandfather were from the Lahore side of the undivided India. But post-partition they had stayed back in India and then moved to Delhi. Rupinder talks about the lack of awareness among the younger generation that it compels her to engage with the youth in a manner that educates them about Indian history.


“Dressed as a girl” or drag is a legacy carrying forward from the Shakespearean era. But embarrassingly the vision of drag queens for me was limited to men dressed in cocktail dresses and evening gowns with manicured nails shimmying around dance poles.

Meet Raheem Mir, a British-Pakistani Punjabi, a Kathak dancer dressed in floor-sweeping ghagras and feminine costume jewellery performing mujras and mudrikas with evocative grace of a female, symbolic of the classical dance form. For most of us Pandit Birju Maharaj is synonymous to Kathak but what sets Mir apart from his contemporary male counterparts is his drive to break the barriers of gender identities by embracing the roles traditionally reserved for women.

Mir earned his academic background at Royal Holloway University of London, where he finished his postgraduate degree by exploring gender & cultural studies and gender in performance. Inspired by performances of yesteryear's actresses like Rekha, Mir is determined to cut across gender identities by the embodiment of his 9 years training in Kathak where he is often seen paying tribute to UmraoJaan or delivering TedTalks.


'Paradise girl' or the woman behind the infamous Mala Sen portrait at Brick Lane, Jasmine Kaur Sehra is the Punjabi artist combining her desi roots with pop fashion that transforms into trendy art. Her typographical art is an illustration, a campaign in itself over women empowerment, self-love and gender equality. Inspired by her parent's vintage cassette collections, Jasmin portrays elements of her rich heritage in bold prints and savage captions that appeal to the rebellious independence of today's youth.


The Great British Bake-Off season 5's first ever vegan baker, Rav S Bansal from Kent was raised in a traditional Sikh family household. Bansal recently baked a vanilla sponge cake for a fundraising event where he supported the cause of sexual violence against women in India.

“For me, women empowerment is a close subject primarily because of my mom who in my childhood told me that if you are sister has to be in the kitchen then there is no reason for you to not be there.”


Lawyer, Judge, a mother of two, and an active supporter of women's rights, Sujata Sharma Bhanot was the first Asian lawyer at her Magic Circle Law Firm back in 1988. A British Punjabi, Sharma's journey has chartered an inspirational career of a construction lawyer, an area mostly dominated by men and where she recently achieved another feather to her cap by winning the prestigious WICE Awards 2016 in the field of outstanding woman in Construction law. A Judge by profession now, Sujata finds herself always walking that fine line of not taking work back home and devoting enough time to her family and kids.


Tony Bange is a 28-year-old professional undefeated British Sikh boxer who made his debut in 2016 as world champion Prince Naseem’s Protégé. The 28-year-old Berkshire boxer has a professional record of 4-0 and is looking to build towards titles in the next 12 months.

“My inspiration when I first started out was Mike Tyson as I loved watching the way he used to fight, and Naz said my style is very similar to Tyson’s which is a real compliment!”

Tony's next match is scheduled on 24th of December 2018.


Keera K. Sira is a British Punjabi, a hairstylist who has had an extensive career with Toni&Guy for 28 years now. She was an educator at the London Toni&Guy academy for many years and worked in all the London salons along side Toni Mascolo, himself. Keera enjoys doing bridal hair and has extensive work experience in photoshoots and covering London and Milan Fashion Week as part of the Toni&Guy team.

Keera has worked with many celebrities including Martin Kemp, Roger Daultry, Isabella Blow, Imran Khan, Lorraine Chase, including super models, Erin O Connor and Alex Wyke among others.

“I love to make people feel fabulous! To bring out the best in them, from their inner and outer self.” said Keera.


Anoop Kumar Dovedi or Kam as infamously known is a property investor born and brought up in East London with a “rags-to-riches” story. He is one of the respected property leaders, experts and educators. His wealth of experience expands over 27 years in the business and property sector that has allowed him to build a multi-million pound property portfolio.

Kam is the founder of both the Premier Property Education and also the Premier Portfolio Builder – an award-winning service that actively buys between 10-17 property projects each month varying from buy to let to larger developments.


Am Golhar is a British Sikh Business woman, presenter and influencer who was born in West London where she attended an all girls church school before attending the famous art school Central Saint Martins. She cut her teeth in to the fashion business, launching her own Manufacturing Consultancy at the age of 22 collaborating with leading fashion houses which included Burberry, Harrods, TK Maxx, Arcadia Group and Urban Outfitters among others.

As a trained designer Am launched her own Men’s Knitwear label ‘AM Golhar’ in 2010 and became something of a name in the industry where she designed her own exclusive collection for ASOS making her the first and youngest British Asian woman to have made that collaboration. She was scouted by high profile publications such as Vogue, Drapers, the Daily Telegraph just to name a few.

Am Golhar, The Founder & Director Of A Vibrant Creative PR Agency Called Abstract PR.


Sukhi Wahiwala is a renowned personality in his home town, and was schooled in business by his parents, humbly becoming a millionaire by 21, a Multi-Millionaire by 25 and financially free by 27.

With an extensive property portfolio, and commissioning single developments of over 23 properties along with his other diverse businesses; internet online e-tailing business, retail outlets, importing, manufacturing and retirement homes, make up just a few of Sukhi’s multiple businesses & experiences; all of which he has transformed into successful business ventures. Sukhi is an award winning mentor who can also be seen educating youngsters on Ted Talks.


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