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2012 DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards - Meet The Winners

Darpan News Desk Darpan, 10 Oct, 2012
  • 2012 DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards  - Meet The Winners

Canadian Western Bank's president and COO Chris Fowler, presents the award to Suneet Singh Tuli

Suneet Singh Tuli - International Sensation

Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Award for International Sensation was awarded to Suneet Singh Tuli, the technology entrepreneur and visionary behind several successful companies who aims to help educate and digitally-enable billions around the world.

“I am honoured and humbled to have received the International Sensation Award,” Tuli said of the evening. “We are simply pursuing our passion of making technology affordable for the masses, and any success is the result of God’s Grace. Recognition by the community is important validation in our quest.”

As keynote speaker of the Extraordinary Achievement Awards, Tuli was able to share his quest with all those in attendance. Tuli is President and CEO of DataWind UK PLC, which he founded with his brother Raja Singh Tuli and incorporated in 2000. Using their background in imaging cut industries, the Tuli brothers set out to deliver a better quality Internet experience on wireless networks – and they wanted to make it affordable. DataWind has recently received international attention for their Aakash/UbiSlate tablet, the world’s cheapest tablet computer with prices ranging from $35 to $60 for the end user and used throughout India to promote e-learning.

Including three Guinness Book of World Records designations, DataWind, along with Tuli’s two other companies Docuport and Widecom, have received countless accolades for the role in advancing technology. DataWind recently was awarded Technology

Achievement Awards by both the Indo Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce as well as UK’s Most Innovative Mobile Company by UK Trade & Investment.

Tuli’s advice to those in the community centers around his passion for creating a better world abroad. “It is time we all take advantage of the comforts we’ve been accustomed to in Canada,” he said. “And figure out how we can extend those to the ‘other three billion’ in the developing world. That is where the world’s greatest opportunity exists.”


The Honourable Ravi Shankar Aisola, Consul General of India presents Advancing Philanthropy Award to David Sidoo.

David Sidoo - Advancing Philanthropy

David Sidoo was recognized for his extraordinary contributions to diverse charitable ventures when he received the Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Award for Advancing Philanthropy. After an impressive career as a professional football player, including time with both the Saskatchewan Roughriders and BC Lions, Sidoo now finds himself successfully overseeing a private investment banking and financial management firm. The drive and passion that pushed Sidoo to succeed throughout his careers in both football and banking has easily translated into his work within the community where he is well known for his support of a wide variety of worthy causes.

Sidoo has been recognized by the Government of British Columbia, inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, and was recently named among the top 100 South Asians making a difference in BC today. It is clear from Sidoo's involvement in the community that making a difference is something he strives to do.

Sidoo’s philosophy in life is one that truly shows off his philanthropic ways. He believes that if you have been blessed with an achievement, there is an obligation in society to show community spirit by giving back – and give back he does. The Sidoo Family Foundation lends it’s support to several charitable causes, many with a focus on developing the youth of the nation. From BC Children’s Hospital to the University of British Columbia and New Westminster Secondary School, Sidoo and his wife Manjy have helped fund programs for special needs children, Indo-Canadian youth, athletic endeavours and social justice, among others. “Time, treasure and talent – the three pillars the Sidoo Family giving is based on,” Sidoo says of helping the community.

Sidoo was honoured to receive the Advancing Philanthropy Award yet humbled to have even been nominated. “Philanthropy and getting involved with the community is not just about writing a cheque,” Sidoo said after accepting his award. “It's about giving back to this place that has been so good to your family.”


Dr. Aly Kanani of Guildford & Langley Orthodontic Centre presents Breaking Barriers Award to Arvinder Bubber.

Arvinder Bubber - Breaking Barriers

Fuelled by his desire to help others achieve success in their own businesses, it is no surprise Arvinder Bubber has had many successes of his own. Working his way up from the University of Punjab in India to beginning his own practice as a Chartered Accountant in Vancouver, Bubber was appointed to Kwantlen University College’s Board of Governors. The school was given the mandate of University in 2008 and at the same time, Bubber was appointed the first Chancellor of the University.

Bubber was honoured to receive the Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Award for Breaking Barriers, recognized for not only his extraordinary business achievements but for representing the community as the first South Asian University Chancellor. Thanking all those who helped him on his journey, Bubber said, “it was not just a personal acknowledgement of me but a celebration of all that the South Asian community has achieved in the last 100 years. Our achievements are never one individual’s efforts but collective efforts of family, friends, colleagues and everyone who has paved the way for us.”

As an active member of several business organizations, including previous appointments to the Fraser Health Authority Board of Directors and British Columbia Premier's Asia Pacific Trade Council, and as a strong supporter of community involvement, Bubber is committed to mentoring his peers in the business world. “Be a good citizen, help others whenever you get the opportunity and put some of your time and other resources back into the community,” Bubber says. And he does just that. As founding president of SPARK Education Foundation, Bubber helps those who are economically challenged to realize the dream of post-secondary education while assisting with both fundraising and mentorship that benefit many young people in their quest for continual learning.


Kamal Dhillon receives Community Crusader Award from Sohan and Paul Bhogal of Sunrise Kitchens Ltd.

Kamal Dhillon - Community Crusader 

Kamal Dhillon was awarded the Community Crusader Award at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards and one read through her story shows just how much of a crusader she is.

As a victim of domestic abuse, Dhillon has found a way to fight through her tragedy and help encourage others to do the same. Her autobiography, Black and Blue Sari, speaks of her arranged marriage and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband.

Dhillon's life was threatened constantly yet she managed to escape the torment and now advocates so others can hopefully do the same. With one in four women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime, Dhillon’s efforts are empowering and encouraging to the many that are affected by the hushed epidemic of abuse.

As a public speaker and workshop facilitator, Dhillon actively speaks up for the victims of domestic violence who cannot speak for themselves. Her motto in life is to not be silenced by the fear of the stigma surrounding domestic violence and being recognized as an inspiring leader, who empowers and raises awareness about relevant issues within the South Asian community and beyond, means just that to Dhillon. “I am blessed that through my own unimaginable atrocities, I have been able to be a voice for the voiceless and to make a difference in the lives of so many people.”

In addition to her autobiography, Dhillon’s story has been recognized by other organizations who have rewarded her for the impact she has had on the life of countless other victims of violence. She recently received the ‘Courage to Come Back’ Award from the Coast Mental Health Association and was invited to speak at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. among many other speaking engagements that Dhillon hopes will help put an end to domestic abuse.


Sukhi Kainth of Vinylco Windows Ltd. presents Breaking Barriers Award to Sadhu Binning. 

Sadhu Binning - Heritage Defender

Sadhu Binning is a bilingual author who has published more than 15 books of poetry, fiction, plays, translations and research. Binning’s work as both an author, professor and public figure earned him the award of Heritage Defender at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards.

The Heritage Defender Award recognizes extraordinary achievements for preservation efforts of the Punjabi language and culture and Binning has been instrumental in keeping the Punjabi culture at the forefront of the arts and education communities.

As an active promoter of the Punjabi language in educational institutions, Binning is a founding member of Punjabi Language Education Assistance. He has presented papers on language, literature and culture at various national and international conferences, gaining attention for his dedication to his heritage within his communities.

Binning is a passionate yet humble individual who spent 25 years teaching Punjabi at the University of British Columbia. “Though my concept of heritage may not fit in with other people’s idea of heritage, I do things honestly and without any expectations of sort,” Binning said. It is this attitude that has perhaps led him to become central to the Punjabi arts community and recognized for his achievements. Binning was named one of the top 100 South Asians making a difference in BC today.

Binning is a well-known figure in the art world for the his many successful endeavours since migrating to Canada and living in Vancouver from 1967. Binning is a founding member of Vancouver Sath Literary & Cultural Society, a theatre collective; Ankur; and several other literary and cultural organizations. He edited a literary Punjabi monthly Watno Dur; currently co-edits a quarterly, Watan; and was an active member of the BC Arts Board for several years. His works have been included in more than 40 anthologies both in Punjabi and in English.


Rocky Mangat of Handy Appliances Ltd. presents Industry Marvel Award to Nira Arora.  

Nira Arora - Industry Marvel

For those around the Lower Mainland, and world, who listen to the radio, the name Nira Arora will be a familiar one. Arora has been a part of The Beat 94.5 FM since 2002 and a member of The Beat’s morning show for the past eight years.

As an active member of the community and a well respected media expert, Arora received the Industry Marvel Award at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards. Recognized for her extraordinary achievements within an industry as a media personality, Arora has a long list of achievements and endeavours that demonstrate her dedication to not only her industry but also her community.

Having worked within TV and radio for 13 years, Arora has worked with Global, City TV, Shaw and CTV to name a few. She has been nominated twice for the BCAB Awards as Broadcast Performer of Tomorrow and Broadcast Performer of the Year. Arora has also been voted numerous times in TV Week Magazine, The Georgia Straight and the West Ender for favourite radio personality and favourite radio show.

“What a humbling experience,” Arora said of being honoured as Industry Marvel. “ I was so proud of the remarkable achievements of every winner that night – made me feel so proud of our whole community.” Arora's strong connection to the community can be seen throughout her volunteer efforts that reach a large handful of organizations including the Minerva Foundation, the Indo Canadian Students Association and the Vancouver Food Bank, among so many others.

Arora has discovered a new passion and is currently working on a new Indian fashion line with her father and sister-in-laws. Passion is not something Arora lacks and it’s what she centers her advice around. “Follow your passion. If you love it, you will excel – just don’t give up. Obstacles are sometimes in place to test your level of passion.”


Jimmy Hansra receives Spirit of Sport Award from Daljit Thind of Thind Properties Ltd.  

Jimmy Hansra - Spirit of Sport

At a young 27-years-old, Jimmy Hansra has quickly become one of Canada’s top cricket players as a consistent scorer and team leader. Hansra was humbled to receive the Spirit of Sport Award at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards where he was honoured for his achievements and contributions as an inspiring athlete.

“It has definitely motivated me to achieve bigger and better things in the future,” Hasra said after receiving the award. “Thank you to Darpan for a wonderful experience.”

As a top/middle order right-hand batsman and right-arm break off bowler, Hansra plays for the Abbotsford Cricket Club, worked his way up to the British Columbia Provincial Team and most recently represented his country as Captain of the Canadian National Team. With many impressive wins and records to his name, Hansra had a successful World Cup 2011 where he was the second highest run scorer for Team Canada while tallying a career best against New Zealand.

Hansra’s family moved from India to Canada in 1999 and it didn’t take long for Hansra to become involved in a variety of sports and activities. Diving head on into cricket in the summer of 2005 when he joined the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League, Hansra has since enjoyed a successful and busy career playing his preferred sport.

In addition to his world class play on the cricket pitch, Hansra is a Civil Engineering Undergrad who has a spent much of his time working in the industry since graduating from the University of British Columbia in 2008, most recently as a Project Manager.
“Dream big and, with all your heart, do everything possible to achieve that goal,” Hasra says to those in the community. “Outside of all the heartaches and challenges, the reward at the end is definitely worth fighting for.”


Mo Dhaliwal receives the Artistic Visionary Award from Gurjinder Rana of Capital Tile & Stone Ltd  

Mo Dhaliwal - Artistic Visionary

With over a decade of experience in the technology sector and an impressive background as a patron of the arts, Mo Dhaliwal is an inspiration to those both in and outside of the artistic community. His dedication to arts and culture as a means for social change saw Dhaliwal honoured with the Artistic Visionary Award at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards.

While Dhaliwal’s background is centred around his passion for software and web technologies which led him to California as a Software Engineer, his return to Canada had him questioning the cultural and socio-political differences between neighbouring countries. This has led to his involvement with a wide variety of cultural initiatives over the last 10 years.

Dhaliwal’s most notable undertaking was his founding of the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society (VIBC), an organization dedicated to the exploration of music and dance from the Punjabi region of India and Pakistan.

Dhaliwal has been a board member of the Alliance for Arts and Culture for the past five years. He is a member of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society and was recently involved in the Cultural Olympiad as well as the City of Vancouver’s anniversary celebration. In 2009, Dhaliwal joined the Multicultural Advisory Council for the Province of BC.

While some have questioned why Dhaliwal has stayed so committed to the cause of arts and culture, being recognized by the community helps put it into prospective for Dhaliwal. “It was a real moment of validation for me,” he said. “Being recognized as a volunteer for the community, amongst the esteemed attendees, went a long way towards reflecting my personal values to the community. Getting involved with arts and culture is the best way of creating connections between people, and the best way to understand the world around you.”


Ivneet Bains receives Young Wonder Award from Nav Cheema of Simon Fraser University.  

Ivneet Bains - Young Wonder

At a young 21-years-old, Ivneet Bains has worked tirelessly to create a sense of community and inspire action among the members of his youthful generation. To say he has succeeded would be an understatement. Bains is not only a gifted young student but one who has dedicated his time to helping others achieve excellence in education while promoting a social and responsible lifestyle.

Bains was honoured with the Young Wonder Award at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards, an award recognizing extraordinary achievements in academia and community initiatives.

Having come to Canada with his parents in 2007, Bains began his Grade 11 experience at École Panaroma Ridge Secondary. Bains received top honours in several of his courses as well as Grade 11 Actor of the Year Award and Grade 11 Service Award. In addition to the various awards bestowed upon Bains, he finished high school with several incredibly impressive grades – 100% in Math 12, Physics 12, Chemistry 12, Biology 12 and Calculus 12. At his high school graduation, he was awarded more than $125,000 in scholarships.

Bains’ current endeavour which he speaks so passionately about is his initiative called Math4Me, a social entrepreneurship organization he founded in 2010 that provides the best quality tutoring and mentorship to elementary and high school students. Bains was honoured and humbled to win the Young Wonder Award but was also inspired by the Awards to do more. “It has made me feel more responsible...My goal is now to light more candles through Math4Me and help students make something constructive from their lives.” Math4Me has already grown to more than 600 active students in a short two years and Bains’ advice to “just dream big” is a pre-cursor that the program will only continue to grow.


Hari Varshney of Varshney Capital Corp. presents the Corporate Engagement Award to Gurpreet Arneja and Vineet Taneja of Nanak Foods.   

Nanak Food's Gurpreet Arneja and Vineet Taneja - Corporate Engagement

Gurpreet Arneja and Vineet Taneja were recognized with the Corporate Engagement Award at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards for their company, Nanak Foods. As President and CEO respectively, Arneja and Taneja have been responsible for the incredible growth and success of the now largest CFIA, FDA and EU approved dairy product manufacturer in North America, specializing in Indian dairy products.

Established in 1997, with one employee in a 2,000-square-foot facility, the company currently operates out of 100,000-square-feet employing 150 workers. While business initially focused on British Columbia, their award-winning operations have expanded worldwide where they now ship as far as South Africa. Arneja was instrumental in the development of a unique distribution network for the Nanak products allowing the distribution channel to be able to handle delivery of one case to full container loads of refrigerated products.

Recognized for their extraordinary achievements as South Asian entrepreneurs and embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, Arneja and Taneja had much to say about entrepreneurial success and their advice to the South Asian community and Canadian society in general. “No successful entrepreneur has had a smooth ride to the top and none ever will. The challenges, disappointments and failures will always be there; it’s the manner you handle them that determines whether you will succeed or not.”

As a leader in their industry, Nanak Foods has used state-of-the-art equipment with a focus on high quality and commitment to excellence to make their brand a household name worldwide. They have recently received several prestigious awards for their strong management and commitment to their craft including the 2009 BC Export Award as well as the Top Innovation of Anuga Award 2011. As immigration from South Asia continues to mix tradition with mainstream culture, Nanak Foods aims to continually find ways to reproduce authentic foods for the mass market.



The "Extraordinary Achievement Awards" honour South Asian individuals and/or groups, who have conducted extraordinary achievements in diverse fields and who reflect their heritage in a remarkable way. There are 10 categories from Community Crusader and Breaking Barriers to Advancing Philanthropy and Young Wonder.