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And the 2013 DARPAN Award Winners are...

Darpan News Desk Darpan, 10 Oct, 2013
  • And the 2013 DARPAN Award Winners are...

Dr. Narinder Kapany receives the award from Canadian Western Bank executives, Puneet Agrawal, Assistant Vice President Commercial Banking; Rob Berzins, Vice President and Deputy General Manager, BC Region; and Bob Duffield, Assistant VP and Branch Manager of Scott Rd. Branch

Dr. Narinder Kapany - International Sensation

Dr. Narinder Kapany’s groundbreaking research in the 1950’s led to the development of fiber optics. Without this scientific discovery, things such as lasers, solar energy, fiber optic communications, pollution monitoring and even the Internet would not have been possible.

Hailed as the Father of Fiber Optics, Kapany was born in Punjab, India and seemed to have a knack for science from a young age. He studied in India and then London where he successfully completed his objective of demonstrating the transmission of light and images through fiberglass.

He has gone on to win countless awards including the Excellence 2000 Award, the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and most recently, the Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Award for International Sensation
Kapany was pleasantly surprised to receive the award. “This award is a matter of great satisfaction, not only to me but also to various colleagues of mine that have contributed to so much of our success.”

As the Keynote Speaker for the evening, Kapany went on to say, “Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards was a pleasant surprise for me. Firstly I was most impressed with the quality of 700 guests attending the function, which consisted of numerous MP’s, MLA's, professionals and high level business executives. Secondly, the quality of various entertainments was truly superior! Thirdly, I was impressed that a number of legislators, who promised me that they would help find a Vancouver museum to set up a permanent Sikh Art exhibit, as I offered to donate art from my collection.”

A truly remarkable individual, who at 85-years-old continues to create, innovate and inspire generations to come.


Stephen Dooley, Executive Director, SFU Surrey presents the award to Sukhmeet Sachal.

Young WonderSukhmeet Sachal

Sukhmeet Singh Sachal has accomplished more in his 19 years on this Earth than many will achieve after 60 years.

Just to mention a few things, he has created a non-profit organization to benefit the lives of impoverished people both locally and abroad; he has created Students Without Borders to bring together students of different backgrounds for a common cause; he is the recipient of the Big Dreamer’s and Giving Hearts Awards; and Sachal is involved in various other causes that are close to his heart.

Along with all his philanthropic causes, Sachal has excelled as a student and as a leader. Right now he is the President of the Faculty of Science at McGill University.
It is no surprise then, that Sachal was the recipient of Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Award for Young Wonder.

Sachal is very happy to have made the trip from Montreal to Vancouver to receive the award.  “It was a truly an unforgettable night with so much inspiration,” says Sachal. “I felt honoured and humbled to be selected as the recipient.”

His smile was shining bright that night on the red carpet of the awards ceremony. And why not? Along with being happy to be part of such a wonderful event, Sachal believes that one smile can change the world.


Exclusive Floors Mark Taylor and Bhupinder Singh present the award to Ajmer Rode.

Artistic VisionaryAjmer Rode

Talented doesn’t begin to describe Ajmer Rhode, the author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose in both Punjabi and English, the founder of Canadian Punjabi drama and the writer and director of 10 plays.

Rhode has chaired the Racial Minority Writers Committee and has been on the Canada Council and BC Arts Council juries. His work goes beyond the scope of an accomplished literary figure to include social

He is in fact a true Artistic Visionary and was recognized as this by the 4th annual Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards.

Rhode was delighted to receive the award and the appreciation of his work. “It affirms that what I have been doing for decades is worth it,” he says. “It urges me to write more and better and inspire others like me to do the same.”

Rhode believes Darpan’s Awards symbolize the magazine’s commitment to the community. “By highlighting the exceptionally talented minds of our community, the Awards encourage our youth to strive for excellence.” He goes on to say, “I am glad the Awards give full recognition to arts and culture…and bring respect to it.”


Robin Dhir receives the award from Dr. Aly Kanani.

Advancing Philanthropy Robin Dhir

Robin Dhir is a seasoned sales, marketing and communications executive. Yet this year, he received the award for Advancing Philanthropy at Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards.

How can someone who is a business professional be crowned for his philanthropy? It comes from the passion to make a difference. Dhir is committed to making a difference in his community.

He is a member of the SFU President’s India Advisory Council, the Vancouver Club and the Sir John A. McDonald Society, the Advisory Board of VIBC, a Miracle Maker Panelist on the A World of Smiles Telethon and the list goes on. He has also raised countless funds for both BC Children’s Hospital as well as BCCH Foundation.

With so much success and charity under his belt, Dhir was honoured to win the Advancing Philanthropy Award from Darpan Magazine and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“To be selected from a rich pool of talent and deserving individuals was a proud moment, “ says Dhir. “My efforts…are rooted in the desire to give back and support my community and also encourage others to engage and be inspired to do the same.”


Daljit Thind, CEO of Thind Properties, bestows the award to Sukhdev Grewal. 

Community Crusader Sukhdev Grewal

Community service is a donated activity, time or service that someone does for the benefit of others and often with no reward for themselves. This is an apt description of Sukhdev Grewal, who has dedicated her life in the service of others.

As an educator in the nursing department at Langara College, Grewal is actively involved in health promotion and prevention geared toward the South Asian community. She provides community outreach programs, she had set up a health care clinic at the Ross Street Sikh Temple and she works on raising awareness about HIV/AIDS within the South Asian community.

Grewal’s involvement doesn’t stop there. She continues to research on a number of topics including partner violence, fostering equality and integration of ethnic communities as valued members of society.

Her work has made such a difference in so many lives and Grewal was recently recognized for her dedication with Darpan Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Award as a Community Crusader for her contributions as an inspiring leader within the South Asian community.

Grewal says she was honoured to receive this award because it confirms that her work has been making a difference in the community. “I will value this award for the rest of my life,” says Grewal. “I applaud Darpan Magazine for taking the initiative to acknowledge the work done by many of the South Asian people in BC. It is particularly important for the youth…it will encourage them to be model citizens as well as enhance their confidence and desire to do better in life.”


Barj Dhahan receives the award from Aly Jiwani, General Manager, BMW Langley. 

Corporate EngagementBarj Dhahan

Barj Dhahan came to live in British Columbia in the 1960’s from his home in Punjab, and he has never looked back. A graduate from the University of British Columbia, Dhahan founded the Sandhurst Group of companies, which specializes in commercial real estate development.

Besides being one of the largest Esso dealers and Tim Horton’s franchisees in BC, Dhahan has served in many non-profit and community development initiatives that have strategically been building relationships between Canadian and Indian organizations for more than 20 years.

Dhahan has been a pioneer in developing Canada-India university collaborations and Barj was also an official Canadian delegate with Prime Minister Harper’s November 2012 mission to India.

Dhahan’s company Sandhurst Group has made significant contributions including awarding more than $ 80,000 in annual bursaries to talented and needy high school graduates in BC and has donated over $ 275,000 to Tim Horton’s Children’s Foundation.

In recognition of his work as a leader and entrepreneur in the South Asian community, Dhahan was awarded with Darpan’s Extraordinary Achievement Award for Corporate Engagement.

“I am grateful for being given the award,” says Dhahan. “It was a good way to recognize people contributing to society…and I appreciate the effort that Darpan Magazine made.”


Lawrence Koh of Handy Appliances presents the award to Fabian Dawson.

Industry MarvelFabian Dawson

Fabian Dawson is an award-winning journalist and internationally acclaimed filmmaker and author. Born in Malaysia, Dawson has worked all over the world including Asia, Europe, North and Central America and Canada. Currently he is the deputy editor-in-chief The Province newspaper in Vancouver as well as the founder and editor of

Dawson is a regular on TV and radio talk shows and is a guest lecturer at various schools of journalism. He is a sought-after media commentator on Asian affairs and has been called to speak to Members of Parliament in Canada’s House of Commons on matters pertaining to national security. Dawson also speaks regularly at seminars for Canadian police officers, crown prosecutors and social workers.

His journalistic and media work has led to four documentary films and a made-for-TV movie. Dawson is also the lead author of the newly released book, Justice for Jassi, which looks into the honour killing of a BC woman in India.

Dawson is definitely deserving of Darpan’s Extraordinary Achievement Award for Industry Marvel in recognition of his influence, accomplishments and contributions to media.

And Dawson only had good things to say about this year’s awards ceremony, saying it was “a spectacular high energy evening that brought out the best in and the best of the South Asian community.” Dawson was humbled to be in the same company as the 2013 Award recipients.


Dr. V. Setty Pendakur receives the award from David Laulainen, Director Communications, Century Group, developer of 3 Civic Plaza and the Civic Hotel, Surrey City Centre.

Breaking BarriersDr. V. Setty Pendakur

Dr. V. Setty Pendakur’s list of achievements is very long and admirable. To name a few, he is a consultant to the governments of China, India and Singapore; he is the Founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Policy and Development in New York; he is a National Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Institutes of Medicine; he has served on countless NGO boards and foundations; and lastly, he is the first South Asian to be elected as a Vancouver City Councillor.

Pendakur’s achievements have gained him much recognition and most recently he received Darpan’s Extraordinary Achievement award for Breaking Barriers. This award honoured Pendakur for being an influential leader, educator and contributor to society as well as someone who continues to inspire future generations.

The accolades go on, yet Pendakur remains humble about his achievements. “Recognition is always satisfying…but this does not change me. I do what I do not for the recognition, but for the inherent aspects of service (seva), without craving the prizes.”

This year was Pendakur’s first time at the Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Awards and he greatly enjoyed himself, especially the entertainment.

“The function was extraordinarily well-organized, smooth and went well.”


Balraj Mann, CEO Balraj Mann Group bestows the award to Bhupinder S. Malhi of Virasat Foundation.

Heritage DefenderVirasat Foundation's Bhupinder S. Malhi & Jaspal S. Randhawa

Being able to preserve South Asian arts, culture, tradition and heritage here in Canada is so important.  The Virasat Foundation was created by Bhupinder Malhi and Jaspal Randhawa for just that purpose; to ensure that the fundamental aspects of the South

Asian culture such as classical and folk music, traditional medicine, language and dance be promoted and preserved for the next generation.

The Virasat Foundation does this through initiatives such as concerts with artists like Ustad Sultan Khan as well as social activities and educational programs.

For their efforts and accomplishments in this important endeavor, the Virasat Foundation and their creators, Malhi and Randhawa received Darpan’s Extraordinary Achievement Award for being a Heritage Defender.

They were very pleased to accept the award. “After receiving this award…it gave us the satisfaction that we are on the right path,” says Malhi. “It is a reminder that this is a duty to be performed.”

Virasat Foundation is fulfilling an important role in keeping South Asian arts, culture and heritage in the forefront of the minds of the next generation.


CEO Paul Bhogal, along with his father Sohan, of Sunrise Kitchens present the award to Jasmin Dhanda.

Spirit of SportJasmin Dhanda

At the ripe age of 18, Jasmin Dhanda has not only proven to be a spectacular soccer player with a promising career ahead of her, she’s also been honoured with Darpan’s Extraordinary Achievement Award for Spirit of Sport. This recognizes Dhanda’s achievements and contributions as an inspiring athlete.

“This was memorable…for me knowing that I have inspired other young athletes,” says Dhanda. “I feel so honoured to be recognized.”

Dhanda’s love for the game started in her own backyard where she used to play soccer with her father as a child. She continued excelling at the sport playing for the Whitecaps Elite Girls. She even had the amazing opportunity to play in Azerbaijan for the U-17 FIFA World Cup.

Upon graduating high school, Dhanda received a soccer scholarship to play for the UBC Thunderbirds, while pursing a degree in kinesiology. She recently was recognized by Canada West with their prestigious ‘Rookie of
the Year’ award.

She credits her parents for her success both on and of the field because they instilled in her the dedication and commitment to maintain balance in all aspects of her life.

Dhanda hopes to take her soccer career to the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympic games. And if her drive, dedication and success so far are any indication, Dhanda will be achieving her dreams in no time.


DARPAN AWARDS 2012 - An Evening of Dreamers

DARPAN AWARDS 2012 - An Evening of Dreamers
 “From our inaugural event to now, our goal is to showcase the gems of the South Asian community and honour them with DARPAN Magazine’s Extraordinary Achievement Awards – we hope this simple act will trigger the ripple effect of inspiring more South Asians to do the extraordinary.”

DARPAN AWARDS 2012 - An Evening of Dreamers

2012 DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards - Meet The Winners

2012 DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards  - Meet The Winners
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.

2012 DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards - Meet The Winners


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.