Bawa Singh Jagdev became the first Sikh to receive the prestigious award for volunteering which was handed to him by NSW Speaker John Aquilina at the NSW Parliament recently.
Jagdev who arrived in Australia in 1975 from Kenya was among the first few to set up s Sikh Council of Australia (SCA). The council provides a platform for Sikhs in Australia to liase with government and non-government agencies, according to Indianlink, an ethnic Indian newspaper.
Jagdev defended the kirpan that was threatened by the knife legislation passed by the NSW Government in 1997. He was instrumental in convincing the then NSW premier Bob Carr to amend the legislation to allow an average Sikh to carry the dagger.
The 72-year-old former lecturer at TAFE, an adult education organisation in Australia, said SCA plans to build an old age home shortly. This will be in addition to the already existing two Punjabi language schools.