Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has topped a list of the most influential ethnic South Asians in Britain announced on Wednesday, beating Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and One Direction singer Zayn Malik.
Javid, a former banker who rapidly rose through the ranks in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party, was to collect his award at a ceremony in London later in the day.
Judges of the Power List, compiled by the Asian Media and Marketing Group, put Pakistani teenage education activist Yousafzai second. The 17-year-old won the accolade last year.
Opposition Labour lawmaker Keith Vaz, who heads parliament’s influential Home Affairs Committee, came third, while 1D vocalist Malik came 10th.
Judges said Javid earned the title for being the only South Asian voice in the upper ranks of government and for his commitment to “opening the cultural doors for all Britons in the UK”.
Javid said: “Culture is more than a privilege. It’s at the core of who we are and how we define ourselves.
“If you’re not engaged with our cultural life, you’re not engaged with our national life. And in 2014, too many Britons are culturally disenfranchised.”
Javid’s father Abdul arrived in Britain from Pakistan in 1961 with 1 pound in his pocket.
Kalpesh Solanki, managing editor of the Power List said it recognises the achievements of “exceptional individuals who have excelled and broken through barriers”.
Some 3.0 million people, or 4.9 per cent of the British population, identified themselves as being of South Asian origin in the 2011 census.