Famous Sikhs

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh
  • Manmohan Singh is an Indian politician who was the thirteenth Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014.
  • Considered to be one of the most influential figures in India's recent history, because of the economic liberalization he started in 1991 when he was Finance Minister.
  • The first Sikh to become Prime Minister of India.
  • Manmohan Singh has a doctorate from Oxford University. He is the most educated Indian Prime Minister in history.

Milkha Singh

Milkha Singh
  • Former Indian track and field sprinter.
  • He is nicknamed The Flying Sikh.
  • Milkha Singh represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
  • As of 2013, he is the only Indian male athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games.
  • He was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.
  • The movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is based on Milkha Singh's life.

Waris Ahluwalia

Waris Ahluwalia
  • Actor who has played a number of roles in commercials and Hollywood films, including The Life Aquatic and The Inside Man.
  • Waris is also a popular jewelry designer and owner of the House of Waris jewelry brand.
  • In 2013 Ahluwalia was featured in a Gap "Make Love" campaign ad.

Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh
  • Fauja Singh is a centenarian marathon runner.
  • He holds a world record as a runner in his age bracket.
  • In 2011, Fauja Singh became the first 100-year old to finish a marathon.
  • In 2004 he was featured in an advertising campaign, 'Nothing Is Impossible', for sportswear manufacturer Adidas.
  • While running marathon races in London, New York and Toronto, he raised money for various charities promoting Sikh culture around the world.

Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany

Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany
  • Widely acknowledged as the father of fiber-optics.
  • Dr. Kapany has over one hundred patents. His research and inventions have encompassed fiber-optics communications, lasers, biomedical instrumentation, solar energy and pollution monitoring.
  • He is a Fellow of numerous scientific societies including the British Royal Academy of Engineering, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Named one of seven 'Unsung Heroes' by Fortune magazine in their 'Businessmen of the Century' issue.

Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh
  • One of the best-known Indian writers of all times.
  • He is the best selling author of over 80 books and two weekly columns syndicated in over 40 English publications.
  • The Library of Congress has ninety-nine works on and by Khushwant Singh.
  • Khushwant Singh is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.

Surinder Kaur

Surinder Kaur
  • Surinder Kaur (1929–2006) was an Indian singer and songwriter.
  • She sang mainly Punjabi folk-songs, where she is credited for pioneering and popularising the genre and later was known as the ‘Nightingale of Punjab’.
  • Surinder Kaur recorded her first song in 1943, which she sang with her elder sister Prakash Kaur.
  • She recorded more than 2,000 Punjabi songs over her lifetime.

Harbhajan Singh Yogi

Harbhajan Singh Yogi
  • Harbhajan Singh Yogi (1929-2004) was also known as Yogi Bhajan and Siri Singh Sahib.
  • He was a spiritual leader who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the United States.
  • Yogi Bhajan was influential in helping promote the Sikh tradition in the West. He motivated thousands to embrace the Sikh way of life.
  • He was the spiritual director of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) Foundation.

Dara Singh

Dara Singh
  • Dara Singh (1928-2012) was an Indian wrestler turned actor.
  • He was undefeated in his entire wrestling career.
  • Dara Singh worked as a Hindi and Punjabi film producer, director and writer, and he acted on film and television.
  • He was the first sportsman to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) of India.

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar
  • Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, popularly known as Monty Panesar, plays for the England cricket team.
  • He is the first Sikh to represent a nation other than India in cricket.
  • He is a crowd favorite in England, and many English fans have worn patkas while watching Panesar play.
  • Nicknames for Panesar include 'The Montster', 'The Python' (as in Monty Python), 'The Beard to be Feared', or most popular 'The Turbanator'.

Amrit and Rabindra Kaur

Amrit and Rabindra Kaur
  • Amrit and Rabindra are contemporary British artists of international standing.
  • Their paintings address contemporary subjects in a detailed, decorative style inspired by the tradition of Indian miniature painting.

Rabinder Singh

Rabinder Singh
  • The first judge in the United Kingdom to sit in the high court wearing a turban instead of a wig.
  • Rabinder Singh co-founded the Matrix Human Rights Law Chambers with Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
  • He holds a Bachelor of Laws with first class honors from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Laws from the University of California (Berkeley).
  • Also thought to be the youngest person to sit as a judge in the U.K. high court.
Baltej Singh Dhillon

Baltej Singh Dhillon

  • First Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer allowed to wear a turban and unshorn beard.
  • Graduated from the RCMP training academy in Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada)

Gurbax Singh Malhi

Gurbax S. Malhi
  • First turbaned Sikh to be elected to the Canadian parliament, the Canadian House of Commons. He was first elected to parliament in 1993.
  • Canadian law prohibited members of parliament from wearing headgear of any sort in the Commons. Malhi's insistence on wearing a turban caused the law to be changed shortly after the election.
  • Malhi has introduced numerous Sikh ceremonies to the Canadian Parliament (including an annual Akhand Path and a Diwali celebration).
  • He was also instrumental in having the government of Canada produce a postage stamp bearing the khanda symbol.

Snatam Kaur

Snatam Kaur
  • Snatam Kaur is an American singer and songwriter.
  • She is a popular New Age artist, selling over 70,000 albums a year.
  • Snatam Kaur’s albums have topped New Age Retailer’s Top 20 lists every year since 2004.

Nuvraj Singh Bassi

Nuvraj Bassi
  • Nuvraj Singh Bassi is a defensive lineman who plays in the Canadian Football League.
  • He has played for the Montreal Alouettes, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the BC Lions.
  • He made history as the first turbaned Sikh in the league.

Dr. Gurmeet Shimi Kaur Kang

Dr. Gurmeet Shimi Kaur Kang
  • Dr. Shimi Kang is an award-winning, Harvard-trained doctor, researcher, media expert, and lecturer on human motivation.
  • She is the author of The Dolphin Way: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids Without Turning Into A Tiger (Penguin Books 2014).
  • Her articles have appearred in major media outlets including the Huffington Post, Psychology Today and TIME Magazine.
  • In 2012, Dr. Kang received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her years of outstanding community service.
Simranpreet Singh Lamba

Simranpreet Singh Lamba

  • The first Sikh to become a non-medical enlisted U.S. Army soldier since the 1980's without shedding his turban.
  • Lamba was recruited for his language skills.

Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu

  • Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu was the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal in track and field at the Asian Games.
  • In 1970 she won the 400m in Bangkok with a time of 57.3 seconds.
  • She also competed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.