Leading figures across all areas of the Capital’s Asian community have been honoured at the first awards of its kind for Edinburgh.
Scotland cricketer Safyaan Sharif won the outstanding performer award while nine-year-old Zahra Ahmed came away with the young talent prize at a glittering ceremony at Eskmills, Musselburgh last night.
Kebab Mahal, on Nicolson Square, took home the Asian Takeaway gong and Singh Beauty Parlour, on Papermill Wynd, was the winner of Asian Beauty Parlour Award.
The event was organised by Edinburgh’s newly launched – and only – Asian radio station, Sunoh. Sunoh’s founder, Sharjil Naweed, says he decided to launch the awards after realising how much unrecognised Asian talent there was in the city.
He said: “The awards dinner was a great success and the responses from the winners were truly humbling. Given that this was the very first time we’d hosted the Edinburgh Asian Awards, we were absolutely delighted with the calibre and number of entries received.
“While all the winners were very deserving it’s a shame that there could be only one winner per category as there were some really inspiring and dedicated individuals on the list.
“I see a lot of talent here, but what I see is that they don’t come out in the open. We have people from the Asian community who are contributing a lot to Scotland and we wanted to create role models. We’ll definitely be back next year, bigger and better!”
In addition to the nine category winners, the judges announced the recipients of four special awards. Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer and current Rector of the University of Glasgow, was revealed as the winner of the Inspiring Role Model award.
From the initial 1,000 entries Sunoh received when it opened nominations to the public, judges selected 27 of Edinburgh’s stand-out contributors to the Asian community across nine categories crediting the best food, shops, business figures and more.
The winners were determined by a combination of the public’s votes and votes from a specially selected panel of judges.
Sharjil credits the launch of his radio station with bringing the Capital’s Asian community together; seeing a dramatic increase in his listenership spurred him on to take on the challenge of organising the Edinburgh Asian Awards.
“There was nothing local here and not many people from the Asian community are on social media, but if you mix music, especially Bollywood music with some news and speaking people really like it.
“We started with about 20 listeners and now in Edinburgh alone we have 4,000, with 95,000 listeners around the world last month”.
The winners of the Edinburgh Asian Awards 2018:
l Young Talent – Zahra Ahmed
l Takeaway – Kebab Mahal
l Beauty Parlour – Singh Beauty Parlour
l Grocery Store – Global Foods
l Entrepreneur – Prayas Choudhary
l Restaurant – Kebabish
l Outstanding Performer – Safyaan Sharif
l Voluntary Organisation – World Care Foundation
l Community Worker – Nasim Azad
l Inspiring Role Model – Aamer Anwar
l Cultural Champion of the Year – Rajnish Singh
l Special Tribute Award – Vipin Kumar
l Event of the Year 2018 – Edinburgh Mela