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Philanthropist active among Kiwi-Indians nominated to Rajya Sabha

Satnam Singh Sandhu at the Ayodhya Pran Prathistha celebration in Auckland. (Photo: Karan Bhasin)

Educationist and philanthropist Satnam Singh Sandhu, who has been active in community service among Kiwi-Indians, was nominated to India’s Upper House as a parliamentarian on January 29. 

Sandhu has often visited New Zealand in the last few years to celebrate important occasions with the Indian diaspora. He was in Auckland and Wellington only this month, bringing the sacred idols of Lord Ram and Sita as part of the Ayodhya Pran Prathishtha celebrations in Aotearoa. 

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He has also been part of New Zealand’s most prestigious awards for the Indian diaspora, Kiwi-Indian Hall of Fame, organised by The Indian Weekender.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Sandhu, recognising him as a distinguished educationist and social worker. He wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “Satnam Ji has distinguished himself as a noted educationist and social worker, who has been serving people at the grassroots in different ways. He has always worked extensively to further national integration and has also worked with the Indian diaspora.”

Replying to the prime minister’s wishes, Sandhu wrote, “Thank you PM @narendramodi Ji for the faith you have placed in me and the opportunity you have given me to become a small part of your monumental mission. 

“There can be no bigger testament to the new India you are building than the fact that someone like me, from a humble family of farmers, has been given such an opportunity to voice the aspirations of the people.

“My life is devoted to one mission- to strengthen every effort you make for our nation and to build a Viksit Bharat by 2047.”

Hailing from a farming background in Punjab, Sandhu is acknowledged as one of India's prominent educationists. He faced numerous challenges in his early life but went on to establish the Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC) in Landran, Mohali, in 2001. In 2012, he founded the Chandigarh University.

His philanthropic endeavors stem from his own difficult childhood, leading him to actively support students financially. Sandhu is deeply involved in community initiatives to enhance the health and wellness of the masses. He manages two NGOs, the Indian Minorities Foundation and the New India Development (NID) Foundation, both dedicated to fostering communal harmony in the country.

Hon Consul of India in Auckland Bhav Dhillon also congratulated Sandhu. “Heartiest congratulations to @satnamsandhuchd on his appointment as Member of Parliament @RajyaSabha India. Well deserved accolade for a hardworking staunch nationalist who will do anything to safeguard & promulgate the vision of Hon’ble PM Modi Big thanks to @narendramodi,” Dhillon wrote on X.

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