Southampton will remember the “father” of Southampton’s Sikh community in an event held at the University of Southampton tonight.

Sardar Harnam Singh Roudh is remembered across Southampton for his contributions to community integration and relations building.

He features as one of ten hugely influential people marked in the University’s Pioneers project, a research project co-ordinated by the University of Southampton’s India Centre jointly with Asian Media Group, aiming to capture the changing face of multicultural Britain.

Other faces in the project include actor Meera Syal, co-deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Dholakia, former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, and former Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Sardar Harnam Singh, who was born in Multan, now Pakistan, in 1923, arrived in Southampton in 1951 with only £3 to his name, no friends or family, and limited English.

His immediate family joined him several years later.

Despite facing challenges, he opened the first South Asian corner shop in the city and played a crucial role in establishing Southampton’s first Gurdwara. He also owned the Star of India restaurant in St. Mary’s.

His family remains rooted in Southampton and his eldest son, the late Sardar Mulkh Singh, became the first Sikh to run a pub in the city when he took over the New Inn in Bevois Valley.

His son, Malkeat Singh, a community development worker at Southampton City Council, has followed in his father's footsteps and received praise from the Lord Mayor for his community work.

Reflecting on his father’s life, Malkeat said: “He was very inspirational, and his attitude to life was very positive.

“A lot of that came from his strong faith as a Sikh.”

Son Dr Amrik Singh, who is now retired but was one of the city’s first Sikh GPs, said: “Dad was a man with vision, courage, and determination. It was daunting for all of us, but especially for him.”

When Sardar Harnam Singh passed away in 1998, the Echo described his funeral as "the biggest funeral Southampton has witnessed".

The Pioneers project is being celebrated at an event on Wednesday evening, which will also mark the fifth anniversary of the India Centre.

It will take place between 5.30pm and 9.30pm at Turner Sims Concert Hall at the University of Southampton.