The Public Works Department (PWD) has set the ball rolling for the restoration of the historic Humayun Mahal on the Chepauk palace complex. It is set to submit a detailed estimate of the work necessary to renovate the structure in a fortnight.
After the successful restoration of Kalas Mahal, which will house the National Green Tribunal, Southern bench, from September 2, the PWD is now focussing on renovating the structure located next to it. This is the first structure that the new Building Centre and Conservation Division, formed by the PWD, will restore.
Constructed in 1770, the single-storey structure was once the residence of the Nawab of Arcot. Spread over 66,000 sq. ft., the building also has a connecting corridor to Kalas Mahal. Officials said nearly 50% of the roof has collapsed and needs to be rebuilt. “The estimate we will present will have details on the type of special materials needed, their availability and the special rates for renovating heritage structures,” an official said.
Unlike the other buildings, separate rates have to be arrived at for sourcing special construction material, such as limestone and flooring tiles. “We also need to collate data on places, such as Karaikudi and Virudhunagar, where these materials would be available. Once the estimate is prepared, we will be able to arrive at a uniform rate for the restoration of heritage structures,” the official said.
Based on the work taken up in Kalas Mahal four years ago, the renovation of Humayun Mahal is likely to cost at least ₹35 crore. The dilapidated structure once hosted various government offices, including those of the Agriculture Department, Social Welfare Department and the Directorate of Tamil Development.
One of the main challenges is to remove the heaps of paper and rubble inside. Besides suffering the impact of the fire that ravaged Kalas Mahal in 2012, a portion of Humayun Mahal was affected due to a roof collapse and a minor fire in 2014. The search for funding is also delaying the project. Once the tie-up for funds is finalised, restoration work can begin in two months, the official added.
Meanwhile, the PWD is coordinating with various government departments to collate data on heritage buildings across the State.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / bu K. Lakshmi / Chennai – August 30th, 2017
Ahmed Khan, the last of India’s glorious generation of barefooted footballers who made a mark on the 1948 Olympic Games, passed away here on Sunday.
He was 90 and died due to age-related issues. Khan, who was also part of the Indian sides that won gold at the Asian Games of 1951 and went to the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, will be remembered as a gifted inside-left who mesmerised spectators with his ball control.
He played for East Bengal for a decade, and formed part of a feared five-member forward-line — Sale, Dhanaraj, Appa Rao and Venkatesh the others — nicknamed the ‘pancha pandavas’.
“His close control was so good that they called him the snake-charmer, for he could make the ball do his bidding,” recalled I. Arumainayagam, who turned out for India at the 1962 Asian Games.
“We used to call him paambati. His death is a big loss to Indian football.”
Khan was born in 1926 into a family of footballers. His father, Baba Khan, was captain of local club Bangalore Crescent, while two of his uncles turned out for Mohammedan Sporting in Kolkata.
Ahmed’s three brothers — Amjad Khan, Sharmat Khan and Latif Khan — all played football at various levels.
As early as 1938, Ahmed joined Bangalore Crescent, where he played alongside his father.
He is best remembered, however, for his role in the 1948 Olympics in London, where India lost its first-round match in heartbreaking fashion to France but made a deep impression on the public.
In a report for The Hindu dated September 25, 1948, A. Ramaswamy Aiyar wrote: “Raman and Ahmed, the left-extreme and the left-inside, hail from Bangalore. They showed uncanny control over the ball and had perfect understanding.
“It was a treat to watch them move with the ball, interchange positions and run rings round the defence. They kept the audience spellbound and moved with such ease that they were described as a pair of wizards.”
“After winning the Rovers Cup with Bangalore Muslims, he joined East Bengal in 1949 and played for the club for the next 10 years.”
In a statement, East Bengal general secretary Kalyan Majumder hailed him as a “barefooted genius” and perhaps the greatest player the club had ever seen.
“With outstanding individual brilliance the barefooted Khan was capable of deciding the fate of any match all by himself. Even after boots were made mandatory I recall his outstanding performance in the 1958 IFA Shield final when he along with Balaram destroyed Mohun Bagan to win the Trophy,” he said.
“One also recalls the spectacular goal he scored against Yugoslavia playing barefooted in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.”
Khan’s death was condoled by the Karnataka State Football Association. He is survived by his wife, Rabia Begum, and children Majid Khan and Parveen Begum.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Football / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – August 28th, 2017
As Ahmed Khan is laid to rest, kin feel blessed to belong to the same family as the football great; contemporaries remember him as a humble man who loved the game
Amjad Khan sat quietly sipping chai, unmindful of the cacophony raised by a line of four-wheelers jostling for space on the narrow, single-laned Mackan Road. His brother Ahmed, arguably India’s greatest footballer who passed away on Sunday, had just been laid to rest and the mourning — for now — was over. The multitude, that had turned out to pay their respects and attend the funeral, had departed and house #75 — the house of ‘Ahmed, the Olympian’ — was slowly returning to ‘normal’.
A smile spread across Amjad’s face when he was asked about his brother. With every sip of chai that he took, Amjad’s eyes took on an even more vacant look as his mind went back in time. “What makes a man great? This is how I analyse it,” Amjad, also a former India international, said. “You could say Ahmed played up to 1958, right? Public memory is generally short. We watch a good movie and don’t remember it a month later. But if people remember this man, after 60 years of his playing career, then he must have done something extraordinary.”
There was pride in Amjad’s every breath. It was the predominant feeling shared by those in house #75. A feeling that stemmed from simply being associated with the bloodline of India’s greatest dribbler, fondly nicknamed ‘the Snake Charmer’ by the English media. Even Mannan, a grandson who was born decades after Ahmed hung up his boots, said he was “proud to just be born in the same family as Ahmed”.
Inside the house, Mannan proudly pointed to Ahmed’s trophies, a collection that was put on display just above the freezer box that contained Ahmed’s remains only hours ago. Numerous tributes by East Bengal, Ahmed’s club in Kolkata, were laid out. “The Padmashri has lost a bit of its sheen today because it was never awarded to Ahmed,” Amjad remarked on the conspicuous lapse of the Central government’s attention to a man who had bagged the gold in the 1951 Asian Games.
Among India’s greatest football heroes, Ahmed is right up there. As an inside-left (withdraw striker), Ahmed played in two Olympics (1948 and 1952) and won every domestic trophy that was up for grabs with East Bengal. “You know the thing about cotton? Whatever you throw on cotton, it never bounces back. That was Ahmed’s dribbling prowess,” Amjad said. “My father used to say that if Ahmed had not become a footballer, he would have become India’s best athlete. You know, when he was studying in the St Aloysius School in the city, he never used to carry books to the school. Instead, he used to take a small ball, a tennis ball, and practise dribbling on his way to school and back. That explains his gift.”
Ahmed was part of the deadly ‘Panchapandavas’ of EB, a forward line also comprising P Venkatesh and PB Saleh on the flanks, Apparao as the inside right and Dhanraj in the centre. When asked whether the gold medal was Ahmed’s top moment as a player, Amjad laughed. “That was just okay,” he said. “Have you heard of Sahu Mewalal, the guy who scored the winner at the 1951 Asian Games? Every year in Calcutta, where he used to play for Railways, he was the top-scorer of the league. Dhanraj wanted to overthrow Mewalal and asked Ahmed to do something for him. In one game, this gentleman (Ahmed) dribbled past everyone, even the goalkeeper, and called Dhanraj to the post to tap it in. That year, Dhanraj became the top-scorer. Scoring goals was Ahmed’s wish when he was playing.”
I Arumainayagam, the 1962 Asian Games gold medallist from the other time that India ruled globally, called Ahmed an inspiration. “We used to learn from watching him play,” he said. “We used to name ourselves ‘Ahmed’, ‘Dhanraj’, ‘Basheer’ and emulate their style. We, of course, couldn’t play as well as they did, but they influenced us greatly.”
More than anything, Ahmed was a fine human being. The 1952 Helsinki Olympics showed that. India were humiliated 1-10 by Yugoslavia and Ahmed repents that he was able to score only one goal in that game. Outside the Olympics, he often used to skip practice sessions while playing for East Bengal which made people wonder at his talent. He also preferred to play barefoot, shunning boots when the occasion afforded it. He was also fond of playing cards and often drew players from rival club Mohun Bagan into a round after a football game. During one such game, he was up against Sailen Manna, Bagan’s top defender of that era. “Manna was trying to convince Ahmed to play for Bagan,” SS Shreekumar, a former journalist and Ahmed’s friend, said. “This was in a room packed with footballers from Bagan and their supporters who were watching them. Eventuall, Ahmed agreed to play for Bagan. The entire room was stunned on hearing it. But Ahmed had one condition.
Manna asked him what it was. He told Manna that he will have to play for EB and the room burst into laughter.”
Shreekumar wonders what could have been had Ahmed accepted an offer to play for Swedish club IFK Göteborg. “He was named East Bengal’s best forward of the millennium,” Shreekumar said. “But when IFK Göteborg contacted Ahmed, his father asked him to consult his club, East Bengal. Jyotish Chandra Guha, a former secretary of EB who had scouted Ahmed, was worried about losing him. He downplayed Ahmed’s future in Sweden by suggesting it would be too cold and that the locals might put him down because he would be the only Indian there.”
While the tributes kept pouring in, Amjad’s tea was done. But the smile remained. “There are two things which makes football interesting – scoring goals and dribbling,” he added. “Ahmed found it interesting because of the second reason.”
Today, Ahmed Khan is no more. But ‘Ahmed Khan Olympian’ will live on forever.
source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> Sports> Football / by Aravind Suchindran, Bangalore MIrror Bureau / August 29th, 2017
Rithvik, Anjali, Varun too take titles at state table tennis event
Rithvik U. from the Stag Academy continued his fine form as he emerged victor in the finals of the Cadet boys category of the 3rd Telangana State Stag Inter District and State Ranking Table Tennis championships being conducted by the Stag Table Tennis Academy under the auspices of Telangana State Table Tennis Association at Malakpet in Hyderabad. Rithvik outclassed AWA’s Raju (3-0) 14-12, 11-7, 11-8 to pocket the summit clash.
In the women’s finals Nikhat Banu of Gujarati Seva Mandal proved too powerful for Naina from Lal Bhadur Stadium as she outclassed her 4-0 — 11-7, 11-7, 11-2, 11-4.
Meanwhile, in the boys sub-junior finals B. Varun Shanker comfortably won the match against Adavit, edging him 4-1 — 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 while GSM’s Anjali N. outclassed Ayushi G. to beat her 4-2 — 12-10, 2-11, 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8 in the finals of the sub junior girls category.
In the finals of the men’s inter-district championship, Hyderabad swept Nalgonda 3-0 to take the top honours.
Cadet boys finals: Rithvik U. (Stag Academy) bt Raju (AWA) (3-0) 14-12, 11-7, 11-8.
Inter-district team championship (men): Hyderabad bt Nalgonda 3-0.
Coleshiya, Nisha and Hemamalini make it a golden day for TN
Ashish Jakhar of Haryana won the hammer gold in the under-18 boys’ category with a new mark of 75.45m on the second day of the Sri Krishna 32nd National junior athletics championship at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
The Asian junior champion and youth silver medallist improved his own mark of 72.04m set last year at the Goa youth Nationals.
Vikranta of Uttar Pradesh was probably inspired by Ashish as he too ended up bettering the record with a throw of 73.34m.
J. Coleshiya, A. Nisha Banu and N. Hemamalini made it a golden day for Tamil Nadu by finishing on top of the podium in the girls’ under-14 triathlon, under-20 pole vault and under-18 javelin respectively.
A student of St. Teresa’s School in Vadakankulam in Tirunelveli, Coleshiya tallied 1577 points for her maiden national gold.
“After I came up with decent performances in both the 100m (13.25s) and long jump (4.95m), I knew the gold would go my way,” said the little girl, who has battled several odds in life.
Nisha won the under-20 pole vault gold, clearing a height of 3.30m. Nisha was not at her best, but still managed to beat the rest with ease.
Hemamalini, who represented the country in the World School Games in Turkey this year, clinched the under-18 javelin gold with a 45.26m effort.
After two days of solid battle under the sun, Haryana was sitting pretty at the top of the combined table with 123 points followed by Uttar Pradesh (100), Kerala (95) and Tamil Nadu (80).
The souvenir that Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried back from Belagavi on Sunday was a statuette of valiant queen Channamma of Kittur made by the Bidri artisans of Bidar.
The queen who fought the British in 1824, 33 years before the first war of Indian independence, was born in a village in Belagavi district. But her stunning image in silver inlay on a black surface, was made using the soil of Bidar fort, 500 km away.
A team of six artisans led by Mohammad Abdul Rauf, national award winning craftsman, have been chiseling out 140 images of the queen for nearly 100 days now. They have spent hours working in the 100 square feet work shed doing jobs like starting from melting copper and zinc to form an alloy, create a master shield, prepare its copies, etch drawings on them, hammer silver into the slits and treat it with the soil from the Bidar fort, to give it a permanent black colour.
Though the artisans work in an assembly line method, each statuette takes three to four days to be completed. Mr. Rauf has sold the images to a Bengaluru-based jeweler for around Rs. 3,000 a piece. He does not know at what cost the souvenirs have been supplied to the KLE society whose centenary celebrations Mr. Modi attended.
Sadly, Mr. Rauf did not know that one of the souvenirs was meant to be given to the Prime Minister, till some one told him in the morning.
The artisan, who can read Urdu, said that the newspapers he read had not covered the event. “My friend told me a Kannada paper had carried the picture of the PM receiving the souvenir and since he had seen me working on it, he identified it. We are very happy that the Bidri artifact will find a place in the Prime Minister’s office,” he said.
“When Mr. Modi addressed a campaign meeting in Bidar in 2014, he had said he would address the problems of Bidri artisans if elected to power. We hope he remembers his promise,” Ashok Ram, another Bidri artisan who works with Mr. Rauf, said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Bidar – November 14th, 2016
Mumbai-based Ayesha Aziz is the youngest girl of Kashmir origin who will soon acquire the Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and is probably set to enter the Limca Book of Records with her feats.
Ayesha has completed a two-month advanced space training course at NASA, being among three Indians picked for it.
She even holds a student pilot license at the prestigious Bombay Flying Club. But Ayesha is clear that it wouldn’t have all worked without her parents’ support.
Having turned 18 on October 3, she is a member of Indian Women Pilot’s Association, besides holding the Flight Radio Telephone Operator’s License (FRTOL). Her Parents hail from Khawaja Bagh in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. Ayesha did her schooling from Mumbai and presently resides there along with her parents.
Setting an example of a role model for numerous youngsters, Ayesha’s pursuits have brought in a whiff of fresh air and inspired many girls who are following her to realize their dreams. Her achievements are not only being hailed in Kashmir, but all over the country.
She is immensely inspired by Sunita Williams. “I always used to think if she had ability to do such thing why can’t other girls”. Ayesha said Kashmir played a significant role in her life and she was emotionally attached to it. She also told girls in Kashmir not to be bothered by politics and to follow their heart.
source: http://www.muslimmirror.com / Muslim Mirror / Home> Indian Muslim> Youth / by admin / October 18th, 2013
The last rites of the Indian National League President former MP, Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait, who died on Wednesday, were performed at the Khuddus Sab Idgah maidan here on Thursday, with State honours. The Minister of State for Labour and Wakf, Tanvir Sait, laid a wreath on the body on behalf of the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh.
The Governor, T.N. Chaturvedi has expressed shock over the passing away of Mr. Sait. In a message, Mr. Chaturvedi said, “In the death of Mr. Sait, the country has lost a distinguished parliamentarian, a champion of minority rights and an eminent national leader. A man of strong principles and simple living, Mr. Sait dedicated his life to the good of society.”
Mr. Sait was one those political leaders from Karnataka who were elected to Parliament from another State.
He was born in 1922 in Mysore and graduated from St. Joseph’s College here. His father, Mohammed Sulaiman Sait, had participated in the Khilafat movement. His uncle Abdul Sattar Sait left for Pakistan at the time of partition and was that country’s first ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait’s mother and wife were from Kerala.
He began his political career as the General Secretary of the Muslim League in 1948 after giving up a career as a lecturer in English. He had to shift his political activities to Kerala as the Muslim League failed to build a base in the erstwhile Mysore State.
Though the League had a Minister in the K.C. Reddy cabinet after Independence, some of the League leaders joined the Congress or other parties.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Karnataka / by Staff Reporter / Friday – April 29th, 2005
The recent untimely death of the legendary actor Vinod Khanna left everyone speechless. The late actor had a major influence of many lives. One such person on whom the late actor Vinod Khanna had left an everlasting impact was the film maker Sabbir Khan. In a heartfelt tribute to the late Vinod Khanna, Sabbir Khan opens up like never before to speak about the eternal influence which he had on his life. Read on in his own words:
“I must’ve been six or seven when I first realised that Vinod Khanna was an important part of my life. During my boarding school vacations, when I used to come back to Mumbai, my father (lyricist Noor Dewasi who wrote ‘Aao Huzoor Tumko’ from Kismat) would take me to film shoots where he always made sure I met Vinod Uncle. I call him that because that’s what my father asked me to address him as and that’s what I’ve called him in all the time I knew him.
By the time, I was around eight or nine, I began to understand everything. Vinod Uncle was this huge superstar and you understood that in the way people would stare at him in awe and in the way they treat him. Even at that young age, I realised that he had this aura, a strong glow around him and yet, I observed how polite and courteous he was to everyone.
This big superstar was always making me feel special whenever I visited him. I always had a front row seat watching him shoot and production hands fussed around me offering me soft drinks and chocolates. Lunch breaks were these big spreads in his room and as I nibbled through my food, I recognised other actors and filmmakers who came to meet him.
Vinod uncle always asked me about school and if I was happy. He was soft-spoken, and I was extremely shy, given the time I spent on a movie set with a superstar. It was only after constant prodding by my father to reply that I managed to mumble a few sentences like ‘school is good but the food is bad’. He would laugh and then give me some pointers on how I could make it interesting.
These memories and experiences were the foundations of my wanting to be a filmmaker later on in life. I am one today and there is no joy bigger than being on set writing for, shooting and creating films. But all of this could only be possible because of Vinod Uncle… I am who I am because of him.
I am unsure of how it all started… I have faint memories of my father’s conversations, but I believe it all began during a film shoot, where my father wrote songs for a film Vinod Uncle was starring in, where they became friends.
It was an unusual friendship between a superstar and a struggling songwriter, but I recall that Vinod Uncle was extremely fond of Urdu poetry and my father often mentioned that he was a far more profound man than his image revealed. Vinod Uncle insisted my father accompany him on outdoors and shoots, which he wasn’t part of and somewhere there, the friendship grew stronger.
Dad had no clue how he would handle a child alone. For months, he struggled to cope until he met Vinod Uncle, who he shared his troubles with. I was told that Uncle made one trunk call to someone in Deolali and said, ‘I am sending this boy. Make sure he gets into Barnes.’ Barnes High School is British-era boarding school in Deolali. It’s the same school Vinod Uncle went to. He reassured my father not to worry about my education and to get his life back on track. My father voiced nervously that he could never afford all this. Vinod Uncle just smiled and said, ‘You leave all that to me.’ I was packed off to boarding school and that became my life for 11 years from kindergarten to the 10th grade. It was an extremely expensive school, but every single thing about it was taken care of, by Vinod Uncle.
And then, one fine day, I came home from my vacations, looking forward to meeting Vinod Uncle, and dad said he was gone! Gone where, when, why? I was as confused as the rest of the country was. My father tried explaining it. All I remember was that he had left everything and gone off to America. My father taught me to be thankful for whatever he had done for us and was making arrangements to pull me out of school. I was devastated as I had just started fitting in, and coming to terms with boarding life and forming a community.
Then Pramod Khanna, Vinod Uncle’s brother called my father to see him. We made our way to his house somewhere near Gowalia Tank, I think. My father assumed it would be a kind request to wind up given the situation, but my father was really surprised when he was told that Vinod Uncle had given specific instructions before he left that no matter what, I had to be in school and finish my education and how everything I needed was to be taken care of.
I remember the ride back home from Pramod Uncle’s house, my dad was crying. He kept saying I was probably destiny’s child and that I must take life seriously and make something of it, that people don’t get these opportunities in life. I went through the remaining years of my school like any other kid, but secretly there was a void, a vacuum that I could not understand. So many questions plagued me like so they did others. ‘Where did Vinod Uncle go and why? How could a superstar who had everything just disappear and disconnect from it all? I went through the rest of my years at school wondering where Vinod Uncle went. I always hoped that when the vacations came around, dad would give me a surprise that he’s back but that never happened.
A couple of years turned to five and that was a really long time. Everyone lost hope. From the film magazines I managed to read, even the industry had moved on. Not me.
Vinod Uncle became a permanent part of my prayers and I am now certain knowing the man and his good deeds, that he was a part of many people’s prayers. It was now almost seven years… I was keeping track. I had entered the 10th grade feeling all grown up and had come down for my summer vacations when dad said Vinod Uncle was back, I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t stop grinning. I was so happy, but I sensed dad was nervous.
Within minutes of meeting him, everything seemed normal. Of course, my father was in tears, but Vinod Uncle hugged him and laughed. He hugged me and like he had never gone anywhere began inquiring about school and stuff. I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing him. He laughed when my father complained about silly things like I was being distracted by girls. “What did you expect?” he laughed. There were hordes of people wanting to meet him, wanting to make films with him and I could sense Vinod Uncle was swamped, but he still made it a point to spend enough time with me and walk me to the door. He whispered to me by the elevator, ‘Listen, pay a little attention. It’s your final year’.
I passed with good numbers, but I had no clue what I wanted to do post-school, this happens a lot with boarding school students but my father had made up his mind that my further education would not be with any help from Vinod Uncle. I remember very clearly two friends having an argument about my further education, Vinod Uncle insisting that he wanted to continue with whatever I needed while dad said he was good enough to do it now and that he felt extremely indebted to him. I remember the conversation ended with a happy drink.
I enrolled in National College Bandra. I was so naïve, I took Arts in college because I wanted to be an artiste. I wanted to write books, wanted to paint, do anything that would make me an artiste. What I was secretly suppressing was that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Being a single parent, my father had taken me to almost every recording studio and movie set during my vacations. Laxmikant Pyarelal, Anand Bakshi, Raj Khosla, Mahesh Bhatt had left lasting impressions on my mind. I was in complete awe of the movie industry, especially the man who stood behind the camera and told everyone what to do. Seven cinema halls surrounded me and I was always at the movies instead of being at college. Films filled up my entire system. I was living and breathing films.
“Heated arguments ended with he taking me to Vinod Uncle to put some sense in me. I dreaded this meeting, I was so scared that if Vinod Uncle didn’t understand me or side me I was done because I knew I had to listen to him. My dad laid out the entire conversation. All mention of film was as if talking about a leper. ‘Can you imagine? After all this education he wants to become a filmmaker. Why don’t you put some sense in him?’ Vinod Uncle took me away to another room, and we had a heart-to-heart. He very gently explained how tough the industry was, how some make it and some don’t (like my father). How my father was right in thinking the way he did. I think I said something like, ‘I cannot do anything else in life’. Vinod Uncle came out and told dad let him do what he wants and if it’s a mistake let him make his own mistakes and learn. Dad was a little confused but Vinod Uncle put his huge arms around him and made some joke to lighten things up. I swear I wanted to do cartwheels. While leaving, Uncle asked me if he wanted me to speak to some director and I said cockily, ‘No, I got this’.
My days as an assistant director spanned eight years and that is a long story. We had to give up our home. The place we lived in, went in for redevelopment, Dad wasn’t keeping well and was advised bed-rest. I was shuttling between all this and my passion on set.
Things changed after my father passed away in 2000. My meetings with Uncle withered away as dad was the glue that bound us together. I was all alone, no family, no house. I could have easily cracked, but I didn’t. I felt extremely confident and I think it was because of my education and my passion for cinema. I thought I understood cinema and how to make films. From the outside, it looked like rocket science, but I thought I’d cracked it.
I had a few stray meetings with Vinod Uncle and they were few and far between. He was once again a-sought-after star while I was a struggling assistant director but it was sheer joy to know Uncle was shooting in the same studio as me and I’d go to meet him and we would have our little talks. I would always tell him things I was discovering in cinema in awe and he would laugh.
I remember he was shooting for Wanted and I was in the same studio looking for a location to do the photo-shoot for my first film as a director. The news wasn’t out yet. It was all hush-hush. I got to know he was there and I went to meet him to give him the news. He hugged me and it was the longest, sweetest hug. He made me feel I’d made him proud. For me, that hug meant everything.
My becoming a filmmaker is a long story, I was completely consumed by it, and I was going through its highs and lows, simultaneously starting my own family. Vinod Uncle had joined politics and spent a lot of time in Gurdaspur. There was a drift, a disconnect. And then, out of the blue, I was shooting and a picture of his from the hospital came out.
I was shocked, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I didn’t believe it, I thought it was morphed, a dirty joke. Clarifications followed from the family and I was relieved. Of course, he was fine. How could anything happen to him? In my eyes, he was no less than Superman.
I just wanted to finish my shoot and go see him. Unfortunately, that could never happen, Vinod Uncle passed away. I don’t want to believe it. I can’t come to terms with it. But in my heart I know its true.
I don’t know how I feel exactly, there’s a sense of loss I cannot explain. It feels like I lost my father. My angel. Trying to thank him for everything would mean so little.
What could it actually mean? A man going out of his way to do something for his friend and child… that’s so selfless. But it’s very important that I let as many people know what a great human being Vinod Uncle was. Whatever I am, whoever I am today, is because of him. I owe him everything. And even though the line is from a movie, Vinod Uncle makes me want to be a better person.”
source: http://www.bollywoodhungamma.com / Bollywood Hungama / Home> Bollywood Hungama News Network / May 10th, 2017
They say it only takes a vision and the will to act on that vision to make a difference in this world. And this is precisely what Zehra Picturewala, a young determined girl from a conservative Muslim family of Mumbai, aims to do.
Zehra, who originally hails from Gujarat, graduated from Nirmala Niketan with a degree in Textiles and Fashion Technology. Although Zehra had always dreamed of being a doctor, she knew that she had the heart of a designer. For her family, the next step for a 22 year old graduate girl was to get married and start a family. However, Zehra put her foot down and informed them of her passion and desire to do something more. It took a lot for young Zehra to convince her father that launching a business with a social undertone is what she truly wanted. Her efforts worked, he’s been her support ever since.
Zehra Picturewala runs a company called ‘ZnSkills’, which teaches underprivileged women and children the skill of crocheting and creating products. The company then sells these products and collects the revenue, which they then pay to the women and children who made them. So in a sense, her company is promoting indigenous handicrafts in a modern market and thus empowering the women and children from the underprivileged classes thereby bettering their position in society.
The idea for ‘ZnSkills’ came to her on a summer break during her graduation. Two of Zehra’s classmates started classes which offered livelihood skills, and these classes soon became a rampant success. The students who came down to attend these classes picked up these skills effortlessly and soon more started pooling in. The success of these classes led Zehra to believe that a professional initiative should be drawn around this theme which would help these students build their capabilities.
As soon as she completed her finals, she tried her hands at setting up several skills, out of which crocheting worked the best. Her cousin ordered a set of crocheted products for her, and Zehra began experimenting with the set. Her amateur hands soon turned professional, and people started clamouring to buy her work. She was thus compelled to search for artisans to herald in production on a large scale. An acquaintance gave her the idea of teaching these skills to the differently-disabled, and told her about an institute for the visual and hearing impaired children.
Zehra thus decided to teach these children, most of whom were girls, the necessary skills which they picked up even faster because of their enthusiasm. These students have now carried forth to produce the best pieces.
After this initial success, Zehra then turned her attention to the women living in unfavourable conditions in the remote areas of the city and brought them into her employ. Zehra attributes the success of ‘ZnSkills’ to these women.
Zehra confesses that her journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur wasn’t an easy one. Like many startup founders before her, she had a challenging time searching for investors, and she had the added challenge of doing this alone. “Training people, sourcing out products, designing as per demand, maintaining accounts, meeting potential investors, maintaining relations and struggling for buyers is hard, but it’s all worth my dream,” recalls Zehra.
To place focus on the company’s social angle, Zehra soon decided to tie up with some NGOs around the state – a good decision as it turned out, because in this way, she was able to meet people who were in need and who would be willing to work for a living. These people are provided with free training using free material, and once they worked for her company, the sales flew up and paved the way for the advent of a very successful business.
“The main problem that the women in the rural areas of our country face is the fact that they aren’t allowed to leave home to receive a proper education or employment. So, I decided to make the production happen from individual houses.” On how this plan works, she says, “we collect ID proofs of the people we train and then decide a venue where every week, everyone accumulates to collect the material and make the products.”
Currently, over seventy artisans are working and contributing to the company. Zehra’s focus is on the growth of the company, mostly targeting new mothers.
On being asked what the idea behind her company is, she says, “When we patronize handmade products, we empower the weakest section of our society, a journey to let people know that women can move mountains if they wish.”
When asked her opinion on entrepreneurship in India she says, “Today’s entrepreneurs may be more into marketing and less in manufacturing, but I would advise them to import less and export more.”
source: http://www.yourstory.com / YourStory.com / Home> StartUp / by Sanjana Ray / September 11th, 2016