Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Prince is Dead. Long Live The Legend


They are not the only one calling the Malcha Mahal prince an imposter. Many old families of Lucknow that have for long maintained their discernment for the Royal family concur.

King Wajhid Ali Shah in Matiaburj. (Image: News18)
King Wajhid Ali Shah in Matiaburj. (Image: News18)

New Delhi:

The Prince who died in Malcha Mahal was a pauper. Not just in the life he lived but also in the claims he made about his family lineage. At least that’s what the descendants of Wajid Ali Shah and Begum Hazrat Mahal, currently living in Kolkata, will have you believe in.

They are not the only one calling the Malcha Mahal prince an imposter. Many old families of Lucknow that have for long maintained their discernment for the Royal family concur.

Taken aback by the media reports which referred to one Ali Raza— who died in New Delhi’s 14th century’s Malcha Mahal— as Prince, the living members of the Royal Family of Oudh are trying to clear the air on Nawab’s lineage. 

“We want to assert our credibility as the real heirs to the title. We have in the past dealt with the menace of impersonation. My uncle also raised the issue with the government of Uttar Pradesh and the Prime Minister when the impersonator – the mother of the deceased ‘prince’ called Vilayat Mahal got an allotment in Malcha Mahal on the false claims of royalty,” said Manzilat Fatima from Kolkata, who is the “great, great grand-daughter of Wajid Ali Shah. She lives in Kolkata and spends her time working to “preserve Awadh cuisine”.

The Malcha Mahal, Fatima claims, was a Mughal hunting-house or shikargah given to Vilayat Mahal and her two children including the ‘ the dead Prince’ when the family arrived in Delhi after many a unsuccessful bid to claim the Nawab’s title in Lucknow.

The family spent days in the waiting-room of the New Delhi Railway Station before their petition to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for temporary accommodation in Delhi was acceded to by the government.

Fatima’s 89-year-old father, Dr Kaukub Qudr Meerza, is not surprised by the reports of ‘Prince’s death’, because he knows the real Prince is still alive. His Highness, and yours truly, Dr Meeraz, says “our family has witnessed the hoax for years now.”

The family says one of the immediate relatives— Prince Anjum Qudr had in-fact challenged the false claims of Vilayat Mahal before the government.

Qudr wrote a series of letters in 1975 to the UP government and then again in 1985 to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi informing him about the “impersonation” being done by Vilayat Mahal calling it “hoax”. The letter is available on the website of their Oudh family to keep people informed about the legend of impersonation. Qudr wrote Begum Hazrat Mahal had only one son Birjis Qadr, who was crowned in 1857.

Details regarding Qadr’s children from different wives are available in Kaiserut Tawarikh Vol-2 and other books on the history of Oudh. An auto-biographical Masnavis (illustrated stories) of Wajid Ali Shah Huzn-e Akhtar or Tarikh-e Pari Khana also describe the Nawab’s lineage in some detail.
These details corroborate with other sources of information on the exiled King from the poems and Diwan of Birjis Qadr- the only son of the Begum of Oudh.

The original claimants say that there are records of the Political Pension Office of the District Collector of 24 Parganas, West Bengal, from where all heirs of Birjis Qadr drew a political pension after Qadr was assassinated in 1893 in Kolkata. Wajid Ali Shah in his will has named only one son Birjis Qadr (and no daughter) that Begum Hazrat Mahal bore him.

“Fraud of the present claimant is obvious from her very name “Begum Vilayat Mahal” because Mahal is not really an inheritable work,” said Qudr in his appeal to the various government. Mahal is a title which used to be awarded by a Muslim King or Emperor in India to his wife after she bore him a son.

Thus when Birjis Qadr was born to Begum Hazrat, that King Amjad Ali Shah awarded the revered title Mahal to the wife of his Crown Prince. Just as Mumtaz, Mughal Emperor Shahjahan’s wife acquired the title after bearing successor to the Mughal throne.

Nawab Ibrahim Ali Khan of Shish Mahal, Lucknow, where Vilayat Mahal lived briefly before leaving for New Delhi, told News that the veracity of the claims can be established from the family tree or shajra of Nawab Saadat Khan who established the Oudh dynasty in the early 16th century.

He adds, further that King Wajid Ali Shah, when he was exiled to Matia Burj, Calcutta [now Kolkata] in 1856, took all his sons and daughters with him and only his siblings, divorced wives and close relatives were left behind. Some of his progeny migrated to Pakistan and England later on. Every descendant of King Wajid Ali Shah is registered with the Kolkatta office.

For the record, any title of Maharaja, Raja, Rana or Nawab recognized by the East India Company and later by Her Majesty’s government was registered with the British Indian Association or Anjuman e Hind in 1861.

The documents are still available at Lucknow Baradari.

source: / / Home> News 18> India / by Eram Agha / November 19th, 2017

Mohammed Yousuf Khan – A forgotten hero

Hyderabad, TELANGANA (formerly ANDHRA PRADESH)  :

Mohammed Yousuf Khan (top, third from left)
Mohammed Yousuf Khan (top, third from left)

It was the year 1962, the year of the Asian Games in Indonesia.

The gold-winning football team of India was perhaps the best ever in its history.

India’s chef-de-mission to the 1962 Asian Games had criticised the hosts for excluding Israel and Taiwan from the Games for political reasons. Thus, right from the beginning, the crowds were hostile to India. Amidst such circumstances in Indonesia in front of the anti-India crowd, India came out on top beating a formidable Korea team 2-1 in the final, a team that India had lost 2-0 to in the opening match of the group stage.

These Indian footballers belonged to a tough breed of athletes. It was a matter of life and death for them. If one had to choose that one member who stood out in this team, it was none other than the midfield maestro Mohammed Yousuf Khan.

Born in Andhra Pradesh on 5th August, 1937, Yousuf Khan is considered one of the best all-round players in Indian football history. When he used to play, he used to gallop on the pitch like a horse, controlling the play in midfield, for which he was famously known as “the bearded horse.” He played a huge part in India’s triumph in the 1962 Asian Games, and was deservedly awarded the Arjuna Award in 1966.

Khan, who passed away in 2006, was a key member of the famous Hyderabad City police team in the late ’50s and the early ’60s. He was one of the only two Indians to be selected in the 1965 Asian All Stars XI. Such was his authority on the games that even the association acknowledged it.

However, life wasn’t all rosy – as it seldom is even now – for Indian athletes back then. Lack of proper infrastructure has been an obstacle since time immemorable. The determination and the will to do well for the country, to see the national flag fly high was what drove them to put their lives at stakes and achieve what they set on to.

Yousuf Khan was one of those athletes whose life faced an unfathombale and drastic turn of events so much so that one won’t get an answer to that even if one keeps wondering what and how something could go wrong.

Continuing to play in spite of the three head injuries during his playing days is a testimonial to the fact that football was much more than a game to him. When he was on the pitch, he had no second thoughts than to give it all for the team.

The 1960 Rome Olympian may have brought the best of defences to its knees on his day but, as he aged, he was waging a grim battle for survival, almost on his own with little support coming by.

This ageing footballer was clearly wondering whether players of his generation were right in sacrificing so much on the personal front, not even concerned about health, to earn name and fame for the country. But, why did such a thought even occur to him?

The head injuries were cited as the reason for the Parkinson’s Syndrome he would go on to suffer from 1994.The legs that created magic on the field by then, were swollen and unable to even support him. His struggle to walk even a few paces at home and feeling pain while getting up indicated that the champion player was going through a real torture. It was a sight that any sportsperson would not dare dream about in the worst of scenarios.

It is a tragedy that Yousuf Khan was being forced to live on the Rs. 3500 monthly pension which he got by virtue of retiring from the Police Department and the Central Government monthly grant of Rs. 2000. But, most of that was spent towards his medical expenses with little to cater to the needs of his family members — one son and five daughters.

Worse, even the Rs. 50,000, presented by Mr. H. J. Dora, former DGP and president of AP Olympic Association, was blocked in a private finance firm.

The time when he needed the utmost support from the country, the Indian Government took a backseat.

source: / Sports Keeda / Home> Feature> Football / by Ashish Shettyt / May 23rd, 2014

Meet the Kashmiri who is coaching Indian women’s soccer team

Srinagar , JAMMU & KASHMIR :

Sajid Yousuf Dar, 42, is the first and only Kashmiri so far to coach any Indian soccer team for international events.(Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)
Sajid Yousuf Dar, 42, is the first and only Kashmiri so far to coach any Indian soccer team for international events.(Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

In the last week of November, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) appointed Sajid Yousuf Dar as coach of the women’s national football team for the upcoming SAFF women’s championship 2016.

As a teenager, Sajid Yousuf Dar played football in Kashmir during curfew breaks at the height of militancy. Now, the 42-year-old Dar’s dedication to the game has earned him a third stint as head coach of the Indian women’s football team for the South Asian Federation Games.

Dar is also the first and only Kashmiri so far to coach any Indian soccer team for international events.

In the last week of November, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) appointed Dar as coach of the women’s national football team for the upcoming SAFF women’s championship 2016.

Dar told HT that the team was gearing up for the championship, which is slated to kick-off in Siliguri from December 26. Defending champions India have been placed in Group B along with Bangladesh and Afghanistan. A total of seven countries are taking part in the competition.

“We have to be on our toes to defend the title as more and more countries in the region are working and developing their game,” Dar, who is currently in Srinagar, says.

Owing to his impressive record as coach for the under-14 and under-19 boys’ soccer teams of the country, Dar was first roped in by the AIFF for the women’s team in March 2015 when ahead of the Olympic qualifiers. He was also chosen as the technical advisor for football development in India.

Under his guidance the women’s team got gold in the 12th South Asian Games earlier this year in Shillong. “The AIFF provided us with the facilities and we had enough time to prepare leading to our success. I am proud that our women’s team got gold. The men’s team had to settle for silver,” he says.

Dar has come a long way since the time he started playing football in Shri Pratap (SP) higher secondary school in 1991-92.

This was the time when militancy had just erupted in Kashmir and youth were crossing the line of control in hordes for arms training fuelled by the idea of “freedom from Indian rule”. The violence derailed all developmental work and virtually stopped sports activities.

But it didn’t quite deter Dar, then 18, from pursuing his first love. “I was mad about the game. Despite the bad situation all around a few friends and I continued to practice in the otherwise empty grounds,” he says.

In fact football is in his blood. His father Mohammad Yousuf was the first Kashmiri to play any international game for the Indian team.

But pursuing the game with violence all around was never easy for Dar junior. Owing to the violence and mass protests, curfew used to be imposed for days at a stretch in the early 1990s.

“They would give relaxation for a few hours and I would rush to the ground to play,” Dar remembers.

In fact, young men in Kashmir fancied football more than cricket before the start of militancy. Abdul Majid Kakroo was the first Kashmiri to captain the Indian squad in 1986-87 and played for the national team for nine years.

A resident of Dalgate in the heart of Srinagar, Dar was fortunate that there were at least three grounds near his home where he could hone his skills.

Dar’s perseverance finally paid and he captained Srinagar’s YMCA team in the Federation Cup in 1998 held at Chandigarh and later represented state in the Santosh Trophy three times from 2000 to 2002.

“It was only after playing outside the state that I realized how absence of professional coaches was hampering game in our state,” he says.

He started training youngsters and went for different coaching courses, AFC licenses and degrees in physical education and also started coaching Kashmir University team since 2006. “My first break at national level came in 2012 when I was chosen as assistant coach by AIFF for the under-19 boys’ team,” he says.

Since then, Dar has not looked back.

source: / Hindustan Times / Home> India / by Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times / December 03rd, 2016

We see transfer of talent from other games into rugby, says Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain.
Nasser Hussain.

Nasser Hussain, former India rugby captain, is involved with rugby taking roots across the nation as Rugby India general manager.

The Societe Generale Junior National Rugby Sevens at the Bombay Gymkhana attracted participation from 18 States. He talks about tribals in Odisha taking up the sport, switch over from athletics, kabaddi to rugby.

Excerpts from a chat:

Rugby Sevens is the route to the Olympic Games. Looking ahead to making a mark at the Asian level before that, can you explain the roadmap for India?

Globally as well as within India, being an Olympic sport puts you in a different bracket and get taken a bit more seriously. We would love to be part of Olympics rugby sevens. Realistically, 2024 or 2028 is the vision we need to have to be part of the Summer Games. Tokyo 2020 is unrealistic to even consider being a part of the competition.

Our approach is to focus at U-18 representative teams and junior tournaments. Five to 10 years from now, they will be 25 or 27 by then. We work with the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) and have U-19, U-18, U-17 teams. The federation is pushing for U-14 tournaments as part of the National School Games by the next academic year.

Schools Nationals is the starting point for Rugby India to do talent-spotting. Having convinced SGFI to include rugby, what is the next step for talented kids to represent India?

Through the National School Games, we send the national team for the U-18 Asian Schools Rugby Sevens. The event is held once every two years. Federation cannot send an entry directly, it has to be routed through SGFI and they supported us. If there is scope, India might look at hosting the Asian U-18 event in future.

Eighteen States taking part in Junior Nationals 2016, five more than last year, shows the spread of rugby sevens. Which States have a headstart ovevr the rest? Why?

Eighteen States took part in the Junior Nationals here, 18 States send teams for the Senior Nationals in Patna. Junior representation is the same as the seniors, which is encouraging. Odisha in particular has fantastic talent in the juniors age group. Tribals are part of it. They are naturally fit and rugby fits in what they are.

Odisha is winning titles at the School Games, junior Nationals and senior Nationals, hence rugby is promoted by the State Government. Players are getting benefits, like scholarships for an India girls team member, others have joined the police, so they see the sport offering career path.

Rugby is supposed to have caught on at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneshwar. How did this happen?

Rugby India is involved with different States, approaching different schools to get involved. Mr Ashok Mohanty, involved with Odisha Rugby, had a contract with Dr Achyuta Samanta, founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). We did an exhibition match and demonstration in 2006-2007 and they got interested.

KISS is home to 20,000 students who stay and study. They have taken up rugby, probably the number one sport at the institute. Players have gone on to represent India, girls were part of the national squad at the Asian event. We are seeing a culture developing for rugby.

For parents or young rugby players, injury is a worry, like in any contact sport. Does rugby sevens cut down the risk factor, at tournaments like the juniors Nationals?

We have faced misconception in the past about rugby being a violent game. Our approach is to let kids play non-contact rugby, called ‘touch rugby’, at the U-14 level with all the schools we approach. It promotes fitness, teamwork, leadership, all these are values of the game. We don’t push them to get into contact rugby till they move to U-16. Internationally, contact rugby is played at U-13 with slight variations.

Patna hosted the Sr. Nationals, Bhubaneshwar hosted the Jr. Nationals Rugby Sevens last year. Going by the following for the sport there, anything different in players there.

We see transfer of talent from athletics to rugby in girls’ category. Shweta Sahi, one of the India players who went to Sri Lanka for the Asian Rugby Sevens championships, is a sprinter and started rugby two years ago. Rugby has attracted football players. Mumbai police men and women sides are kabaddi players, similar skill sets are required and kabaddi or football are also a contact sport, adapting is easy. We are open to players from different sports enjoying rugby.

For junior Nationals performers, U-18 girls/boys, any future camp finalised?

U-18 girls will have a training camp in early November, maybe in Mumbai. Girls have been shortlisted from earlier competitions, we will have a relook at them and add more names, if required.

Dubai is hosting the Asian Girls U-18, the first time Asian Rugby is hosting a girls U-18 event, featuring eight teams from Asia. India has confirmed participation. For the boys, there is an U-20 in future and we are looking at sending a team to gain international exposure. We don’t get experience playing sides better than us, more professional in their approach.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Sports> Other Sports / by Nandakumar Marar / October 23rd, 2016

Warangal students win national competition

Develop a cost-effective automated toy-making machine

A team of six students from S.R. Engineering College (SREC) in Warangal bagged the top prize at a national-level problem solving competition for their automated toy maker innovation meant for rural toy makers.

College principal V. Mahesh said the competition was organised by Indo-Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE) Student Consortium for Advancement and Learning in Engineering Education at Tyagaraja college of Engineering between January 5 and january 7 at Madurai.

The winning students were Paul Vineeth Reddy (4th year ECE), K. Enosh (3rd year Mech), S. Sirihasa (3rd year CSE), Md. Imran Ahmad (3rd year Mech) K. Sricharan (3rd year EEE) and D. Vinay (3rd year ECE).

The award was given to SREC students for developing a cost-effective automated toy making machine that increases productivity four-fold.

The competition saw entrants from 30 colleges across nation, who were asked to submit a solution to a specific problem or challenge. The participants from SREC visited a nearby village to identify the existing problems. They generated multiple ideas and finally decided on a cost-effective solution for toy makers.

“It is indeed a challenge and what gave us immense satisfaction is solving a problem” the students said. Explaining their idea and innovation, the students added that the automated machine would allow toy makers to make 40 toys per day, boosting their productivity. In the conventional manual method, they could produce a maximum of 10 toys.

The machine will have a grinder, conveyor belt, rollers, block cutter, die punch and a furnace.

source: http://www.the / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Warangal Urban District – January 11th, 2018

PBD 2018 celebrated in Riyadh with fervor



Riyadh :

Indian Charge d’Affaires Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan, during the recent Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) 2018 celebrations held at Indian Embassy auditorium here, advised Indian nationals to help each other and participate in assisting the community when needed.

Dr. Suhel, in his opening remarks while welcoming the gathering, said that the number of Indians living illegally in the Kingdom is very minute compared to its population after the completion of the recent Amnesty period. The Saudi officials, rounding up illegal residents, have revealed that so far among 250,000-300,000 rounded up in their sweep, that just 1,000 were Indians.

Even though this number is very small when compared to the overall figure and the number of Indians working here, Indian Embassy officials are regularly visiting deportation centers to see if there are any Indian still there needing their help, or is there any fresh Indians detained.

Dr. Suhel also said that during the amnesty period around 75,000 Indians were deported while adding, “It is a matter of satisfaction for us that Indians are very few among illegals.”

Highlighting the community outreach program of the Embassy, the DCM said that the Indian Ambassador traveled length and breadth of the Kingdom to meet the Indian nationals.

Embassy of India has actively implemented the flagship program of Indian government Madad and Emigrate.

He also said that the Indian Embassy would be merciless towards unscrupulous agents who send people to Saudi Arabia through illegal ways.

DCM disclosed that upon the request of Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi, the Saudi government had issued royal pardon to 291 Indians during last year, the highest for several years.

The DCM also had a message to aspiring job seekers in India to come to Saudi Arabia through legal means and work here with honesty and dedication.

The event started with the playing of recorded speech of Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi. Dr. Suhel briefed community members on the highlights of the speech.

This is a historic occasion as on this day the greatest Pravasi (traveler) of all time Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, returned to India and this day commemorated as PBD,

Every year, Jan. 9 is celebrated as Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD), an annual celebrations that marks the contribution of overseas persons with Indian Origin towards the homeland.

This year PBD is held at Singapore and the theme is Ancient Route, New Journey — Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN India Partnership

The Embassy of India selected four prominent members from the community to speak on the various flagship programs of the Indian government. The speakers included Salman Khaled, Yogacharya Soumya, Magesh Prabhakara, and Taqiuddin Mir Fazal.

The speakers stressed on various topics specially the flagship programs of the government like Digital India — Power to Empower, Yoga, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Gram Jyothi Yogna and Beti Bacho-Beti Padhaao.

The speakers were widely applauded for their depth and understanding of the government initiatives and its implications on Indian expatriates abroad, particularly from the Gulf region.

Anil Nautiyal, counselor, Embassy of India, conducted the proceedings and proposed the vote of thanks. Embassy staff actively participated in this event.

First Secretaries Venkateswaran Narayan, Dr. Hifzur Rahman Azmi, community members Architect Abdul Rahman Saleem, 2017 PBD recipients Zeenat Jafri, Shihab Kottukad, Ahmad Imthias, Deepak, Suhail Ahamad, Kundan Lal Gothwal, senior AGM Air India, principals of all Indian schools, managing committee members of various and large number of Indians and their families attended.

Students of Indian International Public School, Riyadh presented colorful cultural program depicting the unity and diversity of India.

source: / Saudi Gazette / Home> Saudi Arabia / by Mir Mohsin Ali / January 16th, 2018

Meet Naeem Khan, Michelle Obama’s Fashion Designer


Designer for power women had his life changed when outgoing First Lady wore his gown for a state dinner in 2009.


When he was an adolescent growing up in Mumbai, fashion designer Naeem Khan had just one dream.

“When I was 14 years old, I said to my then-girlfriend in India that one day I am going to design for the First Lady of America,” says Khan, who remembers being enchanted by images of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the now defunct Life Magazine.

Almost four decades later, the designer, now 57, has fulfilled his dream many times over. As one of Michelle Obama’s favourite couturiers, he has dressed her for various state dinners, as well as for more casual occasions, such as during a visit to Brazil.


“[Michelle] likes elegant glamour and loves her arms, so you have to make sure you enhance that.”


Since he launched his eponymous label in 2003, his uniquely glamorous aesthetic featuring figure-flattering silhouettes and lavish textiles have made him a firm red carpet favourite of some of the world’s most famous women, ranging from celebrities such as singer Beyoncé and actress Penelope Cruz to prominent public figures including Queen Noor of Jordan and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

In Singapore to present his Spring/Summer 2017 collection at Singapore Fashion Week, Khan says without hesitation that the moment Michelle Obama stepped out in his strapless, embroidered gown to host their first State Dinner for India in 2009, he knew his life had changed. He was propelled to global fame in that singular moment.

Khan was hosted at the U.S. Embassy by HE Kirk Wagar during his trip – here are the photos.

Mr Naaem Khan, Ms Crystal Meredith Wagar, HE Kirk W.B. Wagar (U.S.A)
Mr Naaem Khan, Ms Crystal Meredith Wagar, HE Kirk W.B. Wagar (U.S.A)

“I have always believed that if you are true to your dream and consistent in pursuing it, it will happen,” he says.


He grew up with a lifelong interest in fashion and honed his sartorial instincts by “osmosis”, thanks to his grandfather and father who both designed luxurious textiles and clothing for Indian royal families. At the age of 20, he moved to New York City to do an apprenticeship with legendary designer Roy Halston Frowick of the label Halston where he rubbed shoulders with Halston’s social circle, which included luminaries like the artist Andy Warhol, actress-singer Liza Minnelli and dancer Martha Graham.

His time with his guru Halston – who coincidentally shot to fame when he designed Jackie Kennedy’s pink pillbox hat which she wore to her husband’s presidential inauguration – laid the foundations for his own label.

He says: “My style is to use textures and luxurious fabrics in a form which is classic, yet relevant to the times. It works perfectly for powerful women because the garments send a very strong message – I am powerful, confident and fashionable. Look at me.”


The business of fashion is of course notoriously challenging, but Khan says he grew his to its current size by sticking to a simple principle. Besides his ready-to-wear business, he also launched Naeem Khan Bridal in 2013, and both lines are sold at over 100 retail outlets around the world.

“I don’t have investors and I’ve grown my business organically by watching the bottom line to make sure we are making money. It is not about having the largest business which is running at a loss,” he says. “Instead, my business philosophy is about having a good life, being profitable and enjoying what I do.”

One of his greatest rewards is having the privilege to develop relationships with movers and shakers of society, like the outgoing First Lady. “She gives full liberty to design for her. We have her form and we’ve create mannequins to drape on so it’s become a simpler process,” he says. “She likes elegant glamour and loves her arms, so you have to make sure you enhance that.”

Certainly, a designer couldn’t ask for a better muse. He adds: “She’s tall and has a great body for clothing so she is the perfect person to design for as she knows how to carry it off.

“She has said to me how much she loves my work. I love that she is so open with her compliments and has such respect for my art, which makes me want to do more for her.”

source: / The Peak, SPH Magazines  / Home> Fashion & Watches / by Karen Tee / November 02nd, 2016

A hero of the golden age

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :


NOOR MOHAMMED who passed away in Hyderabad recently belonged to the golden era of Indian football. Those were the days when the Indian teams had a place of their own even at the international level. And when it came to talent, Hyderabad was among the top producers of this precious commodity.

In fact the widespread popularity of football in Hyderabad (the game was introduced here by British armymen) began as early as 1915 when the All India Majeed tournament was revived with great success. Over the next fifteen years the sport flourished in Hyderabad and players such as Riasath, Abdul Majeed Kazimi, Jawad, Qutub Ali, S. M. Hadi, Papaiah, Sharifuddin, Agha Mahmood and Quddus became household names.

The colourful personalities of some players attracted the attention of sports lovers. S. M. Hadi was a genuine sportsman and excelled in cricket, hockey and tennis besides football. He later became the founder secretary of the Hyderabad Football Association. Kazimi who was a teacher by profession was one of the best centre half’s that Hyderabad produced while Qader Khan whose parents hoped that he would become a religious teacher had other ideas and took up football to become a top class goalkeeper by the time he was sixteen. His services were so much in demand that the Nawab of Tadbund had him kept under close watch (sometimes even under physical restrictions) to prevent him from defecting to other teams.

Later the football traditions were continued by other well known players such as S. K. Moinuddin, N. A. Fruvall, S. K. Azizuddin, Shaik Jamal, G. Eeriah, Ghulam Laiq, Noor Mohammed, Anthony Patrick, Yousuf Khan, Susai and Doraiswamy to name a few. Such was their skill and dexterity that players from Hyderabad were in great demand throughout the country and the clubs from Calcutta and Bombay were keen to grab the available talent. The contribution of City College Old Boys Club (CCOB) towards development of Hyderabad football was also considerable and many a great player made his beginning from CCOB.

Fruvall was one of the leading figures in the Hyderabad City Police team first as a player (he was rated to be one of the finest right backs in the country) then as a successful coach helping the police team to win thirteen All India titles including Rovers and Durand. Jamal along with his brother Noor Mohammed and Anthony Patrick were a formidable trio in midfield. Patrick was an outstanding right half and represented India in the Asian Games.

Among the frontliners Moinuddin popularly known as Moin was one of the best forwards seen on the football fields in Hyderabad. His speed and sharpshooting made him one of the most dangerous players in the Police team. He also represented India on numerous occasions including Helsinki Olympics and Manila Asian Games. Another dangerous forward was Doraiswamy, a tall and strong player who often caught rivals napping with a sudden burst of speed.Among defenders none could come up to the standards of Azizuddin a strongly built man with a powerful kick from either foot and a difficult man to get past. Besides leading Hyderabad to National title triumphs in 1956 and 1957, Aziz represented India from 1949 to 1958 and led the National squad in a quadrangular tournament in Dacca in 1955.

S. A. Lateef was one of the notable products of the CCOB Club and he made a name for himself playing in Bombay and for India. Other notable Hyderabad players who represented the country in the Olympics at various stages include S. A. Salaam, Yusuf Khan, Md. Zulfiqar, T. Balaram, Ahmed Husain, S. S. Hakeem, Peter Thangaraj and D. Kannan. These players from Hyderabad played with distinction for their country and were a source of inspiration for those who followed such as S. Kaleemuddin, Habeeb, Akbar, Shabbir Ali, Victor Amalraj, Fareed and others like Naimuddin, Rahamatullah and Samad.

However despite having produced several notable international level players, Hyderabad’s greatest contribution to Indian football was probably S. A. Rahim rated by experts of those days to be as knowledgeable and effective as any European coach. For several years he was the country’s chief coach and it was under his guidance that India chalked up that memorable fourth place at the Melbourne Olympics. Rahim during his travels in Eupore watched the coaches there, picked up points and implemented them after adapting them to Indian players and conditions. He was adept at his job and left a lasting impression on Indian football.

Many of these great players of Hyderabad came from humble backgrounds but had one thing in common – their love for the game and their burning ambition to excel at it. Noor was a typical example. Son of a bangle shop owner, Noor had himself confessed that he was not very good at studies and academic prowess never interested him. Instead he was drawn to several sports at a young age. A frequent visitor to the Victory Playground (which is still a cradle for sport in the city) Noor used to watch volleyball, basketball and football matches with avid interest. The skills that sportsmen posseseed and their display of strength and stamina impressed him and he quickly became drawn to sports particularly football.

Experts never rated Noor as a gifted player but his determination and hard work made him a fine performer. Moreover he never had a very robust physique. Old photographs of Noor Mohammed during his prime show a slim young man of average height with straight jet black hair and a bony face. Not the kind of appearance one would associate with a sports superstar. But then as they say appearances can be deceptive. Noor made up for everything with his uncanny knack of being at the right spot at the right time and a superb football brain.

While his father was busy at the bangle shop, Noor was busy playing football. He gave up studies at an early age much to the disapproval of his elder brother Sheik Jamal who was himself a state player. Later Jamal was to recognise the immense potential that Noor had and encouraged the latter to achieve greater heights.

Noor’s abilities saw him rise rapidly in the sport and he went on to represent the Hyderabad City Police team which was then a formidable outfit. Noor became one of the key players in the side and it went on to many victories in national tournaments including a five-in-a-row triumph in the Rovers Cup in the early fifties.Noor married at an early age and sceptics felt that family responsibilities may affect his game. But Noor was made of sterner stuff. He continued to work on his game and even rose to greater heights as the years passed. Noor represented India in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and also the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

Before the Melbourne Olympics Noor was not too confident of being selected in the team. By then he was 35 years old and the talk prevailing in football circles then was that there should be young blood in the team and players in their twenties should be given preference.

But Noor’s consistent performances could not be ignored and he found himself in the team which went on to record one of the best ever performances by an Indian team in the Olympic Games when it came fourth.

Noor recalled later that the team was determined to put up a better show than the one at Helsinki and its dedication and hard work paid off. Noor’s other accomplishments included playing for the country in three Asian Games including New Delhi, Manila and Tokyo besides playing in the squad on its foreign tours to Phillipines in 1954 and Russia in 1954- 55.

But even great players have to quit the field sooner or later and in Noor’s case it was a little sooner than expected when during a match against Mohammedan Club of Pakistan he was brutally tackled and felled and his leg badly injured. He was never the same player again. Noor said later that the injury virtually crippled him otherwise he may have continued to play for another couple of years.

Noor went on to become a selector for AIFF and then took up coaching children. He always felt that young children held the key to the future development of the sport. The only way to promote football and raise standards was to enthuse the children and inculcate in them a burning desire to excel. If the players did not have hunger for success then they could never improve he always used to say. Perhaps he remembered his young days of watching players and gaining inspiration.

Unfortunately this fine player and gentleman fell on bad days after his playing career was over. Nowadays in the era of multi- millionaire sportsmen it seems grossly unfair that a player who did so much for the country should have to live in the way he did in his last years. But it remains a fact that Noor (as indeed is the fate of many other former sportspersons of this country) was soon in dire straits financially. Noor’s pride and principles prevented him from asking for favours from the establishment and there was none to fight his case.

After retiring from the police service, he spent his days in a small house in a nondescript lane in Osmanpura. Not many even knew that he was a double Olympian and that his feats had helped to maintain national pride and prestige on football fields throughout the world.

To make things worse he developed tuberculosis but despite his frail health he always made it a point to be present at the Lal Bahadur stadium in Hyderabad whenever a major tournament was in progress there. Always a simple and modest man Noor was always happy to have visitors especially from the media at his house for then his favourite topic football could be discussed.

But a couple of months ago, it was clear that his fragile health was deteriorating. When the end came a pall of gloom descended on football circles in Hyderabad. Condolence messages flowed in from far and near. A host of football luminaries including officials, coaches, players of the past and present all attended the funeral to bid goodbye to this great player and fine gentleman.

Another famous name in Hyderabad football – Yousuf Khan – ex Olympian and Arjuna awardee, made a relevant observation in his tribute when he said that Noor was an inspiration for him (Yousuf) and generations of players who followed.

“Noor’s tactical brilliance, flawless technique and steely determination were an inspiration to all of us. We learnt a lot from watching him,” said Yousuf Khan who is himself unfortunately not in sound health.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Sport / Online Edition / by Abhijit Sen Gupta, Hyderabad / Saturday – June 17th, 2000