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Meet the Men Behind the Red Banarasi Saree Anushka Sharma Wore

Varanasi (earlier Benares), UTTAR PRADESH :

Here’s a look at the craftsmen who worked on the gorgeous Banarasi saree that Anushka Sharma wore for her wedding reception in Delhi on 21 December. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey (L), Yogen Shah (R))
Here’s a look at the craftsmen who worked on the gorgeous Banarasi saree that Anushka Sharma wore for her wedding reception in Delhi on 21 December. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey (L), Yogen Shah (R))

Muazzam Ansari of Benares was among several thousands who were glued to the television screen for news of the glitzy Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma wedding. But unlike several others, Ansari was watching the ‘Indian wedding of the decade’ closely for a very special reason – the gorgeous Banarasi red saree that Anushka wore for her reception in Delhi.

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Ansari was among a team of three craftsmen who toiled day and night for two months to create the exquisite saree. And the saree maker says having the world fawn over it was a moment of great pride.

Muazzam Ansari, the man behind the red Banarasi saree that Anushka Sharma wore for her wedding reception in New Delhi. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)
Muazzam Ansari, the man behind the red Banarasi saree that Anushka Sharma wore for her wedding reception in New Delhi.
(Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)

As the Virat-Anushka reception photos went viral, Ansari was quick to post photos of the saree on his Facebook page – a move that would quickly bag him the nickname, ‘Anushka Sharma’s Saree Man’.

Anushka’s saree called for extensive planning. After the designers decided on a Banarasi saree came the tough part – selecting a craftsman from the thousands of skilled workers in this trade in Benaras.

Maqbool Hassan Gets the Job

Craftsman of Anushka’s Banarasi saree, Maqbool Hassan. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)
Craftsman of Anushka’s Banarasi saree, Maqbool Hassan.
(Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)

The important task was given to Maqbool Hassan from Peeli Kothi in Benaras, who has been in the business since 1966. Hassan, whose family has been engaged in the business for over two centuries, is also credited with having created a saree for Aishwarya Rai and a sherwani for Abhishek Bachchan.

Maqbool Hassan of Peeli Kothi in Benaras has been in the business since 1966. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)
Maqbool Hassan of Peeli Kothi in Benaras has been in the business since 1966.
(Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)

After the Cottage Emporium in Delhi reached out to Maqbool Hassan with the order to create the sari, he set about creating a team of three of his most skilled craftsmen. Among his top three were Muazzam Ansari, whose work is already popular in Benaras, despite the fact that he only joined the industry five years ago. What’s more, fans of Ansari’s work reportedly compare his work with craftsmen with over 20 years of experience.

Months of Secret Planning & Weaving

From planning to making the saree it took almost six months. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)
From planning to making the saree it took almost six months.
(Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)

As soon as the dates for Virat and Anushka’s wedding were decided, the designers zeroed in on the Banarasi saree for their Delhi reception.

Then began the hunt for the saree design. After much debate and decision, the creators decided on a bright red colour with traditional golden work. The entire process of selecting a colour, finalising a design, and finishing the design took six months. All of it was done in absolute secrecy.

It took total of 60 days for Anushka’s saree to be made. (Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)
It took total of 60 days for Anushka’s saree to be made.
(Photo Courtesy: Vikrant Dubey)

Once the design, colour, and fabric was finalised, it was time for the actual weaving. Banarasi sarees are made on handlooms – each thread and the colour for every bit of the design is put in place by hand.

The saree called for three weavers to work day and night for 45 days. It took another 15 days to add the finishing touches, taking it to a total of 60 days.

Painstaking Effort

Anushka Sharma’s saree took 60 days to make. (Photo Courtesy: Instagram)
Anushka Sharma’s saree took 60 days to make.
(Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

A mixture of silk and chiffon was used to make the saree in order to create an outfit that was both soft and light, despite all the embroidery and the seemingly-heavy work on it. The craftsmen also ensured that the saree did not have a glittery shine, even with real gold being used for the zari – with each motiff being worked on separately.

The three craftsmen tasked with making the saree had to work simultaneously on the weaving, and the absence of even a single craftsman made weaving impossible. With all the work that has gone into the saree, it is small wonder why Banarasi sarees are known for their timeless allure.

(This article was first published on QuintHindi.)

source: http://www.thequint.com / The Quint / Home> Entertainment / by Vikrant Dubey / December 27th, 2017

Princess Omdutel of Oude Buried At Paddington Old Cemetery

Awadh, UTTAR PRADESH / London, U. K / Paris, FRANCE :

While walking around Paddington Old Cemetery during my lunch break earlier today, for some reason I felt compelled to read the faded stone slab that marked the resting spot of Princess Omdutel. Instantly my attention was grabbed, a Princess buried in Kilburn, North West London of all places, that sure wasn’t something I was expecting to find.

PrincessOmdutelMPOs20jan2018

I have walked past the grave of Princess Omdutel, perhaps a 100 times or more since I moved to Kilburn and never paid it any attention. Now she had my full attention.

The badly worn and faded inscription on the stone slab was barely readable, but after a lot of scratching of my head, I finally managed to decipher the words: Sacred to the memory of Princess Omdutel Aurau Begum, daughter of the late General Mirza Sekunder Hishmut Bahadur, Brother to His Majesty King of Oude, who died 14th April 1858 aged 18 months.

With a little help from Google and www.findagrave.com, I managed to find the following information: Princess of Oude. Oude, or Awadh, which was the epicentre of the 1857 Indian Mutiny, when the sepoys rebelled against the British after baulking at orders to use cartridges greased in pig and beef fat. Members of the Awadh Royal Family arrived in London soon afterwards, lobbying unsuccessfully for the return of their lands. The princess’s father, Mirza Bahadur, died two months before her and is buried in Père Lachaise in Paris.

The British obviously offered the Awadh Royal Family a haven in London after they were ousted. I’m not sure how long the family had ruled for in Awadh, which is a region in India. But from what I can gather it seems likely that they were a puppets installed by the British Government.

Princess Omdutel Aurau Begum, her life had barely begun, when she died at only 18 months of age. I wonder if any of the family survived and if so what became of them. It is also intriguing that her father died two months before her in Paris. No mention of the mother, which is kinda sad if you ask me…

I find it strange that I have walked past the grave of Princess Omdutel numerous times over the past twenty months and never once read it, until today. Very strange. Maybe she was wanting a mention on London Is Cool

source: http://www.londoniscool.com / London is Cool – a blog about Life in London / Home> Out and About in London / by William Wallace / February 21st, 2011

Malika Kishwar: A forgotten Indian queen in Paris

Awadh, UTTAR PRADESH / London, U. K / Paris, FRANCE :

The tragic story of Malika Kishwar, who rests in an unmarked grave in France’s most famous cemetery

The grave of Malika Kishwar at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The grave of Malika Kishwar at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

She lies buried amidst sepulchres that house the remains of many who are still famous.

There is Jim Morrison on the premises, the American rock legend whom trains of tourists come to pay homage, like pilgrims bearing flowers. Edith Piaf, the waif who sang her way to greatness, finds her peace nearby, as does Frederic Chopin, the composer whose pickled heart is in Warsaw but whose body dissolves in the French capital. Benjamin Franklin’s grandson rests here, and in the vicinity there is a man believed to have been sired by Napoleon. Oscar Wilde’s sculpted grave competes with Marcel Proust’s neat bed of stone, and many more still are the artists, writers, and persons of esteem who crowd the hillside cemetery that is Père Lachaise in Paris.

And yet, between them all, under a platform of rugged rock, lies this tragic Indian woman. Her name and cause have been largely forgotten, but since 1858, she has been here, longer than many of her revered neighbours. Tourists walk by with cameras, oblivious to her unmarked square existence. But every now and then there is a stray visitor who arrives on a quest: to locate the final resting place of that remarkable woman, the last queen of Awadh.

I was that visitor a few days ago, when I trekked up Paris’ most famous graveyard to look for this forgotten tomb.

The lady appears in yellowed old books by several names. She was to some Malika Kishwar, while others knew her as Janab-i Aliyah, Her Sublime Excellency, mother to the ruler of “Oude”, Wajid Ali Shah.

In 1856, when the British deposed this nawab from his ancestral seat in Lucknow, his family departed for colonial Calcutta, with all the money they could gather and what dignity they had left. But while the son (a “crazy imbecile” in the eyes of his sneering oppressors) prepared to fade quietly into history, the mother was determined to win back that which was her family’s by right.

That very year, this woman who knew little beyond her sequestered palace, set foot on a ship, determined to sail to England so she might speak—woman to woman—to the English queen in person. After all, declared the middle-aged begum, Victoria was “also a mother”; she would recognize the despair her people had unleashed, and restore to the House of Awadh territory, titles, and its rightful honour. And so proceeded Malika Kishwar, her health already in decline, braving cold winds in a foreign land, to plead the cause of royal justice.

The mission was doomed from the start. Advisers were many and much was the money they sought for the privilege of their counsel. The results, meanwhile, were nowhere to be found.

As historian Rosie Llewellyn-Jones records, Kishwar discovered quickly enough that Queen Victoria, in her “circular dress”, had little power to bestow anything more than polite conversation on her and her Awadhi line—when an audience was granted, they spoke about boats and English mansions, not about imperial treacheries and the unjust business in Lucknow.

In the British parliament, things got worse. A prayer at long last prepared was dismissed on spurious bureaucratic grounds: the begum was to submit a “humble petition”, words that she failed to use in the document laid before the House. While her son accepted British imperium, the mother was obstinate in battle. So, when she wished to travel, they sought to dragoon her into acknowledging their suzerainty—if Malika Kishwar and her ménage wanted passports, she would have to declare herself a “British subject”.

The begum refused to do anything of the sort, prepared, at best, to be under “British protection”, but never anybody’s “subject”. And legal quibbles aside, the Great Rebellion of 1857 compounded matters—there was now no prospect of relinquishing even a fragment of British power when the hour called for a demonstration of obdurate strength alone. Awadh was lost forever.

The tide having turned, in 1858, the begum decided to return at last, defeated and unhappy in the extreme. But in Paris she fell ill and died on 24 January. The funeral was simple, but there was yet some dignity and state—representatives of the Turkish and Persian sultans gave this Indian queen the regard the British denied her and her line.

A cenotaph was constructed by the grave, but it has long since fallen to pieces—when decades later the authorities at Père Lachaise sought funds to repair the tomb, her exiled son decided from Calcutta that it was simply not worth his pension, while the colonial state was even less inclined to honour a difficult woman lying several feet underground in an alien European country. And so, since that time, in a graveyard full of magnificent memorials, the queen of Awadh has remained, a shell of broken stone sheltering her from the weeds and overgrowth that alone have made a claim upon her and the story that she tells.

Others of her suite also suffered. A younger son had come with her, Sikandar Hashmat by name. He died in England, and was carried to join his mother in her unmarked grave. A grandson’s infant child was also buried within, turning the tally in Paris to three.

But it was in London that one more of the delegation fell, this one a baby princess, born to Sikandar Hashmat from his Rajput wife on British shores. I walked around a dull little place called Kilburn to look for this grave. And there, in a cemetery, after an hour between tombs set in the soggy English ground, I found a memorial to the child: Princess Omdutel Aurau Begum, “who died 14th April 1858”, months after her grandmother who was once a queen.

But Omdutel, all of 18 months, had a minor triumph where her royal grandmother had none—lying by a pathway in that cemetery in Kilburn, her grave at least bears her name.

The begum, on the other hand, has become to the passing tourist at Père Lachaise in Paris a plinth on which to rest, smoking a cigarette and looking on to a horizon full of the dead, till a stranger might appear to tell how they have under them.

Medium Rare is a column on society, politics and history. Manu S. Pillai is the author of The Ivory Throne: Chronicles Of The House Of Travancore.

He tweets at @UnamPillai

source: http://www.livemint.com / LiveMint / Home> Leisure> Medium Rare / by Manu S. Pillan / Friday – Jan 12th, 2018

Role of Muslims in freedom struggle

The freedom movement of India was not the sole agenda of a particular political party but it had moved aam aadmi in the form of masses in his/her own capacity. The history of Indian national movement would be biased and incomplete without the presentation of the actual role of Indian Muslims in it, right from the revolt of 1857 to the day of Independence in 1947.

Shoulder to shoulder they fought with the other communities for the Independence of India. The contribution of Muslim poets, revolutionaries and writers is not known today. Instead of secular historiography, it has been communalised.

                                             Courtesy: Mapsofindia.com

The Muslims and other minorities never envisaged India as adopted land because Muslims of India have not come from outside but are the converts to Islam and have deep feeling sense of belonging to this country and therefore contributed to the cultural, economic, intellectual and spiritual progress throughout the ages.

The role, significance and uprising of Indians against British imperialists can be seen since mid of 18th century in the form of Battle of Palashi (Plassey), June 23, 1757. It was Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah who first awakened Indian rulers and gave a call to oppose the British. He, however, lost the battle and was executed at the young age of 24. This was soon followed by the great Tipu Sultan, who was killed by Lord Wellesley during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799.

The contribution of Muslim revolutionaries can be witnessed from the first half of 19th century. The Faraizi and the Wahhabi Movements had disturbed the pace of British plan in the initial stages of its expansion in India. The Wahabi movement of Syed Ahmed Barelvi was the most organised one. He appealed to all Hindus and Muslims to overthrow the British and thus he was killed in 1831 at Balakot.

The number of Muslims executed only in Delhi during 1857-58 was 27,000. During this revolt, Asghari Begum (mother of Qazi Abdur Rahim, the revolutionary of Thana Bhawan, Muzaffarnagar) fought against the British and was burnt alive when defeated. It was estimated that about 225 Muslim women gave their lives in the revolt.

Similarly, barely is known about the contribution of Muhammad Ashfaq Ullah Khan of Shahjehanpur who conspired and looted the British treasury at Kakori (Lucknow) to cripple the administration and who, when asked for his last will, before execution, desired: “No desire is left except one that someone may put a little soil of my motherland in my winding sheet.”

Likewise, the present generation does not know about Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, a great nationalist who had passed 45 years of his 95-years of life in jail for the freedom of India and thus awarded ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1987. Barkatullah and Syed Rehmat Shah of Ghadar Party sacrificed their lives. Umar Subhani, an industrialist and a millionaire of Bombay who, then, presented a blank cheque to Gandhiji for Congress expenses and who ultimately sacrificed his life for the cause of Independence. Maulana Hasrat Mohani, with his poetry, infused zeal of freedom in young hearts.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, at the age of 35, became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress. He was the icon of Hindu-Muslim unity as well as espousing secularism and socialism. Raj Mohan Gandhi in his book ‘Understanding Muslim Minds’ mentioned that Maulana went straight to Congress office just after the funeral procession of his wife, Zuleikha Begum and led Quit India Movement.

Manmohan Kaur in her book entitled as ‘Women In India’s Freedom Movement’ makes reference to only Begum Hazrat Mahel and Bi-Amma out of the hundreds of women who fought the battle of freedom along with their men folk against the British Raj. The history of the Indian national movement would be incomplete without mentioning the heartily services of Abadi Begum (mother of Maulana Muhammad Ali), Amjadi Begum (wife of Maulana Muhammad Ali), Amina Tyabji (wife of Abbas Tyabji), Begum Sakina Luqmani (wife of Dr Luqmani and daughter of Badruddin Tyabji), Nishat-un-Nisa (Begum Hasrat Mohani), Saadat Bano Kitchlew (wife of Dr Saifuddin Kichlew), Zulekha Begum (wife of Maulana Azad), Mehr Taj (daughter of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan), Zubaida Begum Daoodi (wife of Shafi Daoodi, the reputed nationalist of Bihar) and many others.

Santimoy Ray’s ‘Freedom Movement And Indian Muslims’ challenges the many prejudices that generate bias and hatred against the Indian Muslims, particularly their contentions role in Indian freedom movement.

This shows the great sacrifices they made to oust the British rule in all the national uprisings from Sanyasi Movement to Independence, finally led to the withdrawal of British from India in 1947. It is such a pity that their roles in the struggle for freedom has not been adequately presented in the Indian history. The comprehensive study about the role of Muslims struggle for freedom is essential to help eradicating prejudices and many misconceptions against the Muslims grown in the absence of fair historiography.

I’m recalling some of the beautiful lines of Faiz Ahmed Faiz …

Ye daagh daagh ujaalaa, ye shab-gaziida sahar,
Vo intizaar thaa jis-kaa, ye vo sahar to nahiiN,
Ye vo sahar to nahiiN jis-kii aarzu lekar
Chale the yaar ke mil-ja`egi kahiiN na kahiN
Falak ke dasht meN taroN kii aakhiri manzil,
KahiN to hogaa shab-e sust mauj kaa sahil,
KahiN to jaake rukegaa safiina-e-gham-e-dil.
Abhii chiraagh-e-sar-e-rah ko kuchh khabar hii nahiiN;
Abhii giraanii-e-shab meN kamii nahiiN aa’ii,
Najaat-e-diidaa-o-dil ki ghaRii nahiiN aa’ii;
Chale-chalo ke vo manzil abhii nahiiN aa’ii.

Meaning:

This stain-covered daybreak, this night-bitten dawn,
This is not that dawn of which there was expectation;
This is not that dawn with longing for which
The friends set out, (convinced) that somewhere there we met with,
In the desert of the sky, the final destination of the stars!
Somewhere there would be the shore of the sluggish wave of night,
Somewhere would go and halt the boat of the grief of pain.
The lamp beside the road has still come no lessening,
The hour of the deliverance of eye and heart has not arrived.
Come, come on, for that goal has still not arrived.

(Author is currently preparing for civil service examinations.)

source: http://www.twocircles.net / TwoCircles.net / Home> Articles> Indian Muslim / by Shaik Amer Arafath / August 14th, 2015

The Prince is Dead. Long Live The Legend

UTTAR PRADESH /  Kolkata, WEST BENGAL / NEW DELHI :

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 18.com 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: http://www.news18.com / News18.com / 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: http://www.sportskeeda.com / 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: http://www.hindustantimes.com / 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: http://www.thehindu.com / 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 hindu.com / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Warangal Urban District – January 11th, 2018

PBD 2018 celebrated in Riyadh with fervor

SAUDI ARABIA :

IndiainSaudiMPOs17jan2018

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: http://www.saudigazette.com / Saudi Gazette / Home> Saudi Arabia / by Mir Mohsin Ali / January 16th, 2018