Category Archives: Arts, Culture & Entertainment

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

PBD 2018 celebrated in Riyadh with fervor

SAUDI ARABIA :

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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

Meet Naeem Khan, Michelle Obama’s Fashion Designer

UTTAR PRADESH / Mumbai, MAHARASHTRA  / New York, USA :

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.”

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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: http://www.thepeakmagazine.com.sg / The Peak, SPH Magazines  / Home> Fashion & Watches / by Karen Tee / November 02nd, 2016

Awarding PIOs in recognition of their services

BRUNEI / LIBYA  / SAUDI ARABIA  :

President Pranab Mukherjee honours Dr. Antonio Costa, Portugal Prime Minister, who received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, as Suriname Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin and Union Minister V.K. Singh look on, in Bengaluru on Monday. | Photo Credit: G R N SOMASHEKAR;G R N SOMASHEKAR -
President Pranab Mukherjee honours Dr. Antonio Costa, Portugal Prime Minister, who received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, as Suriname Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin and Union Minister V.K. Singh look on, in Bengaluru on Monday. | Photo Credit: G R N SOMASHEKAR;G R N SOMASHEKAR –

Winners of Pravasi Samman Awards include Portugal Prime Minister Dr. Antonio Costa

Her son was three years old when she realised that there was no school she could send him to. British and American schools were too expensive and she didn’t want to send him to a local school.

That prompted Zeenat Jafri to start the second Indian school in Saudi ArabiaInternational Indian School — in 1982 with her husband. She was among the 30 people feted for her achievement on Monday during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, when the Pravasi Samman Awards were given away by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The 64-year-old MBA graduate from Bhopal, who was given the award for her contribution to the field of education, said she started the school from her house, gradually scaling it up   to now educate 12,000 people.

Another person of Indian origin who was recognised with the award was Ariful Islam, coordinator and nodal point in the Embassy of India in Libya.

The electrical engineer relocated from India to Libya in 1980 following a pact between the two nations. He has seen his adopted country go through the worst of times, but continues to live there alone, though his family has moved back to Aligarh. “I have spent half my life there. We have successfully rescued many Indians,” he said.

The rescuer

The most recent episode he was involved was in the rescue of three abducted Indians from the IS in a dramatic operation in 2016 from the deep Libyan deserts.

Among the organisations that were awarded were the Singapore Indian Association in the category of community service.

The event saw double the number of awardees as it was being held after an interval of two years.

Among the other prominent winners of the award were Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa, Labour Member of the European Parliament representing the West Midlands Neena Gill, British politician Priti Patel and Mauritius Minister of Finance and Economic Development Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.

Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs in the United States Department of State, who was also among the 30 awardees, said persons of Indian origin, who were building bridges and connecting in an “increasingly divided world,” retained strong ties with India, she said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National / by K.C. Deepika / Bengaluru – January 10th, 2017

Ayazuddin Patel only artist from Karnataka to participate in international art camp in Europe

KARNATAKA :

Lalit Kala Akademi Awardee Mohammad Ayazuddin Patel will be participating in the 5 th International Cultural-Artistic event from July 8. | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI
Lalit Kala Akademi Awardee Mohammad Ayazuddin Patel will be participating in the 5 th International Cultural-Artistic event from July 8. | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

National Lalit Kala Akademi Awardee and noted artist Mohammed Ayazuddin Patel will be participating in the 5th International Cultural-Artistic Event, a fortnight exhibition of painting and workshop-cum-art camp in Greece-Kosova-Balkan in Europe from July 8.

Mr. Patel is the only artist from Karnataka to attend the event which attracted 30 artists across the world. The event, which is jointly organised by Municipality of Suva-Reka and Department of Culture, Kosovo and Greece, provides a common platform for artists to exhibit their talent and get international exposure.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Patel said that five of his digital art works were submitted online for the selection to the event. The 46-year-old artist has bagged 20 prestigious awards including 55 th National Lalit Kala Akademi Award, National Award for Photography and National Award for Digital Painting recognised by the Ministry of Culture.

Mr. Patel has also participated in international group exhibition in six countries and displayed his digital art works painting and photography during exhibitions at 34 different places and organised 20 solo exhibitions across the country.

Mr. Patel is known for digital painting and mixed media and his works adorn several walls in important State buildings.

As per the event schedule, the selected artists would be visiting famous museums, art galleries, historical monuments and old places in nine European cities including Istanbul in Turkey, Thessaloniki in Greece, Suva Reka in Kosovo, Budva in Montenegro, Mostar in Bosnia, Sarajevo in Herzegovina, Dubrovnik in southern Croatia, Tirana in Albania, Ohrid in Macedonia and Kavala in Greece during the 15 days camp.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by  Correspondent / Kalaburagi – June 27th, 2017

Mandi and the Arabian connection

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

A must-try: Foodies having a Mandi, a combination of large chunks of mutton and rice garnished with dry fruits, at Mataram Al Arabi at Errakunta on Saturday.
A must-try: Foodies having a Mandi, a combination of large chunks of mutton and rice garnished with dry fruits, at Mataram Al Arabi at Errakunta on Saturday.

Restaurateurs in Barkas and Yerrakunta suburbs arrived here from Hadhramaut in Yemen over two centuries ago

A 20-minute drive south of Charminar is all it takes to wonder whether one has teleported oneself to a west Asian country. For, once in Barkas and Yerrakunta suburbs, one is greeted by exotic signage in Arabic on restaurants like Mataam al Arabi, Al Saud Bait al Mandi and Al Khaleej serving the Arabian delicacy Mandi. And the business is booming.

The connection is clear. The two neighbourhoods are home to those who arrived here from Hadhramaut in Yemen over two centuries ago. Several of these restaurateurs continue to bear Arabian tribal affiliations. While one eatery is owned by those from the Bin Ziyad tribe, another belongs to the Nahdis. There are dozens of tribes as are the restaurants run by them.

Abdul Raheem Yamani, proprietor of Real Arabian Dhaba, pegs the number of Mandi restaurants along the six-km stretch that connects Barkas to Shaheen Nagar along the Srisailam highway at approximately 35. “This is the reason why the highway has a new moniker – Mandi Road,” he says.

The restaurateurs say that the spurt in the number of Mandi restaurants began in 2011 when the Arab community realised that it was a profitable business. Restaurants started mushrooming not just along the margins of the main thoroughfares, but in the by-lanes of Barkas.

With diners converging from across the city, observers say that while traditional Hyderabadi biryani continues to be famous, Mandi is giving it a run for money.

One of the first Mandi restaurants in the area is Mataam al Arabi. Its proprietor Abdullah Bashaadi says the dish is a combination of large chunks of mutton and rice garnished with dry fruits.

The 38 year old recounts that he began the business in 2010 soon after returning from the Haj. “We were served Mandi during the pilgrimage. All ate from the same large thaala sitting on the floor. That is when I struck upon the idea to start a Mandi restaurant,” Mr. Bashaadi says.

The traditional Arabian method of dining—sitting on the floor and eating from the same large dish—has been retained in all the Mandi restaurants.

Like most who trace their ancestry to the Arabian Peninsula, Mr. Bashaadi’s great grandfather Ahmad bin Awad Bashaadi arrived in the city from Hadhramut, Yemen. In fact, noted scholar Omar Khalidi writes in Muslims in the Deccan: A Historical Survey that Hadramis were a part of Afwaj-e-Beqaidah(Irregular Army) of Asaf Jahs. Their numbers swelled so much so that the Diwan, Salar Jung, constituted a separate court, the Qazaat-e-Uroob, for them. Further, two Hadramis served as Commissioners of Police of Hyderabad State.

Taha Quadri, a professional caterer specialising in Arabian cuisine, explains the Mandi variants. The rule of thumb is three parts of mutton to one part of rice. The rice is cooked in the same water that is used to boil the meat. “Mutton can be replaced with fish, chicken and even quail,” he says.

But while diners converge at the Old City from all across Hyderabad, the dish is a hit with the IT crowd of Hitec City. The uptown area of Jubilee Hills has one.

“There was a great demand for the dish in this part of the city which is why we started the restaurant around nine months ago. A majority of our customers are those working in Hitec City,” says Syed Waaris Ali, proprietor of Mandi @ 36.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Syed Mohammed  / Hyderabad – January 13th, 2018

Driven by devotion, seven embark on journey on foot to Karbala

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

The group of seven led by Syed Abdul Ali beginning their journey from Daira Mir Momin in the city on Saturday.
The group of seven led by Syed Abdul Ali beginning their journey from Daira Mir Momin in the city on Saturday.

To take at least six months to reach the shrine of Hazrat Imam Hussain

Faith and devotion make people do remarkable feats. It can make them test their limits and transcend spatial and political boundaries. Even if they have to walk hundreds of miles across three countries in their quest for spirituality. Seven men from the city have embarked on this very journey to reach the shrine of Hazrat Imam Hussain in Karbala, Iraq.

A revered and loved figure for both the Shi’ites and Sunnis, Hazrat Imam Hussain was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Each year, dozens of Shi’ites embark on what they call ziyarat or pilgrimage, from the city to Karbala.

The group of seven led by Syed Abdul Ali, a 66 year old from Purani Haveli in the Old City, left for New Delhi from the Daira Mir Momin early on Saturday morning. The others making the journey on foot are Syed Sharif-ul-Hasan Razvi (28), Mir Asim Ali Moosvi (33), Syed Ali Razvi (31), Syed Saqib Zia Naqvi (33), Ali Asghar (31) and Syed Ali Ahmed (37).

“The journey to Karbala will take at least six months. Our intention is to walk between 35 and 40 km every day along the National Highway 44. In other words, eight hours of walk every day. That way, we will reach New Delhi by the end of February or the first week of March,” the leader and sexagenarian said.

Out of the seven, two have made the pilgrimage on foot twice.

To avoid crossing into Pakistan on foot, they will take a flight from the national capital to Tehran in Iran. From there, they intend to go to Yazd and then cross into Iraq where they will proceed to Karbala.

A vehicle carrying supplies such as food and bedding will trudge alongside till New Delhi.

The six wayfarers began to prepare for the journey more than two months ago. “We practised walking every day without fail. It’s not possible to go without preparing yourself for something like that,” they said.

Explaining what the journey means to him, Mr. Ali Asghar, a businessman, said, “I got a job in Dubai, but I gave it up since I wanted to go to Karbala. Going there on foot is a great act of piety. What more could I want?”

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Syed Mohammed / Hyderabad – January 06th, 2018

Umaru Pulavar memorial inaugurated

Ettiyapuram (Tuticorin District),  TAMIL NADU :

His 1,000 literary works will be added to library

Tuticorin :

Speaker R. Avudiappan inaugurated the memorial constructed for Umaru Pulavar, great Islamic poet, at Ettayapuram near here on Monday.

Official sources said that it was built by the Public Works Department on an outlay of Rs.22.5 lakh.

The monument would be maintained by the Department of Information and Public Relations.

The memorial, a two-storied edifice, has a tomb and prayer hall in the ground floor with a library on the top floor.

A collection of 1,000 literary works of Umaru Pulavar would be added into the library in a phased manner. The works would include poems like ‘Seerapuranam’, ‘Muthu Mozhil Malai’ and ‘Sethakathi wedding poems’, among others.

The access to the library would be free.

Sources said that the memorial was a tribute to the poet, whose ancestors had chosen Ettayapuram in Tuticorin district as their ‘home away from home’ since they descended from Arabia.

The forefathers of the poet came here to sell perfumes and settled in Nagalapuram, before moving to Ettayapuram where the poet was born in 1642.

Umaru Pulavar’s literary talents flourished under Kadikai Muthu Pulavar, court poet of the Ettayapuram Zamin. At the age of 16, Umaru Pulavar stole the national limelight by winning a literary debate with Vallai Varundhi, a renowned poet from North India. Umaru Pulavar was then made the court poet of the Ettayapuram Zamin.

“Seerapuranam,’ considered to be one of the best works by him, depicts the history related to Prophet Mohammed Nabi, and it contains 5,027 poems in three ‘Kandams’ (parts), which are Vilathathu Kandam, Noobuvathu Kandam and Hijurathu Kandam.

“Each of the ‘Kandams’ narrates various stages of the life of Nabi,” sources said.

Ministers Geetha Jeevan, Parithi Ellamvazhuthi and T.P.M. Moideen Khan, Collector R. Palaniyandi, District Public Relations Officer S.R. Sarathy and senior revenue officials were present.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Tamil Nadu / by Staff Reporter / October 30th, 2007

Of Muslim scholars and a glorious literary tradition

TAMIL NADU :

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Umarupulavar, Kunangudi Masthan Sahib, Seiku Thampi Pavalar are popular names in the field of classical Tamil literature

Uraiyur Pitchai Ibrahim Rauther was an intriguing combination of a dry fish merchant and Tamil scholar.

His expertise is illustrated by the fact that towards the end of the 19th century, the management of Bishop Heber College in Tiruchi appointed him an honorary professor and among his students was the legendary Navalar Mu. Venkatasamy Naatar.

Writer and cultural historian Po. Velsamy, who posted some details about Ibrahim Rauther on Facebook, said he was an authority on the Tholkappiyam and great scholars such as Venkatasamy Naatar and Ra. Ragava Iyengar learned from him because till 1930, there was no one with expertise on the Porulathikaram of Tholkappiyam.

“Since the smell of dry fish on Rauther was overpowering, his students had to hold their noses even as they received lessons on the Tholkappiyam. But we have not been able get more details about Rauther, who died in 1908,” said Mr. Velsamy, who added that Rauther was a student Uraiyur Muthuveera Ubathiyayar and author of the Muthuveeriyam, a work based on the Tholkappiyam.

The Muslim community has had a glorious association with the Tamil language since the 12th century. Umarupulavar, the author of Seerapuranam, and Kunangudi Masthan Sahib are among the names to reckon with in the field of classical Tamil literature.

Sadhavathani Seiku Thampi Pavalar of Edalakudi in Kanniyakumari district is another well-known name in the Tamil literary world in modern times.

It was K. Peerkaderoli Rauther who published the Thiruvachagam in 1868. “The Sivapuranam in the Thiruvachagam is normally described as an agaval, but Rauther cited the Tholkappiyam to prove that it was a kalivenba,” said Mr. Velsamy.

Muslim scholars also worked extensively on Hindu epics and Athirampattinam Syed Mohamed Annaviyar rendered into Tamil the 14th chapter of the Mahabharata as Santhathi Asuvamagam.

Republished by the Thanjavur Tamil University, the book, comprising 4,104 verses, narrates the story of the Aswametha yagna performed by Dharma as per the advice of Vyasa after the war. “Santham means peace and asuvam refers to a horse. Magam means yagna,” explained Mr. Velsamy.

18 puranas

Annaviyar also rendered as ammanai (a type of verse) all the 18 puranas of the Hindus.

“Annaviyar and his descendants were scholars and even ran a publishing house. They wrote and published the Mahabharatha ammanai, Subramaniar Prasanna Pathigam, Aswametha Yagam, Ali Nama and Nooru Nama. Islamic scholars were experts in the sindhus, a genre in Tamil, and as many as 63 sindhus were published in the early 20th century,” said cultural historian Kombai S. Anwar.

When M.V. Ramanujachariyar, a colleague of U. Ve. Saminatha Iyer at the Kumbakonam Government Arts College, translated Vyasa’s Mahabharatha into Tamil, financial assistance came from many quarters, including two Muslims in Aduthurai, one of whom was a goat skin merchant. These contributions have been mentioned by Ramanujachariyar in the preface.

An interesting sindhu penned by M.K.M. Abdukathiru Rauther was performed when a kumbabhisekam was conducted at the Thiruvanmiyur Pamban Subramaniaswamy Temple. The title of the work is Pamban Balasubramaniaswamy Kovil Kumbabhiseka Vazhinadi Sindhu.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by B. Kolappan / Chennai – January 01st, 2018

Muslim men take care of the synagogues

Kolkata, WEST BENGAL :

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Mohammed Khaleel Khan, an old Muslim man clad in a pristine white skull cap, shirt and lungi, has been working as the caretaker of Beth El Synagogue for 58 years.

His father, Muharram Khan, who came from Odisha, also served as the caretaker and now, Khaleel’s sons, Shiraz and Anwar, work in the same profession. “We are serving in a religious place and we are very happy about it. While I work in Beth El, my brother, Anwar, is in Maghen David,” said Shiraz.

Besides these three-generation-long caretakers, there is Sheikh Wasim, another caretaker, whose father, Sheikh Naseer, also served at the Beth El Synagogue for 60 years.

“Some people questioned why we should be working in a synagogue. My answer is simple. I am working in a religious place. Name him Allah or Vishnu — there is no discrimination in God’s land. The work I do here is far better than working in a pub where they serve alcohol,” said Wasim.

Talking about the Muslim caretakers, Ian Zachariah asked, “What’s so surprising? We’ve never had any problems. They don’t have any problems either. This is how it should be everywhere.”

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The  Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Shamayita Chakraborty / December 22nd, 2017