Category Archives: Business & Economy

Taking a leap of faith

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

NishaatMPOs06jun2017

 

Nishaat Ahamed on quitting her media job to take up bridal and fashion photography

She started studying journalism but all it took was a credit course in college to get her interested in photography.

Already Nishaat Ahamed, proprietor of Glaamour Studio (www.facebook.com/glaamourstudio.in), is carving a niche for herself as a full-time bridal make-up artist and wedding photographer.

Choosing photography and consequently make-up seemed like a seamless career option for the young woman. Once done with college, Nishaat worked at a media firm for about a year. “I soon realised I wasn’t meant for a nine-to-five desk job so I quit and was free for about seven months. During that period, I happened to meet a photographer who was already into wedding and fashion photography. I was intrigued by his work and was inspired to take up photography professionally. Once I joined photography school, I realised the importance of make-up in a fashion shoot. Once I finished my photography course, I enrolled for a professional make-up course and then began taking up work in both fields together.”

Currently, Nishaat offers make-up services for all occasions, takes classes in personal and professional make-up, shoots weddings, takes up couple shoot assignments such as pre wedding/post wedding shoots, portfolio and fashion shoots for models, maternity pictures….

The youngster says, “Honestly, if I was doing a regular desk job, I’d probably have more free time than I do now. But at the end of the day, when the client gives me good feedback, it makes up for everything.”

Nishaat enjoys being her own boss. “I always tell everyone, including my husband, to quit their job and do something on their own. It is way more rewarding, at least mentally, and at some point financially too. It is just a matter of taking that leap of faith.”

Nishaat has had her fair share of challenges. “Every business has its ups and downs. But you learn from your mistakes and try to get better. After so many rounds of trial and error, I seem to have figured things out a bit. The world of make-up and photography is massive and I’ve only just set foot into it.”

Looking ahead, the young entrepreneur says: “I want to learn more and get more certifications from international artists. I want to get certified by Aliya Baig, one of the best make-up artists in India. And I’d also want to get certified by Tamanna Roashan from California. Then I will open my own photography and make-up school.”

I always tell everyone, including my husband, to quit their job and do something on their own. It is way more rewarding, at least mentally, and at some point financially too.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Neeti Sarkar / June 06th, 2017

Students go innovative, price of their drone dips

Bengaluru , KARNATAKA :

KNS Institute of Technology students display the drones designed by them at Eduverse, the ninth edition of Jnana Degula education expo organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani, at Jayamahal Palace Hotel grounds on Sunday. DH photo
KNS Institute of Technology students display the drones designed by them at Eduverse, the ninth edition of Jnana Degula education expo organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani, at Jayamahal Palace Hotel grounds on Sunday. DH photo

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Rs 1,500? Students of KNS Institute of Technology have done it, without much fanfare. They plan to enhance the design to customise the drones for surveillance and transporting goods.

The makers of the plane – Inayatullah, Debabrata Mondal, Premkumar Singh and Syed Junaid – represented their college along with vice principal Nayeem Ahmad at Jnana Degula-Eduverse event organised by DH and Prajavani.

Inayatullah said the plane was made of simple polymer materials (expanded polyolefin and polystyrene) and can carry 350 gm payload. “It can fly for an hour at a speed of 45 km per hour. We have used a propeller made of composite material with aluminium coating so that it can fly at a height of 500 feet and withstand force of up to 85 newtons,” he said.

The team is also working on a plane specifically designed for surveillance.“While the 45 kmph plane can be improvised to make it a delivery drone, we are working on a plane that flies slower, at 36 kmph, providing opportunities for deeper surveillance of a particular area,” Mondal said.

Inayatullah said the cost of the UAVs will come down further if produced on a large scale. “The UAVs produced by government agencies cost a lot. Our planes are disposable. The army can use the surveillance drone and does not have to worry if one of them is lost or destroyed,” he said.

The planes can be controlled by a 2.4GHz radio frequency device, which has a range of 2.5 km. “The remote controller cost us Rs 3,500. Considering that it is the plane and not the device that is susceptible to damage, we think ours is the most affordable UAV,” he said.

“The turbo is imported from China for Rs 90 and sold in India for Rs 250. The same turbo can be made in India at a cost of Rs 40. Nearly 95% of the materials were imported from China. After a detailed study, we found the cost will come down to Rs 600, if we make these materials in India,” Inayatullah said.

source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> City / DH News Service / Bengaluru – May 29th, 2017

Latest crop at Mango Man’s nursery christened ‘Yogi’

Lucknow, UTTAR PRADESH :

HajiKalimullahMPOs07may2017

Lucknow :

Yogi  mango is latest product from the laboratory of UP’s Mango Man. Three years after Haji Kalimullah  christened a mango after PM Narendra Modi he has now named another after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The 74-year old Padmashri recipient, Haji Kalimullah is excited about the new variety in his orchard in Malihabad, about 30kms from Lucknow.

It’s the first time the variety named by him has not been developed by the man himself, rather, has grown naturally in his orchard. In all likelihood, it appears to be a cross of another naturally developed variety, ‘Karela’ and Dussehri.

“The Yogi mango is slender, elongated and beautiful and you won’t stop marvelling when you see it,” said Kalimullah. But the hybrid’s parent is not know even to him. “Some people visited my orchard recently and while they were looking around they asked about these four five different-looking mangoes on a tree. I said the variety might have developed naturally and they suggested to name it after Yogiji and I did,” he said.

This time, however, Kalimullah has named the variety a little earlier than usual. On all other occasions on which he developed a new variety, he waited for the fruit to ripen to know its taste and smell.
“I am still not sure how this mango is going to taste as it is green and the same can be said about how it would smell. But I hope it will taste good as it is a hybrid of Dussehri,” he said, adding that it will take about a month for the fruit to ripen.

Meanwhile, the tree bearing Modi mango has some fruits on it this year too. “Modi mango is exceptional in taste and very nice to look at,” said Kalimullah. It’s a hybrid of Kolkata’s Husn-e-Aara and Lucknow’s Dussehri. No wonder, the fruit has acquired distinct streaks of crimson like Husn-e-ara and elongation of Dussehri.

Kalimullah’s technique is different when it comes to developing a new variety. “I cross flowers, develop a fruit and then sow its seeds because every seed is different and that is how the best variety develops,” he said.

It’s anything but easy. About 99% experiments have gone waste. The few that survived brought the man recognition. He has named the hybrid of Khasul Khaas and Chausa weighing up to 1 kg after Sachin Tendulkar. He has also named one variety named after Aishwarya.

source:  http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Lucknow News / TNN / May 07th, 2017

Collegians whip up a storm

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

CakeMPOs06apr2017

Nineteen-year-olds, Sana Azam and Rhea Agarwal balance studies and their baking business

Running a baking business when you are a full-time student is not a piece of cake. However, Sana Azam and Rhea Agarwal, both 19, prove all you need is passion to batter-up and bake away.

SanaMPOs06apr2017

The decision to start a baking venture happened organically for Sana, founder and baker at Pink Whisk. Having grown up in an environment where the oven was always in use — whether it was her grandmother making the more traditional Muslim recipes and bakes such as roat or her mother making a cake. It was from there that Sana developed a love for cooking. “I’d always been a sous chef,” she says laughing. “My earliest memories go back to holding the mixer while my mother handled everything else.” That gradually changed, as she began doing things independently and grew as a baker herself. Although she had received requests in the past from close friends and family, the decision to start Pink Whisk only happened towards the end of her 12th standard in school.

Sana, a first-year B.Com student at Mount Carmel College, has a Pink Whisk stall at MCC’s many fests. She is working on a launching a Facebook page soon but currently takes orders by phone or WhatsApp. Pink Whisk also has a WhatsApp group which keeps people updated about what is cooking.

Although she specialises in all things sweet, Sana also dabbles with savouries like chicken quiches, tarts, samosas, pastas and bakes. Apart from cakes and cupcakes, she also makes éclairs, cheesecakes, bars (something between a cookie and a cake), chiffon pies, and trifles. Pink Whisk’s white chocolate and raspberry and strawberry jam bars are extremely popular, mini cheesecakes accompanied by a berry compote and the signature Banoffee are favourites as well. Sana said her most challenging order was “baking a five-kilo cake for a software company. Any order placed less than two days before it is needed is always challenging.”

 

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Chance encounter

Rhea Agarwal, on the other hand, found her love for baking by chance. The 19 year old, first year BBA student at Christ University started It’s Whipped, with her sister Sakshi Agarwal. Rhea says: “I was maybe 12 or 13 when my mother enrolled me in a summer baking class.” And there was no looking back. Within a week, she had practiced everything she had learned. Whether it was a family function or a friend’s birthday, “Nobody asked me but I took it upon myself to make something for every occasion, I just got good with practice,” she says. Friends and family always suggested she start taking it more seriously and turn it into a business but it was only when a close relative placed an order for a chocolate cake and offered to pay her for it, that the idea to turn the hobby into a business venture arose.

Rhea runs It’s Whipped with the help of her mother and sister. They have a Facebook page and an Instagram account where they communicate with potential customers by posting pictures of desserts they make as well as inform their customers of new items they add to their ever-growing menu.

“We make everything from chocolates, cakes, cupcakes and pies to granola bars, cookies and herb crackers. We also have a list of egg-less recipes. Our teacakes are popular and we offer them in many flavours including lemon, walnut, chocolate chip, honey and date.”

Talking of her most challenging order yet, Rhea says, “It was an order for 600 chocolate-covered brownie bites that a corporate had requested for Diwali.”

Both It’s Whipped and Pink Whisk operate out of homes and they prefer when customers come to pick up their orders.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Harshala Reddy / April 05th, 2017

High five to 555

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

Cafe555MPOs03apr2017

 

Cafe 555’s Irani chai and haleem draws crowds from most parts of Hyderabad

In a steep lane dominated by biryani joints and residential blocks at Masab Tank, Café 555 is just a few metres away from one of the busiest roads in the city that connects one to Jubilee Hills, Panjagutta and Khairatabad. Their chai is so well known that you’re not amused by their tagline that reads, ‘Don’t drink and drive, Drink only Café 555 ki chai and drive.’ The café that enters its silver jubilee year in 2017 is now owned by Ali Raza Jowker and draws most of its crowds from the nearby Ahmed Nagar apart from other parts of the city.

Their chai was first sold at Rs 1.50. Now priced at Rs 10, nothing betters the warmth that their cup of Irani chai to begin your day or energise you on a tired evening. Most customers prefer to savour it with the crisp irani samosa. If you with to indulge in something sweet to go with it, there is the popular ‘bun butter’ option.

The cafe is frequented by a number of actors from Telugu film fraternity. Sania Mirza too makes it a point to visit Cafe 555 when in town. It not just their chai that’s popular — the manager Mohammed Ali proudly shows us the award the café won for its haleem.

The sight of Cafe 555 during the Ramzan season is a delight to your senses with its multi-coloured lights during the night adding to the festive aura. The haleem prepared by Ali Raza’s grandfather was a hit with the Nizams too, says the manager.

A cafe has other options as well; their quintessential dal rice and poori are sought out items during breakfast and lunch times. No full-course meal feels complete without the Lassi here. What makes Cafe 555 ideal is also their ability to cater to foodies with diverse choices over the years.

Employees from the nearby Telugu Samkshema Bhavan, Tribal Musuem, tailoring and stationery shops continue to see the cafe as a companion that has transformed itself and evolved with changing customer tastes without losing its charming nativity.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Srivathsan Nadadhur / April 03rd, 2017

They have played their cards right

Chennai, TAMIL NADU :

H. Noor Mohamed (left) and his son Mohamed Faizal. Photo: K. Pichumani | Photo Credit: K_Pichumani
H. Noor Mohamed (left) and his son Mohamed Faizal. Photo: K. Pichumani | Photo Credit: K_Pichumani

When the wedding cards business was at a nascent stage, N.M. Habibullah sensed an opportunity and started Olympic Cards Ltd. Later, his son H. Noor Mohamed went on an ambitious expansion spree, making it a pan-Chennai enterprise

In 1962, N.M. Habibullah, a resident of Parrys, started a stationery store on Anderson Road under the name Olympic Papers and Stationery. With Habibullah’s work, the business flourished. Five years later, during a pensive moment at the store, when he was turning over in his mind various strategies to expand his business, two stores for wedding cards caught his attention.

In 1967, Habibullah switched to selling wedding cards. It turned out to be the right move. In 1974, his son, H. Noor Mohamed joined him and took the company to the next level.

“Until the mid-1960s, there were only two shops in Madras for wedding cards, Ramakrishna and MN Swami; and both wound up their businesses in a few years. Even in the 1970s, there weren’t too many stores for wedding cards. Sensing an opportunity, my father started this new business. As the basic raw material was paper, which is what he was selling in the stationery business, it took him only 15 to 20 days to set up a wedding card store,” says Noor, the current managing director of Olympic Cards Ltd.

Olympic Cards Limited was first set up on Anderson Road. In 1982, Noor and his brother Saladin Babu established a second store at No. 194 (now 195), N.S.C. Bose Road, and this went on to become the main office.

“The five-storey building, which originally belonged to the East Indian Company, was demolished and reconstructed to accommodate the showroom and the office,” says Noor.

Soon, Noor’s sons N. Mohamed Faizal and N. Mohamed Iqbal joined the business as the executive director and production head of the factory respectively.

Quickly, Olympic Cards Ltd. spread to other parts of the city: Kodambakkam, T. Nagar, Anna Nagar, Peravallur in Agaram, Velachery and Thiruvanmayur.

“Wedding preparations involve considerable stress for families. So, they would gravitate towards a wedding card store that is located in or close to their neighbourhood, sparing them a long trip. With this thinking, we began to take our collection to different localities,” explains Noor.

Besides wedding cards, they sell office envelopes, calendars, diaries, notebooks, account books, business cards, letterheads, files and folders, scribbling pads and greeting cards. They also have provisions for instant digital printing, design creation and proofreading at the outlets.

In addition to an outlet in Coimbatore, they have 25 franchise stores in Chennai, Puducherry and Kerala. There are plans to expand their franchising operation across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka in the near future.

On how difficult it is to manage several branches, Mohamed Faizal says that besides training the staff, the heavy stock has to be managed and their timely delivery ensured every day.

“We cannot maintain all stock at all the outlets. Therefore, we keep all our stocks in Parrys. Whenever there is a requirement, we send it to the respective outlets,” he explains.

The waning demand for greeting cards too keeps the team on their toes. “We not only cater to direct customers but retailers as well; the latter look for variety. Creating designs that are different from previous year’s can be challenging. We create 20 to 30 designs once in three months. If these don’t sell out in three months, we incur a huge manufacturing loss,” says Mohamed.

Despite all these challenges, the business is growing, as is evident from the size of its manufacturing unit.

From a 13,000 sq.ft factory at the Vyasarpadi Cooperative Industrial Estate, the company now handles the production from a two lakh sq.ft factory near Periyapalayam. The factory is well-equipped with advanced machinery.

“Contributing to the creation of a healthy environment, we have installed 0.5MW solar power production facility at the unit. This way, we ensure all our products are manufactured in an eco-friendly manner,” says Noor.

Olympic Cards Ltd. will soon test the waters in the others areas of the print industry such as packaging and pharma-printing and luxury packaging.

“We have taken baby steps by way of outsourcing packaging jobs and associating with their print partners. We hope to get into mainstream packaging shortly,” adds Noor.

Name and fame

Olympic Cards Ltd was first incorporated as Olympic Business Credits (Madras) Private Limited, in April 1992 under the Companies Act, 1956. Subsequently, in October 1996, it became a public limited company and the name was changed to ‘Olympic Business Credits (Madras) Limited’. In 1998, it was renamed Olympic Cards Limited, in 1998. In 2013, the company offered IPO and successfully subscribed and listed in BSE.

A ringside view

*H. Noor Mohamed: “In India, the wedding card market is booming, despite the advent of e-cards and Whatsapp. So, any aspiring entrepreneur can enter this industry confidently.”

*Mohamed Faizal: “My father has cultivated a habit that has contributed immensely to his success. Every morning, he jots down the details of his tasks for the day, this is a habit he picked up from his father. This practice has made him so self-disciplined that he never forgets to take his pen, cellphone or wallet with him. It has helped him considerably in his business.”

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Shiba Kurian / February 24th, 2017

Mobile museum of rocks, minerals

Pune, MAHARASHTRA :

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 Makki has rare collection of stones: Makki owns over 1,000 exhibits worth several crores

Huge claws of a T-Rex dinosaur that would take you to the world of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, massive amethyst crystals and a meteorite that fell in Siberia in Russia that remind of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos are part of his collection. Besides them, he owns hundreds of small precious stones, which would hold visitors in awe and expose them to a new world of stones.

Interestingly, all these are held by one man and he answers to the name of Makki. He is virtually a mobile museum. Whether it is something extra-terrestrial or buried in mounds or deep inside the earth, he has almost everything. He has ruby, agate, amethyst and many more.

“You need to touch them, feel them and experience them,” says 68-year-old Muhammad Fasihuddin Makki about his exhibits. He is not touchy about anyone touching specimens and insists that students need to be brought closer to them to change their perspective about stones.

Collecting and selling stones are his hobby as well as profession. “It’s my passion and I love it… my bread and butter are minerals,” he said. “I am taking stones to the doorstep of people for them to develop love for them,” said Makki, who has no formal training in geology. In fact, Makki is a Master’s in English and calls himself a “pujari of Laxmi and Saraswati”.

The Pune-based Makki is the founder of Matrix India and also runs a touring museum. His personal collection is displayed in exhibitions across India. He has participated in several exhibitions, conferences and auctions abroad. He has been supplying rocks and minerals to schools and colleges. He also runs one of the biggest agencies in the world involved in exporting and importing rocks and minerals.

“We offer a variety of minerals from spectacular specimens for collectors to large stock of supplies to wholesale buyers. We have a ready stock of different rough materials from India and we regularly add to our inventory freshly mined new specimens from the Deccan Traps,” said Makki. They also supply boulders and large colourful rocks for landscaping and interior decoration.

Makki is a member of various associations, including Minerological Society of India, Minerological Society of America, Collectors Society of India, Volcanological Society of India, Euromineral France and Mineralientage Germany.

The family of Makki hails from Karnataka and his father was into collecting minerals. “I picked it up from him,” he said. It has been close to five decades into this profession and hobby. “I love this and it keeps me going,” he said. He takes over 1,000 specimens for exhibitions and their value will be several crores.

“I do not charge any money or take remuneration.The institutions where I arrange these mineral and fossil exhibitions arrange for my accommodation and for my two or three assistants. The organisers bear the cost of transporting exhibits like stones from Pune. Some of the exhibits are quite heavy and many of them weigh more than 100 kg,” he said.

His son Sami has started helping him in the business and in arranging these educational earth science exhibitions.

The most precious among the specimens in his collection is a meteorite. It looks small but it is over 8 kg, he smiles. “It fell in 1947 in Sikhote-Alin in Siberia. In 1994, I visited an exhibition in the United States, where this was auctioned…. I did not hesitate, bid for it and bought it… it was quite a sum, but it is a rare collection,” he says.

He recently held “Exhibition of Rocks, Minerals & Archaeological Antiques” and it was hosted by the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (CEMS) of the University of Mumbai in collaboration with the INSTUCEN (India Study Centre) Trust, and the Deccan College of Pune. “I want people to touch them, photograph them… it is a kind of a bond…it is a rock. Minerals do not have life, but once you touch and feel it, you are in a totally different world,” he says passionately.

He said, “The trilobites are over 400 million years old. These are the oldest fossils with me. Dinosaurs became extinct 60 million years ago. I have dinosaur fossils with me and in fact children love to see them. They often want to touch and see and I do not object. Today one can see dinosaurs in films or on television. When children see a live claw or egg or remains they get excited,” points out Makki.

Explaining how he goes about his collection, he said: “I do mining and collection from all parts of India. I have set aside a lot of large exotic colourful mineral specimens as my personal collection and in addition to that I also acquire many different kinds of colourful and interesting mineral specimens found in other countries. I buy from other dealers or exchange with my specimens and in this way over the years I have accumulated a huge collection of colourful crystalline mineral specimens from all over the world.”

India, he says, is a treasure house of minerals and the Geological Society of India and Geological Survey of India have been doing a great job. “Collection and exhibition of rocks and minerals offer good careers,” he claims.

source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Special Features / by Mrityunjay Bose  in Mumbai / DHNS – January 29th, 2017

Shazia Ilmi among 10 BJP leaders appointed by Centre as independent directors in top PSUs

Kanpur, UTTAR PRADESH / NEW DELHI :

At least 10 politicians affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been appointed as independent directors on the board of top public sector firms.

Shazia Ilmi
Shazia Ilmi

Among those who feature in the list of directors appointed by NDA last week, are BJP’s Delhi unit Vice President Shazia Ilmi, Gujarat IT cell convenor Rajika Kacheria; minority face of the BJP in Gujarat Asifa Khan; former BJP MLA candidate from Odisha Surama Padhy and former Bihar MLC Kiran Ghai Sinha, reports Indian Express.

These politicians have found themselves on the boards of Navaratna PSUs that include Engineers India Ltd (EIL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and the National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO).

While Ilmi, a former journalist has been appointed an independent director at Engineers India Ltd, Kacheria, a cosmetologist by profession, has been named the head of Cotton Corporation of India Ltd.

Also, while Kiran Ghai Sinha has been listed as an independent director of the National Aluminium Company, Asifa Khan will be on the board of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Former BJP MLA candidate from Odisha Surama Padhy has been given a position on the board of Bharat Heavy Electricals; and BJP’s Karnataka unit secretary Bharathi Magdum will serve on the state trading board.

source: http://www.indiatvnews.com / India TV / Home> Politics> National / by India TV Politics Desk, New Delhi / January 27th, 2017

Istafa Husain Ansari brought handloom industry to forefront

Gorakhpur, UTTAR PRADESH :

There is no denying to the fact that 1970-1980 was the best decade for a Bunkar (weaver) of Uttar Pradesh. This period can be identified as the golden era for the handloom industry and the person responsible for this was no other than late Istafa Husain Ansari of Gorakhpur. I am fortunate to be one of his grandsons.

Istafa Husain Ansari (1914-1987) was the third child of Sheikh Murtaza Husain- a Zamindar and a successful businessman, along with a prominent political leader of Gorakhpur. From the very beginning he had nationalist leaning. His initial education was in Gorakhpur and for the higher education he attended Lucknow University, from where he completed his M.Sc. and LLB. During those days the political environment in Lucknow was stirring, and there he worked along with stalwarts Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma and K Raghurammaiyya, who were prominent student leaders of that time. At an early age he got married to Amina Khatoon, daughter of a prominent businessman of Gorakhpur, Mian Rahmatullah. One of his brothers-in-law, Niamatullah Ansari participated in the freedom struggle, and was later elected as a MLA from Gorakhpur.

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After completing his education in Lucknow, he went back to Gorakhpur to practice law in Gorakhpur Civil Court. He was interested in the issues related to small farmers, peasants and the marginalized sections of the society. His contact with Professor Shibban Lal Saxena, who was an influential Congress leader of that time, brought him closer to Maharajganj and Pharenda, from where he started his formal political career by getting elected as the Gram Pradhan of Bhelumpur, which was also known as Karmaura. In 1952, for the first assembly election after independence, he won the Gorakhpur seat on a Congress ticket. He won by a big majority and then again by a bigger majority in 1957.

He was elevated to the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Home and Information, when Sampoorna Nand became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Then in 1966 and in 1972, he was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council in Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Parishad. In November 1973, when Chief Minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, formed his eleven member’s cabinet, he was assigned as a Cabinet Minister in-charge of the small scale industries. He saw the deterioration in the politics climate and declined to be a part of that. His refusal to subscribe to the kind of politics brought in by Sanjay Gandhi curtailed his political career, because he could not do the Jee-Hazoori (sycophancy) that became the norm for success those days.

The success story of his life can be gauged by his contribution to the handloom as well as other cottage industries. He battled tirelessly for uplifting the weaker sections of the society. He fought relentlessly for the cause of the weavers and led an agitation against the ruling congress party, of which he was an active member, without fearing for the consequences and his own political future. As a result of the struggle, all his demands were met, and for the first time the woes of the handloom industry caught the attention of the policy makers. As a result, in 1970s when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi formulated her twenty point development program, challenges facing the handloom industry were also included in it. Then came the golden period of the handloom industry where infra-structure was developed to provide the raw material as well as avenues were opened to find markets for the finished product.

Apart from political appointments, he was also a member of the Aligarh Muslim University and Agra University courts. Locally in Gorakhpur, he was in the Executive Committee of Gorakhpur University, and was the founder member of Madan Mohan Malviya Engineering College. For life, he was the President of the school named after his father, Sheikh Murtaza Husain Memorial Higher Secondary School. During the time of his death in 1987, he was the member of Uttar Pradesh Minorities Commission.

It is not out of place to mention that in spite of being in public life for about five decades he maintained an unblemished record. His eldest son, Ashfaq Husain ventured into politics, and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Maharajganj. It is not out of place to mention that he was a great advocate for education and encouraged his descendants for quality education. As a result, today all twenty-two of his grandchildren are either engineers or have achieved post graduate degrees.

(The author is a Nuclear Engineer and was in the United States for long, but presently is in India. Can be contacted at www.tanvirsalim.com.)

source: http://www.twocircles.net / TwoCircles.net / Home / by Tanvir Salim / October 26th, 2013

Kiosk on wheels helps persons with disabilities turn entrepreneurs

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

The battery-operated kiosk, Sunny Splendor, is a boon to persons with disabilities. —Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P. | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar
The battery-operated kiosk, Sunny Splendor, is a boon to persons with disabilities. —Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P. | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

Three years ago, Umesh, a lorry driver, lost his legs in a road accident. To make ends meet, he decided to sell tea on a two-wheeler, but the new venture threw up many challenges.

Dejected but not defeated, he approached an automobile firm for help. The firm, along with a wheelchair manufacturer, came up with a design for a disabled-friendly mobile kiosk to help people with disabilities earn a livelihood as part of a CSR initiative. The company approached the Association of People with Disabilities (APD), which funded the project. By 2015-end, Umesh had a prototype of the mobile kiosk.

APD rolled out three such mobile kiosks in the city in December last year to enable people with locomotive impairment and cerebral palsy start a business. The kiosk or electric vehicle named Sunny Splendor can also be charged on solar power.

Calling it ‘office on wheels’, C.N. Gopinath, executive board member of APD, said: “It plays a pivotal role in creating a perfect livelihood option for the physically challenged, who at times are constrained by financial circumstances and lack of qualification.”

Mansoor Ahmed, one of the fund raisers of the project, said the kiosk is environment and disabled-friendly. “We replaced the steering wheel with a joystick and the tires have increased brake efficiency”.

“I want to start a cosmetics and beverages business and my target audience comprises those working in tech parks. With this vehicle, I can commute to different tech parks,” said Basheer Ahmed, who is affected by polio. For Mahesh, who has been repairing mobile phones from home, the vehicle will help him broaden his customer base. “I want to run the business outside a government office. I am also planning to buy a typewriter, so I can help officials in their work”.

Four kiosks in Bengaluru

There are four such kiosks in Bengaluru. Beneficiaries can approach APD if they wish to become entrepreneurs, and have to go through a selection process before they can get their own mobile kiosk.

APD charges 10 per cent of the ₹1 lakh that costs to make a unit. “We believe they have the right to stake a claim in our ventures. This would not be possible if we operated on a charity model, which is is why we accept 10 per cent monetary contribution from them, though we do not insist this from those who cannot afford,” Mr. Mansoor Ahmed added.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Shilpa Ramaswamy / Bengaluru – January 03rd, 2016