Category Archives: Leaders

PBD 2018 celebrated in Riyadh with fervor



Riyadh :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Naeem Khan, Michelle Obama’s Fashion Designer


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Nazeer Ahamed Mohamed Zackiriah



Brunei :

Mr. Nazeer Zackiriah, Permanent Resident of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, is an Indian-origin entrepreneur who has strengthened the links between India, Brunei and the Indian community of Brunei.

He has actively supported Government of India initiatives and events and has ensured meaningful interactions with local and Indian entrepreneurs for visiting Indian delegations.

He has heightened respect for the Indian community in Brunei by his active charitable endeavours, both in his individual capacity and as President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce of Brunei.

By virtue of the recognition that he has obtained from His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei for these charitable and community-building efforts, he has been instrumental in raising the prestige and profile of the Indian community in Brunei.

Mr. Nazeer Ahamed has achieved notable success in the textile retail sector in Brunei.

From humble beginnings, through hard work and acumen, he has built up the largest chain of textile stores of Brunei which is now providing significant employment and promoting trade.

He has contributed towards strengthening the link between the Indian community and Bruneians by organizing the active participation of the Indian community in Bruneian national events like the National Day of Brunei and the Birthday Celebrations of His Majesty the Sultan.

source: / Pravasi Bharatiya Divas / Home> Profile of Awardees / 07-09 January 2017, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India

Awarding PIOs in recognition of their services


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

Ariful Islam

Aligarh, UTTAR PRADESH / Benghazi, LIBYA :


Libya :

Mr. Ariful Islam resides in Benghazi, the second largest city of Libya.

Mr. Islam has been providing selfless service to Indians in Libya and has been instrumental in building trust between the Libyans and Indians.

Mr. Islam helped during the evacuation of Indian nationals from Libya during the civil unrest in 2011 and was amongst the last to leave from Libya.

His assistance in extricating Indian nationals from the eastern region was invaluable and was appreciated and recognized by Indian as well as the Libyan authorities.

He facilitated repatriating 287 Indian citizens from Benghazi by ship to Malta in August 2014.

He again helped the Mission in December 2014 January and February 2015 to evacuate subsequent batches of Indian nurses from Benghazi and arranged for their safe passage till Labrak airport, about 250 km from Benghazi, while the security situation was very fragile.

Although, he does not have active business now due to the civil war like situation and continuous fighting in Benghazi, he returned to Libya to assist in the evacuation of our nationals and to attend to other consular matters of our citizens and to follow up with the local authorities.

source: / Pravasi Bharatiya Divas / Home> Profile of Awardees / 07-09 January 2017, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India

School for expats in Saudi Arabia wins Muslim woman top award


Zeenat Mussarat Jafri with her sons at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru on Monday
Zeenat Mussarat Jafri with her sons at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru on Monday

Bengaluru :

“A Muslim from Saudi Arabia being recognized and awarded by the BJP government. This is India.” This is how Syed Mohsin rejoiced when his mother was conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman  017 in Bengaluru on Monday.

Zeenat Mussarat Jafri, 65, was given the award by President Pranab Mukherjee for providing quality education to children of Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia. She started the first Indian school in Riyadh in 1982. “My mother is also the first woman of Indian origin from Saudi Arabia to get the Pravasi Samman,” Mohsin’s elder brother Syed Mudassir told TOI.

A native of Lucknow and a former teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Zeenat went to Saudi Arabia in 1979 with her husband Musarrat Jafri, a former DRDO scientist who later joined the Saudi government as a chemical expert.

Zeenat said: “I was moved by the plight of Indians living in Riyadh. Most of them had left their children behind in India because of a lack of educational opportunities. We wanted to do something and that’s when we met Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she visited Riyadh in 1982. We requested her to speak to Saudi authorities and get permission to start a school for Indian children. We got the green signal.”

Zeenat established the International Indian School in Riyadh from the family’s savings. From the first batch of 20 students in 1982, the school now has 12,000 students and is affiliated to CBSE. “I get angry when people pull their children out of schools. I want them to complete graduation,” said Zeenat, who is running the school for the past four decades.

But what’s more Indian about Zeenat and her husband Jafri is that they haven’t given up their Indian citizenship.Since Saudi Arabia does not allow for dual citizenship, they have accepted permanent resident status. “I am an Indian and I will always be an Indian,” she said.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / by Rakesh Prakash / TNN / January 10th, 2017

Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir sworn in as Chief Justice

Rajapura Village (Pulwama District), JAMMU & KASHMIR :

In a simple but impressive ceremony, governor Urmila Singh on Wednesday administered the oath of office to Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.

In a simple but impressive ceremony, governor Urmila Singh on Wednesday administered the oath of office to Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.

The ceremony took place at the darbar hall of Raj Bhawan and chief secretary P Mitra read out the warrant of appointment.

Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir was born on April 25, 1955 at Rajpora village of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. He obtained bachelors degree (BA) from Amar Singh College in 1976 and LLB <> in 1978 from Kashmir University. He joined the Bar in the same year and practised in almost all branches of the law– civil, criminal, revenue at the district court, Pulwama till May 26, 1993.

He appeared in Higher Judicial Services Examination of Jammu and Kashmir in 1992 and secured 1st position in the state. He was appointed and posted as principal district and sessions Judge, Kupwara on May 27, 1993. He was posted as principal district and sessions judge, Anantnag for three years, where the Court witnessed a rapid disposal rate and the administrative set up was put back on the right track.

In 1998, he was transferred as presiding officer, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal & Transport Appellate Authority, Srinagar and remained posted for two years there. He was posted as principal district and sessions judge, Budgam till May 2002.

He has the distinction of being the first judicial officer to be posted as presiding officer, designated court of TADA/special judge, POTA for Kashmir division in May 2002, where he remained posted for two years till September, 2004. He was posted as principal district and sessions judge, Srinagar in September 2004, till his elevation as additional judge of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. He was appointed as Additional Judge of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir on January 31, 2005 and later as Permanent Judge of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir on July 7, 2007. He delivered landmark judgments in all branches of the law and decided 37000 cases from January 31, 2005 to November 24, 2013.

He was transferred to the High Court of Himachal Pradesh and took over as Acting Chief Justice on November 26, 2013 and remained as such upto June 18, 2014. During this short stint, he decided 4134 cases (3928 in Division Bench and 206 in Single Bench).

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, besides others were present during the swearing-in ceremony.

source: / Hindustan Times / Home> Cities> Chandigarh / HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times / June 18th, 2014

DM & doctor: IAS officer to attend to poor patients in Uttarakhand’s Champawat


Dr Iqbal Ahmad had in 2009 completed his MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore in Karnataka. A year later, he was selected for Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

When Iqbal Ahmad, now the district magistrate of Champawat district in Uttarakhand, joined the civil services in 2010, he did not just have the aim of serving the nation, but wanted to go the extra mile.

The young officer had in 2009 completed his MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore in Karnataka. A year later, he was selected for Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

However, the Kanpur-born Ahmad had to wait for another seven years to fulfil his “old wish” — to give free medical consultancy to the poor — as he had “no formal registration”.

“On September 15, the Uttarakhand medical council cleared the registration and now I can serve,” Dr Iqbal told HT.

On Friday, he walked into the district hospital and started his medical practice for the first time.

The district magistrate will serve for one hour every morning at district hospital. During tours, he will give consultancy to the locals

Dr MS Bora, chief medical officer of Champawat, welcomed the move, saying, “DM Dr Iqbal’s dececison would motivate our health department and the needy of the district would definitely benfit from his one-hour medical consultancy.”

Champawat has only 42 doctors out of the 95 sanctioned. It has one district hospital and 21 other hospitals besides about 1,500 OPDs.

Uttarakhand has almost 60% shortfall of doctors. Against a requirement of 2,700 doctors state has just 1,000 doctors.

Kumaon commission, Chadra Shekhar also welcomed the decision, saying “If an IAS like him wants to utlize his specialization for the common public, it will benefit the state.”

Shekhar recalled that earlier, a senior IAS officer from Uttarakhand, Dr Rakesh Kumar, also an MBBS holder, had served the people by providing free medical consultancy.

Another officer to have done the same is Sadanand Date, a senior superintendent of police (SSP) posted in Uttarakhand, who is also a qualified surgeon.

source: / Hindustan Times / Home> Cities> Dehradun / by Mohan Rajput, Hindustant Times. Champawat / September 23rd, 2017

Justice Ansari sworn in as Patna HC CJ

Tezpur, ASSAM / Patna, BIHAR :


Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari was sworn in as the chief justice (CJ) of Patna high court by Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan on Friday.

Justice Ansari had been officiating as the Patna HC CJ ever since CJ L Narasimha Reddy retired on July 31 last year. He was also the acting CJ of Patna HC from December 13, 2014 to January 1, 2015 after the retirement of then CJ Rekha M Doshit. Justice Ansari joined the Patna HC on November 11, 2013.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary, legislative council chairman Awadhesh Narain Singh, state advocate general Ram Balak Mahto, principal additional advocate general Lalit Kishore and senior advocates and government lawyers also attended the ceremony.

Born on October 29, 1954 at Tezpur in Assam, Ansari did BSc from Darrang College, Tezpur and graduation in law from Tezpur Law College, of which his father, a Bar-at-Law, was the founder principal.

Ansari joined the Assam judicial services in April 1991 and worked as a district and sessions judge before being elevated as a judge in the Guwahati HC in June 1999. He will retire on October 29 this year.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Patna / TNN / July 29th, 2016

Hayat-i-Qudsi, life of the Nawab Gauhar Begum alias the Nawab Begum Qudsia of Bhopal


Hayat-i-Qudsi, life of the Nawab Gauhar Begum alias the Nawab Begum Qudsia of Bhopal
Hayat-i-Qudsi, life of the Nawab Gauhar Begum alias the Nawab Begum Qudsia of Bhopal
COVER of the book by Sultan Jahan Begam, Nawab of Bhopal, 1858-1930
Publication date : 1918
Publisher : London Paul, Trench, Trubne
Digitizing sponsor : Univesity of Toronto 
Contributor : Robarts – University of Toronto
Language : English