Category Archives: World Opinion

Alam Beg, martyr of Sepoy Mutiny, wants to return home

BRITISH INDIA :

The resting place: The skull was found in a store room of The Lord Clyde pub in London. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
The resting place: The skull was found in a store room of The Lord Clyde pub in London. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Skull of soldier, executed by the East India Company for rebellion in 1857, found its way to London pub; it’s now with historian Kim Wagner

Headhunting is usually associated with primitive tribes and contemporary terrorists, but the colonial rulers of India also collected heads of Indian soldiers as war trophies.

A 160-year-old skull of sepoy Alam Beg, now in the possession of a historian in London, is proof that colonial rulers who brought many modern practices to India were also at times inhuman.

In 1857, Alam Beg, also known as Alum Bheg, was a soldier with the 46th Bengal Native Infantry, an arm of the East India Company.

The Mutiny that year, after having covered the north Indian heartland, spread to Sialkot (now in Pakistan), where Alam Beg and his companions tried to follow their fellow soldiers and attacked the Europeans posted there. On July 9, 1857, they killed seven Europeans, including an entire Scottish family.

Alam Beg, along with his comrades, left Sialkot and trekked all the way to the Tibetan frontier only to be turned away by the guards on the Tibetan side. He was reportedly arrested from Madhopur, a scenic town on the northern part of the Indian Punjab and taken back to Sialkot. A year later, he was tried for the brutal killing of the Scottish family and blown up from the mouth of a cannon. The Mutiny ended soon after. Alam Beg’s tragic story surfaced more than a century later thanks to an Irish captain Arthur Robert George Costello, who was present at his execution.

The skull of Alam Beg. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
The skull of Alam Beg. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Present at execution

The Irishman was a captain in the 7th Dragoon Guards, dispatched to India after the Mutiny had shaken the bonds between the East India Company and the native soldiers. Costello had not seen any episodes of the Mutiny but was present at the execution, said historian Kim Wagner, who possesses the skull now.

Costello picked up the skull and returned to London with it. In 1963, the skull was discovered in a store room of The Lord Clyde pub of London, after it had changed hands. The new owners were less than happy to find this war ‘trophy’ from 1857, but treated it as a solemn object from a disturbing past of British history in the subcontinent. The owners of the pub learnt from a note left in an eye socket that it belonged to Alam Beg, who played a leading role in the mutiny of sepoys in Sialkot. They desired to repatriate the skull to the soldier’s family. For years, they tried but failed. It is not known how the skull of Alam Beg ended up in the Victorian-era pub. But it is possible that the Irish captain who witnessed the execution of the leader of the mutinous soldiers visited the pub or someone deposited it there, given the fact that it had links with the history of the Indian Mutiny. In fact the pub was named after Collin Thomson, also known as Lord Clyde, who was a military commander and played a role in crushing the mutiny in north and northwest India. So it is possible that soldiers after their Indian stint would visit the pub.

In 2014, the owners of the pub contacted Kim Wagner who has been writing about South Asian history for years. They urged him to take the skull and return it to the descendants of Alam Beg. Mr. Wagner brought it home and the skull finally added to his research on South Asia which was published late last year as “The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857.” The historian believed that only by making people aware of the skull that Alam Beg can be returned to his motherland.

His research showed that most of the soldiers of the 46th Bengal Native Infantry were from modern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and Havildar Alam Beg most probably hailed from Uttar Pradesh. Though he wanted to return him to a dignified family grave yard of Beg’s family, it was not possible as the East India Company left no records of the soldiers of the 46th Bengal Native Infantry.

“There are no longer any records for sepoys of the Bengal Army – the best I could do was locate the area where the 46th regiment recruited from,” Mr. Wagner said.

The Mutiny of 1857 was crushed mercilessly and many gruesome incidents of that era find mention in official records. In 2014, around the time when Mr. Wagner began writing his book on Alam Beg, Ajnala in Punjab’s Amritsar hit the headlines when authorities discovered skeletons of 282 soldiers who were executed after the Mutiny. They apparently had surrendered hoping for a fair trial, but the Deputy Commissioner of the district Frederick Henry Cooper ordered execution of the rebels. They were buried with medals and even money of the East India Company that many of them had in their pockets. The grisly discovery is yet to receive a closure as the family members of those soldiers remain untraced.

Similar is the condition of Alam Beg as his journey back home remains incomplete but Mr. Wagner believed that his only physical remain should find a proper peaceful burial. Mr. Wagner is aware that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been vocal about honouring the fallen soldiers of India in various colonial era battles. He says that something similar can be done in case of Alam Beg as well.

“After all these years, it is high time for Alum Bheg to return home…he was probably born in what is today India, he was executed in what is now Pakistan,” Mr. Wagner wrote in his book proposing that a burial for Alam Beg near the India-Pakistan border would be the most suitable tribute to his sacrifice.

The historian said that in the absence of the descendants of such soldiers, it is the Indian government that should bring back Alam Beg to his motherland.

Headhunting by colonial rulers from Europe was a rampant practice in the 19th century and activists worldwide have been vocal in demanding human remains from Western museums and collectors should be returned to their countries of origin. Such a movement is yet to begin in India whose soldiers from the colonial past in many instances continue to remain anonymous and abroad.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National / by Kallol Bhattacharjee / New Delhi – February 04th, 2018

Syed Saqib Ahmed overcomes pressure to lift maiden pro title

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

The 24-year-old golfer from Bengaluru had produced amazing play over the last two days, including a hole-in-one at Nedumbassery’s CIAL Golf Club, but suddenly everything appeared to be going up in smoke.

Bengaluru golfer Syed Saqib Ahmed with the PGTI Cochin Masters Trophy, his maiden pro title, on Saturday. - STAN RAYAN
Bengaluru golfer Syed Saqib Ahmed with the PGTI Cochin Masters Trophy, his maiden pro title, on Saturday. – STAN RAYAN

For a brief moment, as he came up with successive bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes in the final round on Saturday, Syed Saqib Ahmed felt his title chances slipping away in the PGTI Cochin Masters.

He then found out from his friends that Delhi’s Honey Baisoya, his nearest challenger who had started half hour earlier, had finished with a seven under and realised that he had to buck up. And Saqib found his touch just in time, produced birdies in the last two holes, and lifted his maiden professional title.

“I really felt the pressure after the bogeys on the 15th and 16th because both the par fives are actually easy holes,” said Saqib who finished with a three-shot lead (total 278) over the pre-tournament favourite Baisoya who came second.

“But I had a birdie on the 17th, which I think is one of the toughest holes. And the 18th went like a dream, I really didn’t think I could handle it so well. This is really a big burden off my head.”

The title ended three years of waiting for Saqib. “I dedicate this, my first pro title, to my parents and to my grandfather,” said the young man and then turned emotional.

Another Bengaluru player, M. Dharma, and Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha finished joint third. V.J. Kurian, Managing Director, Cochin International Airport Limited, gave away the prizes. The Pro-Am event will be played on Sunday.

The final placings (par 288, four day total, top 10): 1. Syed Saqib Ahmed (278), 2. Honey Baisoya (281), 3. M. Dharma & Abhijit Singh Chadha (both 283), 5. Ankur Chadha (284), 6. Veer Ahlawat, Maniram, Gaurav Pratap Singh (all 285), 9. Arjun Prasad & Karandeep Kochhar (286).

source:  http://www.sportstarlive.com / SportStar / Home> Golf / by Stan Ryan / Kochi – February 03rd, 2018

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.

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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

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

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

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

Nazeer Ahamed Mohamed Zackiriah

BRUNEI DARUSLALAM  :

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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: http://www.pbdindia.gov.in / 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

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

Ariful Islam

Aligarh, UTTAR PRADESH / Benghazi, LIBYA :

ArifulIslamMPOs16jan2018

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: http://www.pbdindia.gov.in / Pravasi Bharatiya Divas / Home> Profile of Awardees / 07-09 January 2017, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India