Commemorative postage stamp on Sahir Ludhianvi

The President and other dignitaries at the release function.
The President and other dignitaries at the release function.

“PATLAA hai haal apnaa, lekin lahuu hai gaaRaa
Phaulaad se banaa hai, har naujavaaN hamaaraa
Mil-jul ke is vatan ko, aisaa sajaayeiNge ham
Hairat se muNh takegaa, saaraa jahaaN hamaaraa”

THE President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, released a commemorative postage stamp on late Sahir Ludhianvi on March 8th. The occasion was his birth anniversary.

Born as Abdul Hayee, Ludhianvi was a popular Urdu poet and lyricist of the Hindi film industry. He passed away on October 25, 1980, at the age of 60.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Ludhianvi was widely acclaimed as a people’s poet who wrote on the trials and tribulations of the everyday life of the common man with great intensity and deep empathy. He was recognised as the poet of the young because of his writings on love and beauty. He wrote with great sensitivity on the values and social concerns of the contemporary period.

The President added, “One of Sahir’s greatest contributions was to converge Urdu poetry into film songs.” He also fought for recognition for lyric writers through the Film Writers Association.

In recognition of his services, The legendary poet was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971.

From the diary of a hockey legend

sibtainnaqviSAIYED Ali Sibtain Naqvi holds a unique distinction of representing both India and Oman in the field of hockey. During the 2002 Olympic Games at Sydney, Australia, a commemorative postage stamp was issued in his name, being the senior most administrator among the National Olympic Committees. Naqvi is a winner of several national and international honours, including a Lifetime Sports Achievement Award by the Government of Oman.  A short film “Evergreen Ace” based on his life was released in 2007. In a candid interview with MT, he shared glimpses from his life, and the role hockey played in it.

“I was born at Amroha on the 10th of Dec, 1929 (the schools’ records showed the year as 1932). Being a survivor of the 1942 Quit India Movement, I remember how students were used for political purposes. I was a student of class Xth in the Govt High School, Sitapur (UP), when India celebrated independence. Continue reading “From the diary of a hockey legend”

The Sir Syed model of Muslim empowerment

THE name Sir Syed Ahmad Khan evokes considerable respect from people in India, especially Muslims on either side of the border. A man of vision, he thought of progressive Muslim education on a scale rarely attempted earlier and against formidable odds. It is important to understand what drove him to bring in modern education as a savior of Muslims.

The Prophet of Islam [PBUH] said, “There are two persons that one is permitted to envy: The one to whom God has given riches and who has the courage to spend it in search for truth; the other to whom God has given knowledge and wisdom and who applies it for the benefit of mankind and shares it with his fellows.” Sir Syed belong to the second group. Continue reading “The Sir Syed model of Muslim empowerment”

Mir Anees deserves better

   “Teri har mouj-e-nafas rooh-ul-ameeN ki jaaN hai
     tu meri urdu zubaaN ka bolta Qur’an hai”

     Every breath of yours is the life of Gabrielle
     You are the speaking Qur’an of the urdu language

These are the words of the great urdu poet Josh Maliahabadi for Mir Babar Ali Anees.

The picture on the left is of a lane in old Lucknow dedicated to Mir Anees. Times have certainly changed!

“The poetic qualities and merits of Anees are not matched by any other poet,”

said Allama Shibli Nomani.

Picture on the right is of the haveli of Mir Anees, which is part of the Heritage Walk.

Election campaigns have not spared even this one!

Nasim Zaidi is the new Election Commissioner

FORMER Civil Aviation Secretary, Dr Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi, has been appointed as an Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of India. He fills the vacancy caused by the promotion of V. S. Sampath as Chief Election Commissioner. Sampath succeeded Dr S. Y. Quraishi.

Zaidi, a 1976 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, retired as Civil Aviation Secretary on July 31. He had earlier worked as Director General of Civil Aviation, represented India in the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and also served earlier as Commissioner of Bareilly Development Authority.

A Masters in Public Administration from Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Zaidi has been a Mason Fellow for Public Policy at Harvard Institute for International Development. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Finance from Indian Institute of Finance.

Lord Hameed makes Lucknow proud

LORD Khalid Hameed who hails from Lucknow, India, has been felicitated with ‘Freedom of the city of London’ honour. He was rewarded for his contributions to medicine and inter-faith activities. He is currently Chairman of Alfa Hospital Group and London International Hospital.

Lord Hameed chairs the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council. He is a board member of both the British Muslim Research Centre, and the Ethnic Minorities Foundation. Dr Hameed supports various charities and was awarded the Sternberg Award for 2005 for his contribution to further Christian – Muslim – Jewish relations. He is involved with interreligious matters and lectures on this subject.

He was appointed by the Queen as the first Asian High Sheriff of Greater London for the year 2006-2007. This office is 1000 years old and is the second oldest office in the country after the monarchy. He was also named British Asian of the year 2007.

Acknowledging his efforts the Government of India conferred Lord Hameed with the Padma Bhushan in 2009.

Brig. Mohammed Usman remembered

INDIAN Army organised a function today to celebrate the birth centenary of Late Brigadier Mohammed Usman. A war hero, Brig. Usman was the senior most Indian officer killed during the Jammu & Kashmir operations of 1947-48. He was 36 when he sacrificed his life for his country on July 3, 1948. Brig. Usman was awarded the Mahavir Chakra posthumously.

Invited as a special guest on the occasion, the Vice President of India Mr Hamid Ansari said that Brig. Usman, the hero of the Battle of Naushera is one of the most inspiring military leaders of Independent India, who demonstrated exceptional courage, devotion to duty and and love for the motherland in the finest traditions of our Army. Continue reading “Brig. Mohammed Usman remembered”

Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz – A Journey of Love, Hope and Nationalism

IT WAS 1935. The union hall of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was brimming with excitement. A young man in sherwani stands up to recite a poem ‘Inquilab,’ in his inimitable style –

“KohsaaroN ki taraf se surkh aandhi aayegi
Ja-baja aabaadiyoN meiN aag si lag jaayegi
Aur is rang-e-shafaq meiN ba-hazaraaN aab-o taab
Jagmagaaega watan ki hurriyat ka aaftaab”

[A red storm is approaching from over the mountains
Sparking a fire in the settlements
And on this horizon, amidst a thousand tumults
Shall shine the sun of our land’s freedom]1

The hall reverberates with a thunderous applause. Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz by now was already making waves in the literary circles. Continue reading “Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz – A Journey of Love, Hope and Nationalism”

Mohd Azharuddin – The Rise And Fall Of An Indian Idol

The commentator on the telly said, “Ye naujawan kaafi dinon se bhartiye cricket team ke darwaaze pe dastak de raha tha. Aaj aakhirkaar inko mauqa mil hi gaya.” [This young man has been knocking on the Indian team’s door for quite some time. Finally, he has got the opportunity!] It was December 31, 1984. The English side was touring India.

The young man was a tall, lanky, and shy 21 years old working as a clerk at SBI in Hyderabad. The Englishmen had never heard of him. And so did I! The young batsman showed tremendous concentration and skills. The experts were reminded of the wristy Gundappa Viswanath! He went on to score a hundred in his very first match. A remarkable achievement by any standard. More was to follow. Continue reading “Mohd Azharuddin – The Rise And Fall Of An Indian Idol”