3rd Annual Mehfil-e-Hyderabad Held in Mississauga

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ayub Khan, TMO

Hasan Chishti Receiving the award from Bob Dechert.

MISSISSAUGA, CANADA—The 3rd Annual Mehfil-e-Hyderabad, cultural extravaganza & awards night organized by the Hyderabad Deccan Foundation of Canada (HDFC), was held at Versailles Banquet Hall in Mississauga on June 18th. The event has become the largest gathering celebrating Hyderabadi culture in North America and attracted over 700 attendees from cities across Canada and the US. Catering to every taste and persuasions the event featured awards for high achieving Canadians and Americans of Hyderabadi origin, speeches on the culture & history of Hyderabad, a musical program, and a raffle draw for two tickets on Etihad Airways.

Mr. Bashir Beg, HDFC chairman, in his speech highlighted the multicultural character of Hyderabad and its relevance in today’s globalized world. ‘Founded more than 400 years ago on the banks of the Musi River our composite culture was ‘multicultural’ in the truest sense, even before the word was coined. Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Christians, Jews, and people of many other ethnicities, castes, and creeds made Hyderabad their home and forever adopted its synthetic culture… It was a true representation of the multicultural Mosaic that everyone is aspiring to in a globalized world.  Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, had described Hyderabad as a ‘miniature India.’ In retrospect it would be more correctly described as ‘miniature globe,’ he said.
Explaining the goals of HDFC Mr. Beg said that the organization has been formed to unite the diaspora Hyderabadi community and promote and preserve its unique culture.  In this regard HDFC is planning to build a Hyderabadi Community which will serve as a hub for the promotion of arts, literature, music, language, and the values of Hyderabad. Mr. Beg urged the large Hyderabadi community of Canada to become active members of the organization and further its cause.

Mr. Bob Dechert (Member of Parliament), served as the chief guest of the function, and stated that he was deeply impressed by the vitality of dynamism of the Canadian Hyderabadis. He praised their contributions to the Canadian society in diverse fields. He supported the idea of the Hyderabadi Community Centre and offered his help towards its fruition.

Dr. Taqi Abedi (physician, poet, critic, and author of 35 books) in his spell bounding speech, in chaste Urdu, provide a historical overview of Hyderabad’s heritage and its contemporary relevance. Uncovering the aspects of the Hyderabadi dialect of Urdu he stated that it is a true amalgam of various cultures.

Mr. Goldy Hyder, a public relations expert and General Manager at Hill & Knowlton Canada, spoke on how his values have helped him in excelling and integrating in the mainstream. He advised the youth to be proud of their heritage while navigating their respective career paths. He asked them to be value the importance of parents and grandparents as they are the pillars who bring stability and serenity in the society.

This year five awards were given to five outstanding Hyderabadis from Canada and the US:

1.      Goldy Hyder (Ottawa), Political & Public Affairs
2.      Asif Saeed (Chicago), Business Entrepreneurship
3.      Hasan Chishti (Chicago), Urdu Literature
4.      Dr. Shehla Burney (Kingston), English Literature
5.      Quader Bin Sayeed (Toronto), Mountaineering

(Full biographies are at the end )

An exquisite fashion show was also staged with bridal and party dresses from India, conducted by Dream Couture fashion studios.

The musical program was conducted by HDFC director Rafat Alam whose crooning enthralled the audience. Other performers included Geeta, Chandrima, Tahira, Rahmat Khan,  Asad Siddiqui, and Kaiser Bhai.

Two raffle draws were conducted during the musical segment by Zahir Kaiser, Zehra Beg, and Ahmer Beg. Among the winners, two lucky winners won one Etihad ticket each to Hyderabad, courtesy Zahir Kaiser.

A richly illustrated souvenir, compiled by Mr. Fazal Siddiqui and Mr. Sardar Ali, featuring top quality articles was also unveiled at the event.

Zehra Beg, Salman Ansari, Hamdan Yar Khan and Khadija Mahmood served as the comperes.

For more information please contact Mr. Bashir Beg at 905-826-0407

HDFC Awardee Bios

Goldy Hyder

Mr. Goldy Hyder is a General Manager and Senior Vice President at Hill & Knowlton, one of Canada’s leading communications and public relations company. Mr. Hyder is sought after expert and commentator on a range of issues including political communications and strategy. Mr. Hyder works with a wide array of industries including banking, insurance, energy, pharmaceuticals, international trade, transportation and US-Canada relations, to name a few.  He is a seasoned expert on mergers and acquisitions having worked on numerous transactions in a variety of industries from energy to mining to technology.

Earlier, Mr. Hyder served as the chief of staff to Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark.

He holds holds a Master of Arts degree from The University of Calgary in public policy with a specialization in policy making during times of crisis. Goldy is on the Board of Governors at Carleton University and the Chair of its Community Relations and Advancement Committee, an Executive Member of the Canadian Club of Ottawa where he served as President 2005-2006, a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, a Lifetime Member of the India Canada Ottawa Business Council, and a member of the Albany Club of Toronto. In 2008 he was recognized by the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber of Commerce for his achivements and contributions to the community.

Mr. Asif Sayeed

Mr. Asif Sayeed is a businessman and entrepreneur who has remarkable achievements to his credit in the health care field. He was president & CEO of Management Principles Inc., Vital Home & Health Care Inc. and Smart Medical Buildings Inc., and American Health Care Providers Inc. The last company was ranked as the fifth largest health care company Illinois by Crain’s Chicago Businesss.  He is the recipient of several awards including outstanding service award from the Chicago Jaycee’s.

Mr. Sayeed supports various charitable and community organizations. He has contributed to several charitable projects in Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, and in India.  His philanthropic work focuses on hunger eradication, education, and health care.

An avid sportsman he has played cricket since his school days. He represented India at the International University Games along with Cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar.  Over the years he has diversified his sporting talents. Most recently he won the prestigious Sectional Golf Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club.

Hasan Chishti

Mr. Hasan Chishti is a pioneering figure in the promotion of Urdu language and literature in North America. His services to Urdu language span three countries (India, Saudi Arabia, and usa) close to half a century.  Born in Hyderabad and educated at Osmania University he was associated with the literary world from an early age. He was the editor of the ‘Akash,’ ‘Pasban,’ and several other Urdu journals in Hyderabad. He moved to Chicago in 1986 and ever since has been actively promoting Urdu language through a host of activities. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Community Leadership Award of  the Federation of Indian Associations of America, Alami Urdu Award, Haji Mohammad Award of the Urdu Writers Society (California), Outstanding Achievement Award from the All Saints Alumni Association, etc. A poet of rare distinction he is widely praised for his ghazals. He has also compiled and edited four volumes of noted humorist Mujtaba Hussain’s works.

Dr. Shehla Burney

Dr. Shehla Burney, associate professor at Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education, is a distinguished academic whose work in the area of cultural studies has been critically acclaimed. Over the years she has made key contributions on subjects as varied as ethnicity, identity politics, drama, postcolonialism, and interculturalism. She has worked on a mission for the United Nations Development Project in Crimea, Ukraine at the UNO School in Simferpol on on the retrieval and reaffirmation of cultural identity of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people who were deported during World War II and have recently been repatriated to their homeland.

Dr. Burney received a PhD from the University of Toronto with a citation for her dissertation from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, New York.

Dr. Burney was also the recipient of two gold medals for receiving the highest marks in BA and in BEd. She also received a Distinction in her “Cambridge University School Leaving Certificate”. She has held SSHRC doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, research grants and a Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute fellowship. Her research articles have been published in top ranking peer-reviewed journals and books  including the The Harriman Review, The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, etc. She had also contributed an article on Hyderabadis in the Encyclopedia of the People of Canada, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Quader Bin Sayeed

Hyderababad born Quader Bin Sayeed had accompanied the Austrian Karakorum Expedition to Broad  Peak,26650 feet above sea level. He is the first Hyderabadi to go on a  Moutaineering Expedition and went up to 21650 feet without any use of artificial oxygen. He was on the mountains for five months and remained on top of snow with  four Austrian mountaineers for three months.

During this expedition,  one of the members, Herman Buhl, lost his life due to severe weather, heavy snowfall and poor visibility. Quader Bin Sayeed did not have any  mountaineering experience and was selected due to his extraordinary physical   fitness,willpower and determination. More details on Mr. Sayeed can be obtained from www.broadpeak.com.


Researcher Fine Tunes Optical Tomography

November 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ayub Khan, MMNS

493D Taufiquar Khan, mathematical science professor at Clemson University, and his colleagues are working to make the physical pain and discomfort of mammograms a thing of past, while allowing for diagnostic imaging eventually to be done in a home setting.

The group is fine-tuning Diffuse Optical Tomography (DOT) to create high-resolution images from a scattering of infrared and visible light for the early detection of breast cancer. While the method is less expensive, safer and more comfortable than X-rays used in mammograms, the problem has been generating a strong enough resolution to detect smaller breast cancers.

“The problem with DOT is that it is a 3-D method where photon density waves launched from a source travel in a banana-shaped path due to multiple scattering, whereas X-rays follow straight lines which make the mathematical problem more manageable and the resolution of the image sharper.” said Khan. “With DOT, near-infrared or near-visible photons make the process safer for the body than with the radiation of X-rays, but they are difficult to track because of the scattering and absorption. So we are coming up with equations that will help get us from capturing cancers that are 4 millimeters in size, down to capturing those as small as 1 millimeter.”

Khan says benefits of DOT include the elimination of harmful radiation to the body as well as false positives and negatives caused by mammography X-rays. He adds there are no harmful side effects to DOT, and some version of DOT eventually could be administered in a do-it-yourself setting at home within the next decade. In addition to breast screening, he says it eventually maybe used as part of other diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound.


IFANCA responds to rumors about halal certification at Cargill/Better Beef Plant

July 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

By Ayub Khan, MMNS

CHICAGO, IL— In response to rumors circulating in USA, Canada as well as on the internet, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America [IFANCA]  has issued a statement assuring  halal consumers and retailers that all its certified products meet the strictest of Halal criteria and can be consumed without any doubt.

“IFANCA’s procedures have been approved by a team of Islamic scholars and scientists who have developed a very stringent & independently verifiable halal authentication system, in all of its certified plants including Cargill’s Better Beef Plant. IFANCA’s slaughter methods are as close as practically possible to the traditional Islamic method of slaughter, where at least three out of four vessels are precisely cut, while also meeting the Canadian food safety requirements. 

All cattle are slaughtered by specially trained Muslim slaughter men, who are supervised by IFANCA inspectors, the statement reads.

The press release states that the claims by a group which say that the IFANCA approved animal slaughter method do not meet the Islamic criteria are untrue. 

The group in a blog posting suggests that the vertical method of cut during the animal slaughter does not meet the Islamic criteria and that it goes against the scholarly consensus.

To the above allegation IFANCA replied, “First the cut at the Cargill/Better Beef plant is not vertical cut. It is modified horizontal cut. Secondly, The claim about the jurists being unanimous is baseless. There are several methods of slaughtering animals, generally practiced being cutting the throat to sever  four (4) passages, trachea, esophagus, jugular veins and carotid arteries. There is disagreement among the scholars even with the required number of openings to be cut. According to Imam Abu Hanifa all four are required to be cut. (Badai Al Sanaih, 6/41). According to his student Imam Abu Yusuf only one of the two jugular veins are required to be cut besides that of throat and windpipe. (ibid).  According to other scholars only cutting of the throat and windpipe is enough. (Sharh Muhazzab, 9/84). According to Imam Malik the windpipe and the two jugular veins are required to be cut in order for the animal to be halal. (Sharh Al Sagheer, 2/154). According to another reference, the Hanafi School’s ruling is that at least three of the four openings should be cut. (Nasab ul Raya, 4/185-86).  [This requirement of cutting at least three passages as well as complete draining of blood are met at the Cargill/Better Beef plant].”

“ The slaughter men trained by IFANCA are especially instructed in cutting the required number of openings leaving no doubt about this method of halal slaughter. Hence Cargill/Better Beef is halal and zabiha, as has been certified for over 10 years by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America,” the statement reads.


A Doomed Presidency

September 18, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A doomed presidency: With the army poised for a coup and the Taliban winning hearts, Zardari doesn’t stand a chance

Courtesy Peter Preston, The Guardian


Forget labels. In reality, two giant parties struggle perennially for power in Pakistan. One is the politicians’ party, whose candidate, Asif Ali Zardari, has just been elected president. The other is the army party, which prefers bazookas to ballot boxes. Democracy in this pivotal country is a frail blossom. And Zardari is as frail as they come.

The crude apology for a party system in Pakistan is 60 years old and shows scant sign of changing. First, the politicians have an election and govern for a while. When they falter, the generals take over. Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia ul-Haq, Pervez Musharraf – they come and go, punctuated briefly by elected prime ministers (mostly called Bhutto). It’s a malign sort of game, growing perilously close to an endgame now. Indeed, President Zardari’s inevitably brief tenure may well be the end of it all as a third party – young, idealistic, fervent and brave – begins to tip the board over. You may not have heard the Taliban so described before, but that doesn’t mean that brute force isn’t with them.

In the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s murder by hands unknown last December, the Pakistan People’s party had a triumphant election. It possessed just enough numbers in the national and provincial parliaments to deliver the presidency, but you’d be hard pressed to invent a more hopeless, doomed prospectus.

This president isn’t a politician. He’s a businessmen who’s been haplessly entangled in too much monkey business over the years. Nine years in prison for corruption on trumped-up charges? Perhaps they have never been fully, fairly investigated, but to too many Pakistanis he is Mr Ten Per Cent. He vows to fight against the Taliban and defend US interests, even when they include US special forces staging bloody raids inside Pakistan’s borders. He promises to put right a broken, increasingly beleaguered economy, and to spend another $15bn of American aid wisely and well. But what comes next will be failure, unpopularity and a new tide of sleaze allegations.

A year or two down the line, the men in braid will sense a familiar opportunity and mount another coup. Washington, glad to have the military back at the top, will find another $15bn. The army will buy more guns, and feed more of its private bank accounts. The looting of Pakistan’s hope and Pakistan’s future will proceed on schedule.

The twin supposed champions of democracy – Zardari and Nawaz Sharif – couldn’t have made a lousier fist of the past eight months: any sense of national interest was lost immediately in an orgy of squabbling. The governing party couldn’t have chosen a worse candidate for commander in chief (retaining most of Musharraf’s powers). And Nato’s American leadership, insisting increasingly shrilly that feebleness in Islamabad will give Waziristan’s cross-border invaders free rein in Afghanistan, couldn’t be hastening the demise of democracy more idiotically.

Zardari announced his arrival – to the Washington Post – as a warrior from Sind bent on destroying the ‘Lahore-Islamabad oligarchy’. The oligarchs scheduled for destruction are Sharif and a military top brass trapped between a new leadership they despise and a religious insurrection that is beginning to dismember the nation.

Yet the Taliban, whom the generals must defeat to get America’s billions, are much more than a gang of terrorist thugs. They are also a madcap reform movement of young men disgusted by corruption and the godless wheeler-dealers they think have drained the purity out of Jinnah’s ‘pure state’, and the success they’re experiencing in the borderlands and beyond shows that many ordinary Pakistanis agree with them. It’s a battle for hearts and minds and, on his record, Asif Ali Zardari is the predestined loser of last resort.