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.


Singh & Gilani Agree To “Normalize” Indo-Pak Ties

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Nilofar Suhrawardy, MMNS India Correspondent

NEW DELHI:  The much-awaited talks between Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani were held last week on sidelines of 16th Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Thimpu, Bhutan (April 29). Though the two sides still retain differences over several issues, including Kashmir, the high-level talks are viewed as a “positive breakthrough.” The key point is their agreement to revive the Indo-Pak dialogue process, practically put on hold since Mumbai-blasts in 2008. Though the two prime ministers last met at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt in July 2009, Indo-Pak dialogue has yet to be brought back on track. Till date, it has been held back because of terrorism, sources said. While concern about terrorism still remains high on agenda of both the countries, the positive outcome of talks in Thimpu is that they agreed to “normalize” Indo-Pak ties and decide on dates for talks to be held at various levels.

Briefing media persons on Singh-Gilani talks, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said: “They discussed all issues in a free and frank manner. They agreed that India-Pakistan cooperation is vital, if the people of South Asia are to realize their destiny and if SAARC is to become an effective and powerful instrument of regional cooperation. They agreed that relations between the two countries should be normalized, and channels of contact should work effectively to enlarge the constituency of peace in both countries.”

Singh voiced India’s concern about terrorism to Gilani. “India,” Singh told Gilani, “is willing to discuss all issues of concern with Pakistan and to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue, but that issue of terrorism is holding back progress,” Rao said. On his part, Gilani told Singh, “Pakistan would not allow Pakistani territory to be used for terrorist activity directed against India.”

“The meeting was an exercise in mutual comprehension because there is a lack of mutual trust in the relationship impeding the process of normalization. The two sides have agreed on the need to assess the reasons underlying the current state of relations, or current state of affairs of the relationship and to think afresh on the way forward. They have agreed that the foreign ministers and the foreign secretaries will be charged with the responsibility of working out the modalities of restoring trust and confidence in the relationship and thus paving the way for a substantive dialogue on all issues of mutual concern,” Rao told media persons.

To a question on dates for taking forward the process of Indo-Pak talks, Rao replied: “The two sides have agreed to meet as soon as possible.” While dates have yet to be decided, Rao said: “The instructions of the prime ministers are that the foreign ministers and the foreign secretaries should meet as soon as possible.”

When asked on whether Pakistan gave any “commitment” to India regarding terrorism, Rao said: “Prime Minister (Singh) was very emphatic in mentioning that Pakistan has to act on the issue of terrorism, that the terror machine, as he termed it, that operates from Pakistan needs to be controlled, needs to be eliminated.” Gilani’s stand, according to Rao, was that Pakistan was “equally seized of these concerns, that terrorism has affected Pakistan’s well-being also, and that they want to address this issue comprehensively and effectively.”

In a separate press briefing, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the two prime ministers’ meeting had played a major role in improving the atmosphere between the two countries. The “outcome” of their meeting has been “more than expected,” Qureshi said. “It is a step in the right direction, a concrete development and we will build on it,” he stated. Dismissing prospects of any major breakthrough in immediate future, Qureshi said that “trust deficit” between India and Pakistan has to be bridged through “confidence-building measures.” “We have to be realistic and pragmatic. It (bridging trust deficit) will not happen in a day, it is a process. If we allow the process to continue, obviously with passage of time, the deficit will be narrowed down,” Qureshi said. “There was acknowledgment about deficit in both sides. The two prime ministers have to bridge that divergence and build confidence,” Qureshi said.

Islamabad will be hosting the SAARC home ministers’ meeting this year on July 26. On this, Qureshi said: “We welcome Indian home minister to take part in that meeting.”

Rao and Qureshi held separate press briefings in Thimpu soon after Singh-Gilani talks, which lasted for about an hour and a half. Both described Singh-Gilani meeting as comprehensive, cordial and friendly.

Notwithstanding the fact that diplomatic tension still prevails between India and Pakistan on issues such as Kashmir, their agreement to take forward the dialogue process and “fight terrorism” together is viewed as a major development in their bilateral ties. While in some quarters, this has been described as a “firm, strong step – finally taken,” others view it simply as a “thaw” in Indo-Pak ties which had been “frozen” since Mumbai-blasts.

United States has welcomed the decision of India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue. “Obviously there is a long way to go. But certainly, the de-escalation of tension between the two countries would help in fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in Washington (April 30). Earlier, State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said: “We always think that when leaders of countries, particularly countries with the unique history of India and Pakistan, anytime they can get together for high-level constructive dialogue, that is good for the region, and we support it.” On whether US had played any role in making Singh-Gilani meeting possible in Thimpu, Crowley replied: “We have encouraged the leaders of Pakistan and India to restore direct dialogue that has been characteristic of the relationship between those two countries within the last few years, and we’re encouraged that they are taking steps to do that.”