Thursday, August 21, 2014


Iconic Urdu poet in Jeddah for mushaira


Published in Arab News on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Some of the most-loved names in Urdu poetry will regale hundreds of expatriates with their couplets at the Indian Consulate's annual mushaira to be held at the International Indian School of Jeddah (IISJ) on Thursday.

Eighty-nine-year-old Anand Mohan Zutshi, popularly known as Gulzar Dehlawi, will be the center of attention. He is known for his stylish and classical Urdu that is reminiscent of the form that was spoken during the bygone Mogul era.

A Hindu Kashmiri Pandit, his forefathers are said to have taught Mogul princes and princesses about the fine art of Urdu and Persian poetry. Dehlawi also has a very theatrical way of presenting his couplets that endears him to his listeners.

Gulzar arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday. This is his sixth visit to Saudi Arabia. He has been here on previous occasions for similar poetry events in Jeddah, Jubail and Riyadh.

Gulzar's first visit to the Kingdom was in 1955, when he was a personal guest of King Saud. He has a legion of admirers among expatriates in Saudi Arabia.

Naseem Nikhat and Tahir Faraz are among other poets who have been invited for Thursday's mushaira. Both have been to Jeddah before and both have been very successful in their endeavors.

The list of poets includes Wasif Farooqui, Shahbaz Nadeem Ziai, Afaq Fakhri, Nishtar Amrohvi, Zubair Ibn-e-Safi, Tarannum Kanpuri, Ashfaq Asfi, Moin Shadab, Azam Shakiri and Nadeem Shad.

"Their names may not seem very familiar, but they are seen and read with respect in the Urdu world," said Press Consul Irshad Ahmad. "We have always strived to bring in quality, and not necessarily popular, poets from India. The idea is to popularize Urdu 'adab' (literature)."

Gulzar's presence has delighted poetry lovers in Jeddah.

"This mushaira has attained immense significance because of Gulzar. He is the tallest Urdu poet in India and Pakistan today, both in terms of age and also in terms of stature," Dr. Syed Naeem Hamid Ali Al-Hamid, Saudi Arabia's first officially recognized Urdu poet, told Arab News. "He is the last man standing from the famed Delhi School of Poetry."

(Courtesy: Arab News)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Haj goes high-tech for Indian pilgrims

136,000 Hajis coming from India this year


Published in Arab News on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

The Indian Haj mission has introduced several high-tech measures to facilitate the pilgrimage of 136,000 Indians coming for Haj this year.
"We will make use of every form of new-age technology, from Google Maps and smartphone applications, to Facebook, YouTube clips and text messages, to make the journey of our pilgrims as comfortable as possible," said Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak at a press conference on Monday.
"The idea is to use every available tool and gadget to keep pilgrims in our loop of communication."
Having been the Haj consul in Jeddah from 2008 to 2011, Mubarak is fully aware of the challenges that pilgrims face.
"One of the major problems that Indian pilgrims encounter during Haj is losing their way and being unable to find their accommodation, especially in the tent city of Mina, which is where most of the rituals are conducted," he said.
An Internet-based, user-friendly smartphone application that is compatible with both Android and Apple operating systems has been launched to address this issue. Dubbed the "Indian Haji Accommodation Locator," the application has a distinct icon reflecting the colors of the Indian flag. The app can be downloaded for free via Google Play Store and iTunes.
"Once downloaded, all you have to do is click on the app's icon and enter any pilgrim's cover number or passport number and you will get comprehensive details about their accommodation, including building number, tent number or 'maktab' (office) number, plus an easy-to-follow satellite or a regular road map that will lead you to their location, whether in Makkah, Mina or Madinah," said Mubarak.
The consul general said every pilgrim coming from India is provided with a Saudi cellphone SIM card which they activate upon arrival.
"Connectivity is not a problem at all," he said. "We send short text messages to these numbers to keep our pilgrims informed about important and immediate developments."
Mubarak acknowledged that the majority of pilgrims are unaware of the new technology or even the latest gadgets.
"Not everyone has a smartphone and not every pilgrim has the wherewithal to download the application or understand its complexities," he said.
"However, there are hundreds of volunteers ready to help pilgrims, but the pilgrims themselves are not in a position to explain their exact location."
Pilgrims and volunteers often speak different Indian languages, making communication difficult.
"Any volunteer can just look at the number on the pilgrim's steel bracelet that he wears at all times and punch in those details to find out the pilgrim's exact location," he said.
"We are doing this for the first time. We may encounter issues, but my mission's mandate is to minimize the suffering of pilgrims."
Of the 136,020 pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom this year, 100,020 are coming through the Haj Committee of India, while the rest are being brought in by private tour operators, popularly known as PTOs.
The first Indian Haj flight will arrive in Madinah on Aug. 27 from Kolkata, while the first flight in Jeddah will arrive on Sept. 7 from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Saudi Arabian Airlines and Air India will transport pilgrims from 21 embarkation points in India, including Varanasi, Delhi, Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Bhopal, Calicut, Goa, Guwahati, Mangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Gaya, Indore, Ranchi, Jaipur and Nagpur.
More than 55,000 pilgrims will land in Madinah, while 44,810 will land at Jeddah airport's Haj Terminal.
A staggering 13,127 pilgrims are above the age of 70. "We are making extra efforts for senior citizens," said Mubarak. "We are trying to accommodate them in buildings that have easy access and are close to the Grand Mosque," he said.
Pilgrims have been divided into two categories. Those in the premium "green" category will be housed in Makkah in buildings that are within 1,500 meters of the Holy Mosque's outer courtyard. The others will be accommodated in the nearby Aziziah district. "A regular and free transport service has been provided for pilgrims in Aziziah," he said.
Saudi Arabia has reduced the Haj quota for pilgrims coming from abroad by 20 percent in view of the ongoing expansion work in the Grand Mosque. This is the second year that the quota has been slashed, and is also poised to remain reduced during next year's Haj. "However, from 2016, we expect our quota to be back to normal," Mubarak said.
Out of the 360,000 Muslims who had applied for Haj in India this year, only 136,000 could be accommodated within the quota.
"For every pilgrim who had been selected, four were rejected," he said.
Deputy Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh and Press Consul Irshad Ahmad also addressed the press conference.

(Courtesy: Arab News)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sare Jahaan se Achcha .........

We wish you all a very happy 68th Independence Day. May our country flourish, progress and prosper and become a role model to the world in establishing peace and tranquility among the people, with all our determination and efforts.

Sare Jahaan se achcha Hindustan hamaara
Ham bulbulein hain iski ye Gulsitan hamaara

Tuesday, August 12, 2014



                            V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

Chennai leather MARKET continues to be slow in activities in tanned goat and sheep skins but good demand exists for some items like linings. Only a few big exporters of leather and leather products are interested in high quality skins at unchanged or slightly higher prices. Tanned goat skin Lots were sold at around Rs.65 per sq.ft whereas Run/Fifth/Inf.Fifth in 4/6 was sold at around Rs.83 and the same selection in 5/8 at around Rs.87.  While suede items were not easily moving even at around Rs.56 fetched by some tanners, linings were sold at prices ranging from Rs.50 to 53 depending on the quality and selection. Local items such as goat Rejection and Langda were sold at around Rs.32 and 22 per sq. ft. respectively. Many North Indian buyers of these items were not seen in the Chennai MARKET due to Ramadan holidays and hence the volume of business concluded was not much.


It is learnt that there is good demand for raw cow and buffalo hides at around Rs.1300 per piece. Normal raw goat and sheep skins are moving at around Rs.200 and 300 per piece respectively. Better selections and big skins fetch much higher prices.
Some exporters of leather and leather products are importing raw skins and hides from abroad. It seems that "nice quality sheep, white natural crust leather, 6-12 sq. ft. , 0.8-1.0 mm, AB selection"  is available at around the price of Euro 0.95 per sq. ft. by sea for imports.


Many exporters say that overseas MARKET is slow and even the interested customers are not paying their asking prices even though they are competitive. Hong Kong, Singapore and China customers are very slow in purchases. So is the case with Japanese buyers. The problems faced by some big Hong Kong importers for some irregularities which happened sometime ago are not over as yet and hence it seems they are inoperative. It is also said that many export bills of Indian exporters are pending with them. A tanner pointed out that this is the result of doing non L/C business.

Exporters are quoting at around the following prices at present.
Size/sq. ft.
Substance (mm)
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Goat upper leather
ABC - 40/40/20%
Goat milled leather
3/5 or 4/7
E/D -50/50%
Goat suede leather
ABC Sued
Goat lining leather
0.6/0.8 mm
Substance (mm)
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Sheep Nappa leather for garments
Sheep Upper leather for shoes
Sheep lining leather
Sheep lining leather
Some exporters are making their offers at around the following prices for Japan:


5.5 sq. ft. All Suede JY 250, LDT JY 200 and Rejection JY 150 per sq. ft. C&F by sea


5.5 sq. ft. All Suede JY 235 per sq. ft. C&F by sea

(Writer's e-mail id:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

HARMONY INDIA (Regd.) an Association for Communal Amity, Secularism and Human Solidarity – Convenes Public Meeting on Palestine – 6-8-2014 at 4 p.m. at New College Auditorium, Chennai 600014

HARMONY INDIA (Regd.) an Association for Communal Amity, Secularism and Human Solidarity
Convenes Public Meeting on Palestine – 6-8-2014
 at 4 p.m. at New College Auditorium, Chennai 600014

The war of aggression unleashed by Israel in the Gaza has already claimed nearly a thousand innocent lives, including a number of women and children. Israel has been targeting civilians, hospitals and schools, not just presumed 'terrorist' targets. Even the UN buildings and personnel have not been spared. The people of Palestine, millions of them displaced from their homeland over the decades, need and deserve the solidarity and support of all those who value human rights, peace and national freedom.

In order to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine in the territories occupied illegally by Israel in Gaza and elsewhere, to condemn the aggression and crimes of Israel against the people of Palestine and to create greater awareness of the issues at hand, Harmony India (Regd.) an Association for Communal Amity, Secularism and Human Solidarity is holding a meeting at the Auditorium at New College, Peters Road, Royapettah, Chennai-14 on August 6, 2014 beginning at 4:00 p.m. The meeting is expected to end by 6:45 p.m.

Eminent intellectuals, which include the former Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Gopalakrishna Gandhi, President of Harmony India, Mr. N. Ram, Founder and Secretary General of Harmony India, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot, Ms. Vasuki, National Vice-President, All India Democratic Women's Association, Prof. Venkatesh Athreya, economist and social activist, Mr. T. M. Krishna, eminent Carnatic vocalist and Mr. Asim Shehzad, Advocate, Madras High Court will speak on the occasion.

You are cordially invited to attend the meeting.