Andhra Pradesh First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Seemandhra, Coastal Andhra, Telugu People and all the People of Andhra Pradesh – here at Home and Overseas
  • scissors

    On this typically steamy day in Kakinada, doctors have been performing cataract surgeries all morning. There are still dozens of surgeries to go when the power goes out. I flinch and start to panic. The doctors, however, carry on like nothing happened. It feels like forever, but is actually less than 20 seconds before the hospital’s backup generator kicks in.

    LAURA STRICKER The Sudbury Star Cataract surgery patients board the bus which will take them back to the village of Rowthulapudi, 50 kilometres from Kakinada.

    I’ve been in India for more than a week and am used to the sporadic power outages. But tucked away in the corner of the operating room at the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology, trying to stay out of the way and make myself as small as possible, the lack of electricity makes me nervous.

    For the staff, it’s just another part of working in a country where providing reliable electricity for more than one billion people has long been a challenge. One of the biggest expenses the institute has is to keep its generator running. But all that is worth it, I’m told, because they’re helping people who would otherwise spend their remaining years languishing in their homes, unable to take care of themselves.

    Nalam Amalu is one of those people. When she had her first cataract surgery in 2009, it was after she’d been blind in her right eye for two years.

    So, when the vision in her left eye started to go a few months ago, Amalu, 65, knew she had to go back to Srikiran. The institute was established in 1993 to help people such as herself, who have eye problems but don’t have the money to get care, or access to a hospital.

    The Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation, set up in 1989, runs and funds the hospital. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri (Dr. Chandra) moved from Ottawa to Kakinada and founded the organization in his family’s memory. Manjari, his wife, Srikiran, his son, and Sarada, his daughter, were killed in the June 23, 1985 Air India bombing.

    “When I got my right eye operated on, I was thankful to God for sending a person like Dr. Chandra, who is able to conduct these (eye testing) camps and give sight to so many people who are neglected,” Amalu says. A short, skinny woman, the bangles on her wrists clank as she uses her torn shawl to wipe her nose and eyes.

    She lives in S. Pydipala village, she explains, speaking in the local language Telugu. The village is six kilometres away from Rowthulapudi, the site of the testing camp. To get to the camp she paid 10 rupees ($0.18 Canadian) for a car ride.

    “I don’t have anybody to take care of me,” she continues. “I’m so grateful to Dr. Chandra and the hospital for giving me sight again.”

    Men in India are more at risk to get cataracts from working in the fields without eye protection, staff members at the hospital say. But at Srikiran, more women — who often get left behind — are the ones getting the surgery.

    On average, after getting the surgery, patients see their vision improve by 90%. Infection is a common problem, though, as they don’t follow post-operative care instructions and lack the clean water necessary to wash out the eye. Even after the surgery, most people need eyeglasses. For those who can’t afford to pay, the glasses are given to them for free.

    On the day of the surgery, 100 people wait patiently for their turn, sitting on thin mats scattered throughout a long room. Nurses walk from person to person to confirm identities by asking their name, which eye is getting operated on and the name of their husband or father — a step that gets repeated at every stage before the surgery. Each patient has a white sticker put over the eye getting operated on.

    These surgeries, hundreds of which are performed every week, have an impact that goes beyond just improving vision.

    “When people become blind, they cannot be productive citizens in the community, and somebody has to look after them,” says Dr. Chandra. “When they’re already poor and they cannot make a living because they are blind, and then another person has to look after them, this puts even more economic strain on the family.

    “So, for such people, we are providing free eye care and also restoring their eyesight, completely free of cost to them. By doing so, we are making them a productive part of the family and the community again; thereby the economic burden is eased. They also get their self-respect and confidence restored.”

    Another patient, who gives her name as K. Mallamma, says her restored vision means she can help her son, who lives with her, with his business.

    Since January, she’d been losing vision in her left eye, she tells me through a translator. It got so bad she couldn’t see to walk the short distance from her house to get fresh water.

    “Now I can move around, now I can do a little bit of housework, like sweeping. Before I was not doing these things. My son was doing those things. But now I will be able to do all that.

    “At least now I’ll be able to help my son (who does laundry for people in their village) a little bit. Like when he irons the clothes, I’ll be able to fold them.”

    With one cataract surgery costing $50, and 90% of the surgeries done for free, Srikiran survives largely on donations, says Dr. Chandra.

    “In this aspect, I think we are very unique in India, because nobody else does that many free surgeries. And it is possible for us because several people in Canada are supporting us, from the east coast to the west coast.”

    These donations also go to cover the cost of operating four vision centres outside Kakinada. If patients have problems after the operation, or have a post-operative checkup, they can go instead to one of these centres if they’re closer than Srikiran. A computer at the main branch of the institute connects via webcam to the centres.

    For those who need the surgery, getting them to the post-operative stage isn’t always easy.

    “Sometimes they don’t even want to come because they’re so disappointed in life, some of them are very grouchy and sad. But we tell them look, you come with us and we’ll try to help you as much as we can,” Dr. Chandra says. “So when they come, the next day when you take off the bandages, you should see the feeling in their face. It’s really hard to describe it.

    “When you see those happy faces, that gives us maximum satisfaction — to see the value of what we are doing.”

    Kotipalli Iswaiamma, 75, was initially scared to get the operation and unco-operative at the field camp. After the surgery, she was so overcome with emotion, she had trouble speaking.

    Ten years ago, she hit a wall and lost all sight in her right eye. Six months ago, the vision in her left eye started getting worse.

    This was a big problem because she looks after her husband, who is completely blind.

    “I have to take care of all his needs,” she says, including taking him to the toilet and bathing him. “He stopped eating food. Instead of having three meals, he only has one so that he won’t go to the toilet as much.

    “Now at least vision in my one eye is good, so I can take care of my husband,” she adds, her voice wavering.

    Laura Stricker photo. Guttula Manikanta, a grade 10 student at Sarada Vidyalayam school, shows a picture he drew of Chandrasekhar Sankurathri, founder of the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation.

    Reflecting on the nearly 180,000 eye surgeries performed and the students that have a brighter future, Dr. Chandra says his family would approve of what he’s doing.

    “I think they would be very happy, and that gives me a lot of satisfaction,” he says softly. “It’s what I do with my life now. I have no regrets about it. I’m very happy with what I do. I always wish I could do more.

    “Something always at the back of my mind is to look after women and child health, because there’s a lot of problems with child-bearing women,” he continues. “Their health is not very good. Infant mortality is the one thing we want to address sometime in the near future.

    “I just want to thank all the supporters across the country, and especially in Sudbury. We really appreciate their support and are looking forward to having the same support in the future, to ease some of the suffering of the poor. I really thank from the bottom of my heart.”

    — Star reporter Laura Stricker’s trip to India was funded by the Ontario International Development Agency, a longtime supporter of the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation. For more information on the organizations, visit and Read Accent every Saturday. Twitter: @LauraStricker

    source: / The Sudbury Star, Canada / Home> NewsLocal / by Laura Stricker, Sudbury News / Saturday, December 29th, 2012

  • scissors

    A. Usha Rani, president of Rotary Club of Waltair, observing the working of  ‘Camera Cat’ classroom device for low vision students, after inaugurating it in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. /  Photo: A.Manikanta Kumar / The Hindu .

    The portable equipment will cost Rs. 18,000, says Vision-Aid president

    Eight years after introducing Camera Mouse, a device that helps low vision persons to read a book or newspaper with small print, Vision-Aid came up with Camera Cat for the sake of students not able to clearly see the teacher and the blackboard in the classroom.

    Camera Cat consists of a LED screen to which is attached a camera with a high definition lens that can be focussed on the blackboard. Camera Cat is portable and all its parts are Indian made and it would cost Rs. 18,000 per equipment, compared to Rs. 5 lakh one has to spend to get similar equipment made in the US which is a wireless one, Vision-Aid India president M.S. Raju said. The cost was expected to come down in future, he said.

    The Camera Cat was launched by president of Rotary Club, Waltair A. Sudharani at the Vision-Aid Resource Centre located on the premises of GVP Junior College in Dwakaranagar here on Saturday. She also promised to look into the possibility of providing a Camera Cat at a school before March 2013. A low vision student was not able to see the blackboard and would copy the notes from the student sitting next to him. Mr. Raju expected Camera Cat to become popular like the Camera Mouse. So far 700 pieces of Camera Mouse are in use and there was no single complaint, he said.

    Book released

    Also on the occasion a book, ‘Enabling the Vision Disabled’, was released. This was meant to help the NGOs and others helping the low vision people. The book consists of four monographs on sight evaluation and sight enhancement of vision impaired; computer training for vision impaired; educating and resourcing on assistive devices for vision impaired and orientation and mobility training for vision impaired. It was based on the research findings of the Rockefeller Foundation.

    Founder of Vision Aid Inc. USA M. Ramaraju, co-founder Revathi Ramakrishna, senior executives of Royal Commonwealth Society of UK Pooja Sanghvi and Akbar Mehfuz, vice-president of Vision-Aid A. Srinivas, coordinator A.V. Ramesh Kumar and others were present.

    Mr. Ramaraju appreciated the efforts being made by Vision-Aid here and the way two visually impaired teachers Ravi Krishna and Surya Krishna could learn to use computer with the help of training provided by the Vision Aid Resource Centre.

    Vision Aid Inc. USA was raising funds by organising programmes in the US to help the visually handicapped persons here. Sightsavers organisation and the Royal Commonwealth Society are helping the programmes of Vision-Aid.

    source: / Home> News> Cities / by Special Correspondent / Visakhapatnam, December 30th, 2012

  • scissors
    December 30th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Nri's / Pio's
    Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy greets Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi in Tirupati on Saturday. / Photo: Nagara Gopal / The Hindu

    The Telugu carnival — 4th World Telugu Conference — came to a close here on Saturday night after three days of festivities and literary/cultural programmes, with the response remaining overwhelming till the last minute.

    In the end, a sea of humanity thronged the main and all the remaining 10 sub-venues of the WTC in the Veterinary University campus in spite of rain in Tirupati and its vicinity throughout the day, which left the ground slushy.

    Whether this was indicative of a new awareness and love for the mother tongue and its culture/heritage, promising a renaissance at least in the near future, will be known in the next few years.

    The end result was that more sammelans or avadhanams by poets could be held along with as many mini-conferences on various measures required to ensure the Telugu survival in the face of daily onslaught on it in the Internet age. More than 200 books were released on the occasion and exposure of the language and culture was ensured to the present generation for the first time in the recent years.

    At the concluding function, a weaver from Sircilla in Karimnagar district, Nalla Vijay, pulled out a six-metre long decca muslin sari, an age-old weaving art in the State, from a match-box, much to the delight of the vast audience.

    The function was delayed by over three hours as Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah had to reach the city by road from Chennai. Messages sent by Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were read out and representatives from countries — US to Nigeria — said they were overjoyed at the turnout which was “unseen and unheard of” for a language-based conference.

    Resolutions were adopted to compliment Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy for the successful conduct of the WTC, hold the event every five years, organise one in the US in 2017, implement Telugu down to village level, bring academies and Telugu NRI problems under a separate ministry and supply free textbooks to their children.

    The Chief Minister complimented all his predecessors, including NTR and Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, for efforts they made for the promotion of Telugu. The WTC would be organised down till the mandal level for one year and international convention centres provided to Visakhapatnam and other cities.

    Mr. Rosaiah asked Telugus to speak their mother tongue at home and outside, emulating Tamils. Mr. Reddy announced that an AP Bhavan would be built in Chennai on 26 cents of land just allotted for the purpose by the Tamil Nadu government. Union Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi appealed to Telugus to replace “mummy-daddy culture” by that of “amma naana”.

    Present on the dais were Union HR Minister M. Pallam Raju and a number of Ministers, including Galla Aruna, Vatti Vasanth Kumar, K. Parthasarathy and S. Shailajanath.

    source: / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh  / by M. Malleswara Rao / Tirupati, December 30th, 2012

  • scissors
    December 29th, 2012adminLeaders, Records, All, Sports
    Pushing badminton onto the global stage.
    Gopi Chand at the Pullela Gopi Chand Nimmagadda Foundation Badminton Academy, Gachibowli, Hyderabad. Photo: Harsha Vadlamani/Mint
    At Pullela Gopi Chand’s   badminton academy in Hyderabad, there’s no justification for defeat. He keeps with himself a list of “excuses for losing”, which includes: “The linesman was cross-eyed”, “I wore new shoes”, “I have a sprain”, or “I didn’t sleep well last night”. The message for Gopi Chand’s 150 trainees is clear: Use excuses at your own peril.
    “No one is spared,” Gopi Chand, 39, says, “not even myself. Everyone here knows what needs to be done, how much work has to be put in, and that it needs to be done no matter how hard it is.”
    This single-minded focus has made the 2001 All England champion into the most formidable badminton coach in the country, impatiently hacking through the odds to script a shining story of success. He’s coach to  Saina Nehwal , who became the first badminton player from India to win a medal at the Olympics, in a year in which she also became the highest paid athlete in the country (excluding cricketers). He’s coach to P.V. Sindhu  , the lanky 17-year-old prodigy who’s already started making rapid inroads into world badminton. Of the 12 women’s and men’s singles players from India ranked in the world’s top 100, 11 come from his academy. At this year’s Senior National Badminton Championships, every category was won by a player from his academy. Three of the losing finalists were his students too. That this compact training school, easy to miss among the gigantic and swank IT complexes which surround it, has produced every single badminton champion in India this year is almost unbelievable.
    “That makes me happy,” says Gopi Chand, “but not by much. For me, these are only signs that we have a lot of responsibilities for the future, lots of work to do.”
    Even Nehwal’s victories are mere markers for what Gopi Chand and his team are doing right, and what they’re not. There’s just no time to gloat.
    “If you want to be good, there is no place for complacency, or even democracy for that matter,” he says. “You need a strong mind to survive in sports, because there’s no normal life here. It’s just train, eat right, rest, recover, compete.”
    What excites him most about this year is the rise of Sindhu, who is already ranked world No. 24 in women’s singles.
    “We’ve got at least four fantastic 13-year-olds training right now as well,” says Gopi Chand. “That is the dream. Not one Saina Nehwal, but many. In the next four to five years, it is possible that we will be the second superpower in badminton after China.”
    source: / Live Mint & The Wall Street Journal / Home> Lounge / by Rudraneil Sengupta / Friday, December 28th, 2012
  • scissors
    December 28th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Stating that languages “reflect the roots” of society, President Pranab Mukherjee today emphasised on the need to create platforms to provide Indian languages greater exposure across the globe.

    “There is no dearth of creativity and talent in Indian languages. While Indian writing in English has excited the world, we need to create platforms to provide greater exposure to Indian languages so that the creativity embedded in Indian literature is spread across the world,” he said during the inauguration of the three-day World Telugu Conference here.

    Languages are not merely a means of communication, they along with literature are our heritage, he said.

    “They define and reflect the roots of our society,” he said.

    Government support alone was not enough for promotion of literature and all stakeholders should contribute meaningfully towards preserving and promoting these and Indian languages.

    Tracing the evolution of Telugu, which has been declared a classical language in 2008, he said it was important that its antiquity and civilisation must be further explored.

    “It is our responsibility to make every effort for its healthy growth and development so that posterity can benefit from the vast knowledge and ideas that rest within this language,” the President said.

    Emphasising the need for concrete plans for creating awareness about Telugu language and literature among the youth, he said steps must be taken to consolidate all research works on Telugu history and to identify and encourage new research projects.

    Mukherjee said the present conference was an opportunity for eminent personalities, poets, writers, intellectuals and artists to give a new dimension and vision to the language.

    Earlier, he laid the foundation stone for an International Convention Centre at the conference site here.

    Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan and Chief Minister N Kirankumar Reddy were among those present on the occasion.

    source: / Home> General News / by Press Trust of India / Tirupati, December 27th, 2012

  • scissors
    December 28th, 2012adminAmazing Feats, Records, All, Sports

    First Indian cricketer to be conferred with the MBE medallion

    Combining cricketing acumen with a human touch! Well, M.V. Narasimha Rao is the first Indian cricketer ever to be conferred with the prestigious Member of British Empire (MBE) medallion for his contribution to promoting the sport and also for community service through cricket during the testing times faced by the ethnic community in Northern Ireland.


    And back home in the city for holidaying, the 58-year-old Bobjee — as he is popularly known in cricketing circles — who played for India in four Tests in 1979 under Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy feels that he has every reason to look back at his stay in Ireland since 1989 with a sense of pride and immense satisfaction.

    “MBE is like getting a Padma Award in India. There is so much aura associated with it.


    “It is a huge honour, and you are a special invitee to all the functions of the Royal Family back in England,” says a smiling Bobjee as he relaxes at his residence in Marredpally in the company of his wife Josephine and son Suresh (his two daughters stayed back in Ireland as they have to attend college).

    “Well, these are the awards which give you a new direction and fresh hopes to do something more special for humanity,” he feels.

    “In terms of getting recognised back in Ireland, it did a lot.

    “But the fact that I continue to be the chairperson of the North Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (mostly featuring Polish, Indians and Chinese) is only like getting involved in community service to a great extent,” he points out.

    On cricketing assignments, he said, “I take pride in reminding that nine of the boys whom I coached were members of the Ireland World Cup team in 2011, and they include the most famous of all, Kevin O Brien (the centurion against England in the World Cup),” says the beaming cricketer, who is also the Director of Cricket Development Programmes, NW Cricket Union.


    “The target we set for ourselves is to see that Ireland gets Test status by 2020,” he insists.

    Incidentally, this is the silver jubilee year since Hyderabad last won the Ranji Trophy in 1987 under Bobjee’s captaincy.

    “Definitely, it pains when you see Hyderabad performing badly.

    “I sincerely believe that V.V.S. Laxman should take up a big role in the HCA (Hyderabad Cricket Association) affairs to give a new direction to the young talent,” he signs off in exasperation.

    source: / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by V. V. Subrahmanyam / December 28th, 2012

  • scissors
    December 27th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Mujtaba Hussain’s satirical writings in Urdu have regaled readers across the world. / The Hindu

    His book ‘Japan Chalo, Japan Chalo’ is considered a unique addition to Indian fiction for its originality and beauty in the travelogue genre

    Humour is serious business and humorists by and large are dour-faced souls. Mujtaba Hussain, however, begs to differ. Though he has a stiff upper lip, as one engages in conversation with him his sense of humour comes across. And as the conversation progresses one gets into splits at his tête-à-tête interoperated with a generous dose of pun, repartee and one-liners.

    Tickling the funny bone is no child’s play. But Mr. Hussain is doing it for the last half a century. His satirical writings in Urdu have regaled readers across the world so much so that his works have been translated into Oriya, Kanada, Hindi, English, Russian and Japanese languages.

    Livelier Sundays

    On August 12 he completed 50 years of humour writing. Though age has caught up with him slowing down his movements, there is no let-up in his writing. Even at 76 he serves up essays which are sharp, witty and hilarious. No wonder his hugely popular column in Siasat daily is eagerly looked forward to. In fact it makes Sundays even livelier.

    Dubbed as the Mark Twain of Urdu humour, Mr. Hussain doesn’t believe in sitting on laurels even after 25 books, 13 awards, including the coveted Padma Shri. He works tirelessly rather effortlessly to give his best.

    From the mundane to the celestial, he has waxed eloquent on every topic under the sun. Neil Armstrong, who died the other day, was also a subject of his column when he landed on the moon. “Chand ki barbadi hogaee, budhiya gayab hogayee…”, he wrote referring to the lore of an old woman working the ‘charkha’.


    His book ‘Japan Chalo, Japan Chalo’ is considered a unique addition to Indian fiction for its originality and beauty in the travelogue genre – something unheard of in Urdu literature.

    What is unique about this ‘Qutb Minar’ of Urdu humour is the freshness he brings to his writings. His exuberant style, scintillating humour and cryptic satire makes his works unputdownable. In fact, many persond have learnt Urdu just to read his books.

    It was the sudden death of Shahid Siddiqui, a humour writer, in 1962, that gave birth to the writer in Mujtaba Hussain. He was asked to continue the column ‘sheesha-teesha’ written by Siddiqui. “I thought it was a one-day affair. But I got stuck with it and today humour has become my bread and butter”, says Mr. Hussain.

    Ceaseless commitment

    His commitment to work is so much that even after the death of his daughter in 1963 he came straight to the office from the graveyard and penned the next day’s humorous piece.

    His sense of humour seems to have rubbed off on his wife too. After he was conferred Padma Shri in 2007 his phone never stopped ringing. Mr. Hussain was naturally tired answering the congratulatory calls and asked his wife to take them. When the next call came, his wife picked up the phone and the voice on the other end enquired who she was. Mrs. Hussain shot back “mai Padma Shri ki shrimati bol rahi hoon.”

    source: / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by J.S. Ifthekhar / August 31st, 2012

  • scissors
    December 26th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Hyderabad :

    One of the world’s costliest pen at Rs 75 lakh along with books on motivation, religion and fiction drew hundreds of Hyderabadis to the annual book fair in the city, with some even buying the white gold and 650 diamond-encrusted pen as gifts to mark the Christmas.

    Organisers said the 27th Hyderabad book fair  was bigger compared to last year with 288 stalls and 40 more stalls erected due to high demand. The The 12-day fair came to an end on Christmas day with thousands swarming in to buy books and gifts on the concluding day.

    “There were book launches almost everyday, especially local language books and poem collections, and they were a big hit,” said R Hanmanth Rao, president of the Hyderabad Book Fair Society.

    Incidentally, the fair also had other attractions beside books. There were educational toys, scientific aids and pens and for the first time in Hyderabad, Emonte Pens Private Limited introduced a Ripple HRH, a fountain pen which was worth Rs 75 lakh, organisers said. The white gold and diamond-encrusted pen has only 39 pieces worldwide and has been a great crowd-puller here. There were a few buyers who bought this precious pen.

    “But we cannot disclose the names of the buyers due to our company policy,” said Swapnil Kennedy, regional manager, South India. “It’s not just elite sections alone, but we have special pens for even the common man. The price range starts at Rs 75 and go up to 75 lakhs.”

    One ivory fountain pen, worth Rs 2 lakh was also sought after by people at the fair. The modestly priced pens with magnetic caps make them a favourite with many enthusiasts. “The price range of fountain pens starts from Rs 2,000 and buyers mostly want pens in the range of Rs 500 to Rs 1000,” said Kennedy.

    “I am coming here for the second time to show the pen to my grandchildren,” said Komala Valli, a retired government employee.

    Major publishers like Harper Collins, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University and Pearson were among those present and people were seen ambling across the fair carrying books in hand.

    Interestingly, one of the most popular books in the fair being Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams’ (TTD) 15-volume Mahabharata. Priced at Rs 2,315, the book was bought by many history lovers and retired people.

    source: / Home> City> Hyderabad / TNN / December 26th, 2012

  • scissors


    Hyderabad girl Pragya Patra and Rohit Sehgal from Panipat won MOBisur, a mobile and Internet-based singing talent hunt launched by composer-signer Shankar Mahadevan.

    The winners received a cash prize of Rs5 lakh and will get an opportunity to record an album with Shankar, which will be released by T-Series and Hungama.

    There were six finalists and final decision was taken by the jury members — Shankar and singers Soumini Paul and Tulsi Kumar.

    “It has been an incredible and challenging experience to filter and select the best of what India’s rich talent pool has to offer. I am extremely happy that we have successfully selected the right winners,” Shankar said in a statement.

    The motive behind launching MOBisur was to gather musical talent from every corner of India through the power of digital medium.

    “We received an overwhelming response in the first edition, which has reaffirmed our faith in the digital talent hunt,” he added.

    Launched in July, “MOBisur” gave participants the chance to engage in a unique audition format, which required them to either dial in and record a song or perform and upload a video online.

    source: / Daily News & Analysis / Home> Entertainment> Report / Place: New Delhi, Agency: DNA / December 24th, 2012

  • scissors
    John Burton, a Scottish tailor, delivered 60 overcoats and an equal number of shirts and trousers in less than six hours to the seventh Nizam, who attended the midnight mass at St. John’s Cathedral, Gunfoundry on December 24, 1950

    There is utter bedlam. Expensive cloth is scattered all over. Scores of tailors are at work — frantically cutting cloth with trouser and shirt pieces lying in various stages of stitching.

    Amid all this disarray, a suited gentleman, pipe in hand, is hollering around.

    The shop in Secunderabad is busier than a beehive. Is there a meaning to this madness?

    Yes, if you only know who the tailor is and the job at hand. Put the clock back by 62 years and the pieces of jigsaw puzzle fall in place.

    Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Seventh Nizam of Hyderabad. / The Hindu /

    December 24, 1950. The time is 6 p.m. John Burton has just had an audience with the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

    And he is faced with the million dollar question — how to cope with the ‘shahi hukum’ (royal order).

    Tall order

    It’s a tall order indeed. Sixty overcoats and an equal number of trousers and shirts to be stitched and delivered in less than six hours – just in time for the midnight mass.

    “That explains the mortal hurry,” says M.A. Qaiyum, former assistant director, Archaeology and Museums Department, recalling the event.

    A difficult command no doubt, but not altogether impossible.

    Especially for John Burton, the Scottish tailor par excellence.

    Did he rise to the occasion? Yes, he certainly did.

    Tailors summoned

    It only meant summoning all the tailors in the town and working like mad.

    When appointed as the royal outfitter, Burton knew that none could say ‘no’ to the Nizam. Schedules had to be kept and eccentric demands met – even at short notices.

    Donning a black suit, the Nizam trooped into the St. Joseph’s Cathedral at Gunfoundry along with 60 courtiers in time for the midnight mass. Osman Ali Khan was a frequent visitor to this church and often attended the mass.

    The clock on the tower, the European oil painting of the Blessed Mother and Christ as a child and the chandeliers were gifted by him in February 17, 1953.

    The man who called Hindus and Muslims his two eyes, was generous with donations, though he was personally frugal.

    Recipients of his munificence included mosques, temples, churches and gurdwaras. The Nizam even penned a Christmas poem in Persian. Its English translation by Sir Nizamath Jung reads thus:

    What was Jesus’ mission, Osman?

    Ask them whom He came to guide

    Gave His life for their redemption

    For His flock he gladly died!

    source: / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by J. S. Ifthekhar / December 25th, 2012

  • « Older Entries