Q8india.com, the well-known news portal in Kuwait recently had the pleasure of having a chat with Ashfaque Ahmed Khan, President of Indian Cultural society.
Ashfaque Ahmed Khan, President of Indian Cultural society is a Science graduate as well as a PG Diploma holder in Marketingg & Sales started his career as a Medical Rep in BDH Pharma (E.Merck Germany), India. He was the Regional Manager of the same Co. until he resigned in 1995 to join MOH, Kuwait as a pharmacist. He belongs to Nagpur, Maharashtra, the old capital of Madhya Pradesh and the ancient city of India. He had undergone higher education in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the neighboring states in central India. Apart from his regular duty at the pharmacy department at Ministry of Health, Kuwait, he has been dedicating his free time to be with his passion for arts and literature. He has been the anchor of all the events conducted by ICS in Kuwait since its beginning. He also worked for All India Radio (Aakashwani). He has completed more than 121 stage shows as an anchor
Q8India.com: How would you like to introduce yourself and your organization?
Thank you very much for your valuable time to be with me in this evening. I appreciate the efforts of Q8india.com and their enormous support for the events that we conducted so far. It is a pleasure that such a wonderful web portal is interested to bring forth our efforts to the public. Representing my organization as the president, I would like to introduce myself as a person who is passionate towards arts and culture. I am hailing from Nagpur, which is the second capital of Maharashtra & an ancient city of India, where the history of pre-independence era has marked a lot for the present and future generations.
I know that I am here because of ICS which is the foundation of our blood and sweat. Our organization is not complete without our members, supporters, media and audience. They were constantly supporting and encouraging our events one after another.
Indian cultural society is not the organization of any region or religion but the organization of different people from different parts of India who love music, arts & literature and who are passionate towards those. This organization is lead by many talented personalities from different parts of India. Our focus is on bringing all Indians together under a banner where people will not have even a micro feeling of being from south or north.
Q8India.com: Kindly let us know more about ICS and your role in it?
The concept of forming an organization for promoting Indian culture and arts had been in our minds since long back. And as a result, together with our present team, we formed this organization in 2005 and named it as Indian Cultural Society to show that it is not limited to any region or religion or linguistic group. Later, in 2008, it got registered according to the rules of Indian embassy.
There is no membership fee to join ICS and I think ICS is the one and only organization in Kuwait with free membership. Regarding my role, you know that I m the president of this organization, an active member and an anchor to all the events of ICS. As a president, my duty involves full and regular control over all the programs of ICS, monitoring the responsibilities of our executive members, coordinating with our brilliant crew and so on.
Q8India.com: How do you evaluate the activities of your organization so far?
Thanks to the Almighty God, with whose help we conducted many successful events according to our plans. Kuwait media especially newspapers, television channels and web portals are in the forefront of our programs to promote art and culture. These media are the main social workers and we are nothing compared to their dedicated service. They keep the people alive and energetic with the updated news, events, classifieds and what’s on. Their contributions to the society should be highly appreciated and should be rewarded. Our programs drew many audiences because of the publicity that media provided. Today, ICS reached to the level that we can proudly say that we are the brand for the quality entertainment programs and we are branding the best of the best artists from India.
[show_image id=”16197″][/show_image]We have a hidden mission to promote Indian arts & literatures, social & welfare work, noble cause missions etc. In order to accomplish this, at first, we brought the great artist Mr. Kader Khan, a film director, writer and script writer too in Indian cinema. We brought ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ fame Mrs. Baghyashree, on stage to perform drama together with Akshay Anand, Bollywood actor at the theatre of AIS. After the successful and well accepted first drama, we arranged the second drama with the great artist Padmasree Tom Alter in this last Sep 2013. That program named ‘Jalsa Junoon ka’ was very wonderful according to the public and we gave a tribute to Indian freedom fighter Sayyed Moulana Abul Kalam Azad. The second session was for poetry in Hindi and Urdu and for the first time in Kuwait, play and Mushaira were conducted together in a stage. Mushaira portion is telecasted on ETV Urdu internationally on 23rd & 24th Nov 2013.
We have had invited many great personalities like music director Bappi Lahiri, renowned playback singers Shreya Ghoshal, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Shibani, Hema Sardesai, Javed Ali, Vinod Rathod, Kavita Krishna Murti, Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon etc.;
Like this way, to promote gazal also, we had been conducting gazal stages of Shakeel Ahmed, Talat Aziz, Jaswinder Singh and many other singers in consecutive years from 2006 to 2012.
Q8India.com: Are you happy that your organization did all according to the plans?
Ans. Yes, of course. I think we did better than what we planned. As we are arranging family oriented programs, all Indian nationals are offering their full support, cooperation and even sponsorship in advance. They are very happy to watch these kinds of events and they assure their presence in the events. ICS is the one and only organization in Kuwait to host most of the well known singers, comedians, directors, composers and actors of India and Pakistan together on a stage. These efforts are leaving a great message to the society that we are one by minds and no boundaries can prevent us from getting together. Our success is the result of blessing of God, hard work of our executive members, cooperation and support of Indian community in Kuwait, generosity of our sponsors and the friendly atmosphere of this beautiful country.
Q8India.com: Some organizations in Kuwait involve in many charitable activities also. How about ICS?
That is a good question. Actually we as an organized people never publish our charities in the media and that might be the reason many are not aware of our charitable activities. Our intention is to see that the charity is done and people are getting its benefits. As you have asked this question, I may explain one of our charitable activities. Recently, we brought World famous Pakistani comedian Mr. Omar Sharif in Kuwait for our stage program ‘Zara Sa Jhoom loon Main’. He came with the mission of building his dream project ‘Maa Hospital’ in Karachi, Pakistan. Now, we are proud to announce that we did three days continuous stage shows to raise funds for this hospital and collected about 75 lacs Rupees, 2 x-ray machines and one ambulance. The interesting fact was that the majority of the contributors were from Pakistan. We supported noble cause event to Saint John Ambulance, Fazlani Foundation, orphanages in Mangalore, Nagpur, Raipur & Indore. We had medical camps too.
We are paying school fee for two students regularly. We have regular free informative email circulation for community benefits “Help Desk for Job” & “Timely Tips”.
Q8India.com: Future Programs of ICS?
Thanks for asking this question. Our future programs will be in the same pattern of previous years except that the artists may not be the same. The coming program ‘Chennai Kings’ on 10th Jan. 2014 to show Kashmir to Kanyakumari, is a special program to be staged by super stars of South India Mr. Sivamani (world fame percussionist) and top most playback singers Haricharan & Suchitra.
Q8India.com: We would like to know your societal aspect also.
What is your stand on the recent issues regarding the arrest and deportation of many resident violators in Kuwait?
We Indians should be thankful to Kuwait for giving us the opportunity to survive our life here. We can’t blame this country for implementing their rules and regulations. They are not blindly arresting and deporting any expats from here. Arrest and deportation is based on the violations from the side of expats. Our embassy had given strict instruction to Kuwait Govt. that no one should be deported without prior notice to Indian embassy. First of all, we expats should rectify our status and comply with the law of this country. Embassy cannot protect illegal workers and illegal traders in Kuwait.
As per the latest statistics approximately 750,000 Indians are present in Kuwait. That means, majority of the expat Indians are on legal status and are not afraid of a return. Kuwait Government had given enough time to revise the status from domestic visa to company visa. But many were reluctant to make use of that. They have announced in front of the public and mass media that Indians are the best in the nation and they are thankful for the dedicated service of Indians in Kuwait. So, we are requesting all Indians to stay legally, work legally and obey the rules and regulations of this country to keep Indian flag high.
Q8India.com: Did ICS do anything for those expats who were arrested and deported?
Ans. Of course, we joined together with the embassy to make people aware of the steps to follow under such situations. Our executive members were very active in the embassy compound and deportation centers to assist them. ICS Advisor Mr. P.B. Pinto, Secretary Mr. Mohammed Zama, PR manager Mr. Arun and Mr. Anwar were regularly meeting these people to offer all the possible support and assistance.
Q8India.com: Traffic jam is a never ending problem in Kuwait and there was a misunderstanding that expats are responsible for traffic jams in Kuwait. According to you what are the measurements that the concerned officials have not taken yet to solve this issue?
Ans. This country is growing very high and rapidly after the liberation from Saddam’s invasion and naturally these kinds of situations are supposed to be there. We as expatriates are unable to help in this matter because this country has their own design, norms, rules and regulations. My feeling is that we have to respect whatever laws and order they declare. Our priority should be always on safe drive and our side should be correct and legal.
Regarding the measures, first of all, illegal taxis should be wiped off from the roads at any cost.
There should be a little bit difference between the timings of school and work.
Families having two or more children as students should avoid running each car for each student.
In order to avoid the worries of traffic jam, one should start early from home. Leaving just ten minutes before working time and blaming traffic jam is not fair. Instead, start ten or twenty minutes earlier than the required time and reach the office on or before the time.
Q8India.com: A brief description about the next event that ICS is going to conduct soon.
Our next program named ‘Chennai Kings’ is on 13th December 2013 at Al Arabic Sporting Stadium, Mansuriya. This time, the artists will be singing in five languages viz; Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. That will be a strange experience to the audience whom we treat as the ‘king of kings’
Q8India.com: A few words about Mr. Ashfaq Ahmed Khan’s family.
He is the fourth sibling among the eight children of his late parents. His eldest brother Mr. Manzoor A Khan is in the ministry of textiles in Bombay, the second brother Mr. Maqbool A Khan is working as a Senior Auditor in the section of PAO of Indian Civil Service. His third brother Mr. Akhlaq Khan who is also an active member of ICS has been in Kuwait since 2000 in the position of Senior Auditor at Al Kout Foods Group, Kuwait City. And, the remaining four sisters are married and well settled in India with their husbands and children. His mother was a house wife and his father was a Mine Engineer who retired later as Mine Manager at Manganese Ore India Ltd.
Ashfaq Ahmed Khan’s wife Mrs. Shagufta Khan, a science graduate who is also an active member of ICS is presently working as a senior teacher at Delhi Public School (DPS) in Ahmadi, Kuwait. She is the strength and support behind all his active efforts on arranging and presenting many wonderful stage shows to the community of Kuwait. This small family is blessed with two cute children of which one is a girl who is none other than the upcoming singer and regular performer in all the stage shows of ICS, Miss Safa Khan, is an eighth standard student at DPS, Ahmadi. And her brother and the younger one of this family is Master Arshaq Khan who is also a student at DPS in 2nd standard.
Mr. Ashfaq Ahmed Khan had shared some of his thoughts with us while concluding the interview. He has been strict in following five principles of Islam including Hajj that he performed a few years ago. (Hajj means a compulsory pilgrimage to Makah at least once in a life time for capable ones). He together with his family used to travel to Saudi Arabia every year for performing Umrah. The reason behind his concept of bringing the Indian nationals together in a venue is nothing but his patriotism, love and kindness towards the society. He is emphasizing on following many qualities in life like respecting and doing goods to parents, being amiable and kind towards children while growing them with traditional and moral values, help the needy people, keep the relationships active etc;0