MUMBAI: Kaukab Quder Sajjad Ali Meerza, great grandson of Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Awadh, who died on Sunday in Kolkata was fascinated by the “throne” filmmaker Satyajit Ray got prepared for his iconic first Hindi film Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977). A historical drama made on Munshi Premchand’s story of the same name, the film depicted the two nobleme devoted to chess and the officials of the British East India company scheming in the background. Also depicting the ruler’s commitment to religion and persuit of pleasure, the film had Amitabh Bachchan as its narrator.
Ray had hired Mumbai-based then young Urdu journalist and writer Javed Siddiqui as the film’s dialogue writer and asked him to join the crew in Kolkata. Siddiqui recalled that once Ray invited Meerza to the sets of Shatranj Ke Khiladi and he immensely liked the throne that art director
had designed. “He was so fascinated by the throne that he requested
(Ray’s pet name) to give it to him. It was later delivered to his residence in Kolkata,” said Siddiqui who was recommended to Ray by Shama Zaidi, the film’s costume designer and co-dialogue writer.
Since the film was mostly shot at
in Kolkata, all the actors and other associated with the film stayed in the city. Amjad Khan (he played Nawab Wajid Ali Shah), Shabana Azmi, Saeed Jafri were among others who essayed the roles that made it a masterpiece to Ray’s remarkable repertoire.
Meerza who completed his research on “Literary and Cultural Contributions of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah” at
Aligarh Muslim University
(AMU) joined the varsity’s Urdu department as lecturer and taught there from 1967 to 1993. His colleagues and students remembered him as a simple person. “He was a very simple person. You would not know about his royal lineage by looking at him or from his dress as he wore simple sherwani-pyjama,” recalled retired Urdu teacher at AMU Prof.
His student and later colleague Prof Abul Qalam Qasmi said: “He penned many books, including one on his great grandfather Wajid Ali Shah. His had inherited the literary legacy as Wajid Ali Shah was too was a poet.”
Prof Ali Nadeem Rezavi
who teaches medieval history at AMU recalled that Meerza was an unassuming person. “I never remember him throwing his weight around. He led a simple man’s life and never used the title “Prince” against his name, as opposed to his more flamboyant and socially conscious brother, Prince Anjum Qauder,” Rezavi wrote in his Facebook post. “He was regular at the University Staff Club where he would come daily to play billiards which was his passion.”
Delhi-based former student of AMU, Salim Kidwai, remembered Meerza as a quite simple man. “
The family had a long association with AMU. Prince Anjum Quder too had studied there and even became President of the AMU Students Union.
Govt will need 80,000 crore for Covid vaccine, says Serum CEO
MUMBAI: The government may need Rs 80,000 crore over the next one year for distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and immunization of the country’s population, Adar Poonawalla, CEO and promoter of the world’s largest vaccine producer, Serum Institute, said on Saturday.
Calling it the “next concerning challenge”, which needs to be tackled, Poonawalla posted a tweet tagging the Prime Minister’s Office, which read: “We need to plan and guide vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution.”
Serum has tie ups with global manufacturers AstraZeneca and Novavax for potential Covid-19 vaccines, which are currently undergoing clinical trials. The tweet, perceived by many as alarming, also raised concerns over the government’s ability to fund the massive vaccine programme.
“The government has assured that there will be plenty of funds available for vaccines. We have now been assured by the highest levels in the government that enough funds will be available for vaccine procurement, supply and logistics. This is good news,” Poonawalla told TOI, when contacted.
While addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday PM Modi said that as the world’s largest vaccine producing country, India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help people across the world.
Although further details on Poonawala’s calculations were not immediately available, sources said, it could be assuming the benchmark price of $3-5 per dose, and including two doses for the over 1.3 billion population.
Congress may rope in Prashant Kishor for 2022 Punjab election
NEW DELHI: Pollster Prashant Kishor may get to manage Congress in the Punjab elections scheduled for early 2022. Party sources said CM Amarinder Singh is in talks with the former JD(U) member and election strategist, and a decision may be announced soon.
While Kishor is likely to get the contract for advance poll planning in the state, Congress members said he could even get an official perch to manage the affairs. Kishor had widely been credited with helping Congress ride back to power in the state in 2017. A senior AICC manager said the talks are being held by the chief minister and that the party is not involved in the negotiations.
While speculations about Kishor coming on board the Congress campaign in Punjab have been on for a while, it is only now it appears to be reaching a finality. Having been expelled from JD(U) following a scrap with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Kishor is said to be on the lookout for a new political platform – a reason why there are also speculations that he is looking for an entry in Congress.
Well-placed sources in Congress said Kishor has a direct line with the Gandhi siblings, a reason why not many are willing to hazard a guess about the pollster. There is some confusion in Congress ranks about Kishor.
Sources said a possible reason for CM Singh to get Kishor on board in Punjab would be to ensure that he does not work for Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, which is set to make a strong pitch in the state in the next polls.
India slams Pakistan PM at UNGA for terror export
NEW DELHI: After Pakistan PM Imran Khan again raised the Kashmir issue at UNGA, India slammed Pakistan saying terrorism was its only crowning glory. Exercising its Right of Reply, the Indian mission also accused Khan of warmongering and of using the multilateral forum to spread lies, misinformation and malice.
“This august forum witnessed a new low on its 75th anniversary. The leader of Pakistan today called for those who incite hate and violence to be outlawed. But as he went on, we were left wondering, was he referring to himself?” said Mijito Vinito, the first secretary in the permanent mission of India to the UN, Mijito Vinito, exercising India’s Right of Reply.
The only crowning glory, he said, that this country has to show to the world for the last 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism and clandestine nuclear trade. “This hall heard the incessant rant of someone who had nothing to show for himself, who had no achievements to speak of and no reasonable suggestion to offer to the world. Instead, we saw lies, misinformation, war mongering and malice spread through this Assembly,” he added.
Pakistan later exercised its right of reply too, in which it claimed that Jammu & Kashmir was never a part of India. Alluding to the “stellar record” of Pakistan, Vinito said this is the country that has the “dubious distinction” of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the United Nations, a reference to terror masterminds such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) head Masood Azhar.
“This is the same country that provides pensions for dreaded and listed terrorists out of state funds. The leader whom we heard today is the same person who referred to terrorist Osama Bin Laden as a ‘martyr’ in the Pakistani Parliament in July,” Vinito said.
He added that it is Pakistan that brought genocide to south Asia 39 years ago when it killed its own people and it is also the country that is “shameless enough” not to offer a sincere apology for the horrors it perpetratedeven after so many years. India asserted in its Right of Reply that Khan, “who spewed venom today”, admitted in 2019 in public in the US that his country still has about 30,000-40,000 terrorists, who have been trained by Pakistan and have fought in Afghanistan and in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“This is the country that has systematically cleansed its minorities , including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others, through the abuse of its blasphemy laws and through forced religious conversions,” Vinito said.
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