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NEWSMAKERS: 1-15 August 2001

The verses penned by his great grandfather, Bahadur Shah Zafar in his Rangoon cell continue to haunt the nation. His descendant MASIHUDDIN TUCY shares the pain the exiled emperor experienced, but the ITC food consultant hides it well. Instead, he is focussing on carrying forward one of the traditions of Lal Quila-its cuisine, better known as Khwan-e-Zafar.
‘Keeping the Mughal cuisine alive and in demand is one way I can keep alive Mughal traditions, which have given so much to this country- like the canal irrigation system, gun carriage and revenue system' he says with a glint of pride in his eyes. He avoids mentioning more obvious things like the Taj Mahal.
Aulad-e-Babar, as he prefers to have his family referred to, enjoys tremendous clout and respect in Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan. They even offered us Uzbek citizenship, but our love for this country is above all, he says. The family is settled in Hyderabad now. He recalls his first visit to the Lal Qila years ago, with nostalgia. 'I know we can never make it back to the ramparts of the Lal Qila, but being there and the welcome I received sent me into a trance', said Tucy who is also secretary of Mughal Family Society.
But what he regrets most is that though Bahadur Shah Zafar was one of the leading lights of the first war of independence in 1857, his portrait does not find a place in Parliament.

DARAIN SHAHIDI is a TV person par excellence. From an obscure part of Bihar, Gaya, Shahidi has gone on to anchor for BBC, Home TV and Star TV. He recently joined another topnotch newsgroup ESPN.
An alumni of Mass Communication Research Centre in Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, this man did 15 to 20 plays in Urdu and Hindi with the likes of MK Raina, Robin Das and Abdul Latif who were all associated with the National School of Drama (NSD). He as he says thought to get into cinema but rejected the idea as he thought he did not have an ideal face to get into the Bollywood.
When the BiTV was launched in early 1990's he was a part of the team. A short time later he moved to Home TV.
Now he wants to plan his own visibility on TV. He says he would like to showcase the cause of rural Indian sports like Kabaddi and Kho Kho and would like to shoot an entire serial on local sportsmen who are talented enough to be part of national level.

It was 1977. Renowned New York Cosmos, the North American Soccer League Club visited India for an exhibition match against Mohun Bagan. Footballing giants like Pele and Chinaglia of Peru came to India with the team and the match was played at Eden Garden in Calcutta. In a keenly contested match that ended in an unbelievable draw one person from the host club had a memorable experience. He scored a goal against the Pele-led Cosmos Club.
MUHAMMAD HABIB who is presently doing a coaching assignment with Bangalore top club Indian Telephone Industries, can never forget the day and the experience. Pele was very impressed with Habib's play and he personally appreciated his game and style.
Habib started playing football when he was 14 and had the advantage of hailing from a family that was obsessed with the sport. He was inspired by his brothers especially Azam, who was an international referee and international footballer. Football was popular in Hyderabad in the late 1950s and early 1960s and it was natural to get sucked in by the glamour of the sport. Habib started playing in the A division league when he joined the City College Old Boys' Club which was one of the best in Hyderabad. In 1964 he got a job with Hyderabad Telecom and started representing the employer. Telecom became the league champions in 1965 beating Hyderabad Police.
Habib progressed steadily and was selected for the national championship (1963-65). In the nationals held at Quilon (Kerala) in 1965. Hyderabad beat Bengal in the finals to become champions. That was the last time the state won that championship. After the sensational win Habib got a call from East Bengal where his brother Azam was also playing. Nayeem, Muhammad Afzal and I joined the club, he says.
Habib became a hot property and soon everyone was bidding for him. he joined Mohan Bagan, another Calcutta club only to return to East Bengal later. He then played for a while for Mohammedan Sporting. After playing for 18 years in big league he finally took to coaching and coached Tata Footbal Academy at Jamshedpur for 14 years.
He represented India continuously for a decade. In 1965 he captained the national youth side and then represented India at the Asian Games thrice (70,74, 78). Habib started coaching Bangalore based Indian Telephone Industries since last year.

When MUHAMMAD ANEES brought home 25 eggs from a house in Bangalore, he didn't know he would have 25 cobras, four wolf snakes and 10 rat snakes on his hands.
Anees a snake enthusiast who has caught thousands of the reptiles over last fifteen years got a frantic call from a resident of Bangalore suburbs who had spotted a cobra in his backyard. On reaching his place he found that the man had thrown water into the burrow. At first he saw a clutch of 13 eggs. And then there was another clutch of 14 eggs. That was surprising because two female cobras rarely lay eggs in the same burrow.
Of the 27 eggs two were damaged because of water thrown in. Anees retrieved the rest and incubated them for 47 days, carefully monitoring their temperature and humidity. Same days after his rescue act, Anees stumbled across four eggs of wolf snake and 10 of rate snake. These too joined the cobra eggs in his house. Recently the cobra eggs hatched and others followed next day. Anees plans to release them in the wild as soon as possible. The young cobras shed skin in 10 days and they will be ready for independent life in another 15 days, says Anees.

ABDUNNASIR MADANI the leading Muslim figure of Kerala who has been accused of masterminding serial bomb blasts in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and who is languishing in jail has asked the chief minister Jayalalitha to direct prison officials not to harass the people who come for visiting him. The president of People's Democratic Forum has said in a letter written to the state chief minister that the prison officials and police harass his relatives and other people who try to visit him in the jail. He has demanded to put an end to such outrageous incidents. Madani has sent copies of the same letter to the press and the National Human Right Commission.
He has also complained in the same letter that he is suffering from sugar, Ulcer, blood-pressure, angina and doctors have advised to undergo treatment through natural medicines and physiotherapy, but the prison authorities have denied these options to him. He says that the prison officials try to avoid taking him to physiotherapy complaining of security risks involved. He has asked the chief minister to be allowed to be treated out of the prison.

SAEED NAQVI has interviewed a host of politicians and world leaders around the globe. He has interviewed Jackie Chan, the Beatles, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Muammar Gaddafi, Mahathir Muhammad, Hosni Mubarak, Goh Chok Tong and every other politicians worth his salt. Still, Said Naqvi whose World View India completed 100 episodes recently on Doordarshan, considers Pakistan as his Achilles heel. 'I want to interview General Pervez Musharraf. As an Indian Muslims, I am in the precarious situation of being denied visa to a country where I still have some relatives, while other non-Muslim journalists have been luckier.'
Among all world leaders Naqvi has grilled, who stands head and shoulders above the rest? 'without doubt it is Nelson Mandela. Talking to the media for the first time after being imprisoned for over two decades, the man did not have any rancour against those who had put him behind bars. He was intelligent, alert and full of wit' he says. Mandela also told him about how he managed to smuggle notes out of prison for his autobiography.
Amongst the most colourful heads of state he has interviewed, says Naqvi, is Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi. 'I was the first person to interview him after the United States bombed the home of the dictator, after accusing Libya of plotting an explosion in a Berlin disco that killed two American servicemen. Gaddafi looked larger than life with the mannerism of a film star and was flanked by two female bodyguards on either side. Despite the personal tragedy where he lost his daughter he displayed immense composure and poise' Naqvi says.

Daily Awam and Nai Duniya editor Shahid Siddiqui was appointed national general secretary of Samajwadi Party. This was announced by the party’s General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav.
In a press release Mr Siddiqui said that he will continue his battle against communal elements and will continue his fight for the rights of minorities. He said whatever political party I join, my purpose will remain the same, that is, survival of secularism and the uplift and welfare of the minorities. In view of the forthcoming U.P. assembly elections, this appointment is given due importance. Mr Siddiqui was earlier close to the Congress Party.


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