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NEWSMAKERS: 16-31 August 2001

Sahitya Akademy has decided to publish selected odes of Prof. Shaharyar. The selection will be done by Shaharyar himself and he will also write a 20 page preamble about his poetry. Prof. Shaharyar has been honoured with awards of Sahitya Akademy, Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, Adabi Sangam New York, Bahadur Shah Zafar and Ghalib Awards.

Born in Gujarat and brought up in Kenya, Zain Verjee is the newly appointed CNN anchor of Q&A South Asia. Stepping into the shoes of Riz Khan, this bubbly young lady having already hosted a political talk show for Kenya Television, found the Indo-Pak summit an excellent opportunity to give Q&A the exact local touch. She believes in covering the summit in a journalistic and prudent manner. She also had the opportunity to host several interesting episodes centering on Manipur situation, water crisis in Bangladesh and the recent Agra summit.
Zain came to CNN International from Kenya Television Network where she anchored the prime-time news bulletin and compiled, produced and presented documentaries. Her journalistic efforts have even gone beyond the broadcast realm. In Feb 2001, she published ‘Live and on the Air’- a children’s book exploring the experiences of a young girl who moves from rural Kenya to Nairobi to work as a broadcaster.
According to the young journalist, every show has a personality which the anchor-person brings to it. ‘It is a privilege to do this show which was popularized by Riz,’ she says. ‘Riz is a wonderful journalist and a good friend. But I guess I can only be Zain and not Riz’.
During her stint with radio, she had also produced successful campaigns on violence against women, Hepatitis B, spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS and polio. She says about her Agra summit experience, ‘Almost all of them welcomed Pakistanis to India and were full of warmth for them. But Kashmir, each one felt, was an integral part of India.’ ‘As a journalist I have to be neutral,’ she added.

Abbas Batliwala, an ever-smiling 42-year-old painter, is far from the prototypal artist. Belonging to a well-to-do- business family, he is just another natural born artist who took to art at a very young age. ‘Our community has spawned very few artists’ says the youngest of eight children (M.F. Husain, incidentally, belongs to the same community), ‘but there was no resistance from my family members when I chose painting as a subject for my post-graduation.’ His work is influenced by the tradition of his own community.
For example, one of his 18 oils depicts a group of men sharing a meal of roomali roti, mutton, jalebi and laddu. ‘This is how we partake of the ideal food to celebrate a happy occasion,’ explains the artist who won the Triennale Award in 1991, ‘Most of my works reflects moments from the daily life.’

Billiard player Yasin Merchant silenced his critics by winning the Asian Snooker Championship in Karachi. The victory ended a title drought of 2 years for the champion who had last won the 1998 Asian Snooker Championship in New Delhi. Expressing his pleasure for the media coverage by Pakistani press when he won the Karachi event, the ace Indian cueist said, ‘it was fabulous. They know how to make a player feel important.’

Healthcare facilities in Delhi will get a leg up with the setting up of another super-specialty hospital soon. Helping in the resurrection of the new look BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital is the New York based cardiologist Dr Pervez Ahmad, son of former president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad and one of the founder directors of famous Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi.
Though Ahmad has been living in the US since 1972, he is now looking forward to moving back to India as the CEO of the new hospital. A founder director of Escorts along with Dr Naresh Trehan, Ahmad broke away after a shortsix-month stint there in 1987. It simply didn’t work out.
But now Ahmad is just looking ahead. Conscious of the lack of rehabilitation facilities for recuperation, Ahmad also plans to offer post hospital support to patients.
Currently working at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, Ahmad also finds time to teach students at the State University New York Downstate. Though he would rather talk about his work, the 53-year old doctor does recall the days he spent at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Though as he says he never lived at Rashtrapati Bhavan because when his father assumed office of the President of India in 1974 he had already moved to the US. But he visited his parents for holidays.
He is trying to provide high quality super specialty facilities for heart patients in the country and so he planned to revive a virtually dead hospital. He has conducted free heart surgeries in collaboration with Rotary Club in Kerala and he is also keen to do similar projects in the future.

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