By Ayub Khan, MMNS
Hyderabadi culture, in all its dazzling glory, was in full display at the annual Mehfil-e-Hyderabad gala event held on June 19, 2010 at the Versailles Convention Center in Mississauga. There was music, authentic Hyderabadi food, speeches, a raffle featuring round trip air tickets to Hyderabad from Etihad Airways, and above all great company. Organized by the Hyderabad Deccan Foundation of Canada (HDFC), the event attracted more than 1200 people some of whom came from as far as Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, and Connecticut. This yearâ€™s event has been widely acclaimed as the largest ever gathering of Hyderabadis all over North America.
Attendees were greeted to a recording of the traditional Hyderabadi shehnai and naubat. Emceed by Mr.Hyder Syed and Ms. Anjum Sayeed the program began with a speech by HDFC president Mr. Bashir Beg. In his remarks Mr. Beg highlighted the uniqueness of the Hyderabadi culture. â€œWe, Canadians of Hyderabadi origin, are inheritors of a glorious past marked by communal harmony, artistic innovation, linguistic dynamism and cultural vibrancy unparalleled anywhere else in the world. It is a legacy of which anyone could be proud of. It is this unique heritage which we want to maintain in our adopted homeland and pass it on to our next generations.â€
In this regard the Hyderabadi Deccan Foundation of Canada has committed itself to build a Hyderabadi community center in Canada, he informed. HDFC is on the lookout for appropriate available spaces like vacant schools, churches, etc. Once built the state of the centre will be the first of its kind outside of India and will provide a host of services relevant to the Hyderabadi culture.
Bonnie Crombie, Member of Parliament from Mississauga-Streetsville, and Mississauga city councilors Carolyn Parrish and George Carlson were the guests of honor at the event. In her remarks Bonnie Crombie stated that she is delighted to learn about the rich culture of Hyderabad and is happy to learn that it has now become a part of the Canadian multicultural mosaic. She praised the numerous contributions Hyderabadi Canadians have made to Canada. Councilor Parrish donated $300 towards the Hyderabadi community center. Councilor Carlson offered his help in locating an appropriate space for the center. Special greetings were presented on behalf of Mr. Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration.
Prominent Hyderabadis from Canada and America were honored for their contributions in diverse fields. The honorees for this year were: Haroon Siddiqui(Journalism), Dr. Taqi Abedi (Literature), Karam Ali Khan (Business), Siddiq Burney (Community Service), and Mirza Pervaiz Baig (Social Networking).
Mrs. Bonnie Crombie also presented certificates of appreciation for Mr. Bashir Beg, Mr. Javid Raza, and Mr. Mohammed Ayub Khan.
Dr. Taqi Abedi in his gripping lecture spoke on the more than 400 year old history of Hyderabad. He said the multicultural character of Hyderabad should serve as an example for diverse societies.
The main highlight of the event was the musical program featuring the sensational singer Mr. Javid Raza from Connecticut and other local talent. This part of program was organized by Mr. Rafat Alam and emceed by Mr. Zaki Ahsan. Widely praised as the â€˜Voice of Rafi,â€™ Javid Raza lived up to the expectations with his enthralling performance. His performance included variety of songs from the classical ghazal of Bahadur Shah Zafar to the more contemporary from the age of Rafi.
Toronto area artistes Rafat Alam, Naqi Bilgrami, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Rahmat Khan, Tahera Ali, also put up a spectacular performance. Live music was provided by Nadeem Ali and his Avengers Group.
Mr. Zaki Ahsanâ€™s role as the emcee of the musical program was peppered with his frequent jokes leaving the audience in splits.
The enchanting performances continued until 3 am with the audience present in rapt attention. As part of the raffle winners received various items including two round trip tickets to Hyderabad generously donated by Etihad Airways.
A colorful event souvenir with rare pictures and interesting articles on Hyderabad was also well appreciated by all.