TravelGuzs- Home Page
TRF Home Page
Hotstar – Home Page

An Indian Eid Milan that Showed the Warmth of Ties that Bind

IMAGH_OUT

The IMAGH Board and Executive Committee took a bow at the Eid Milan held on Saturday, June 30  Photos: Quaid Tinwala, SMB Films & Images

Click here to see Photo Collage

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: It was with curious admiration, mingled with amusement at his lighthearted humor, that the roomful of desis listened to the fast-talking man at the podium with slides streaming out of his laptop onto the giant LED screen behind him. The chief guest of the evening, he had researched the history of Hindustan from the first contacts with Arab traders and Jews who came and settled in Cochin in the south of the country.

“The second part of my talk is on historical perspective,” said Dr. Gary Branfman, “which beckons the question ‘Why can’t we just get along?’” As he spoke, he flashed pictures of Gandhi and Ghaffar Khan, a painting of Jews landing in 970 BC, the first mosque built in 629 AD in India (renovated in the 11th century) and mentioned the Bollywood actress Florence Nadira who was Jewish. This led Branfman to the third part of his journey through life in which, as rabbi of the only synagogue in Victoria, Texas, he opened its doors so that the Muslim congregation whose mosque was burned down by vandals could have a place to pray. That was on February 2, 2017, and Branfman still marveled at how much national and international press that deed brought him since and how he was often invited to speak, notably in Canada about overcoming racism.

Chief guest Dr. Gary Branfman was honored by (from left) IMAGH President Munir Ibrahim, Board Chair Dr. Maqbool Haq and Advisory Council Chair Abeezer Tyebji.

Chief guest Dr. Gary Branfman was honored by (from left) IMAGH President Munir Ibrahim, Board Chair Dr. Maqbool Haq and Advisory Council Chair Abeezer Tyebji.

Branfman is a plastic surgeon who elected to settle in a small town in Texas in 1991 and in a shimmering 20 minutes, spoke about his evolution as a surgeon, human being and celebrity. “For my first act, I went to medical school as other avenues – acting, singing, making movies – closed up on me,” he jested. A busload of people – Jews and Muslims – from Victoria came to attend the event too.

Branfman’s story was the essence of the 9th annual Eid Milan that the Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston held last Saturday, June 30 once again at the Marriott Hotel in Westchase. After last year’s display of religious tolerance exemplified by a skit of spiritual leaders, this year, the IMAGH showed that it had found deeper bearings in highlighting how Muslims in India have contributed to and thrived in their country. This year’s dinner was catered by Tempura restaurant.

The history of India was a backdrop for Indian fashions through the ages, produced by Tasnim Vadva.

The history of India was a backdrop for Indian fashions through the ages, produced by Tasnim Vadva.

With a nod to the new generation of Muslims born and raised in the US, Aman Ali, a brassy voiced comedian from the small town of Reynoldsburg, Ohio related his experiences growing up as a “the only brown kid in my school” and where most people were insulated from the outside world. “I went out on a date with this girl and I told her I was Muslim,” he said of one such moment, “and she thought for awhile and said ‘Gee, I’m a Sagittarius’!”

The Guest of Honor, Indian Consul General Anupam Ray could not attend, so the Deputy Consul general Surendra Adahana stood in for him. He said that today’s celebration was not just about Eid but also helped focus on the contributions of the Indo-American community here, praising the Dawoodi Bohra community which had banded together to serve and rescue many people after Hurricane Harvey. He also touched on Islam’s influence on India, concluding that “everything comes together to make India.”

During an awards ceremony, the IMAGH recognized an individual and organization for their community service: Farida Ajmani, a co-founder of Shining Nightingale Healthcare and a tireless volunteer wherever she is needed and Daya, a group that helps women, children and families suffering from domestic violence, the award received by its president Sheila Rao. The Council for American-Islamic Relations bestowed their award on IMAGH for its exemplary outreach. Shazia Khan, the evening’s emcee, and Moid Khan, both of Radio Dabang were given special recognition for their support.

Masooma Batool was one of three students who received scholarships from Rahat Kale (left) and Neeta Sane (center).

Masooma Batool was one of three students who received scholarships from Rahat Kale (left) and Neeta Sane (center).

And finally, the Milan made good on a goal the IMAGH had set out earlier this year by handing out scholarships to three deserving students: Masooma Batool, Syed A. Shahabuddin and Syed Bahrez Nadeem.  Paru McGuire, the enduring President of IMAGH’s sister organization for seniors, Club 65 gave a quick rundown of its monthly activities and Mohammed Khan, President of SAYA geared to young people spoke about that group’s work.

The evening’s program ended with a fashion show with a historical twist displaying the richly made garments from several epoch’s in India’s past with models – one even dressed in a chainlink vest as a strong medieval soldier, another as a British soldier – walking through their paces on an abbreviated catwalk and stage. The show was narrated by Tasnim Vadva, who was also the Chair of the Organizing Committee, and pulled it together with her volunteers.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

2 Responses to An Indian Eid Milan that Showed the Warmth of Ties that Bind

  1. Latafath Hussain July 6, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Very well written. It captures the spirit of the program.

  2. Saeed Pathan July 6, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Title for this article should be read as “An Indian Eid Milan……..” not milind

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *