3rd Annual Mehfil-e-Hyderabad Held in Mississauga

By Ayub Khan, TMO

Hasan Chishti Receiving the award from Bob Dechert.

MISSISSAUGA, CANADA—The 3rd Annual Mehfil-e-Hyderabad, cultural extravaganza & awards night organized by the Hyderabad Deccan Foundation of Canada (HDFC), was held at Versailles Banquet Hall in Mississauga on June 18th. The event has become the largest gathering celebrating Hyderabadi culture in North America and attracted over 700 attendees from cities across Canada and the US. Catering to every taste and persuasions the event featured awards for high achieving Canadians and Americans of Hyderabadi origin, speeches on the culture & history of Hyderabad, a musical program, and a raffle draw for two tickets on Etihad Airways.

Mr. Bashir Beg, HDFC chairman, in his speech highlighted the multicultural character of Hyderabad and its relevance in today’s globalized world. ‘Founded more than 400 years ago on the banks of the Musi River our composite culture was ‘multicultural’ in the truest sense, even before the word was coined. Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Christians, Jews, and people of many other ethnicities, castes, and creeds made Hyderabad their home and forever adopted its synthetic culture… It was a true representation of the multicultural Mosaic that everyone is aspiring to in a globalized world.  Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, had described Hyderabad as a ‘miniature India.’ In retrospect it would be more correctly described as ‘miniature globe,’ he said.
Explaining the goals of HDFC Mr. Beg said that the organization has been formed to unite the diaspora Hyderabadi community and promote and preserve its unique culture.  In this regard HDFC is planning to build a Hyderabadi Community which will serve as a hub for the promotion of arts, literature, music, language, and the values of Hyderabad. Mr. Beg urged the large Hyderabadi community of Canada to become active members of the organization and further its cause.

Mr. Bob Dechert (Member of Parliament), served as the chief guest of the function, and stated that he was deeply impressed by the vitality of dynamism of the Canadian Hyderabadis. He praised their contributions to the Canadian society in diverse fields. He supported the idea of the Hyderabadi Community Centre and offered his help towards its fruition.

Dr. Taqi Abedi (physician, poet, critic, and author of 35 books) in his spell bounding speech, in chaste Urdu, provide a historical overview of Hyderabad’s heritage and its contemporary relevance. Uncovering the aspects of the Hyderabadi dialect of Urdu he stated that it is a true amalgam of various cultures.

Mr. Goldy Hyder, a public relations expert and General Manager at Hill & Knowlton Canada, spoke on how his values have helped him in excelling and integrating in the mainstream. He advised the youth to be proud of their heritage while navigating their respective career paths. He asked them to be value the importance of parents and grandparents as they are the pillars who bring stability and serenity in the society.

This year five awards were given to five outstanding Hyderabadis from Canada and the US:

1.      Goldy Hyder (Ottawa), Political & Public Affairs
2.      Asif Saeed (Chicago), Business Entrepreneurship
3.      Hasan Chishti (Chicago), Urdu Literature
4.      Dr. Shehla Burney (Kingston), English Literature
5.      Quader Bin Sayeed (Toronto), Mountaineering

(Full biographies are at the end )

An exquisite fashion show was also staged with bridal and party dresses from India, conducted by Dream Couture fashion studios.

The musical program was conducted by HDFC director Rafat Alam whose crooning enthralled the audience. Other performers included Geeta, Chandrima, Tahira, Rahmat Khan,  Asad Siddiqui, and Kaiser Bhai.

Two raffle draws were conducted during the musical segment by Zahir Kaiser, Zehra Beg, and Ahmer Beg. Among the winners, two lucky winners won one Etihad ticket each to Hyderabad, courtesy Zahir Kaiser.

A richly illustrated souvenir, compiled by Mr. Fazal Siddiqui and Mr. Sardar Ali, featuring top quality articles was also unveiled at the event.

Zehra Beg, Salman Ansari, Hamdan Yar Khan and Khadija Mahmood served as the comperes.

For more information please contact Mr. Bashir Beg at 905-826-0407

HDFC Awardee Bios

Goldy Hyder

Mr. Goldy Hyder is a General Manager and Senior Vice President at Hill & Knowlton, one of Canada’s leading communications and public relations company. Mr. Hyder is sought after expert and commentator on a range of issues including political communications and strategy. Mr. Hyder works with a wide array of industries including banking, insurance, energy, pharmaceuticals, international trade, transportation and US-Canada relations, to name a few.  He is a seasoned expert on mergers and acquisitions having worked on numerous transactions in a variety of industries from energy to mining to technology.

Earlier, Mr. Hyder served as the chief of staff to Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark.

He holds holds a Master of Arts degree from The University of Calgary in public policy with a specialization in policy making during times of crisis. Goldy is on the Board of Governors at Carleton University and the Chair of its Community Relations and Advancement Committee, an Executive Member of the Canadian Club of Ottawa where he served as President 2005-2006, a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, a Lifetime Member of the India Canada Ottawa Business Council, and a member of the Albany Club of Toronto. In 2008 he was recognized by the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber of Commerce for his achivements and contributions to the community.

Mr. Asif Sayeed

Mr. Asif Sayeed is a businessman and entrepreneur who has remarkable achievements to his credit in the health care field. He was president & CEO of Management Principles Inc., Vital Home & Health Care Inc. and Smart Medical Buildings Inc., and American Health Care Providers Inc. The last company was ranked as the fifth largest health care company Illinois by Crain’s Chicago Businesss.  He is the recipient of several awards including outstanding service award from the Chicago Jaycee’s.

Mr. Sayeed supports various charitable and community organizations. He has contributed to several charitable projects in Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, and in India.  His philanthropic work focuses on hunger eradication, education, and health care.

An avid sportsman he has played cricket since his school days. He represented India at the International University Games along with Cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar.  Over the years he has diversified his sporting talents. Most recently he won the prestigious Sectional Golf Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club.

Hasan Chishti

Mr. Hasan Chishti is a pioneering figure in the promotion of Urdu language and literature in North America. His services to Urdu language span three countries (India, Saudi Arabia, and usa) close to half a century.  Born in Hyderabad and educated at Osmania University he was associated with the literary world from an early age. He was the editor of the ‘Akash,’ ‘Pasban,’ and several other Urdu journals in Hyderabad. He moved to Chicago in 1986 and ever since has been actively promoting Urdu language through a host of activities. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Community Leadership Award of  the Federation of Indian Associations of America, Alami Urdu Award, Haji Mohammad Award of the Urdu Writers Society (California), Outstanding Achievement Award from the All Saints Alumni Association, etc. A poet of rare distinction he is widely praised for his ghazals. He has also compiled and edited four volumes of noted humorist Mujtaba Hussain’s works.

Dr. Shehla Burney

Dr. Shehla Burney, associate professor at Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education, is a distinguished academic whose work in the area of cultural studies has been critically acclaimed. Over the years she has made key contributions on subjects as varied as ethnicity, identity politics, drama, postcolonialism, and interculturalism. She has worked on a mission for the United Nations Development Project in Crimea, Ukraine at the UNO School in Simferpol on on the retrieval and reaffirmation of cultural identity of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people who were deported during World War II and have recently been repatriated to their homeland.

Dr. Burney received a PhD from the University of Toronto with a citation for her dissertation from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, New York.

Dr. Burney was also the recipient of two gold medals for receiving the highest marks in BA and in BEd. She also received a Distinction in her “Cambridge University School Leaving Certificate”. She has held SSHRC doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, research grants and a Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute fellowship. Her research articles have been published in top ranking peer-reviewed journals and books  including the The Harriman Review, The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, etc. She had also contributed an article on Hyderabadis in the Encyclopedia of the People of Canada, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Quader Bin Sayeed

Hyderababad born Quader Bin Sayeed had accompanied the Austrian Karakorum Expedition to Broad  Peak,26650 feet above sea level. He is the first Hyderabadi to go on a  Moutaineering Expedition and went up to 21650 feet without any use of artificial oxygen. He was on the mountains for five months and remained on top of snow with  four Austrian mountaineers for three months.

During this expedition,  one of the members, Herman Buhl, lost his life due to severe weather, heavy snowfall and poor visibility. Quader Bin Sayeed did not have any  mountaineering experience and was selected due to his extraordinary physical   fitness,willpower and determination. More details on Mr. Sayeed can be obtained from