With Saudi roots, Al-Kazi made his impact on Indian theater

GLOWING TRIBUTE: Saudi Ambassador to India Saud Al-Sati
Updated 19 September 2016
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With Saudi roots, Al-Kazi made his impact on Indian theater

RIYADH: “If we were to choose an individual, who formed the very concept of theater, it would almost certainly be Ebrahim Al-Kazi, the Indian theater legend with roots in Saudi Arabia,” said Saud Al-Sati, Saudi ambassador to India, recently in Mumbai.

Al-Sati was speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition titled “The Theatre of E. Al-Kazi” — named after the renowned Pune-born Indian theater personality.
The Saudi ambassador described Al-Kazi, 91, as “a theater legend whose contribution to the fields of theater, fine arts and culture has been extraordinary. He is acknowledged and credited for innovating the Indian theater, staging more than 50 plays in his lifetime, producing some of the finest actors and directors, besides contributing to preservation of Indian cultural history through his Al-Kazi Foundation of the Arts,” Al-Sati said, paying glowing tributes to Al-Kazi.
He revealed that Al-Kazi’s father Hamad was a trader from Unaiza in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim region, who subsequently settled in Pune where Ebrahim was born in 1925. Displaying interests in literature, arts, culture and dramatics from an early age, Al-Kazi continued his trailblazing works in India, the US, and Europe before becoming the director of the National School of Drama in Delhi and the Asian Theater Institute.
In spite of his early absorption in theater, Al-Kazi’s interest seamlessly moved to the visual arts. Al-Sati said that Al-Kazi, who has contributed immensely to the promotion of culture, originally belongs to Unaiza, in the Qassim region, where his father Hamad Al-Kazi was a trader. Hamad Al-Kazi, went to Bombay (now Mumbai) in the early 20th century and settled in Pune, where Ebrahim was born in 1925.
Referring to the life and achievements of Al-Kazi, with special reference to Indo-Saudi relations, Ambassador Al-Sati said that Al-Kazi’s remarkable achievements and contributions to Indian culture are examples of the many interactions that have existed between the Arab world and India from time immemorial. “When I first met Al-Kazi on Feb. 17, 2014, I was touched by his unique character,” said the diplomat, while recalling Al-Kazi’s greetings in the distinct Qassimi dialect.
Al-Sati further said that through regular interactions between the two civilizations, the ties between the Kingdom and India have developed to such an extent that many Saudi girls have “Hind” as their name and families have surnames of “Al-Hind,” meaning “India” in Arabic.
“Certain Indian goods like swords and other articles were very popular among the ancient Arabs, who also brought Islam to India around 14 centuries ago after its advent in 7th century AD,” he added.
He said that Abbasid Caliphate in the mid-8th century AD saw the founding of “Bait-ul-Hikmah” or House of Wisdom, where scholars translated ideas and scholarly works from all over the world into Arabic. It translated many Indian works including those of medicine, mathematics and astronomy, and literature, the prominent being the “Panchatantra,” a collection of ancient Indian fables in Sanskrit.
In fact, Panchatantra’s original Sanskrit text was lost after it was translated into Persian and the Arabs translated it from Persian to Arabic as “Kalila wa Dimnah,” and it reached Europe and other parts of the world, Al-Sati said.
Not only this, the envoy said that the great scholar Al-Beruni visited India in the early 11th century and wrote an encyclopedic book on India, presenting it in an enlightening form to the world, besides translating books from Sanskrit to Arabic and vice-versa.
He pointed out that India reciprocated in equal measure. “Various Muslim kingdoms introduced Arabic educational systems, attracted top learned men from the Arab world, and the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah also added to the cultural exchanges,” said Al-Sati, while adding that Arabic is taught in many colleges and universities across India, contributing to Arab culture and literature.
The event in Mumbai, which was addressed by Ambassador Al-Sati, was attended by top Indian artists and theater personalities. Present at inaugural ceremonies were theater stalwarts like Vijaya Mehta, Alyque Padamsee, Amal Allana and Feisal Al-Kazi, besides several educationists, actors and intellectuals.


Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”