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

GLOWING TRIBUTE: Saudi Ambassador to India Saud Al-Sati
Updated 19 September 2016

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 Civil Defense chief launches recruitment drive for local manufacturers

Civil Defense Director General Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Amro inaugurates an exhibition to support local manufacturers in the Kingdom. (SPA)
Updated 17 min 56 sec ago

Saudi Civil Defense chief launches recruitment drive for local manufacturers

  • Al-Amro stressed the directorate’s efforts to strengthen the spare parts manufacturing industry locally

JEDDAH: An initiative to encourage manufacturers to supply parts for Saudi Civil Defense machines and technical equipment has been launched in the Kingdom.

Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Amro, director-general of the Civil Defense, opened an exhibition aimed at supporting local businesses looking to produce components to world-class quality standards for the General Directorate of Civil Defense.

During the inauguration ceremony, Al-Amro stressed the directorate’s efforts — under the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — to strengthen the spare parts manufacturing industry locally in a bid to boost the national economy and meet the targets of the country’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

Al-Amro said: “This direction provides new manufacturing opportunities for national factories, identifies the General Directorate of Civil Defense’s needs and demands, and builds a long-term strategic relationship with the private sector in the area of local manufacturing of spare parts.

“A database will be created for parts that need to be manufactured, and it will be provided to local factories and companies that have the capacity to manufacture those parts.”

Delegates attending the exhibition were shown a film highlighting the support available to parts manufacturers, and Al-Amro presented awards and certificates to companies and individuals for their work in supporting the local manufacturing sector.

Assistant director-general of technical affairs, Maj. Gen. Omar Al-Baiz, praised the directorate’s efforts to seek out partners in the private sector and organize events such as the Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing (AFED).