‘Spearmint fi, Cinnamon fi, Hibiscus fi, Hargal fi, Fenugreek fi, Green tea fi, Anise fi, laakin Moringa mafi’. This is what I have been hearing since the last three months in all Hypermarkets and Supermarkets in Khartoum. All variants or ingredients of ‘tea bags’ are available except Moringa. My evening tea is Moringa and after reading about the health benefits of it, I am inclined to make it even my morning cuppa , but where is Moringa? I saw the customer service number on the pack of Moringa manufactured by Elnasr for Food Industries in Sudan. Much to my surprise someone did respond from Customer Service. His name was Mubarak. He spoke in English and apologized for the non-availability of Moringa. He went further to tell me that supplies of Moringa was not coming from India. He said most of the raw material were imported from India. Learning that I was from India, Mubarak spoke of friendly bilateral relations between the two countries. Moringa is derived from Murungai/muringa the Tamil/Malayalam word for drumsticks. Moringa is an antioxidant and helps to protect cells from damage and is useful in many health disorders.
Rain did not dampen the spirit of the Indian community in Sudan. Despite the rains, more than 200 people from the Indian community gathered in the morning at India House the residence of the Indian Ambassador on 15th August to celebrate 69th Independence Day. Charge d’affaires Mr. Manoj Verma welcomed the community members and read out the message of the President of India. In the message Mr.Kailash Satyarthi was congratulated for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Homage was paid to the martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice for gaining political freedom and Independence of India on 15th August 1947. India is a complex country of 1.3 billion people, 122 languages, 1600 dialects and 7 religions. Its strength lies in its unique capacity to blend apparent contradictions into positive affirmations.
The Indian community in Sudan celebrated with ladies singing patriotic songs and children dancing and singing in pride of the great nation. We could hear people talk about Sunder Pichai the new CEO of Google who is of Indian origin. Jai Hind.
The Greek Mythology states that Prometheus stole fire from the Fire God Zeus to give it to mankind. He was punished for this and was chained and had an eagle sent to peck on his body and eat the liver. But it was found that the liver grew again and though the eagle came back every day it found the liver had regenerated. Dr. Ramdip Ray began his lecture with this mythological story at IBN Sina Hospital, Khartoum addressing medical doctors with professional interest in the field of Liver Transplant Surgery. Dr. Ray is a Senior Consultant of Liver Transplant & Hepato Pancreato Biliary Surgery at Artemis Hospitals, New Delhi, India.
Dr.Ray very lucidly presented the requirements for a liver transplant surgery. A Donor is the most important person in this surgery. A donor has to be from the family and only a part of his liver is transplanted to the patient. We met the patient Khalid Yousef, 28 who needed a liver transplant because of Cirrhosis due to Hepatitis B infection. In liver transplant surgery the whole liver from the patient is removed. Khalid received a part of his elder brother’s liver. His elder brother Ali Yousef is 42 and doing well as you can see in the picture. Both were operated upon by Dr.Ray in India. The cost of the surgery was US$ 38000 which is much more affordable as compared to any other country. In fact, in Artemis hospital the fees for a Sudanese national is same as the local fee structure and not considered a foreigner. Dr.Abdelmounem Eltayeib Abdo- Head of Gastrointestinal & Liver Disease-IBN Sina Hospital appreciated Dr.Ray’s visit, rounds with the patients and his talk on Liver Transplant Surgery. Dr.Abdelmounem is gearing up for establishing liver transplant surgery in Sudan. Dr.Abdelmounem noted the importance of Radiologists in Liver Transplant surgery, the way they make the images of the blood vessels in the liver transparent for the surgeons. Dr.Ray in a lighter vein had explained that the surgeon only does the plumbers work of rejoining the pipes which are veins and arteries in a liver transplant surgery.
Dr. Ray was invited by Abdelmouniem Alsuni Ahmed, Secretary General of Council for International People’s Friendship. Dr.Ray’s tour was organized by Sudanese Indian Friendship Association a body of alumni from Universities in India. Dr. Ray also met Dr.Isameldin Mohammed Abdalla-Undersecretary of the Federal Ministry of Health and Dr. Yassin Abbas Widaa, General Director, National Medical Commission. Dr. Ramdip Ray’s visit has further strengthened the bilateral relations between India and Sudan.
Recently there was a high level delegation from Government of India who had visited Khartoum from New Delhi. Having had the opportunity to interact with them, I had mentioned that we were sad to bid farewell to such a popular and morally motivated Ambassador of India. In response I was told not to worry since India produces competent Government officials.
It was yesterday after the departure of our favourite Ambassador, India’s Ministry of External Affairs announced the name of the new Ambassador of India to Sudan. Born in Ranchi, Jharkhand , Shri Amrit Lugun studied Political Science and Sociology in famous St. Xavier’s College of Kolkata. After completing his post- graduation in Management he started his career as a Personnel Officer in a reputed Petroleum Company for two years (1987-88). He then joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1989.
In Foreign Service his career began as Desk Officer for India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme in New Delhi and thereafter he served the nation in several missions in Qatar, France and Algeria. In 2006 he successfully attended National Defence Course while serving as Director handling territories of Eurasia and Latin America in New Delhi. He was then posted in Manila, Philippines as the number two officer at the Embassy of India. After completion of his tenure there he was appointed as Director-India for Economic, Trade and Finance Division of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at the Secretariat in Nepal. At SAARC he had a multilateral experience involving eight nations namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
Before the announcement of his assignment as Ambassador of India to Sudan, Shri Amrit Lugun was Ambassador at Sana’a capital of Yemen since early 2013. His Excellency Amrit Lugun had handled one of the biggest evacuations of 4640 Indian citizens and around 960 foreign nationals from 41 countries from Yemen in coordination with Indian navy, Indian Air Force and Air India.
We wholeheartedly welcome him to Sudan.
“We the people of Sudan regret your transfer back to India with deep sorrow and pain. No matter how best we try to give you what we owe you, we will fail, because your hands of co-operation, your honesty and sincerity augmented the Indo-Sudanese relationship in all fields. We wish you best of life and happiness in your new assignment and we sincerely hope that our long relationship will continue as long as we live.” These were the words cited by Sudanese Indian Friendship Association for H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma on his completion of his tenure in Sudan as Ambassador of India. Sudanese Indian Friendship Association (SIFA) is the people’s body made up of Sudanese nationals who studied in Indian Universities. Hytham Balla Saeed, President and Abuobeida S.Abdalla Vice President of SIFA presented a memento to Ambassador Verma. More than 200 people gathered at Indian Club in Omdurman to bid a sad farewell to His Excellency and Dr.Anil Mithani President of the community presented a memento to Ambassador Verma and expressed their gratitude for guiding and supporting the community in various matters and organizing many cohesive activities. Indian community in Khartoum both from the public sector namely ONGC and BHEL and private sector like Star Contracting Oil & Gas Co. bid farewell to the Ambassador. H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma has touched the hearts of almost every Indian in Sudan and many Sudanese, from every walk of life. The Ambassador has always been accessible to the public. There is not a soul who has not spoken highly of him. His popularity and active participation saw him in action at cultural events, musical nights, tennis, badminton and cricket tournaments in Khartoum. Ambassador’s wife Mrs. Gunjan Verma carried out many charitable activities along with the Indian ladies in Sudan. During the Ambassador’s tenure the bilateral trade between India and Sudan increased from $800 Million to $1.56 Billion. There has been an increase in number of Sudanese businessmen, students and patients wanting to go to India. Sudan wishes them well wherever His Excellency’s career takes them.