The meaning of cute is ‘attractive in a delicately beautiful way and clever’. Similar sounding ‘Qute’ means Bajaj’s motorised quadricycle. It is an advancement over the Bajaj Auto rickshaw. Qute looks cute and is clever because it is economical, fuel efficient, lesser polluting and has agility in crowded streets. I have seen only one in the streets of Khartoum. I am told it comes in many colours , red, blue, green, black. In my opinion, the people of Sudan prefer white cars and bigger the car greater is the status. We Indians take pride in seeing the ubiquitous Bajaj auto rickshaws in the streets but doubt whether the Qute will gain popularity. #FreeTheQute
If you see the building from a distance it may not ring a bell, but on closer look you will read Sudan. Yes this is the iconic Sudan Block at the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla, Pune, India. In recognition of the sacrifices of the Indian troops in liberation of Sudan in the North African campaign during World War II, Sudan Government, in 1941, donated one hundred thousand pounds. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation in 1949 and the work was completed in 1954. The then Sudanese Ambassador Syed Rahamatalla Abdulla performed the naming ceremony on May 30, 1959. Earlier in 1958, India offered a six –acre plot in the Chanakyapuri area of New Delhi for the construction of Embassy of Sudan.
The Indian Community in Sudan celebrated their 69th Republic Day on 26th January with the new Ambassador H.E. Mr. Ravindra Prasad Jaiswal. Ambassador Jaiswal was Deputy Head of Mission at Berne, Switzerland before assuming charge in Sudan. He is Ambassador of India to Sudan and Eritrea. Ambassador Jaiswal has earlier served in Egypt, Ethiopia and Qatar. The Ambassador is a qualified Civil Engineer and an M.Phil. in Environmental Science.
On Republic Day, the Ambassador unfurled the national flag followed by the national anthem. He then read out the excerpts of the speech delivered by the President of India on the same occasion. “The promise of a developed India beckons us. This is the new stage of our nation-building project on which we have embarked. This is the republic that our young people need to take forward and enhance—in keeping with their vision, their ambition and their ideals,” President Ram Nath Kovind said. Republic Day was celebrated with a Cultural Program performed by children from Omdurman and Khartoum. They danced with patriotic songs of India.
On the occasion of 70th Anniversary of Indian Independence the Embassy of India in Khartoum organised a Cultural Evening with Kathak Dance. Ms.Madhumita Roy led the troupe from India and performed various pieces based on the classical for of Northern Indian dance. Some of their performances had an interesting blend between Western movements and Kathak footwork. Ms.Madhumita Roy is a Kathak exponent having been trained by Maestro Birju Maharaj. My daughter Anavi was the host for the evening and the audience appreciated her performance.
The Embassy of India, Khartoum usually has a Sudanese speaker in almost every event organized by them in Khartoum. To celebrate the National Unity Day on 31st October’17, which commemorates the birthday of the Iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the speaker was Prof. Abdelgadir Elfadil Abdelgadir of the Department of Environment, AlNilein University. Prof.Elfadil studied at the University of Agriculture at Bangalore, India and later obtained his PhD from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
The welcome speech at the function was delivered by Ambassador of India H.E.Amrit Lugun who also spoke about the great contributions made by Sardar Patel in integrating 565 Princely States and in unifying the nation. He was a barrister, statesman, a leader of Indian National Congress and one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India.
Prof.Elfadil in his speech said the Sardar which means a leader was the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India and made huge efforts to restore the peace all across the nation. Sardar Patel is also referred as Bismarck of India but some say that his task of unifying India was more herculean than Bismarck in Germany.
At the function, the speeches were followed by two films one on the theme of Unity in Diversity in India and a documentary on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
In order to remember him annually, Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was introduced by the Government of India in 2014. Many believe that if Sarder Vallabhbhai Patel had dealt with Kashmir independently there would have been one Jammu & Kashmir.
Last month my Industrialist neighbour Ashok Bhai Parekh informed me that a play named ’Yugpurush’ about Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual mentor Shrimad Rajchandraji will be staged in Khartoum. I had never read or heard about Shrimad Rajchandraji. I revisited the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi –‘The stories of my experiments with truth’. There I found in Chapter 26 the title ‘Raychandbhai’. This was the person Gandhiji often referred to as Kavi (Poet).The other name for Raychandbhai was Rajchandraji and Shrimad was an honorific or title. The play directed by Rajesh Joshi, written by Uttam Gada and music scored by Sachin-JIga is an award winning play. Besides many awards, Yugpurush has won the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Excellence Award 2017. The creativity and techniques in the play are par excellence. The actors were amazing with 11 actors playing the role of more than 50 people. The lead role of Shrimad Rajchandraji was very well portrayed by Parthsarthi Vaidya . Gandhi was influenced by three persons in his life: John Ruskin, Leo Tolstoy and Shrimad Rajchandraji and of course Shrimad Rajchandraji a living contact had the deepest impression. Raychandbhai sowed the seeds of Truth, Non-violence and Compassion in the mind of Gandhi. They had met in Bombay and continued to exchange 200 letters while Gandhi was in South Africa. The spiritual relationship transformed Mohandas to a Mahatma. Kavi told Gandhi how one can’t wash the blood stains of violence with violence. You need the pure water of non-violence to wash the stains of violence. He also taught him that life is temporary and the body is perishable but prayers lead us to God and the prayers remain forever. This play has had more than 900 shows in almost 300 cities in many languages all over the world and touched the hearts and minds of more than 600,000 viewers. Many of us in Khartoum were lucky to view this play at Friendship Theatre Hall on Friday 29th September. There were two shows one in Gujarati in the morning for the Omdurman Indian Community and another in English in the evening. Ambassador of India H.E.Amrit Lugun welcomed the viewers and the Chief Guest was Federal Minister of Culture Altayeb Hassan Badawi. There were other dignitaries present at the show including Actor and Director Ali Mahdi Nouri who found the play amazing from every department. We remain ever grateful to the benevolent sponsors of the play and the joint organisers namely Embassy of India, Khartoum and Omdurman Indian Community for bringing this heart touching and thought provoking play to Khartoum.
Yugpurush is an award winning play performed by artists from India. The play in English is about Mahatma Gandhi and his spiritual mentor. Book your free tickets at
http://Buytickets.at/yugpurush for Friday 29 Sept at 4:30 PM at Friendship Hall Theatre. If you have any problems call Grishma Gandhi 0923047382
Mani Menon, M.D., is a pioneer in robotic surgery and one of the foremost urologists in the United States. The first robotic prostate surgery program in the United States was started by Mani Menon, at the Vattikuti Urology Institute (VUI) in 2001. The VUI was the first institution to offer the surgery on an out-patient basis. The robotic approach that Dr. Menon developed, the Vattikuti Institute Prostatectomy (VIP), revolutionized the field of Urology, and has become the gold standard for the surgical treatment of prostate cancer. The enhanced nerve-sparing technique developed by Dr. Menon, the “Veil of Aphrodite,” has dramatically improved erectile function outcomes following radical prostatectomy. Dr. Menon also developed the first catheter-free approach.
The above information was shared with a group of healthcare professionals in Khartoum by Dr.D.V.S.L.N Sharma, Senior Consultant Urologist, from the Department of Urology and Robotic Surgery at Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, India. A member of VUI, Dr.Sharma has been inspired by Dr.Mani Menon and performs Robotic Surgery in India. Dr.Sharma had first mastered the basic surgery, laparoscopic surgery and then has learnt robotic surgery which he is practicing since 2013. Due to small incisions, less trauma to the body and greater surgeon precision, robotic surgery provides the following benefits over traditional open procedures including: shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, less pain, fewer complications, including less risk of infection and faster return to normal activities.
Ministry of Health, Sudan has signed a MoU for sending Doctors and Nurses to Apollo Hospital at Hyderabad for training in an exchange program. This will certainly benefit the patients in Sudan.