People’s Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed
by Abdul Rahman M. Baig – Jeddah.
Glowing tributes were paid to the outgoing Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, at an impressive event here recently.
The event was organized by the Consulate General of India and the Indian community in Jeddah to bid adieu to the highly respected Indian diplomat who is popularly known as “The People’s Ambassador.”
Besides the wife of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Mrs. Farah, a large number of consulate officials and the elite of Jeddah including several Saudi friends and media persons were in attendance at the grand and memorable function at the prestigious Hotel Ritz Carlton, set along the Jeddah Corniche.
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed will be taking up his new assignment as secretary for consular, passport, visa, and overseas Indian affairs in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.
The master of the ceremony, Asim Zeeshan, ran the show very professionally.
In his address, prominent journalist, Siraj Wahab, said that Dr. Sayeed is called the People’s Ambassador due to his helping nature. He further said that he has been witnessing the great services of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed as Consul Hajj, then Consul General, and the ambassador. “Dr. Ausaf has provided dedicated services and best facilities to the Indian Hajis and the Indian community in Saudi Arabia during his various capacities,” he said.
A video showcasing the services and achievements of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed during his different stints in Saudi Arabia was presented by the officials of the Indian community in Jeddah along with the consul general.
An exhibition showcasing paintings of different Indian places drawn by “Together in Art” led by Moona Fatima was displayed outside the hotel’s banquet hall. The paintings were done by a team of 22 young artists from India, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and Egypt.
Consul General Mohammed Shahid Alam touched many a heart in the audience when he said he would express his views and experiences as a diplomat and Dr. Ausaf’s junior colleague and not as the consul general. “There is a reason behind the journey of three words, dear, respected and beloved. When someone qualifies for the civil services examination, as a rule, the junior colleagues address their senior colleagues as dear sir. The journey from “dear” to “respected” is long and tedious. When I qualified for the civil services examination, I was a junior and first-generation diplomat followed by our senior colleagues who have spent ample time during their careers. Our ambassador at that time has done great and stellar work in Yemen. From then onwards my regards for him changed from “dear” to “respected”. Then I started following him on his journey from Yemen to Chicago to Seychelles.
I also had the privilege to work closely with him in October 2019 while I was working as the deputy secretary of the Gulf section at the office of the foreign ministry in Delhi and the ambassador was here in Riyadh, when there was a joint statement to be issued between the two countries and there was some difference of opinion between the two sides. I, as the junior colleague from the ministry, was a little worried because the joint statement was to be issued. But during the night I saw that the ambassador himself was sitting till early morning ensuring that the joint statement is conversed with the Saudi side. This was my direct first experience with our beloved ambassador.
When the Vande Bharat Mission was initiated, we from the Gulf region were getting excellent support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wherever and whenever we are in a dilemma or were to take a call, we sought the opinion of our beloved ambassador. He would give decisions quickly which always helped us make the right and quick judgment at the right time. During the last year, we have been guided and nurtured by him and we thank him for his support and kindness towards us.”
“During my interaction with the Indian community and with my Saudi brothers and sisters in the year 2016 when I was appointed as deputy consul general in Jeddah, the first question I was asked was “Where is Ausaf Sayeed Sahab?”. It was even when the ambassador had completed his tenure in Jeddah as the consul general in 2008. “Even after 8 years, Indian community members and our Saudi brothers and sisters still remembered his contribution which also created a great respect for us,” he said.
Shahid Alam continued: “Wherever I sit with him in the office or in the car, in just ten minutes, we get a factory of ideas from him. You just mention anything and he will give us immense ideas based on his vast experience and great wisdom. I just think about how to implement those ideas. The consulate has benefited greatly from his ideas. Let me be honest that his guidance has helped us a lot. Believe me, we are a so-called young generation and in a text-style manner, no one can beat our beloved ambassador. Likewise, Madam Farah Sayeed is also so humble that myself and my wife, Shakeela, have witnessed very closely her love and encouragement of the juniors very much. We feel proud to be a part of their esteemed family now. I can proudly say he is indeed a “People’s Ambassador”.
The consul general’s speech was a statement of his feelings on which senior journalist Siraj Wahab commented that Shahid Alam had offered his heart to Dr. Ausaf Sayeed. He simply described three stages of his relationship with the ambassador. First, he became dear, then he became respectable, and finally, he became beloved. It was as if a younger brother was showing affection towards his elder brother, or a son expressing gratitude to his father for all the love and affection he has showered.
The outgoing ambassador shed detailed light on his diplomatic career. He gave several examples of the obstacles he had come across and how he surmounted them.
The ambassador was all praise for the services of his team at the Indian embassy and also appreciated Consul General Shahid Alam and his team who had always stood with him and implemented many of his ideas. He said: “Every day is a learning experience. My juniors are seeking guidance from me and I feel happy and proud to share my knowledge, wisdom, and experience with them. I also want them to achieve success and reach greater heights.
This was followed by a short quiz played on the Kahoot app by Asim Zeeshan. Wherein questions about the ambassador were put to the audience. The theme of the quiz was “How much do you know about your ambassador”. The top three winners were awarded prizes by the ambassador. The prizes were sponsored by Petronas.
Earlier, prominent media persons, Saudi brothers, and Indian community members expressed their feelings by applauding, the services and achievements of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed.
- Siraj Wahab.
- Ram Narayan Iyer.
- Mahtab Qadr.
- Arif Qureshi.
- Nouf Marwai.
- Mohammed Bagader.
- Hassan Cheruppa.
- Mohammed Alungal.
- VP Mohammed Ali.
- Khaled Mutabagani.
- Pradeep Sharma.
- Tahseen Wehdat.
- Riaz Mulla.
- Ibrahim Bohra.
- Khaled Kamal Khan.
- Ayoub Hakeem.
- Saleem Qadri.
- Dr. Jemsith Ahmed.
- Dr. Mushkat.
- Dr. Ataat Khan.
- Mohammed Rafeeq and Ravi Krishnan also spoke.
The event concluded with the cake cutting ceremony by Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Madam Farah Sayeed, Indian Consul General Mohammed Shahid Alam along with his wife Shakeela Khatoon followed by a sumptuous dinner.
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