The following profiles are some of the successful British Bengalis
who are talented have made significant achievements and contribution
in business, politics, arts, music, media, sport, fashion and beauty.
Lisa AZIZ -
Sadik Ahmed - Writer/Director
Monica ALI -
Hamja AHSAN - Artist
Enam ALI -
Rushnara ALI - Labour Parliamentary Candidate
for Bethnal Green and Bow
- Director of the civil rights group Liberty
Ruby HAMMER - Make-up
Enamul HOQUE - Photographer
Konnie HUQ -
- Football Coach
Sandra KABIR - Director of BRAC UK
Akram KHAN -
- Barrister / Judge
Tommy MIAH - Entrepreneur/Celebrity
Zoe RAHMAN -
Mary RAHMAN - Publicist
Ash RAHMAN - Football Academy Director
RASHID - Global Brand Director
Pasha RAZZO -
Jon SEN - Director/Writer
Joi: Farook SHAMSER
- Musician/Music Producer
Osmani Soundz -
Sam Zaman - DJ
- Professional Footballer
Baroness Pola Manzila
UDDIN - Labour Peer
Dr Wali Tasar Uddin, MBE
- Business Entrepreneur
Deedar Zaman - Musician
Lisa Aziz has won an award from the Asian business community and
in 2004 won an 'Emma' for Best Television News Journalist. She has
also been nominated for Personality of the Year by the Royal Television
Voted Presenter of the Year, Lisa Aziz won the 1992/93 'Presenter
of the Year' T.R.I.C. Award. and 1989 she received both the 'Asian
of the Year' Award from the Asian community, and the 'Achievement
Award' from the Asian business community. Lisa Aziz is best known
as one of the main anchors on Sky News. She presented Big Talk on
BBC2, an eleven part series of half hour interviews with heavyweights
from the world of politics, current affairs and business as well
as East, also on BBC2 on issues related to the Asian community.
She also works regularly as one of the main presenters for Channel
East, fronting their Everywoman programme. At the end of 1999, she
co-hosted the prestigious Asia Awards on BBC2 and in 2000 she presented
the EMMA Awards for Carlton (The Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards).
Lisa Aziz had her first broadcasting experience while studying at
London University for a BA (Hons) in Art History and Religious Studies.
She made two very successful appearances on LBC and, after completing
her degree course, she joined Radio City in Liverpool.Lisa’s television
career began a year later when she moved to Bristol, working with
BBC Television West on their local magazine programme. In 1985,
she moved to HTV West as a news reporter/presenter on their nightly
news programme. Two years later, Lisa began co-presenting HTV’s
award-winning current affairs programme The West This Week.In 1988,
Lisa moved to TV-am, starting as a reporter and moving to co-present
the Sunday morning current affairs programme, before becoming the
main daily news presenter in 1989. Her last two years with the station
saw Lisa spread her wings even further, with travel feature reports
and news reports of the cyclone that hit Bangladesh. This various
list of duties culminated in Lisa winning the 1992/93 "Presenter
of the Year" TRIC Award, adding to her 1989 "Asian of
the Year" Award from the Asian community and the "Achievement
Award" from the Asian business community she received during
the same year.After TV-am’s demise, Lisa worked for BBC World Service
Television and presented Financial Times Business Daily for NBC
Superchannel before joining Sky News. She presented the weekend
editions of Live at Five and Sky News at Ten. Lisa has presented
on Sky News for ten years.
She returned to the West Country in 2005, and has since been one
of the main presenters of the ITV West main news programme The West
Tonight. Lisa Aziz is currently the co-presenter of the Bristol
based ITV West nightly weekday news programme The West Tonight.
From 16 February 2009, she will become a presenter of the pan-regional
news programme The West Country Tonight, on ITV South West. She
now lives in Bath and has two children, a daughter and a son. She
is hugely popular and experienced as a corporate presenter and host
for numerous blue-chip companies.
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Sarwar Ahmed is one of the main players in the Asian media explosion.
A young entrepreneur with a passion for newspapers. Sarwar Ahmed
founded Eastern Eye in 1989 and was the Managing Director of Smart
Asian Media Limited. He was formerly Publisher of Ethnic Media Group
(EMG), a subsidiary of Southnews plc.
In 1989 an 18-year-old from east London spotted a gap in the market.
Mainstream newspapers had traditionally ignored ethnic minorities
while community newspapers were dominated by news from 'back home'.
So Sarwar Ahmed, whose father is a Bengali journalist, launched
Eastern Eye, a tabloid targeted at second-generation Asians, which
has become the fastest-growing Asian newspaper in Britain. He became
editor-in-chief of four newspapers, having bought the Asian Times,
Caribbean Times and New Nation, then sold up to launch Smart Asian
Media, publishers of Asian Woman magazine, Asian Bride and Asian
Xpress newspaper. He was the publisher for Asian Xpress Asian Rich
This year he was appointed to The Newspapers Panel of the Competition
Recently sold Smart Asian Media and has launched new magazine a
called Asiana for Asian women.
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Writer/Director Sadik Ahmed is a British Filmmaker of Bangladeshi
originbased in the UK. He completed his undergraduate in Painting
and Photography from the London College of Printing, and Central
Saint Martins School of Art and Design; and then completed his MA
in Cinematography from the prestigious National Film and Television
School (NFTS). While at the NFTS, Sadik was awarded 2 Kodak prizes
Sadik’s film Tanju Miah, a short film about a young tea boy living
on the Sarail Road, was an international success with awards from
the Royal Television Society, the Grierson Foundation for British
Film (Finalist), Turner ClassicShorts (Finalist), MySpace-Mymovie
Mash-Up (Finalist). Tanju Miah was specifically selected for screening
at the Toronto International Film Festival2005. The film was also
the first ever Bangladeshi film in competition at the Sundance Film
Festival in January 2007. Tanju Miah was screened in the Curzon
Cinemas UK, March to April 2007. The Last Thakur is Sadik’s first
feature film. It will be premiere at The LondonFilm Festival in
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Hamja Ahsan (b.1981) is an artist and independent curator of the
Bengali-Islamic diaspora, based in London.
Ahsan's practice ecncompasses the entire span of media: drawing,
sound, painting, appropriated text work, sculpture, photography,
performance, video, directing exhibitions and critical writing.
His thematic concerns as an artist revolves around post-colonial
history, diaspora politics, indexing time, the prison system and
new formations of Imperialism.
He has previously presented projects at Tate Britain, The Guild
Gallery (New York), Deptford X, Shanaakht Festival (Pakistan), Shiplakala
Academy (Bangladesh) and across artist-run spaces. He is the co-ordinator
of Other Asias - an artists-run organisation of 10 interweaving
curatorial currents, exploring national and regional representation.
He is the co-curator with Fatima Hussain of the REDO Pakistan project
- a nomadic art project that circulates through the UK, Pakistan
He is currently working on a collaborative archival project with
the jazz musician Zoe Rahman, exploring Bangladeshi nationhood as
performative identity. His recent work included producing video
installation as commissioned media artist for Bangladesh Indepencence
Day and performative art writing around Other Asias keywords lexicon
for Resonance FM. Hamja is a Chelsea (MA Critical Writing &
Curatorial Practice) and Central St Martins (BA Fine Art) alumnus.
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Born in Bangladesh and moved to UK during the civil war in Bangladesh
(formly known as East Pakistan). Monica was raised in Bolton. She
studied at Oxford University.
Monica Ali has been identified as one of Britain’s best young novelist
by influential literary magazine Granta. The successful writer of
Brick Lane, Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and was shortlisted
for the Booker and Whitbread Prizes. Brick Lane is one of the 2004's
literary sensations and is described as an intimate epic set in
the contemporary Asian community in the East End's once infamous,
now celebrated 'Banglatown'.
She was shortlisted for the National Critics Circle awards in America
and the Orange Prize for women's fictions.
Click to read
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Aladin is a widely admired and award-winning international magician.
His astounding, widely admired magic resonates across the world.
Entirely self-taught, Aladin is one of only two Golden Turban members
of the Magic Academy of Bangalore, India, guardians of the world's
oldest magic tradition. He is also a former International Magician
of the Year and has been a Selected Artist at the National Review
of Live Arts U.K.
Famed for his eerie mastery of objects - which disappear and reappear
with a mesmerizing liquidity in his hands - and his extraordinary
ability to read the hearts and minds of others, Aladin exudes mystery
and animation matched only by his vast reserve of natural human
warmth. Unfolding impromptu mini-worlds of impossible happenings
decorated with secrets, experiments of the mind and unanswerable
questions as he goes, Aladin has delighted, mystified and raised
the hairs of thousands.
Aladin's ventures in entertainment include being commissioned by
private clients in Las Vegas and Monte Carlo as well as in London
(Hurlingham Club, Sanderson Hotel, Peacock House etc.), opening
onstage for artists ranging from Paul Weller to Mark E. Smith, and
as Master of Ceremonies and co-organiser of the world's biggest
magic event (800 magicians from around the world converging on the
city of Bangalore). Several British and international television
channels have projects currently in development involving aladin
as a principal.
Aladin was born in Washington DC and has lived in Geneva, Paris,
Prague, Baghdad, Algiers, Calcutta, Delhi, Lahore, Karachi and London.
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Ali Jacko was born in 1969, of Bangladeshi descent and raised in
the East End of London. A World Champion Kickboxer who now runs
JKO Productions which promotes kickboxing on Sky Sports and Channel
With his determination to pursue his ambitions he has successfully
become a World Kickboxing Champion, who would travel the globe and
gain a fanatical multi-ethnic following. This determination was
in evidence from an early age, where he excelled at sport, playing
Junior League football and becoming the BMX Freestyle Schoolboy
champion. At the age of 17 he was already running his own fashion
design and manufacturing business, but it was his dynamic sport
of kickboxing that was to give him the gateway to the popularity
and esteem he enjoys today.
From his humble beginnings, Ali Jacko became the first Asian to
win British, European, Inter-Continental, and Work Full-Contact
Kickboxing championships in a 45 fight unbeaten career, with his
World title fight at ‘The Island’ in Ilford on 25th May 1996 proving
to be one of the most spectacular shows in British Kickboxing history,
with the Bollywood superstar Salman Khan travelling from India to
support his friend. From winning his first B.I.K.M.A British title
1990, Ali capped his remarkable career by taking his second World
title, this time WKN belt, in June 2000, but before he retires from
fighting he still has one great ambition and that is to fight for
a World Title in Bangladesh.
Ali’s achievements have not gone unnoticed in the local community,
where his fame has been used to good effect to foster racial harmony,
and alongside an award given to him by Tower Hamlets Council, Jacko
has also won the Canary Wharf Sporting Personality Award 2001 and
won the UK Asian Sporting Award in 2003. Ali has a fan base from
all communities, especially among the younger generation, where
he is perceived as a cultural hero.
JKO TV was launched in July 1997 and is dedicated to producing
and providing high quality programmes for terrestrial, satellite
and corporate clients. The company was established on the basis
of a core contract to launch and produce weekly programming for
a business motivational private satellite channel broadcast across
Europe and South Africa in eight languages. The Channel won first
place in the Audio Visual Magazine award for "The Best Use
of Business Television" category. JKO TV has been filming for
all the Thai and Kickboxing for the last two years on SKY Sports
and Channel 5.
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Enam Ali is one of the most prominent Asian personalities in the
UK. Known for his leadership and passionate concern for the interests
of the restaurant industry and of British Bangladeshis, he is frequently
to be seen and heard in the UK's print and TV media acting as a
spokesman for his business sector and as an unofficial ambassador
for the country of his birth.
For 20 years, the special cuisine and friendly atmosphere at his
award-winning restaurant, Le Raj, situated in Epsom, Surrey, on
the outskirts of London, has attracted politicians, show-business
celebrities and media personalities and has gained him their friendship,
recognition and support.
A restaurateur's life is about service and that theme continues
whenever he represents the UK's successful 'ethnic' restaurant sector
in matters relating to regulation and parliamentary legislation.
He serves on the Home Office Hospitality advisory panel and this
year he has been lobbying at the House of Lords to ensure fairness
in the UK government's treatment of legitimate migrant workers.
Membership of the Portcullis Club also gives him social contact
with many of the Members of Parliament who initiate and shape the
laws of the land.
It was not widely known that the vast majority of the UK's 'Indian'
restaurants were actually owned and run by people of Bangladeshi
origin. Enam recognised the need to build a stronger international
identity for his home country to ensure that Bangladeshis were correctly
credited for their innovative approach and resourcefulness. In 1992
Enam launched the Dine Bangladeshi initiative, encouraging Bangladeshi
restaurant owners across Britain to take pride in their heritage
by displaying the country's flag with the distinctive 'Dine Bangladeshi'
The operation was successful in raising awareness and beginning
to change the UK public's perception of Bangladesh. Enam recalls:
"Within a few months, the campaign gained huge media coverage.
Some restaurant owners even changed the 'Indian' name of their restaurant
to Bangladeshi and started to include traditional Bengali dishes
on the menu. Most importantly the UK's public began to replace the
false impression of Bangladesh and its people as a burden when they
saw the significant contribution we are making to the their lifestyle
While seeking backing from fellow restaurateurs, Enam recognised
the need for a formal support network for Bangladeshis in the UK
so that Bangladeshi-owned restaurants were well represented and
warranted a voice at decision-making level. As a result, in November
1995, the co-ordinators of the Dine Bangladeshi campaign officially
launched the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs at the Grosvenor
House Hotel in London, enabling the media to publicise an industry
concerned to maintain the very highest standards while promoting
Bangladeshi cuisine to the British public.
Taking a step further in this direction seemed logical to Enam
and, in 1998 he launched 'Spice Business', a top quality quarterly
trade magazine featuring articles in English and Bengali, combining
up-to-the-minute information on the restaurant sector and community
news. Today it boasts a quarterly readership of over 100,000 and,
as Enam points out, "Spice Business magazine has succeeded
in opening new channels of communication for the Asian restaurant
community to give our needs the authority they deserve."
In 2005, his ability to create success was applied to the launch
of the British Curry Awards with the intention of generating positive
publicity for the best in local curry restaurants throughout the
UK. Much hard work was finally rewarded when the spectacular awards
ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Central London
and the winners were announced. Winning restaurants throughout the
UK gained much local publicity and the event helped raise the profile
of this sector on a national, and international level as well.
Despite the heavy demands on his time, Enam manages to balance
work, community and family life. He is married, with two sons and
a daughter, and they are a constant source of support and pleasure.
The many participants in the business he leads are also treated
like family members, and this extended family appreciates and benefits
from the leadership he gives them.
Through Le Raj, his Epsom restaurant Enam Ali has raised over £670,000
in charitable donations and is presently the only Asian restaurateurs
to have been awarded the prestigious fellowship of the Confrérie
de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs - an international society
devoted to the highest standards of cuisine, and the quality of
the dining experience which surrounds it.
As an exemplary leader in his field, Enam Ali has been instrumental
in giving British Bangladeshis a much stronger identity and far
greater respect within the United Kingdom. He has also helped create
greater awareness of the achievement of those in the Bangladeshi
He is the Publisher/Editor of Spice Business Magazine with a circulation
of over 10,000 in UK. Also, the founder and organizer - The British
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Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow
Rushanara Ali grew up in Tower Hamlets, studied at Mulberry School
and Tower Hamlets College. She is currently an Associate Director
of the Young Foundation and head of research, external relations
and international projects. She has previously worked at Home Office's
Communities Directorate, leading a project in response to the 2001
riots in the North of England. She has also worked on human rights
issues at various places. Rushanara also worked for Michael Young
on a project, which paved the way for Tower Hamlets Summer University
that has been successfully replicated around London. She is a Commissioner
for the London Child Poverty Commission, Chair of Tower Hamlets
Summer University and SummerUni London, a Board Member of Tower
Hamlets College, a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and a member
of the Tate Britain Council. She was a member of the Home Office
Working Group on Preventing Extremism established after the 7/7
London bombings. Rushanara has a degree in Philosophy, Politics
and Economics from Oxford University. In April 2007, she was selected
as the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow.
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Born in Colchester to parents of Indo-Pakistan descent Shahin's
father is Bengali. Shahin spent her formative years growing up in
Kuwait in the United Arab Emirates. From a tender age she showed
a naturally talented musical vocals inspired by her mother Zohra
Ahmed. Shahin decided to turn her talents towards music. She sang
in Arabic all the time and was encouraged by teachers in Kuwait
to sing in Arabic during school assemblies. She won several talent
competitions. She returned to England to continue her schooling
at Gilbert Grammer School. Upon leaving she took up a respectable
position in Customs and Excise. She soon began performing at various
shows in London and started making demos before releasing Jind Mariye
which she contributed to and was produced by Taz from Stereo Nation.
The single hit the No.4 spot in the Bhangra charts. The popularity
of Jind mariye got Shahin noticed and approached by British music
producer Kuljit Bhamra who helped her make her debut solo album
Destiny. Destiny had a mellow flavour with distinct Arabic influences;
a sound that has now become Shahin's trademark. Bollywood beckoned
and much to her pleasure India's leading composer A.R Rahman recorded
with Shahin utilising her vocal work in Shyam Benegal's film Zubbeidaa.
She has been shortlisted, nominated or won awards for her achievements
as the Best Female Vocalist Winner for Asian Pop Awards 2000, twice
short-listed for Asian Women of Achievement Awards and received
a finalist nomination for the equally noted Ethnic Multi Cultural
Media Awards. She is one of the UK based female South Asian front
runners of innovative musical collaborations with her blend of powerful
Arabic/Indian vocal resonance in music in its various genres. To
add to this she has worked with respected mainstream and Asian musician’s
producers such as Prodigy, A.R Rahman, Jah Wobble, Doug Laurent,
Miss Shiva, Justin Scharnova etc as well as up and coming stars.
Her vocal work profile credits are included in the soundtrack to
several successful major feature films. Hollywood/Bollywood movies
include: The Incredible Hulk (Universal Pictures / Hollywood), The
remake of the 70s classic Charlie’s Angel (Columbia Pictures/Hollywood),
Zubeidaa (Background score;India), Scary Movie 2 and Dhai Akshar
Prem Ke (Bollywood) Starring Ashwayarai.
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Neil Biswas the young successful writer of the Channel 4 drama
Second Generation who grew up in the Bengali community in East London.
Second Generation an explosive two-part drama about love, family
and identity – set around the tangled relationships of two Indian
families with a deep-rooted, shared history. It's a vivid romance
that travels from Brick Lane to Bollywood, set to the soundtrack
of the UK Asian underground music scene.
He's a talented individual whose stageplays include Crash (Croydon
Warehouse), Skirmishes (Etcetera), Overhear (National Tour – Leicester
Haymarket, Bristol New Vic, Brixton Shaw) and Skin (Soho Theatre
Company). He has also written for BBC Radio Four, The Royal Court
YPT, English National Opera and Tara Arts. Neil has recently finished
co-writing Talkback Productions' major 10-part adaptation of In
a Land of Plenty that was screened on BBC2 in the year 2000. He
is now working on a new series for Oxford Films and Channel Four.
Click to read
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Director of the civil rights group Liberty
Born in London of Indian parents, Shami Chakrabarti, read law at
the LSE before practising briefly as a barrister and then joining
the Home Office's legal department in 1996. She worked under Michael
Howard, who, as Conservative home secretary, was reviled by civil
rights campaigners. She worked on the 1996 Asylum Bill which, she
noted, was considered "draconian" at the time. Ms Chakrabarti,
a mother of a one-year-old boy, said that she would like to try
to restore the great British liberal consensus which existed when
she was growing up and which has been undermined in the past 10
years. She would work to reverse the Government's increasingly authoritarian
approach to social issues. She also intends to oppose repressive
measures taken in the name of "the war against terrorism".
Shami Chakrabarti commenced as Director of Liberty in September
2003. Having originally joined Liberty in 2001 as In-house Counsel,
Shami has worked on a number of Liberty's high profile cases and
has become a recognised expert on the UK's anti-terrorism laws.
Shami also assisted with Liberty's campaigning work by contributing
to the development of policy and strategy and regularly appearing
as Liberty spokesperson on a wide range of issues.
Shami trained at the Public and Common Law Bar before joining the
Home Office Legal Adviser's Branch in 1996. During five and a half
years in Government, Shami advised Ministers in Labour and Conservative
Governments on a range of sensitive policy issues, worked on the
passage of 12 Parliamentary Bills and was one of the Home Office
officials responsible for the implementation of the Human Rights
Act. She also acted in a number of high profile cases in both the
House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
More broadly, Shami is an active member of Britain's human rights
and public law community. She is an Executive Governor of the British
Institute of Human Rights, an Executive Committee Member of the
Administrative Law Bar Association and Editorial Board Member of
the European Human Rights Law Review. She has published numerous
pieces on civil liberties issues for a number of practitioner and
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Tanika Gupta the award-winning playwright whose work has been staged
at the best venues in London and beyond. She is a bilingual British
Bengali and a professional at the top of her game. She won the Asian
Women Achievement Award for arts and culture at the venue that took
place at the Hilton.
Her adaptation of Hobson's Choice - set in an Asian tailor's shop
owned by Hari Hobson - recently opened at the Young Vic, one of
London's hottest venues, and in the past 12 months her play Sanctuary
was staged at the National, Inside Out toured for Clean Break and
Fragile Land opened the new Hampstead theatre's education space.
The BBC asked her to write for Grange Hill. In 2000 The Waiting
Room was a career highpoint, enjoyed by blue-rinses as well as by
Tanika Gupta was born in Chiswick and grew up in an arty environment.
As a child, Tanika performed Tagore dance dramas with her parents’.
Her mother was an Indian classically trained dancer and her father
a singer. She says "They were into Bengali literature and Rabindranath
Tagore. They met and fell in love at Tagore's ashram at Santiniketan.
The artistic side of things was bred into me - I didn't even notice
it. “ She went to Oxford University and read modern history. After
Oxford, her political commitment found expression in her work for
an Asian women's refuge in Manchester. After marriage in 1988, the
couple moved to London and Gupta was a community worker in Islington,
writing in her spare time.
Her first play, Voices on the Wind, was developed by Talawa and
the National Theatre Studio and based on an extraordinary incident
in her family history. "In 1930, Dinesh Gupta, my grandfather's
brother, was hanged by the British. He was only 19." A Bengal
Youth Volunteer, Dinesh had been part of a suicide squad which assassinated
the British inspector general of prisons. But while his comrades
killed themselves, he botched it, was healed and then executed.
"In prison he wrote all these beautifully eloquent letters
to his family, which I was given and used as the basis of Voices
on the Wind. My family is very proud of him and now a road in Calcutta
is named after him."
She also points out that although our image of the struggle for
Indian independence is dominated by Gandhi and peaceful protest,
"there were also a huge number of revolutionaries who used
violence - and the British used violence and torture to suppress
Tanika Gupta’s previous plays include Gladiator Games, Sanctuary,
Hobson’s Choice and Fragile Land. Her current play is called Sugar
Mummies playing at Royal Court Theatre.
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Ruby Hammer is a world-renowned fashion and beauty make-up artist.
Her work and has been featured in some of the most influential fashion
publications as well as on the runways of John Galliano and Ghost.
Ruby Hammer, one of Britain’s most successful make-up artists, teamed
up with beauty publicist Millie Kendall to create Ruby & Millie
cosmetics, one of the most innovative brands to be launched in the
international beauty arena. Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall are responsible
for the first major UK cosmetics brand to launch in 30 years. Make
up artist to the stars, Ruby Hammer, and beauty virtuoso Millie
Kendall, are presenting their own ultra glamorous TV show for Discovery.
Born in Nigeria to Bangladeshi parents, she emigrated to Britain
when she was 13. Her parents intended to return to Bangladesh, it
was East Pakistan then, but war broke out there while they were
on holiday in England. She gained her Economics degree from City
University and her wealth of expertise in the beauty industry led
her to be an internationally acclaimed make-up artist.
Ruby Hammer has created looks for the world's top photographers
and most influential designers, including John Galliano, Jasper
Conran and Ghost, and worked on photo shoots for magazines such
as Vogue, Elle, Red, Harpers and Queen and Marie Claire. Ruby is
regularly quoted as an expert on trends, beauty tips and advice.
She has appeared on numerous television shows and worked on many
advertising campaigns and television commercials.
At the launch of the British Asian Fashion Awards held at the Clothes
Show in December 2002, Ruby Hammer received a special presentation
of the very first Award. The Outstanding Individuals Award, which
pays tribute to an individual or group who has made a significant
contribution to the British Asian or mainstream fashion industry,
recognised the leading make-up artist and co-founder of cosmetics
brand Ruby & Millie, for the distinct role she has carved for
herself in the fashion and beauty industry over the past ten years.
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Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1968. Enamul Hoque is a professional
photographer and filmmaker based in London. Born the youngest of
a large emigrant family, he grew up in both the UK and Bangladesh,
eventually settling in London. He has been a professional photographer
since 1989 and has worked on numerous campaigns for Kodak, General
Motors, Virgin and Sony Playstation among others. His photographic
work has been featured in various international magazines and exhibitions.
Enamul is a partner in Underbelly Film and has been making and
producing films since 2003. His short films have been screened in
museums and galleries all over the world and recent projects include
films for Iqons TV, Kei Kagami, YKK, and Nike.
Web: www.enamul.co.uk / www.underbellyfilm.co.uk
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Shelim Hussain is an entrepreneur and started his business 12 years
ago at the age of 18 while working part-time as a waiter and studying
at college for his A’Levels. He saw an opportunity in the market
for prawn supply and started off by selling a few boxes of frozen
prawns with his friend, delivering them at night while continuing
with his education during the day. Shelim Hussain started the business
with an initial capital of only £20. The annual turnover for
his business is around £40 million.
He formed Eurofoods (UK) in 1993 and the company has grown rapidly
since. He employs over 200 staff and has food processing units in
Newport, South Wales and in Croydoon. He also has a new plant and
four factories in Bangladesh, and has started a subsidiary in New
York. He also has invested in property development business in Wales.
At present he is Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of the
following companies: Euro Foods (UK) Ltd, S & B Developments
Ltd, SRS Poultry Ltd (commencing late 2003), Eurasia Food Processing
(BD) Ltd (Bangladesh), Euro, Linen Service (UK) Ltd, Horizon Seafood
Ltd, Saidowla Enterprise and Euro Foods (BD) Ltd.
He has won the Eastern Eye Young Achiever Award that was presented
by The Prince of Wales and was nominated for Young Achiever at the
Asian Jewel Awards 2003.
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Born to Bangladeshi parents, Konnie Huq is the well-known presenter
of “Blue Peter”. Konnie graduated from Cambridge University. Konnie
is best known for presenting this long running British Children's
magazine show "Blue Peter", however she was presenting
the satellite show “TVFM” in 1991 (at the age of 16) and from there
went on to appear in a number of Children Television programmes.
She joined Blue Peter in December 1997 and kept herself the coveted
role of Blue Peter presenter for seven years (so far), and also
was a presenter on the CBBC Top 40 show and Top of the Pops. Konnie
was presenting Channel Five's MILKSHAKE morning shift before moving
to the BBC. She also interviewed Neil Kinnock for NEWSROUND when
she was about 14.
She was nominated for a presenter award at the British Academy Children's
Film and Television Awards, in association with the Lego Company,
on 24th November 2002.
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Born in Manchester to Bangladeshi parents. Sanchita Islam is an
artist, writer and filmmaker. She studied at the London School of
Economics, the Northern Media School and Chelsea School of Art and
Design. She heads Pigment Explosion, a company that specialises
in live art and international art projects.
She has exhibited in London, New York, Paris and Bangladesh and
made films in New York, Bangladesh, Malaysia and London for the
British Council, Arts Council and Commonwealth Institute. Her writing
and art work have been published in New York, Paris and London.
‘From Briarwood to Barishal to Brick Lane’ was her first publication
and ‘Old Meets Young’ funded by the Arts Council, is her second
and recently she published her third book “Hidden".
Sanchita Islam lives and works in London.
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Pro Touch Soccer Academy
Head of Coaching Programmes & Mentor. Taff started his journey
in football at a very young age; and knew almost straight a way
that he wanted to be a professional footballer. He represented various
local Sunday League teams, his school and his district before being
selected to play for his country. His skills, determination and
belief landed him with a schoolboy contact with Queen’s Park Rangers
and later Luton Town FC.
With a clinical eye for goal he was soon making a name for himself
within the sport, which resulted in him being snapped up by his
boyhood team Arsenal in September 1996. While playing and training
with the Gunners’ Youth Academy, he was one of ten boys selected
to attend Highams Park School, a specialised program designed by
Arsenal in a bid to combine player’s education with training. The
likes of David Bentley (Tottenham Hotspur and England), Justin Hoyte
(Middlesbrough), John Spicer and Ryan Smith were just a few of the
names that were involved in this elite development program.
Taff has also been guided by some of the games great players and
coaches, including Neil Banfield, Liam Brady, Andy McDermid and
former England coach Don Howe. Taff continued to develop and gain
a vast knowledge of the professional game, representing Arsenal
at academy, youth and reserves level. During his time at the club
he competed in a series of prestigious tournaments across Europe,
playing against the likes of FC Bayern Munich, Ajax, Lyon and PSV
Feeling the harsh hand of the beautiful game, Taff was released
by Arsenal at end of the 2003 season. He went on to play in America,
before returning to the UK to have trials with Bristol City and
Rusden and Diamonds. He opted to sign for Gravesend and Northfleet
FC, now known as Ebbsfleet, who play in the Blue Square Premier
League. Taff has continued to play at semi-professional level.
Taff has completed his FA Level Three UEFA ‘B’ Coaching Certificate
with the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and is currently
working towards completing his UEFA ‘A’ License. He has also completed
his training for the Youth Coaches Award, which is designed for
coaches working with elite players within the Professional Academies
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Executive Director, BRAC UK
Sandra Kabir has worked in development since 1976 with donor agencies,
international and national NGOs. She has worked predominantly in
the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights and women's
development and rights. She was awarded the international STIMEZO
Prize in 1988 for her contribution to making abortion safe worldwide.
Sandra established the Bangladesh Women's Health Coalition in 1979
and played a major role in the creation of EL TALLER (a global NGO
movement), among other achievements. Sandra was an elected Councillor
of the London Borough of Brent till May 2006.
Since January 2006, she is the Executive Director of BRAC UK and
Secretary to the Board.
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Akram Khan trained in the classical Indian dance form of Kathak
from a very young age. At the age of 14, he performed with the Royal
Shakespeare Company's production of the Mahabharata for two years,
which took him to many cities including Paris, Tokyo, Adelaide,
New York, Los Angeles and Perth. He has gained two degrees in Contemporary
Dance, and Performing Arts, and performed all over the UK as well
In 2000, Khan formed the Akram Khan Dance Company after he returned
from his training in Brussels. His first full-length work Kaash,
a collaboration with Anish Kapoor and Nitin Sawnhey, was performed
at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002. The company is currently produced
by Farooq Choudry. In the last five years it has established itself
as one of the leading young dance groups in the world.
His list of performances and productions include two collaborations
with Nitin Sawhney, first time in 2000 on the solo performance ‘Fix’
and in 2002 on ‘Kaash’ that was performed at the Edinburgh Festival.
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Sapnara Khatun. She read law at the LSE and was called to the Bar
and has been in practice since 1990. Appointed as Judge – Recorder
of the Crown in 2006. In 2003 she was appointed to the government’s
Family Justice Council to advise on all aspects of family justice
system. She has also advised on and drafted the new Forced Marriage
Act and plays an active role in the boards of many voluntary and
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Tommy Miah, 44, left Bangladesh for Britain as a child of 10 without
a word of English. He is now one of the most successful Bengali
businessmen and a celebrity chef in UK.
After moving to Edinburgh from Birmingham he started a successful
Indian restaurant business and runs an Indian-theme hotel in the
city called The Original Raj Hotel. His Raj Restaurant in Edinburgh,
colonial-style decor introduced by chef-proprietor Tommy Miah when
he opened the restaurant in 1981, is set in a listed building and
is designed to feel like you are stepping back in time to late 19th
century India. The Raj Restaurant in Edinburgh is the first Indian
restaurateur to be honoured by Britain's Seafish Authority with
its "Pride in Seafood" award. Iain MacSween, chief executive
of the Scottish Fishermen's Organisation, presented the prestigious
award at a ceremony in Tommy's restaurant. The award recognises
Tommy's pioneering work in promoting Haddock as a prime item on
Indian restaurant menus.
Tommy Miah is a canny businessman whose International Chef of the
Year competition attracts the world's top Asian chefs. Edinburgh
businessman Tommy Miah started the annual "International Indian
Chef of the Year" competition in 1991 to promote innovation
and quality in Indian cooking. The first competition was launched
by Edwina Currie and finalists were chosen from 400 entrants for
a three-hour cook-out at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh,
in February 1992. Entries have risen steadily each year, reaching
around 5,000 in 2001-2. Entry is free and the worldwide competition
is the only one open equally to all amateur or professional cooks.
The winner is announced at a Curry Ball in Edinburgh.
He recently opened a restaurant in Dhaka showcasing his innovative
"Bangla fusion" cuisine that has become a big hit with
diners. The Bangladeshi-born celebrity chef Tommy Miah cooked hundreds
of kilograms of lentils and meat in Dhaka in a bid to win entry
into the Guinness Book of Records for preparing the largest-ever
He has been appointed as Chairman of Palma Apparel (UK). Palma
Group has its headquarters in Bangladesh, Tommy will be representing
the UK office. Palma Group is an apparel/clothing export/import
In 2004 Tommy Miah was elected a Fellow of Britain's prestigious
Royal Society of Arts. The Royal Society for the encouragement of
Arts, Manufactures & Commerce was founded in 1754 to further
the develeopment of a principled and prosperous world.
Tommy Miah has supported and worked with many charities in UK and
Bangladesh. He is currently working on collating a recipe book for
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Zoe Rahman is a British jazz composer and pianist. Born in Chichester,
UK, Zoe Rahman studied music at Oxford University and jazz performance
at Berklee College of Music, Boston. Her father, Mizan Rahman, is
Bangladeshi and her mother is British.
In 1999 she won the 'Perrier Young Jazz Musician of the Year' Award.
Her debut trio album, “The Cynic” was short-listed for the BBC Radio
3 jazz album of the year review in 2001. She was then nominated
in the “Rising Star” category of the 2001 BBC Jazz Awards. Her 2nd
album "Melting Pot" was nominated for the 2006 Mercury
Music Prize and was voted 'Jazz Album of the Year' at the 2006 Parliamentary
Jazz Awards. In July 2008, Zoe has been nominated for the Mercury
Prize, Britain’s top music award.
Zoe Rahman, one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz
scene, has just released her new album, “Where Rivers Meet”, which
is the follow up to her Mercury Music Prize nominated ‘Melting Pot’
album. An exceptional composer in her own right, this new album
sees Zoe collaborate with her brother, clarinettist Idris Rahman,
on some unique, jazz-inspired interpretations of Bengali music,
including the songs of Rabindranath Tagore, Abbasuddin and Hemanta
Kumar Mukherjee, among others.
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Pro Touch Soccer Academy - Academy Director
At the age of just 18-years-old, Ash set his sights on tackling
the lack of opportunity available for gifted young footballers to
make an impact within the professional game.
He came up with an idea of launching a school of excellence, a centre
where the most promising players could fine tune their talents and
achieve a better understanding of the game. He also planned to help
put the players who were good enough on a pedestal, giving scouts
and coaches from professional clubs the chance to see their talents.
After seven years of hard work developing a structure, recruiting
the right team and finding sponsorship, the Pro Touch Soccer Academy
was born. Speaking on what is without doubt his greatest ever achievement,
Ash said: "Coaching and guidance are vital in helping young
footballers make it within the professional game. "I've always
wanted to play a part in helping footballers who are good enough
get that chance to prove themselves. That is the sole aim of the
Pro Touch Soccer Academy."
With the exception of a brief trial at Leyton Orient, Ash never
played professional football and was never really given the chance
to prove just how good a player he was. Staying close to the game,
he turned his attentions towards coaching and managing, taking over
the reins at King's Cross United with close friend Will Cave. Since
then he has gone on to accomplish numerous goals within the sport,
coaching a host of successful men’s and women’s teams from across
London. Among his successes include leading King's Cross Lithgow
to a host of top honours around the country, including the prestigious
Canary Cup in 2000. He has also successfully pitted his wits against
some of the best young managers from across Europe, securing a hat-trick
of bronze medals at the Dana Cup, which was held in Denmark.
During the 1990s Ash coached and assisted some of the most gifted
and talented young prospects that Camden and Islington had to offer.
They included Abdul Koysor, who enjoyed spells at Leyton Orient
and Charlton Athletic, Leon Fisher, who played for Watford and England
under-17s, and Sam Oji, who has moved to Hereford United after spending
time at both Arsenal and Birmingham FC.
Ash has also played an influential role in the career of Anthony
Wordsworth, a gifted young midfielder who is on the verge of securing
a first-team place at League One side Colchester United. With almost
13 years of experience under his belt, Ash has developed a great
understanding of the media world that today's professional footballers
are exposed to. His work both on and off the pitch has also merited
various media coverage, with BBC, ITV and Channel Four all producing
documentaries on his achievements.
Ash has received the highest possible praise for all the hard work
that he has put in over the years, receiving invites to the Buckingham
Palace and No.10 Downing Street, where he met former Prime Minister,
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Mary completed her MSc in Media and Communications at the London
School of Economics in 2001 and began her career as Press Officer
of Theatre Royal Stratford East. She previously worked as a PR Officer
for ND Music Company working with clients such as The Dreem Teem
and girl group
Mis-teeq and has worked across a variety of media from Sky News
Room, Sky News Radio, The Guardian Newspaper, Kiss FM Breakfast
Show with Bam Bam, Asian Women Magazine, BBC 1Xtra's Desi Beats
and B Fashion Magazine. In 2004 Mary launched MRPR and currently
has an extensive list of high profile clients from the arts, film,
fashion and music sector. MRPR have worked with some of the most
talented, freshest and cutting edge national and international artists
within the South Asian and mainstream industry. PR Accounts include
Amjad Ali Khan concert at the Royal Festival Hall, Bafta Goes Bollywood
(working with Shah Rukh Khan; Yash Chopra, Karan Johar, Aamir Khan;
Kajol and Preity Zinta); Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2006; Township
Stories from South Africa, Rafta Rafta
starring Meera Syal at the National Theatre; restaurant launch with
Premiership Footballer Ashley Cole.2007 clients include the Croydon
Summer Festival with Radio 1's Bobby and Nihal and a Weekend with
Amitabh Bachan at Bafta.
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Global Brand Director
Toffael Rashid is British born but proudly of Bangladeshi parentage.
He is a globally renowned marketing professional, currently based
in Singapore where he works for the world famous advertising agency,
Lowe & Partners as Global Strategy Director. In this capacity,
he advises several blue chip multinational companies on their global
Toffael learnt his trade working for Unilever for over 12 years
based at various stages in the UK, France, India, & Thailand.
During these assignments he has had country, continental and global
responsibilities and in the process gained cultural and business
experience in over 40 countries across 5 continents. He also spent
18 months with PepsiCo based in Bangkok as Director - Innovation
& New Ventures; Asia.
Toffael is vastly experienced in all aspects of the marketing process
including generating insight; ideation, developing large scale global
innovations and international marketing communications as well as
executing large scale marketing activities at a country level. Much
of his work has been recognized through prestigious awards from
the UK Marketing Society and Cannes Advertising Festival and has
received coverage from global media such as The Economist, TIME
magazine, CNN, BBC etc.
Toffael’s core belief is that marketing can be a tool for societal
upgradation; that when the private and public sector work together,
society can be transformed in a small but significant way. Key examples
of this include his masterminding of Unilever’s first service business
in its 108 year history through the internet focused start-up ’myhome’
as well as the reinvention of its oldest brand in India, Lifebuoy,
through a path breaking and award winning rural marketing campaign.
Toffael is a regular speaker at high profile marketing conferences
in Europe & Asia, lectures at various MBA courses and is a regular
contributor of marketing essays. He is an executive member of the
British Marketing Forum and a founding member of the Bangladesh
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From within the hustle and bustle of East London and the narrow
streets of Brick Lane, as the old surroundings are replaced with
new, expensive high rise penthouses, an evolution is taking place
that promises to take fashion to a new level. As British society
continues to experience this ongoing, organic change in traditions
and characteristics, so to is the fashion world and none more so
than Pasha Razzo. "The environment is a constantly evolving,
melange of nature, society and culture", explains Harun Pasha,
a young, talented and inspirational British Bengali.
This 32-year-old model turned fashion designer started off as a
freelance architect but always believed he was a born designer so
decided to take the plunge and set up his own fashion brand. His
mainstream modelling career started while at university after he
was spotted in a bar in Paris and asked to model for Jean-Paul Gaultier.
He was signed up with Empire models management and modelled for
Vivienne Westwood. Pasha won the Mr Zee 1996 ‘photogenic prince’
at the International Supermodels competition. He was the face behind
the campaign for Regis hair salon.
Pasha always had a natural artistic flair for creativeness and
wanted to design innovative and exciting clothes for the rich and
famous. His client list includes professional footballers Rio Ferdinand,
Deon Burton and MTV award-winners Supergrass.
All sources of inspiration influence Pasha’s creativity and he
is fascinated by the British Raj period. Currently working on an
eveningwear collection called ‘Seduction’ and an exciting collection,
1971, which is based on the Bangladeshi War of Independence that
will reflect happiness, history, culture, art and poetry. The musician
Joi is already queuing up to wear it!
Pasha’s interests are music, singing and used to be in an Asian
boy band. For his fashion shows he coordinates the music to the
clothes ensuring it blends with the fashion theme.
Pasha Razzo is a modern British company that creates contemporary
clothing, with classic styling that displays both eastern and western
influences to represent today's increasingly international society.
The designs represent the fusion of distinct societies, which together
to produce something new whilst still drawing on the virtues of
all sources of inspiration. "My productions reflect the beauty
of our multicultural society. They are created for progressive,
vibrant people who desire distinctive clothing to complement their
open minded, expressive personalities", explains Harun Pasha.
The garments are produced from original designs and at every stage
of the production process, the very highest standards are maintained
and applied. The end result is an object of desire that commands
respect and provokes positive reactions from men and women. What
is unique about Pasha Razzo is that he has recognised a need for
the male customer in particular to have credible options. In the
fashion industry, the wishes of men are often overlooked, product
choices have been limited and different brands can appear to selling
very similar products. Pasha Razzo seeks to redress the balance.
In the words of Harun Pasha, "Pasha Razzo is committed to providing
garments of exceptional quality. We produce suits by hand for those
who wish to 'Dress to Impress'".
Pasha Razzo is one of the best up and coming British Asian fashion
designers. He showcased his latest collection at the Asian Wedding
Exhibition and ‘Asian Dreams’ at The Brewery in 2003. Pasha Razzo
will again be showcasing his fashion at the London Fashion Week
in September 2004, the biannual showcase for British designer fashion
Watch out for Pasha Razzo the next best thing! Future fashion shows
check website at: www.pasharazzo.com
To view some of his previous collection click
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An upcoming talent who directed Second Generation, the two-part
drama for Channel 4 starring Om Puri and Parminder Nagra, which
was his first major TV project. His short film, Bust, was selected
by the UK Film Council to tour international festivals and screened
at Cannes 2003. Prior to that, he directed Reignited, a 30-minute
drama, and wrote and directed The Love Doctor for BBC Films. He
has written two other short films – Dead on Time, and The Wedding
Anniversary - directed a documentary about stand-up comedians for
Carlton’s Metroland series and is an experienced documentary film
editor. He is currently writing a two-part drama for BBC Drama Serials
called The Pact.
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Joi: Farook SHAMSER
Farook Shamser is a successful musician. Born to Bangladeshi father
and Indian mother his passion for music developed at a young age
as his father was a musician, a flute player. Joi was formed, originally
working under the banners 'League Of Joi Bangla Youth Organisation'
and 'Joi Bangla', a collective set up in 1983 to promote Bengali
culture to kids in their local area (East London). Fusing Asian
influences with Western beats, the brothers put out their first
single in 1987, 'Taj Mahouse', with the tunes 'Funky Asian' and
the acclaimed 'Desert Storm' following shortly after. When their
debut album 'One and One is One' was released Joi were Farook and
Haroon Shamsher, two young Bengalis raised in London's East End.
Long before the fashion for Asian-influenced dance music took off
in the mid- to late 90s, Farook and Haroon Shamsher (d. 8 July 1999)
were fusing the sounds of traditional Bengali music with hip-hop
and contemporary dance styles. In the mid-80s, they were part of
a youth movement in east London called Joi Bangla, which aimed to
promote various aspects of Bengali culture. Wishing to concentrate
on the music side, the brothers formed a sound system with the same
name and began playing around local community centres. At the same
time they wrote their own material and in 1988 recorded a promo,
"Taj Ma House" (BPM Records), which coincided with the
acid house movement. As they continued to write, they produced DATs
that they played out on the sound system, with additional live percussion
and samples, in the same way as dub plates. In 1992, they released
"Desert Storm" on Rhythm King Records as Joi, which was
also the name of a club night they hosted the following year that
ran weekly at London's Bass Clef. Over the next few years they continued
to play their own material, and tracks recorded by like-minded artists,
as the Joi sound system at various clubs and parties, including
Bar Rumba, the Big Chill, Megatripolis, Ministry Of Sound and Return
To The Source.
They developed a live act and performed at such events as Tribal
Gathering, Whirl-Y-Gig and WOMAD, as well as others around Europe.
In October 1996, the Bangladesh EP was released on Nation Records
to raise awareness of disastrous Western interference in that country's
affairs. "High Times" and "Nargin" are typical
of their unique, melodic sound, which blends Asian and Middle Eastern
sounds with various styles of dance music without adhering to any
one in particular. In 1998, they contributed a remix of Nusrat Fateh
Ali Khan's "Sweet Pain" to the tribute album Star Rise,
and signed to Real World Records, releasing their debut album at
the end of the year. They also contributed tracks to a large number
of compilations, notably "Goddess" on Sony's Eastern Uprising
(1997), "India" on Zip Dog's Global Explorer (1997) and
"Shanti" on Law And Auder's Further East (1998). Their
highly influential sound system helped promote their fusion ethic
regardless of trends within the music industry. Over the years the
duo worked with various other artists and DJs, including Asian Dub
Foundation, Athletico, Mixmaster Morris, Plaid and Spring Heel Jack.
Catching the attention of Peter Gabriel, during a set at Womad
in 1996, Joi signed to his Real World label the following year,
leading to the release of their critically acclaimed debut album,
'One And One Is One' in 1999. Tragedy hit the brothers later that
year, when Haroon died unexpectedly of a heart-attack at the age
of 34. Having already worked on a follow-up to their debut with
his brother, Farook vowed to complete the project. Joi was originally
brothers Farook and Haroon Shamsher. 'We Are Three' is a tribute
to Haroon. Haroon had completed much of the preparatory work earlier
that year when he travelled to Bangladesh to make recordings with
local musicians. Recorded in Bangladesh and in London with Spring
Heel Jack producers John Coxon and Ashley Wales, its title is a
reference to Joi's spiritual belief in the powers that surround
us. Says Farook: "Haroon's vibe is not only still there, it's
there on every single track. It's his legacy. His tribute gig last
summer was to benefit the Community Workshop and get other Bengali
kids into mixing up traditional music with Western electronica -
and this record is a testament to that."
Joi’s debut album 'One And One Is One' was released in the UK in
March 1999 on Real World Records, following the release of a limited
edition promo single 'Fingers' complete with Lionrock remix. Joi's
talent for original fusion was powerfully demonstrated on their
first major vinyl outing 'Desert Storm' (Rhythm King) in 1993. It
earned them Single Of The Week status in NME magazine, where the
reviewer described it as "one of the most inventive dance records
ever made". Joi had also contributed to a number of compilations
- in particular, a big beat mix of a classic Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
track, 'Sweet Pain', which is the lead track on Real World Record's
tribute album 'Star Rise' - as well as 'Goddess' which appeared
on the Sony 'Eastern Uprising' compilation.
In between working in the studio, Joi had been taking their sound
system to clubs around London, as well as supporting Spiritualised
on their British tour that year. The sound system sets allowed Joi
to mix up DATs with vinyl, and feature on-line sampling and live
percussion. All the DATs played were exclusives of Joi's own stuff
- the sound system format allowed them to cut established Joi tunes
into new work hot out of the studio. The Joi Sound System had torn
it up at clubs and gigs like The End, The Complex, Return To The
Source, and the Ministry of Sound. Joi also put on a full live show
- incorporating sitar, guitar, tablas, and vocals by Susheela Raman.
This had taken audiences by storm at events such as WOMAD, Swaraj,
Big Chill and Tribal Gathering and had taken them as far afield
as Bucharest, Rome and Geneva. They also performed live radio sessions
with Andy Kershaw (Radio 1), XFM and GLR.
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Shahid Choudhury was a key member of the 'Asian Underground' scene.
One of the original Anokha DJs at the legendary Blue Note (London).
He also produced a track titled; Spiritual Masterkey for the Anokha
Album in 1997 (Mango/Island) compiled by Talvin Singh.
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State of Bengali: Sam Zaman
DJ group/Music Producers
State of Bengal (SOB) is one of the key DJ / producers to arise
from the new cutting-edge British-Asian music scene. State of Bengal
had formed back in 1987 as a rap unit, and worked with local youth
from East London to create a self-sufficient group of young people
involved in the development of the arts across the spectrum of music.
Having worked in a variety of communities from across the country,
they tried to set up a record company called Betelnut Productions.
In 1987, Sam Zaman went to the village of Noakhali to visit traditional
folk musicians and dancers. Drawing from his experiences Sam returned
to London to set up a Sound System, which included DJs, musicians,
rappers and dancers. The team mixed Bengali and western dance styles
to create a style that epitomized the diverse facets and synergy
between the two cultures in the UK. The Sound System developed its
repertoire and reputation and found its identity as the State of
Bengal. Two of the rappers that Sam helped to train up were MC Deedar
who went on to Asian Dub Foundation and MC Mustaq who became the
lead rapper for Fun-Da-Mental.
Sam then spent 3 years completing his degree, whilst still training
singers, rappers and DJs, many of whom went on to establish themselves
as part of the core of the new British-Asian scene, Osmani Soundz
and Gesse being among them. While maintaining his involvement with
other artists, Sam continued to work on his concepts for State of
Bengal, creating a definitive style of music that draws from a multitude
of influences of both East and West. The aim of SOB has always been
to reflect the experience of second generation Asians in the UK
through music, as music is one of the few universal languages known
to man. He has developed a strong fan base, with both Asian and
Mainstream audiences. His music is complemented with live DJing
at a host of globally-respected venues.
His reputation as an innovative and exciting producer and DJ were
projected further by his eruptive tracks Flight IC408 and Chittagong
Chill, featured on Talvin Singh's highly-acclaimed Anokha compilation,
as well as his remix of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's Shadow for the RealWorld
StarRise compilation. The industry and media hailed the tracks as
ground-breaking. The success of the tracks led to Sam being courted
by major labels, culminating in a deal with Indie label, One Little
Indian in September 1997.
It was at Anokha, a weekly club night that ran for 18 months that
international artists Bjork discovered SOB's music and unique DJing
style. She was so inspired that she asked him to remix the track
Hunter from her Homogenic album and open for her world tour (end
of 1997). Her respect for State of Bengal's music and DJing skills
led her to pursue him to sign to her label One Little Indian. SOB's
music and unique DJ ability, of mixing an eclectic range of music
from Indian classical, breakbeat, hiphop, tabla-driven beat, melodic
Indian vocals, to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to fit together comfortably,
which was instrumental in the success and aesthetic of the Anokha
Since his departure from Anokha in July 1997 he has been sought
after as a resident DJ at several clubs around London and the UK.
At present he has taken up a monthly residency at the cutting-edge
333 club in London, hosted by infamous DJ, music critic (Mixmag)
and radio presenter (Kiss FM and GLR) Patrick Forge. SOB is frequently
requested to perform live on-air DJ guest slots for several radio
1997 and 1998 proved to be hectic years, in which State of Bengal
completed his debut album Visual Audio, whilst also taking time
out of the studio to tour with Apache Indian as well as his own
live DJ tour. During this time period he was also offered several
remixes by various artists, of which he accepted Ronnie Jordan and
agreed to co-produce a single for Warner artists Amar.
State of Bengal has been a fan and collector of Ananda Shankar,
whom he has helped to bring back into focus in the UK by holding
tribute nights. SOB also collaborated with Ananda Shankar on an
alnum, after completing a long-awaited joint UK tour, which included
the international WOMAD festival. He has been asked to remix a track
by Massive Attack after they heard him at the RealWorld studios.
Sam continues with his passion to encourage and train-up talented
musicians and vocalists who would not otherwise necessarily have
the opportunity to enter the music industry and where possible incorporates
them in his music.
In September 1998, Mumbai, India, was sent rocking when State of
Bengal was transported by UG Sound Systems to DJ live with an interactive
drummer at 3 Flights Up and the Razz Rhino. The response from media,
industry, celebrities and muscians was groundbreaking.
State of Bengal (SOB) took up residence at the infamous & influential
Anokha and toured with Bjork for the Homogenic album. SOB played
to the majority of European Festivals and club circuits both as
a DJ and as a live band (Marque Gilmore, Matt Mars, Paul Chivers,
Susmita Bannerjee, Noam Leaderman, Lopa, U-CEF, Simon King (Engineer),
to promote the Visual Audio album. Six Degrees Records released
Visual Audio in the USA in 2000. SOB went on tour with the Ananda
Shankar Experience, which resulted in the recording of the album
Walking On. The album was recorded live as well as in studio.
SOB has DJ'ed across the five continents and has interacted with
other live musicians, Marque ‘inna•most' Gilmore (London-UK), Matt
Mars (London-UK), Paul Chivers (London-UK), Ram Nagi (London-UK),
U-cef (London-UK), Tafique Quarishi (Bombay-India), Djalma Correra
(Sao Paulo, Brazil), Ranjit Bharot (Bombay-India), Michael Shreef
(Santana Band-Portland USA), Graham Haynes (NYC-US), Purna Das Baul
& Family (Kolkata-India), Paban Das Baul (Paris-France).
Sam Zaman, leading DJ and producer in the Asian club scene, was
among the urban Asian artists who played in the mainstream Glastonbury
festival that dedicated an Asian stage for the very first time in
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Shelley Silas was born in Calcutta and grew up in north London.
The author of ‘Calcutta Kosher’, a poignant story that touches on
the delicate bond between a mother and her daughters and the even
more fragile links between land and identity, faith and culture.
Set in a crumbling house in the Indian Jewish community, Mozelle,
a formidable matriarch, has decided she is about to die. On her
request, her daughters Silvie and Esther return to their birth home.
Although the house is unchanged, the women are. They have long since
settled abroad, and their identities are marked by the need to belong
in the countries of their choice. Over a Sabbath supper of Indian
Jewish food, revelations are made. Silvie and Esther are forced
to confront the reality of their own lives in the light of a hidden
past. Sunday Times: "This is a wise, compassionate, moving
play, studded with sharp but melancholy jokes and acted with hard
but touching emotional intelligence: a gem that glows in the dark".
The theatre production was at the Southward Playhouse and Theatre
Royal Stratford East. Calcutta Kosher is directed by Kali artistic
director, Janet Steel.
Theatre includes: Calcutta Kosher (Kali Theatre) at the Southwark
Playhouse & UK tour; Falling at The Bush Theatre, where she
was the Pearson writer-in-residence 2002; Shrapnel (Steam Industry)
BAC. Plays for Radio 4: devising and co-writing The Magpie Stories,
Calcutta Kosher and The Sound Of Silence. She is co-adapting The
Raj Quartet (with John Harvey) and Hanan al-Shaykh's novel, Only
In London also for Radio 4 to be broadcast in 2005. Current work
includes Moses Mohammed for the Bush and Partitions for Tamasha
Theatre. She has compiled and edited a short story anthology, Twelve
Days, to be published in November 2004 by Virago. Shelley is the
writer-in-residence for Clean Break's 2005 production.
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Anwar Uddin is the only Bangladeshi professional footballer in
England. He spent seven years training with West Ham’s youth team.
In 2002 he joined the reserve team at Sheffield Wednesday, eventually
making captain. He is now a regular first team member at Division
Three club Bristol Rovers and has built up a reputation as a tough
tackling defender who can also play in midfield if needed. Anwar
Uddin has so far received no yellow or red cards. Anwar Uddin is
currently playing for Bristol Rovers. He is a first choice centre-back
at the Club, and has been awarded over seven man-of-the-match awards
last season. He was voted young player of the year last season.Anwar
Uddin’s achievements include being voted one of the most promising
young players in the South-East by “The Independent” newspaper.
He is receiving exposure from local newspapers and various Independent
articles as he has an excellent chance of being the first Asian
player to play in the Premier League. Signed for Bristol Rovers
FC in the summer of 2002 on a two year contract.
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Pola Manzila UDDIN
Baroness Uddin was raised to the Peerage as Baroness Uddin of Bethnal
Green in 1998. She is the only Muslim, female member of the House
of Lords. Baroness Uddin’s career background includes being a Youth
and Community worker at YWCA, Liaison Officer for Tower Hamlets
Social Services, and Manager of Tower Hamlets Womens’ Health Project.
Baroness Uddin has special interests in education, health, children,
local government, equal opportunities among others.
Baroness Manzila Pola Uddin was born in Bangladesh and brought
up in London, where she attended Plashet Grammar School. A youth
and community worker in Tower Hamlets she became the first Bengali
woman to sit on a local authority in Britain when she was elected
as a councillor in Tower Hamlets in 1990, and served as Deputy Leader
there for two years. As a community activist she helped to initiate
many projects, such as a women's health and advocacy project, counselling
services for families, an IT project and notably the Jagonari Centre,
the first purpose built women's education and training centre in
the country. In 1988 she obtained a social work qualification from
the University of North London and began a long career with Newham
Social Services. During this time she headed the development of
initiatives on domestic violence and worked as a child protection
officer and team manager. She continues her social services career
as an independent consultant. When she received her peerage in 1998,
she was the youngest woman on the government benches. She was also
the first Muslim to enter the Lords, and the only Muslim woman in
Parliament. Raised to the peerage as one of Tony Blair's "working
peers", she became the first Bengali and the first Muslim woman
to sit in the House of Lords. She swore by "Almighty Allah"
as she took her seat.
Since entering the House of Lords, Baroness Uddin has continued
her work on human rights and local government and has advised various
government departments. She is married with four sons and one daughter.
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Wali Tasar Uddin, MBE
Director General of BBCC; and Chairman and C.E.O of the Universal
Koba Corporations Ltd, Chairman of Frontline International Air Services
(London) and the Chairman of the Commonwealth Society of Edinburgh.
He is the award winner of the following: Britannia Spice winner
of the 2001 Pat Chapman’s Good Curry Guide ‘Best Curry Restaurant
in Scotland’, Les Routiers ‘Newcomer of the Year 2001 Award’ and
the Sunday Times ‘Best Ethnic Restaurant Award’.
Dr Uddin is active in the Edinburgh Mela, Rotary International,
and numerous charity initiatives that have raised hundreds of thousands
of pounds for good causes. In addition his own commercial interests
he is a respected consultant to several major award-winning restaurants
in Scotland and in UK.
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Iqbal Wahhab was born in Bangladesh and came to Britain at the
age of eight months. He was educated in London and is a graduate
of the London School of Economics. At university he was Chairman
of the Debating Union and Editor of the student newspaper.
After working as a journalist in the national press for three years,
in 1991 he set up his own PR firm that specialised in food, drink
and restaurants and then in 1994 he launched Tandoori Magazine.
He left the magazine to launch the multi award winning Cinnamon
Club in 2001 - a restaurant and bar aimed to change the way we view
Indian dining. He also acted as a voluntary advisor to the NHS on
how food and drink is served to hospital patients and has been chairman
of the board of trustees for the educational charity Learning for
Life. In 2003 he co-authored the Cinnamon Club Cookbook and in 2005
opened Roast, a restaurant and bar in Borough Market celebrating
the best of British cooking with the best of seasonal British produce.
In 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration
by the University of East London. He currently acts as Skills Ambassador
for the 2012 Olympic Games and is also on the board of the Bright
Ideas Trust. He is an ambassador for Rivington Place, a project
to create a landmark building that will be the first permanent home
for culturally diverse visual arts in the UK. He also works closely
with The Prince's Trust, taking children from under-privileged schools
in south east London and spending half days with them at Roast and
taking them on food education programmes around Borough Market.
Iqbal has been appointed to chair the Government's Ethnic Minority
Advisory Group to discuss ways to reduce ethnic minority unemployment
levels and sits on a Task Force with five minsters to formulate
policies to this end. He has also been appointed to the Government's
Worklessness Review, tasked with assessing the effectiveness of
current policies to tackle unemployment. He chairs the DWP's 2012
Olympic Games Project group briefed with maximizing job and business
opportunities for ethnic minorities.
He is a board member of The Adab Trust, set up to connect employers
to unemployed south Asian graduates and last year became the first
Patron of the charity concern Worldwide.
Voted Restaurant Personality of the Year by Menu Magazine
Voted one of the Top 10 Restaurateurs in Britain in an Independent
on Sunday survey
Businessman of the Year 2008 The Drinks Business
"Iqbal is a restaurateur par excellence, combining a passion
for food with an art for communication, fine attention to detail
and sound commercial acumen." Mark Price Managing Director
of Waitrose on waitrose.com
"National Treasure" - The Times
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