Archive for ‘Hall of Fame’

May 19, 2014

Hall of Fame: Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie at Asia House Literature Festival 2014

Kamila Shamsie at Asia House

Internationally successful writer, Kamila Shamsie sat with the Chatterjis for a wee interview at the end of her event at the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2014. Quality literature could be Pakistan’s second biggest export after Mangoes and Kamila Shamsie’s work sits on the most coveted international shortlists. Calm, confident and endearing, Kamila gave a wonderful interview and we hope you enjoy it:

You live and work between three locations in three different countries, what aspects do you enjoy and dislike?

Now I only live in London, I used to live in Karachi, London and upstate New York. But now I live in London the most. What I love most about Karachi is that it’s home, it’s where I grew up it’s familiar. My family is there, the sea is there so it’s everything I’ve grown up with. So Karachi is in the way you love your childhood. And London I love in the way I embrace…the future I suppose.

Do you describe yourself a feminist/ what does the term mean to you?

I absolutely describe myself as a feminist. What it means to me is…being against patriarchy, there are more complicated ways of that. We live in a society that is structured in an unjust way and that’s wrong and should be changed.
What do you think identity means today for yourself as a dual citizen and for British born Asians?

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October 17, 2013

Hall of Fame: Samant Chauhan

Samant Chauhan 8

WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14

Young Indian fashion designer, Samant Chauhan designs beautiful clothing for both women and men.  He exhibits internationally and is on an upward trajectory after many years of dedication to his art.

Samant was born in Rajasthan and is passionate about working with master weavers from his area.  The NIFT graduate embarked upon fashion after first completing a physics degree at Bhagalpur University.  Samant consistently selects neutral and softer tones to counter the colourful spectrum typically offered by other designers in India.

So Samant, please tell me about your latest collection.

This is the series of Rajputana and this is the fourth season we are doing the same concept.

What is Rajputana?

Rajputana is about reviving the Rajputana name.  Rajasthan’s ancient name is Rajputana and I belong to that place which is one of the reasons I wanted to work on it.

Samant Chauhan 4

WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14
The first season we did a collection, the story was based on how the Britishers influenced the entire Rajputana region … so we were inspired by a lot of Victorian motifs and shapes and volume. 

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August 16, 2012

Hall of Fame: Anjum Chopra

Charismatic and ambitious 35 year-old Indian cricketing champion, Anjum Chopra was attending a conference in New Delhi  when I stole half an hour for a wonderful interview.

How did your parents’ encouragement and support of your profession in sports help to shape your success?

Support, help, guidance, everything is because of my parents.  I would not be where I am today if I did not have their support or without their help.

How did they help you develop your sport beyond high school or college level? For example, I’m not sporty at all, however, my sister was but she was certainly never encouraged to take it to national or international level by my family.

For me that wasn’t a problem.  I managed to graduate from the best sports institution in the country, then I went to the People’s College – one of the best in Asia and then I did my MBA so education-wise I did have to go learn, get a managerial job but at the same time my hobby or my passion was sport.

Now, to start playing cricket wasn’t difficult but not many girls played cricket and there were still comments like: girls play cricket as well?! 

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February 1, 2012

Hall of Fame: Baroness Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi is Minister without Portfolio & Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party.  Seldom without an opinion, Baroness Warsi is a regular on BBC1 Question Time, however, Baroness Warsi also divides opinion especially amongst the media and Muslims.  Politics aside, there is no doubt that Baroness Warsi is a high achieving ambitious woman and here, we hope to shed a little more [interesting] light on her:

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September 2, 2011

Hall of Fame: Alex Von Tunzelmann

Indian Summer is a wonderful book that I reviewed back in March.  Talented young historian, Alex Von Tunzelmann is the author and in addition to selling movie rights to the book Alex was an insightful and informed guest on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions.  She launched a new book, Red Heat, which is a political and historical thriller about the Cold War set in the Caribbean.  You can hear Alex at the Women in History debate at the Hampstead Literary Festival, 13 September.

Alex,  I loved your book Indian Summer and have recommended it to all my friends, in particular I admired the way that you can mix historical facts with people’s personalities and give a truly insightful account as to what went on during the years surrounding Partition.  Does writing come naturally to you?

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August 8, 2011

Hall Of Fame: Vena Ramphal

Vena Ramphal has an unusual career for an Asian woman and has created her own niche as a sex expert and passion coach. She holds one to one sessions, workshops, salons at high end erotic boutique Coco De Mer and is quoted in a number of magazines including GQ and can be followed on twitter @VenaRhampal.

Her workshop “Tearing Up the Good Girl Script” epitomises Vena as she believes that women spend too much of their time pleasing and being good girls when they should be focussing their energies on being happy.

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July 12, 2011

Hall Of Fame: Baljit Sidhu

This months Hall of Fame was conducted with BBC Asian Network Producer, Baljit Sidhu who currently produces the primetime Sonia Deol Show. Baljit left Leeds University with a degree in English Literature and History of Art in 2001 unclear of which career path to take. However, the events of September 11th made her determined to work in the media and in 2002 started in at BBC Asian Network.

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June 1, 2011

Hall of Fame: Rwituja Gomes Mookherjee

Young Gun Rwituja Gomes Mookherjee heads the British Council’s Creative and Cultural Economy portfolio for India & Sri Lanka. Previously based in Delhi, she now lives in Bangalore and organises innovative and enterprising arts and culture events for the benefit of young and old and pushing those involved in the creative industries to aim higher for international recognition.

Please tell us what exciting projects you are running just now.  The most exciting project that I currently manage is the Young Creative Entrepreneur award programme that aims to find emerging talent, enterprises and innovators within the creative industries in India giving them the platform to raise their profile internationally. It allows for unparalleled cross-sectoral networking opportunities to collaborate and develop commercial linkages between India, UK and the international market.

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May 5, 2011

Hall Of Fame: Pinky Lilani

Pinky Lilani OBE is a formidable woman with so much energy and zeal. Founder of the Asian Women of Asian Awards, which is in its 12th year, Pinky has been surrounded by inspirational, innovative and enterprising Asian women.

Her own career has been quite special. She went from being a adult cookery teacher to an author, specialist Indian food advisor to major supermarkets and subsequently setting up her own food enterprise, Spice Magic. Her clients include NatWest, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Coutts who enjoy exquisite Spice Magic food.

Pinky has been decorated with awards including being honouored as one the 50 most influential and powerful Muslim women in Britain in the 2009 Muslim Women Power List.

As the Asian Women of Achievement Awards draws near on May 19th, let’s find out a little behind the woman who is supporting the achievements of Asian women.

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March 28, 2011

Hall of Fame: Kirti Bharadia

Some of the most inspiring women are amongst the fabric of our society. They are not celebrities or have a public profile but are regular women who run their own businesses, bring up their children and still have the time to input into their communities.

This Hall of Fame interview is with Kirti Bharadia, owner of b2Lateral Ltd, an IT systems and services provider. (www.b2lateral.net)

Kirti set up the company with her husband in 1996. The business has grown from their spare bedroom in Ruislip to a multi million pound business boasting clients such as SONY PE, the NHS, and Radley. Her typical day involves the day to day running of the business, parenting and managing two teenage children and supporting the local community school as a Governor.

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March 7, 2011

Hall of Fame Interview

Hall of Fame is dedicated to celebrating inspirational Asian women. There is no better week to launch this section of the House of Chatterjis, then International Women’s week.

Our first Hall of Fame interview is with Bala Thakrar. Bala has spent her career in the voluntary sector and founded Asian Foundation for Philanthropy in 2005 to provide a channel for the South Asian Diaspora in the UK, predominantly Indians, to better engage with development initiatives in India. To find out more about the charity please visit http://www.affp.org.uk

We were delighted to speak to Bala and find out a little more about the woman behind this inspiring charity.

Interview:

What’s your favourite food? I’m a foodie but a vegetarian foodie.  I love cassava – fried, boiled, roasted…..

How do you like to spend your weekends? Catching up with house chores – I actually enjoy cleaning. I find it very therapeutic.  But I also make sure that I spend quality with friends and family. I particularly enjoy going for long walks, followed by a grand cappuccino and cake.

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