Mohamed is a retired financier who was born and raised in Tanzania. He and his family are of Indian origin. He has traveled widely, and has a keen interest in international affairs. Since his retirement he has taken a particular interest in the causes affecting the plight of children and women. Among his several charitable activities, Mohamed is a member of the Advisory Board of PRATHAM Los Angeles, the largest educational non-profit involved in child education in India and the Executive Producer of the documentary film Petals in the Dust:The Endangered Indian Girls
Excerpt from Mohamed’s speech at the 2015 International Women’s Day Screening of Petals in the Dust: The Endangered Indian Girls
Although I had traveled to India several times on pleasure and business, it was only about eight years ago that I under took a more extensive cultural exploration trip of India to explore my roots. I traveled to large parts of rural India and in the process came to be more aware of the plight of women. On my return I joined and began supporting an organization called PRATHAM, the largest NGO in India, involved in educating the most marginalized and underprivileged children of India.
I came to know Nyna Caputi, Director of Petals in the Dust about 4 years ago through an article I read in a newspaper about the documentary she was working on. I contacted her by phone, and through several conversations, reading her website and my own research was similarly horrified. I learnt that approximately 7000 GIRLS A DAY are killed and eliminated from the Indian society. That is 2.5 million girls every year! Besides being a moral crime, how can a society develop to its full potential when we literally kill the SEEDS OF OUR HUMANITY!! On this International Women’s Day I am reminded of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, the Founder and leader of modern Turkey, who in his quest to modernize and uplift the Muslim society in general and his country in particular, said in 1923 that if a family has limited resources to educate their children, than they should educate women first because an educated mother is more likely to impart her education to her children than a father would. A similar and popular adage is “you educate a man and you educate a man; but you educate a woman and you educate a nation”
My own upbringing, perspectives and joys in life have been largely influenced by the women of my family: My mother, my sister, my wife, my daughter, my aunts and my granddaughter. They have been an immense source of strength and inspiration to me all my life for their compassion, service to humanity, humility, sacrifices, caring and unconditional love.
– My mother and the fond memories of her compassionate, generous and caring values are a source of ever present inspiration to me to try and do good.
– My siblings consist of two brothers and a sister. And even though she is the youngest of the siblings, my sister has been the foundation of our family and now the matriarch of the family. I thank my parents for educating her. She is the image of my mother in her value systems and our family strength.
– My career success has been due to the strong support, dedication and sacrifices my wife has made in the course of seven corporate transfers and my long absences due to business travels. She sacrificed her own career development to support and encourage my career and to raise our daughter.
– The birth of our one and only daughter was one of the most important and happiest moments of my life. She has given me immense joy and caring.
– Six years ago my wife and I received the most precious gift in the form of a grand daughter through adoption from Calcutta. It was always my wish to have a girl as our first grand child. So when my daughter and her husband decided to adopt they decided to fulfill my desire for a granddaughter. She is indeed a priceless treasure and brings incalculable happiness and emotional fulfillment to us. She is a source of love and affection as a grandfather I had not imagined. We are most fortunate have to her in our family.
It is our earnest wish that this documentary will also inspire building of more orphanages to provide safe harbor for the unwanted girls and children of India and elsewhere.
– And finally Nyna, who embodies my own emotions and sentiments through her work, passion and commitment. She has opened my eyes and touched my heart.
How can I not honor these women? How can I not do something about wiping out one of the most shameful cultural practices of my own Indian heritage? How can I live with this crime against humanity? This is simply a form of cultural terrorism inflicted on society!
And therefore through all my life experiences, I am led to following conclusion and mission:
Girl killing and gender discrimination of any kind, anywhere must end! It is my duty to help stop these practices in every way I can!