By Asian Media USA ©
Chicago IL: Sikh Community of Midwest Chicago organized a farewell evening for the outgoing Consulate General Dr Ausaf Sayeed on January 1st, 2017 at Viceroy of India Restaurant, 233 E Roosevelt Rd, Lombard, IL. Mr. Darshan Singh Dhaliwal was the host of the evening and Dr. Harjinder Khaira was the master of ceremony (MC). Mr. Sayeed joined Chicago office in 2013 and he was honored for being the most involved and most respected of all Consulate Generals in the history of Chicago. It was this love and respect that he had fostered during his stay in Chicago that had forced so many dignitaries of the Sikh and Indian community to thank him and wish him well. Some highlights of Mr. Sayeed’s contribution and support were shared with the audiences through a PowerPoint presentation that included his visits to various Gurudwaras and Sikh festivals.
Dr Balwant Singh Hansraj thanked the host Mr. Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, and the master of ceremony Dr Harjinder Khaira. “Mr. Sayeed’s contribution to the entire Indian community has been tremendous. He made several visits to Gurudwaras and through his service, made many Sikh lives better. The purpose of his role is to serve and with service comes contentment. He wholeheartedly lived up to the expectations of his role. I would like to quote a famous line here. It goes like ‘it is only by chance that we meet.’ Wherever you went you touched hearts. I extend my best wishes for your next adventure” Said by Dr Balwant Singh Hansraj.
Pakistan Consulate General Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi also added grace to the evening with his presence. In the opinion of the Asian Media editor Prachi Jaitly, this may have been the first time that the Consulate General of India and the Consulate General of Pakistan were under the same roof for Sikh Community of Midwest Chicago event. The presence of both the dignitaries turned it into one of historical events. It was the significance of the Sikh diaspora that had both dignitaries present. Mr. Tirmizi praised Mr. Ausaf Sayeed and called him an embodiment of service who built bridges and brought people together. Dr Gopal Lalmalani, Mayor Village of Oakbrook was also one of the distinguished speakers at the event. He mentioned the amount of work Mr. Sayeed has done. Per Dr. Lalmalani, since 1973, the year he came to the USA, there has never been such an engaging and connected Consulate General.
Dr Lalmalani who is the current mayor of Village of Oakbrook talked about the Polo team and how Mr. Sayed facilitated in bringing the Indian team back along with captain Vikram Singh. In Mr. Lalmalani’s words, Mr. Ausaf Sayeed brought many diverse organizations together. He also thanked Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Consulate General, Pakistan. Mr. O.P. Meena was also thanked for always supporting the community.
Mr. Ausaf Sayeed while addressing the audience, talked about his experiences working in the Chicago office. He assumed office in 2013 after serving as Indian Ambassador in Yemen from 2010-2013. He explained how he always emphasized the channelization of the Indian communities. He was a given standing ovation by everyone present. Mr. Sayeed quoted from the Holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. He also talked about the sayings of many great saints specifying the role that Sikhism plays in being able to serve communities and their own diaspora at large. Teams from Indiana, Milwaukee were also present to say thanks and goodbye to the Consulate General.
In Mr. Sayeed’s words,” I am humbled by all the lovely words spoken about me. I have received so much love during my tenure in this office”. He talked about Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji and Baba Mardana. He quoted Guru Nanak dev Ji’s words “Vasde Raho” and explained how traveling across the world helps all of us in discovering new meanings of life. During his inspiring speech, Mr. Sayeed explained the significance of turban and Guru Granth Sahiband concluded his speech by saying “Wahe Guru ji da Khalsa, Wahe Guru ji di Fateh”.
Happy Singh, extended his vote of thanks with famous lines “Wo aaye hamare ghar, khuda ki kudrat……”. He thanked everyone including most the Punjabi Social and Sikh religious societies from all over Midwest that participated in this farewell dinner like Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, Sher -E -Punjab Sports Club Midwest Chicago, Punjabi Americans Organization, Chicago, Punjabi Heritage Organization, Punjab Sports & Cultural Club, Crowne Pointe, Indiana, Palatine Gurdwara, Wheaten Gurdwara and so on. The beautiful event would not have been possible without the active help and support of Mr Jaskaran Dhaliwal and Dr Harjinder Khaira. The host of the evening Mr. Darshan Singh Dhaliwal presented memento to Mr. Ausaf Sayeed and the event concluded with a scrumptious dinner. Truly, the outgoing Consulate General will be missed by all the Midwest. During his tenure, he has changed the landscape of involvement of the Consulate General into the local Indian community and the heights of what a Consulate General can achieve for the community.