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dimanche 14 août 2016


At the beginning of this visit, I had been thinking of Cuba and my new role as an Ambassador for the Health Care in Cuba especially at the National Institute of Endocrinology in Havana, Cuba. Kerala is one of the most welcoming places for Cuban ideas and philosophies and it is also has one of the more educated populations in India, akin to the highly literate people in Cuba.
The most unexpected introduction on this short visit to Cochin was to Mr. Ansif Ashraf. When my good friend, Dhanusree, called to ask me whether I could be in Ernakulum at 4 pm the day before my departure from Cochin, I accepted the invitation and arrived at the offices of Cochin Herald, without any preconceptions. American Indians have taught me that you must go to new meetings with clear minds and conscience and also with a genuine desire to learn and offer.
I spent the next two hours in the company of Ansif Ashraf, the current CEO of Cochin Herald and Ms. D. Cochin Herald on paper, so to speak, presents itself as a glossy Business Magazine but it differs from others published in India or Malaysia and elsewhere in that there is a hidden dynamism and a connection to an emerging world at a different level altogether. I had heard about Dr. Rashid Al Leem of Sharjah and his concept of Education and was happy to know that Dr. Al Leem was the leadership mentor of this young man. Dr. Al Leem is the Knowledge Ambassador for UAE and the United Nations Good Will Ambassador of UAE.
I am a Cultural Anthropologist who happens to be a Physician and also a traveler and thus my view of people and places are mired in various strata of culture and connections. During our conversation, we could bring up a subject, such as Cultural Identity, and connect it with the projects they were involved in. I listened intently to the various paths he has taken, learned about his illustrious father and his cultural lineage and marveled at his energy. He had just returned from Shenzen and from the various photographs in his magazine and the prospectus it is obvious that he is a regular at many venues. Travel broadens your mind, it is like reading of a tome of many pages, and at the same time, if you are building bridges, your dreams will obscure the peculiarities and provincialities of the thinking around you. It matters not his cultural origins and belongings, I could see him being successful in other highly competitive countries, where networking, connecting, looking and exploiting opportunities are an art form in the world of business. To think of him as a businessman would be applying a too limited a border to his expansive dreams. I agree, after a couple of hours talking to this energetic entrepreneur of ideas, with what Dr. Al Leem said about him: he is set to make a difference in the world.
My world revolves around Cuba where I am deeply involved in sociocultural matters and American Indians, to whom I am deeply indebted to their teachings and giving me the opportunity to help them. A long way from that well-appointed office in front of Centre Square Mall in Ernakulum in Kerala where the expectant monsoon was about to peak. As I was leaving, I remarked to my friend DS, he has high energy level. Because I am from a totally different background professionally, I couldn’t grasp many of his projects and I admitted to him, I am just a small fry from Cuba!
I realized that meeting Ansif Ashraf, my world suddenly expanded geographically. I can see him becoming active in two of my favourite countries in this region: Oman and Malaysia and I certainly would be open to visit Sharjah, when on a mission to Qatar.
For more information on Ansif Ashraf and Cochin Herald, please visit the following websites: