Established: July 08, 1994 in Qatar, Arabian Gulf
Pravasi Doha is
a Socio-cultural, literary and charitable organisation of Keralites in
Qatar, one of the richest countries in the Arabian Gulf.
In fact, Pravasi Doha is the first Malayalee expatriate association
of like-minded people to be formed in Qatar having vowed to promote Kerala's
culture, traditions, heritage and literature in Kerala and abroad,especially
Pravasi Doha came into being on July 8, 1994 at simple ceremony
held at the Shalimar restaurant in Doha.
It all started with a group of Keralites gathered in Doha to pay tribute
to the legendary Malayalam writer the late Vaikom Mohammed Basheer, who
passed away on July 5, 1994.
The initiative came from Babu Mather, then News Editor of Gulf Times,
Doha, M A Rahman, a teacher, writer and documentary director, P. Semsudeen,
a voracious reader and thinker, SAM Basheer, a writer, speaker and organiser,
and K. K. Sudhakaran, a well-known stage and film actor and organiser.
The fivesome later became the founder members of Parvasi Doha and decided
to incorporate more members to achieve the aims and objectives of the
The response was amazing. And Pravasi Doha was born.
K. K. Sudhakaran was elected unanimously as the Chairman, SAM Basheer
the Convener and K.S.Aboobacker the treasurer.
Pravasi Doha approached Shri. M.T. Vasudevan
Nair, well known writer and Janpeedh recipient and
internationally known script writer and film director,
and Prof. M. N. Vijayan, a philosopher, thinker,
teacher, speaker and writer, to become the patrons of
Parvasi Doha. They agreed with pleasure. It was
a great honour to Pravasi Doha and Malayalee community
The blessings and guidance from M.T. and Vijayan Mash, as our patrons
are popularly known, and the support of the members helped the executive
committee to streamline a number of activities hitherto unknown in Qatar.
It was decided unanimously to institute an award in memory and honour
of the late Vaikom Mohammed Basheer.
Fabi Basheer, wife of Basheer, son Anees and daughter Shahina gratefully
agreed and extended full support. Response came from many quarters in
the literary circle in Kerala.The biggest challenge was to raise funds
for this ambitious project.
That was the time when the centenary of World Cinema was being celebrated
the world over.
Pravasi Doha decided to organise an international film festival
in Qatar's capital Doha. It was indeed a great challenge. No organisation
had ventured into a film festival of this magnitude before in the history
of the Arabian Gulf.
An organising committee was formed with Indian Ambassador K.P. Fabian
and Assistant Under Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Culture
Moosa Zainal Moosa as chief patrons, ambassadors of France, Germany, Japan
and Korea as patrons, K.K. Sudhakaran as chairman and Babu Mather as Chief
Co-ordinator. And the hard work of Pravasi Doha eventually paid off with
the support of the Ministry and Information, Qatar, especially the Assistant
Undersecretary for Culture and Arts Moosa Zainal Moosa, Indian Ambassador
to Qatar K.P. Fabian, Henry Deniuad, ambassador of France to Qatar, Klaus
Schroeder, ambassador of Germany, Koichi Kimura, ambassador of Japan,
and Rak Min Sung, ambassador of Korea.
The Film Festival-Cinefest 95- finally got off to a flying start
at the Gulf Cinema, Doha on November 4, attracting a large of audience
of various nationalities.
It was a wonderful experience for the members of Pravasi Doha, the diplomatic
community, the media and the film buffs to watch some of the best films
produced in the world.
The Film Festival began with a colourful ceremony opened
by the Deputy Cultural Minister of France Mme.Sudre in
the presence of over 25 heads of diplomatic missions accredited
to Qatar and a packed audience. Paying great tribute to
world and French cinema, Pravasi Doha screened the famous
French language film Le Colonel Chabert, directed
by Yves Angelo, featuring well-known artistes Gerard Depardieu
and fanny Ardant. Werner Herzog's classic Augirre:
The Wrath of God (German), master film-maker Akiro
Kurosawa's Sanjuro (Japanese), Im Kwon-Taek's disturbing
Korean film The Diary of King Yonsan and Ketan
Mehta's Hindi film Mirch Masala, featuring Smita
Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri.
The tremendous success of the inaugural film festival encouraged the Pravasi
Doha to organise an Indian film festival next year in association
with the Directorate of Film Festivals, New Delhi and the Indian Embassy,
Since then, Film Festival is the major event in Pravasi's
annual calendar. Pravasi Doha organised film festivals
one after another every year without any break.
The funds generated from these film festivals gave a boost to Pravasi's
ultimate project in Kerala to institute an award (puraskaram) in the name
of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer.
This was realised on December 12, 1995 with the famous writer Kovilan
receiving the first Basheer Puraskam from Artist Namboodiri at
a well-attended ceremony organised beneath Basheer's famous mangostine
tree at the Vailalil house Beypore, Kozhikode.
Now Basheer Puraskaram is one of the most prestigious awards in Kerala.
The accomplished Sopanam exponent and singer Njeralath Ramappoduval
(1996), E.M. Sankaran Namboodirippad-politician, thinker, writer
and social reformer (1996), Bharat Balan K. Nair-stage and film
actor (1997), M.R.B-social reformer, freedom fighter, actor and
writer (1998), K.T. Mohammed-playwright and director (1999)), Artist
Namboodiri-an artist and illustrator par excellence (2001), V.K.N,
writer, journalist and satirist (2002) and Laurie Baker-master
builder of low cost housing and Gandhian, have received Basheer Puraskaram
between 1995 and 2003.
The Bahseer Puraskaram committee, comprising M.T.Vasudevan Nair, Prof.
M.N.Vijayan, M.A.Rahman, Babu Mather,
K.K.Sudhakaran, P. Semsudeen and SAM Basheer, selects the candidate each
for his/her outstanding contributions to the society in various areas
of life such as literature, drama, acting, music, art, culture, social
work, politics, science, architecture, journalism, sport etc etc.
The Basheer Puraskaram includes a cash award of Rs.35, 000, a statuette
designed by Artist Namboodiri and a citation.
Pravasi Doha every year presents financial assistance
(Rs.2000 each) to six financially weak school students,
who are brilliant in studies, from the locality of the
award recipient. The right to choose the students for
Pravasi scholarship is the right and privilege of the
Basheer Puraskaram recipient year.
Pravasi Doha had presented scholarships
to 54 students in different places in Kerala until 2003.
Pravasi Doha organises Onam
celebrations, music concerts,painting and art exhibitions and charitable
activities, and receptions to visiting dignitaries. Pravasi Doha is into
book publishing as well. Adum Manushyarum, Vamsapperuma and Manushyar
Parkunna Lokangal are some of the books published by Pravasi in Malayalam
language. MRByude Jeevacharithram is under print.
Pravasi Doha has set up Pravasi Trust (HQ:COCHIN) with founder
member Babu Mather as Managing Trustee to streamline and co-ordinate the
activities of the organisation in Kerala.