By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: There are many unsung heroes who have been doing remarkable work in their respective fields but do not get due recognition and appreciation. One such unsung hero is Mumbai-based Mr. Abdul Qayyum Sheikh A.k.a. Mustaqeem Makki, who has been keeping the flag of Urdu journalism flying high since 2006. Interestingly, he is not a professional journalist in true sense but his passion and dedication for Urdu cause is unparalleled as he has been bringing out the glossy, catchy and well-designed monthly magazine ‘Huda Times’ single-handedly with utmost regularity who is chief editor, printer and publisher of the magazine.
In an exclusive interview with Muslim Mirror, Mustaqeem Makki said it was his love for Urdu language that brings out the magazine which as per the standard of any other magazine of mainstream .
Makki, who has risen from a very humble background, is hailed from West Champaran, Bihar but settled in India’s commercial capital Mumbai. Recalling about his early life, he said it was full of struggles and hardship.
“Despite my father and my mother’s families were known landlords in the area, but we suffered a lot because my father’s untimely death”, he said. When I was just 2 and half years old, my father passed away and I was only male child among five siblings and my mother was the lone-bread earner who did not want to take any help from my maternal- relatives because of her up-bringing in a landlord family and out of self-respect while our inheritance land was usurped by my late father’s brothers, Makki said.
In reply to a question on his childhood, he said: “I used to do different jobs during my childhood to help my mother along with going to a madarsa and learnt Urdu and Arabic and when I grew up, I decided to migrate to Delhi in search of livelihood as I had four sisters to get married them”.
My fortunes began taking a good turn when I landed in Delhi at a very tender age. I learnt many things in early my life. By dent of a sheer luck, I got an opportunity at garment export house run by a foreigner who used to design ladies garments for Hollywood actors, here I learnt the tricks of business especially fashion designing, he recounted. After this I did not look back as I my career graph started rising. One day I saw an advertisement in leading Hindi paper for a vacancy of fashion designers who can prepare designers clothes for film industry people, around 60 people appeared for the test and 12 designers were shortlisted by the company, I was one among them, he said. It was my dream to live in the city of fortune, and it became a reality when I was selected as designer. I moved to Mumbai and started my own designer boutique for ladies which became popular in short span of time.
When asked how he went to Saudi Arabia, Makki said a Saudi Arabian tourist visited his boutique and asked for designer clothes for his female family members which were very much treasured by them. The Suadi national offered me to set up the boutique in Makkah, which I accepted and I shifted to the Holy place where I spent around 25 years of life, he said.
When asked what motivated him to launch Huda Times, he narrated an interesting story. I used to read Rabta magazine published from Pakistan which had a very catchy get up and multi-colored magazine, which moved me very much. However, a Pakistani expatriate used to taunt me that you (Indians) could not publish such beautiful magazine, so I made a pledge that I will bring out Rabata type magazine when I will return to India. I had been living a comfortable life in Makkah but decided of return back to my country to fulfill my dream, he added.
When asked how he has been sustaining the magazine, Makki said I have been incurring losses since the magazine was launched but it is for me like a mission he said, adding that the magazine has carved a niche for itself as its readership is not only in India but also in Europe and USA. Despite facing huge losses in the business, Makki brimmed with confidence that he won’t let the magazine die at any cost.