Sunday, May 17, 2009

Speaking directly from the heart..

The launch of the Gulf Who's Who 2009 edition recently was attended by VIPs and well - wishers.[ Bahrain]
Interview with Sunny kulathakal and Elizabeth Kulathakal

Sunny and Elizabeth present a model of a Kerala showpiece boat to minister Dr.Mirza.This year is the 30 th anniversary since you both started the Gulf Who's Who.What sparked the idea in the first place?

S:During 1977 , i was touring all the gulf states for an assignment with the Illustrated Weekly ofIndia to do a cover story on Indian's in the Gulf. During my visit i met the leading Arab businessman and also many indians in key positions. I then realized that the outside world didn't have any knowledge about them and where unaware of their achievements . I therefore decided to embark on a directory to help networking amongst the businessman in the gulf countries .

Q: What are the challenges faced in bringing out this Directory?

S: Bringing out this directory was a herculian task as telephone directory or daily newspapers were not availble in all of the gulf countries . It took us soetime to convince the necessity of such a directory in the region and its relevance in the society.

Q: Tell us about the project - how you put it together the improvements over the years and how you market it.?
S: Initially people mistook this as another yellow page directory . Our concept is to have a few individuals and companies from different areas of activities and interests. For getting more information on a particular area or business , these individuals or companies may come forward and help others.

Q: Inthese days of social networking sites, internet and email, how relevant is the directory still.
?are you planning to go seriously electronic ?

E: Earlier when television had come about, people thought newspapers will have no relevance and TV would be the preferred medium. But people still read newspaprs today. Similarly even in the electronic age there is a strong demand for published versions to have a ready reference. presently we are working out on an electronic version of the directory as well to reach out a larger section of people.

Q:what are the areas of interests- for both of you- besides your work?

E: We both would like to travel a lot and see the whole world. we also wish to build up a huge global network of people which would help us grow both personlly as well as professionally.

Q:You are involved in promoting bengalooru as international tourism and study centre.
How do you see the recent attacks on women there and in nearby mangalore?

S: Yes . I am promoting bengalooru since it is the only city in the whole world with a cool and salubrious climate throughout the year except for a month or two. I encourage friends from the Arab countries to visit bangalore for health services , tourism and as an educatonal destination.
There is immense potential in bengalooru and i want peopleb from all corners of the world to tap that potential and help the city reach greater height.

E: What happened in mangalore is only a stray incident but very unfortunate .isolated incidents may happen in any part of the world and it is not fair to generalize. One such incidents should not
bring down the name of a place and we must try at our on level to curb such incidents which a bad name to our country and her people .

Q: How do you see the role of NRIs and the diaspora in indias developments ?

S: For india's developments, NRIs are doing their best in sending the valuable foreign exchange from their place of stay. now the time has come for the government of india to take care of the NRIs who are returning back to india after losing their jobs. also there is need for rehabilitating stranded people in the gulf countries. hundeds of indians who sold their properties in their native states to get a gulf visa, are today without jobs and in a tough situation in various gulf countries. they cannot go back home due to the loan or other liabilities on them.these people have to be rehabilitated on the same pattern of tibetan rehabilitation during jawaharlal nehru's regime.

Q: favourite foods?books?

E: I love curd rise while my husband's favourite meal is fish curry and rise.
S: When it comes to reading books , we both enjoy reading biographies as they make and interesting and realistic read.

Q: You take on Bahrain's progress?

S: Bahrain will have a remarkable economic growth cycle even amid a global financial meltdown. Bahrain's fast track growth, despite its reduced dependency on oil revenues not only underscores it's status as the preferred global investment, finance and business destination in the Gulf region but also is a glowing testimony to the role of a vibrant private sector.

Q: Role model? person[s] who have influenced you most?

S: Dr. martin luthervking is a strong influence on me . i have grown up reading about him and there is a lot one can learn from him in life.

Q: How would you say you both influence the directory - what special qualities do you both bring as individuals to the project?

E: We both have to work hard in two directions.

S: Elizabeth co ordinates and takes care of the inputs while i have to plan and market the directory. fortunately the market welcomes the concept and it is our constant endeavour to improve and bring novel ideas so that it will be a user friendly publication.
interview: Salaam agazine- march 2009.