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HARESH SAYS: Let us be 'Chand Nawab'

As published in Malay Mail today

By Haresh Deol

A RATHER naïve but good-hearted devout Brahmin from Haryana, India with a magnanimous spirit helps a mute Muslim girl from Pakistan return home.

That is the gist of the 2015 Hindi movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan (when translated means Brother Bajrangi).
Bajrangi is played by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, a Muslim, while the cute "Munni" is played by seven-year -old Harshaali Malhotra, a Hindu.

The Bollywood fanfare aside, the real hero of the movie, to me, was Nawazuddin Siddiqui — a Pakistani reporter (Chand Nawab) in the movie.

Chand documents the journey of Bajrangi and Munni as they travelled from the India-Pakistan border to the little girl’s village in Sultanpur, Pakistan.

Chand uploads their epic adventure on YouTube and it goes viral. The story of Bajrangi and Munni is later picked up by the local press in India and Pakistan.

For the record, the character of the journalist in the movie was inspired by a real-life Pakistani broadcast journalist who went by the same name. The real Chand, who is also an anchor for Indus News, gained fame after a video of him trying to do a stand-upper at the stairway of a railway station in Karachi, only to be constantly interrupted by passers-by, went viral online in 2008. 

Thanks to the movie, Chand turned into a star — receiving job offers from other television stations.
Lest we forget, we have "Chand Nawabs" here in Malaysia — journalists who have highlighted the inspiring tales by people from all walks.

In recent days we have read about several outstanding Malaysians who deserve more than just a pat on their backs.

Malay Mail’s Loghun Kumaran, had on Jan 17, highlighted how double amputee Jenny Pong is making waves in Ipoh through her delicious homemade Nyonya curry paste.

Pong, 51, plans to expand her business by launching two additional products — sambal belacan and a special ginger dipping sauce.

On Jan 28, Bernama reporter Nik Nur Izzatul Hadwani Nik Adnan wrote about wheelchair bound Haziqah Nurul Huda Harun, who learnt the art of making kuih bakul through Facebook two years ago. She has mesmerised many with her skills since as the 20-year-old received orders, in the thousands, ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Malay Mail Online’s Opalyn Mok, had three days ago, highlighted how Peter Teoh, 41, who has cerebral palsy and 52-year-old Lily Looi, wheelchair-bound due to polio, run the “Amazing Van” transportation service that caters to the physically disabled in Penang, allowing them to become independent.

Many Malaysians have turned into a jaded, sceptical lot. They whine, complain and harp about the same things daily. Sometimes it goes on for years, if not decades. Their words remain mere words.
Reports of corrupt practices, abuse of power and social injustice make headline everyday but reading inspirational tales is a breath of fresh air.

We have those among us who defy all odds to make a difference. Little do they realise they inspire others to do the same.

We have our ‘Chand Nawabs’ to thank as they enable us to appreciate and cherish humanity through their reports.

If you come across an inspiring Malaysian, keep us in mind. Allow us to be ‘Chand Nawab’.

It’s time we transform frowns to smiles. It’s time we make a difference in our own way. It’s time we celebrate inspiring Malaysians.

Haresh is executive editor of  Malay Mail. He can be reached at or on
Twitter @HareshDeol


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