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Some Outstanding Women in STEM of the Islamic World in 2014

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January 7th, 2015 | by MuslimScience


By The Editorial Team of Muslim-Science.Com

Last January, Muslim-Science.Com recognized the Top-20 Most Influential Women in Science in the Islamic World. This year, we recognize the achievements of Women who made ground breaking discoveries, broke glass ceilings, and won international honours last year. 3 of these 5 five women were honoraries last year as well and they went on to achieve great things this last year. Here are their stories:

 Maryam Mirzakhani: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

MathPrizeOn August 13, Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University, was awarded the 2014 Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians, held in Seoul, South Korea. Dubbed as the ‘Nobel Prize of Mathematics,’ the Fields Medal was established in 1936 and is given once every four years. Mirzakhani is the first woman ever to win the prize.




Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: The Daughter of the Soil

4411839_3_9752_ameenah-gurib-fakim-le-18-avril-2014_aace471e81046427d77d2df611750eefDr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has recently been at the center of exciting new developments in the small island state of Mauritius where she was the Presidential Candidate of an opposition political party that won the recently held General Elections. While the Elections do not directly concern the position of the President of the Republic, in due course, Ameenah may – if she takes over this position – become the first woman scientist to ever become the President of a country.



Anita Zaidi: Giving Back to the Community

tumblr_inline_mxlb7sOEQa1r9q5akIn December 2013, a Pakistani pediatrician, Dr. Anita Zaidi, won the $1 million Caplow Children’s Prize from amongst 550+ entries including from major organizations such as Doctors Without Borders. The purpose of the competition was to find innovative and cost-effective ways to reduce early child mortality rates.




Pardis Sabeti: The Rockstar Scientist

pardis sabetiDr. Sabeti headed a team of researchers in 2014 who used advanced genomic sequencing technology to identify “a single point of infection from an animal reservoir to a human in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” In addition, the research also revealed the dynamics of the human-to-human transmission of Ebola virus and the mutations in the genetic code of the virus as it adapts to its human hosts.



Hayat Al Sindi: The STEM  Role Model

hayat-sindi-pop-tech-560x373In 2014, Dr. Hayat Al Sindi was recognized by US Department of State as among the Women in Science Hall of Fame for Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, in the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2014, Dr. Sindi was awarded the ‘Leadership in Civil Society’ prize.


From Science to Science Policy – One Man’s Passionate Journey: A Biography-cum-memoir of Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Omar Abdul Rahman FIAS

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Prof. Omar 001

Many may not realize that there was a man behind the scene who was actively bouncing ideas with me on the various STI initiatives which have now become reality. Tan Sri Omar Abdul Rahman was that man who helped create the many insturments and institution of STI which formed the key ecosystem for scientific innovation in the country. I knew him as a man of not so many words, but highly effective in harnessing the ideas of the scientific fraternity. We need more personalities like him to help drive the country’s STI agenda.

I hope this biography-cum-memoir will become a reference for those young scientists keen to pursue a career in science. The anecdotes about Tan Sri Omar should be known to all as important treasures of scientific planning experience for the country.

Congratulations Tan Sri!


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad


New President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Prof. Anwar Nasim FIAS

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Prof. Anwar Nasim

The annual meeting of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Islamabad, was held on Thursday, December 4, 2014 in the Auditorium of the Academy. The General Body approved the following new Council of the Academy for the period 2015-2017. The fellows elected Dr. Anwar Nasim FIAS as its president and Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari as its secretary general for next three years.

It is generally recognized that any progressive country, which aspires to occupy a befitting place in the comity of nations, encourages the establishment of a supreme scientific organization, usually designated as the “Academy of Sciences” devoted to the promotion of science and its applications for the general welfare of humanity. While these organizations may not carry out actual researches, they do provide a forum for the advancement of scientific research, popularization of science, motivation of scientists and technologists, as well as encourage and promote studies in new areas of S&T.

As utmost importance is attached to the membership of such an academy, only scientists of the highest merit, who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge, are elected its Fellows. The Academy is regarded by the public and the government as a repository of the highest scientific talent available in the country, and is generally supported and consulted in all matters relating to scientific education, research and development.

The Pakistan Academy of Sciences was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Khwaja Nazimuddin, on 16th February 1953.

The Academy is a non-governmental and non-political supreme scientific body of distinguished scientists in the country. The Government of Pakistan has given the consultative and advisory status to the Academy “on all problems relating to the development of scientific efforts in the country”, and “generally on such matters of national and international importance in the field of science as may be referred to the Academy”. The affairs of the Academy are regulated by its Charter and Bye-Laws approved by the Fellows.

The Academy is governed by a Council that includes its President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary General, Associate Secretary General and Treasurer.

UCSI University has appointed Prof Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff FIAS as its third vice-chancellor and president.

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Senior Professor Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff
DPSK, PSK, MBBS (Melb.), DMedSc (honoris causa),
MRCP(UK), FRCP (Lond.), FRCP (Glasg.), FRCP (Edin.),
FACC (USA), Hon. FRACP (Aus.), Hon. FPCP (Phil.),
Vice-Chancellor and President

UCSI University has appointed Prof Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff FIAS as its third vice-chancellor and president.

A clinical cardiologist by training, Professor Khalid’s appointment promises to usher in a new era of scholarly enterprising pursuit at UCSI. He is a firm advocate of research and development and his findings are frequently published in high-impact refereed journals. His papers are cited and referred to by many of his peers, adding credence to his standing as an academic. What Professor Khalid brings to UCSI complements the University’s strong links with the industry and its vibrant student life. His dedication to the pursuit of excellence and quality ties in nicely with UCSI’s founding values and his insight will set the University in good stead.

Professor Khalid has previously served as the Dean of Universiti Teknologi MARA’s Faculty of Medicine. Under his stewardship, the faculty recorded tremendous growth and established itself as one of the foremost medical faculties in the nation. Prior to that, Professor Khalid played a number of key roles – including serving as Dean – in a career spanning two decades at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He also served as a consultant cardiologist at both universities where he was instrumental in developing the Heart Centres at both universities

Professor Khalid’s 30-year career in academia is bolstered by domestic and international recognition of his contributions. He sits on the board of various scientific committees and he is currently a member of the National Science and Research Council, a unit parked under the Prime Minister’s Office. Beyond the numerous awards and research grants he has won, Professor Khalid actively contributes to society through the promotion of medicine and science. He has chaired scientific sessions at home and abroad and he is regularly sought to give visiting lectures.

Interestingly, Professor Khalid also played a big role in Malaysia’s Angkasawan programme. He supervised various aeromedical tests in the vetting stages to select the nation’s first astronaut and provided input on the initiative’s scientific thrusts.

Professor Khalid is happily married to Professor Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Mohd Yusoff, a molecular biologist who is currently the Deputy Secretary-General at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Well-travelled and global in his outlook, Professor Khalid obtained most of his many qualifications from renowned universities and professional bodies in England, Australia, Scotland and the United States.

Book Launch: Water, Energy, and the Arab Awakening

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Pages from Proof 4 Water Security Book

On 20 October 2014, the Council launched its third publication, “Water, Energy, and the Arab Awakening,” with a panel discussion at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, the United Kingdom. We are pleased to share the digital version available for download at:

This book is the third in the Council’s “Global Agenda” series and the second book the Council has published in partnership with the United Nations University Institute of Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). This volume is primarily a collection of papers from the Council’s 2013 annual meeting in Bahrain, and we are deeply grateful to the Court of the Crown Prince of Bahrain, whose generous support made this publication possible.

October’s launch featured a panel discussion moderated by the Right Honourable the Baroness Margaret Jay, with seven of the book authors as well as IAC members H.E. Mr. Bertie Ahern and H.E. Dr. George Vassiliou. It was a fascinating discussion, which we captured on audio and have made available on YouTube at: I encourage you to have a listen and share the link with your network.

For your further interest, below are a few of the news stories about the book:


PODCAST – portion on Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal Project with Dr. Moneef Zou’bi begins at 9:10 on this file:





Current Issue of the Medical Journal of Islamic World Academy of Sciences Vol 22, No 3

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What is new in 2014? F.E. CANPOLAT, F. CANPOLAT, S. OZSOYLU

Original Article/Cardiology-Metabolism Therapeutic Evaluation of Kalonji (Nigella sativa) in Dyslipidemia – A Randomized Control Trial A. RASHEED, M.A. SIDDIQUI

Original Article/Endocrinology Concept of Diabetes in Unani System of Medicine: An Overview M. NAZAMUDDIN, A. WADUD, A.H. ANSARI, T. ALAM, A. PERVEEN, N. IQBAL

Original Article/Pediatrics An Assessment of Muslims’ Reactions to the Immunization of Children in Northern Nigeria

Original Article/Gynecology and Obstetrics Effect of Different Dosages of Intravaginal Misoprostol for Second Trimester Pregnancy Termination M. SHARIEF, E.S. AL-KHAYAT

Original Article/Bacteriology A chemotherapeutic efficacy of some antibiotics and Punica grantum L. extracts against Propionibacterium acnes isolated from acne vulgaris cases I.E.A ALSAIMARY

Original Article/Plastic Surgery Any Two-Lobed Flap Is Not A Bilobed Flap: A Revisited Study for The Bilobed Flap Technique M.O. YENIDUNYA

Chinese award for Dr Atta-ur-Rahman FIAS

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Prof. Atta-Ur-Rahman


Former chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Professor Atta-ur-Rahman FIAS will be conferred on the ‘Friendship Award of China’ in Beijing on September 29.

The award is the People’s Republic of China’s highest national award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress. The formal award giving ceremony will be held in Beijing on September 29.

The award is being given for the tremendous contributions of Professor Atta-ur-Rahman to develop strong linkages between China and Pakistan in various fields of science and higher education. He was responsible for initiating a major programme of academic collaboration and linkages with Chinese universities and other institutions as federal minister for science and technology and later as Higher Education Commission chairman. Under these programmes, some 400 students were sent to various Chinese universities and research institutions for PhD level training.

Professor Rahman has initiated strong collaborations with many Chinese Institutes. He signed an Executive Protocol for Scientific Cooperation between Chinese Academy of Sciences and Pakistan Academy of Sciences under which many workshops have been organised in Pakistan and China. These included a major international conference titled ‘IUC South Asia Summit Meeting on Vistas in Structural Chemistry’ during April 28-30, 2014, Karachi, Pakistan to celebrate the International Year of Crystallography.

Dr Atta-ur-Rahman has also initiated a nationwide project for training students in universities of Pakistan in Chinese language through video-conferencing. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman’s book, ‘The Wondrous World of Science’ has been recently translated into Chinese language. Professor Atta-ur-Rahman has recently been awarded International Cooperation Award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on January 10, 2014. He has 976 publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 720 research publications, 37 international patents, 151 books and 68 chapters in books published largely by major US and European presses. Prof. Rahman is the most decorated scientist of Pakistan, having won four civil awards including Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, and the nation’s highest civil award, Nishan-i-Imtiaz.


At the Conclusion of the 41st Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Minister Jeddah Declaration: Welcomes the Establishment of a Ministerial Group on Al-Quds and Decides on Headquarters for the Human Rights Commission

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Date: 19/06/2014 – 
At the conclusion of its 41st Session held in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 18 -19, June 2014, the OIC Council of Foreign Minister has declared its determination to advanced the OIC and boost its efficiency, and to support the efforts of its Secretary General, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, to continue with Organization’s structural reform and refining of its structures in all fields.

The Foreign Ministers welcomed, through their “Jeddah Declaration” issued on Thursday 19th June 2014, the setting up of a ministerial Contact Group on the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, and called for prompt action to convey the OIC’s message on Al-Quds to those states that share the political, moral and ethical responsibility towards the Palestinian issue all in addition to supporting the OIC’s efforts to carry through the strategic plan for the development of the city of Al-Quds and to mobilize the necessary resources for the benefit of Beit Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif. The Ministers placed the full responsibility on Israel, the occupying force, for the stalled peace process, as a result of its failure to honour its commitment to release the fourth batch of Palestinian detainees and its continued policy of settlement, blockading and judeization of Al-Quds/Jerusalem and alteration of its geographic and demographic features.

The Ministers rejected also the presidential elections recently held in Syria, along with all its ensuing results, as it conflicts with the Geneva declaration which calls for the setting up of a transitional government with a view to revitalize the peace process for the implementation of the transitional phase under the joint leadership of all parties. They strongly condemned the Syrian regime as to the implementation of the Security Council Res. No. 2139 which calls for facilitating the access of humanitarian relief to the Syrian citizens without obstructions, and called on all Member States and concerned effective international players to increase their contributions in view of the rising numbers of Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries.
The Jeddah Declaration also expressed concern over the developments in Libya and urged all the Libyan parties to engage in an inclusive national dialogue to achieve a consensual solution such as to end the crisis.

With regard to the situation in Central Africa, the OIC Ministers of Foreign Affairs called for an immediate end to all the forms of violence faced by the Muslims there, and pointed to their support for the OIC Secretary General’s efforts and those of his envoy to Central Africa. They also called on the OIC Member States to extend the necessary humanitarian assistance to the victims of the conflict and to the neighboring countries hosing the refugees.

The Jeddah Declaration further expressed solidarity with Yemen, Mali, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Somalia, Cote d’Ivoire, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as with the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir, Turkish Cyprus, and Kosovo, in their aspiration towards a peaceful and secure life.

The Declaration called for an end to the ongoing violence and discrimination against the Muslim Rohingya people in the province of Arakan in Myanmar, in addition to expressing support for the Secretary General’s decision to designate a special envoy to Myanmar in favour of reaching satisfactory solutions that ensure the rights of the Muslim Rohingya and protect them against oppression.

While the Ministers also condemned the acts of violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and while they reiterated their support for and solidarity with the people and government of Nigeria to neutralize this rebellious group, they reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to the consolidation of cooperation and coordination in the fight against terrorism, and paid tribute to the efforts of the International Centre set up by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the UN umbrella to combat terrorism.

Also, the Jeddah Declaration called for a firm stand against extremism which hides behind religion or sectarianism. It called for steering away from accusing others, among the followers of Islamic doctrines, of apostasy, and called upon Member States to expand dialogue among the doctrines and to consolidate moderation, balance and tolerance. In this framework, the Ministers welcomed again the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, to set up a centre for Islamic Intra-doctrinal Dialogue as approved by the Fourth Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al Mukarramah in August 2012. They also invited the OIC General Secretariat to see to the prompt implementation of this resolution in coordination with the host country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, so that the Centre may start assuming its role.

The Foreign Ministers welcomed also the selection of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to host the headquarters of the Islamic Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission.

On the economic front, the Jeddah Declaration urged the OIC General Secretariat to restructure the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry so that it may be more effective in enabling the business people to play and impactful role in boosting cooperation between the Islamic Chambers in the Member States. The Declaration also stressed the need to enhance the existing cooperation within the OIC framework in the area of standardizing Halal foodstuff criteria, accreditation and certification, and to encourage international recognition of the OIC Halal standards. Furthermore the Jeddah Declaration emphasized the need to adopt ways and means to expand financing services for the benefit of small and medium enterprises and develop them in the Member States as a powerful means to resolve the issues of financial exclusion and poverty, and to empower women and tackle the issue of unemployment.

The Jeddah Declaration welcomed the offer made by the State of Kuwait to host the 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Minister in 2015.

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan Laureate Freedom of Worship Award 2014

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Throughout his life, HRH has been dedicated to the improvement of mutual understanding between the Islamic and Western worlds, and enhancing dialogue between Muslims, Christians and Jews. He has initiated, founded and is actively involved in a number of Jordanian and international institutes and committees which promote interreligious dialogue and human dignity. HRH co-chaired the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues and is currently Chairman of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, the Foundation for Inter-religious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue, and Chair Emeritus of the World conference of Religions for Peace. In 2013 he was appointed to be Chairman of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB).


Acceptance speech of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal for the Freedom of Worship Award

Four Freedoms Awards Ceremony, 2014

 Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

 After such an introduction there is really not much for me to say!

 I hope you are not a credulous audience because James was too generous with his remarks and I thank you again.

 Your Majesty, when your mother, then Princess Beatrix, came to Jordan a few years ago with your late father Prince Claus, she brought with her not a Philips radio, but a gift of a copperplate with the narrative of the journeys of the famed Dutch historian and traveler Hurgronje.  The copperplate included images of Mecca and even of my late grandfather King Abdullah, aged six. It was a moving testimony to the fact that affinity between peoples is essential to inner peace.

 We speak of peace, inner peace, peace with our neighbours, but I think the most important point that Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not mention, is that freedom brings responsibility.  When the great republic of Athens sought not a better life, but freedom from responsibility, as Edward Gibbon reminds us, Athens ceased to be free. So it is with an enormous sense of responsibility that someone like me, trying to think out of the box, Prime Minister, if I may, looks at my sisters, to my right and my left, looks at what they represent and is reminded instantly of the fact that humankind, man and womanhood, live on one planet. We have no other earth to go to.

 Yet when after Aung San Suu Kyi, my former colleague at Oxford University, was freed from house arrest, something many of us had called for, we ask whether it is possible for something to be done about the plight of the Rohingya Muslims, we are told that this is an internal Myanmar issue.

 And today, representatives of ‘Boko Haram’, figuratively meaning, Western or modern education is a sin, are portrayed all over our television screens and newswires, carrying the holy book of Islam whilst claiming the right in the name of Islam to enslave young girls to prevent them from learning. The faith that started with one word ‘read’ is being destroyed by outlaws.

 In the world of news, is it he who portrays the reality on the ground, as are my sisters at this gathering, who is given the greater credence? That we have in Afghanistan the creation of a radio station is extremely important, but who internationally is going to listen to that radio station? And listen to the reality of the authentic grassroots story? Who really cares about the humanity of Somalia for example? And as for Pakistan, I ask who is aware of the fact that Pakistan is the largest host country to refugees in the world?

 Pope Francis is visiting the Holy Land almost as we speak. In that Holy Land, Jews, Christians and Muslims have a history of shared heritage for millennia. Some good, some not so good.  But essentially the teachings of our faiths have nothing to do with the aberrations of human beings.  Indeed, quite the contrary.

 If you consider 2014, we are 100 years from 1914, what have we learned from 1914 and subsequent events? Two huge civil wars in Europe, referred to as World Wars, had profound consequences for the peoples of the world. And I think that it is time to bear in mind that until human dignity is put at the centre of the construct of an architecture for  a new world order, it is impossible to think of stabilization of  populations on our planet. As I said recently talking to my friend Henry Kissinger, globalisation, yes, but there must be equity, or some degree of equity between cultures. Is it the right of the role of the radio station or the role of media to disseminate the caricature of the Prophet and then to stand back as people kill each other from Nigeria to Bangladesh? Equally, has this abomination of a man, this representative of Boko Haram the right to hold the holy book and to terrorise innocent children of God. I said yesterday at dinner that the war in Afghanistan has cost 17 trillion US Dollars. What have we achieved? Extremism has simply moved to other parts of the world.

 So I would like to go back to faith and say in the words of the Holy Qur’an we vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works (2:148). The road is long. But we cannot afford not to commit ourselves. Where there is faith, there is hope. And I would like to think of a patrimony or heritage for all of humanity. None better than Jerusalem which could become a centre, not   for monologue about   the need for dialogue, but for  conversation incorporating a civilized framework for disagreement. I believe in the noble art of conversation.

 When will we revisit our texts, our heritage and our history, and when will our neighbour revisit his or her texts, heritage or history so we can speak of developing a shared ethic of human solidarity?  The humanitarian focus at the center of our drive to keep an eye on the traditions of enlightenment. The enlightenment is not about science and technology alone. It is about ethics and values. You speak of Islam and the West. Islam is heterogeneous. The West is heterogeneous. Neither are monoliths. And I think it is important to bear in mind that Ishraq, illumination came from the East – where the sun rises. The illumination of millennia, Confucian, Buddhist, Jains, Sikh, and so many others came from the East. The wisdom of the ancients. Is it not time today to consider that from the East came wisdom and compassion?

 I pay tribute to my late mother-in-law, the Begum Shaista Ikramullah. There are no mother in-law jokes in my family. When she, the first Muslim, Indian (as she then was) woman to gain a PhD from the University of London, working in 1948 with Eleanor Roosevelt on the Declaration of Human Rights and Convention Against Genocide, declared:

 It is imperative that there be an accepted code of civilized behaviour.

 And later she said:

The ideas emphasized in the [Declaration] are far from being realized, but there is a goal to which those who believe in the freedom of the human spirit can try to reach.[1]

 Ladies and Gentlemen, to combat a world that represses the weak to support the strong, we need what President Roosevelt called:

A greater conception, the moral order.

 I would invite all those concerned with the Roosevelt message, to give serious consideration this year to a call for justice in the United Nations’ formulation of the sustainable development goals. Or is it the correlation between justice and human dignity and sustainability that is important?  We can only be resilient in as much as we recognise the importance of promoting equities, both economic and social on the one side, and ethical on the other. There are a lot of people making money out of the black or grey economy. The criminal economy of drugs, weapons and money laundering, is more significant than the official economy of many countries and it is for this reason that we are suffering the way we do.

 I would like to remind you of another ‘great’, Rabindranath Tagore, and I paraphrase when he says :

 We shall thank God that we were made to wait in silence through the night of despair, had to bear the insult of the proud and the strong man’s burden, yet all through it, though our hearts quaked with doubt and fear, never could we blindly believe in the salvation which machinery offered to man, but we held fast to our trust in God and the truth of the human soul.[2]

 I cannot but conclude by inviting you all to remember that what we are doing here today is furthering the cause of humanity as followed by so many great men and women, long past, but revered and remembered in our time.

 In the words of Isaac Newton “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.

 Peace be upon you!

[1]             From Purdah to Parliament, Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah; OUP Revised and Expanded Edition, 1998; (p.191-2)

 [2]              Nationalism, Sir Rabindranath Tagore, 1918; (p. 46)