From Sylhet To Cambridge: Reflecting On 60 Years Of Family History And Heritage

During my school days, history was something that hardly filled me with excitement. Even watching Doctor Who episodes set in the past required serious effort to motivate and inspire me, but credit where it’s due, on most occasions they succeeded.

Perhaps as a child, intrigued and fascinated by science fiction and technology (my uncles hold responsibility for that), my interests were focused on the present and the future. The past just seemed dull; a visualisation of the 1960s where everything was in black and white, and out of focus. This childish, indifferent and immature perception of history has since undergone a mature transformation to one of understanding, appreciation and pride.

I am a third-generation British Bangladeshi, born and raised in Cambridge, a city that is renowned for education, diversity and tolerance. I have lived here all my life and am proud to call it my home.

On 26th March 1971, Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan. 46 years have passed, but 1971 remains a very important year for me – even more so for my family. Let me explain why this is the case, but first, let’s wind the clock back further to 1957.

1957 was where it all started – the year my late maternal grandfather arrived in Britain. He experienced a difficult childhood after losing both his parents at a young age. He was given the opportunity to work in the UK as he sought a better quality of life, before eventually settling in Cambridge permanently. He arrived at a time when the country was recovering after the Second World War – the period of post-war immigration.

The British economy was undergoing a process of reconstruction and it was soon identified that large numbers of immigrants were needed to support the pressing demands of the UK labour market. This also attracted many workers and their families from the Commonwealth and beyond Europe – mainly from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. My grandfather entered the business trade, opening and running two Indian restaurants called The New Bengal and The Bengal Tandoor Mahal within the Cambridge city centre. Sadly, these restaurants have since closed down, but photographs of them can be found in the Cambridgeshire archives.

A photograph of the New Bengal Restaurant on Regent Street, Cambridge, published in the city’s local newspaper in May 1973 (Photo Credit: Cambridge Evening News)
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The Bengal Tandoor Mahal Restaurant (right) on Fitzroy Street, Cambridge, circa 1976 (Photo Credit: Cambridge Evening News)

In 1963, my grandmother followed, also settling in the city and has been living here ever since. She gave birth to three sons and two daughters in Cambridge. The daughters were twins; one was my aunt who sadly died in 1997 and the other is my mother – an author, writer and publisher. There are many people in our family and across the local community who particularly remember the birth of my mother and aunt, not simply because they happened to be twins but because of the timing. Two days after they were born, Bangladesh celebrated Victory Day – a significant and momentous occasion in the nation’s history, when the Allied Forces High Command triumphed over the Pakistani Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

My family history in Cambridge goes back exactly 60 years. My family was one of the first from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh to settle in the city, and has seen the Bangladeshi community expand over time. I believe it is important for me to reflect upon such a milestone and understand why I am here today. My late grandfather, who came from a rural village in Sylhet, travelled to Britain because he was given an opportunity – a chance for a better life. Looking back, it helps me to learn about my roots and understand them, and to appreciate my heritage. I wonder how life could have been so different for me if my grandfather remained in Bangladesh.

The lesson I learn from reflecting upon 60 years of my family history and heritage is that I should never forget where I am from. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet my grandfather, as he passed away in 1985. However, he left behind a legacy and made his mark in Cambridge through his work in the restaurant trade. When I first visited Bangladesh in 2002 as an eleven-year-old, I recall a couple of local villagers asking me the names of my grandfathers:

“What is the name of your Dada (paternal grandfather)?”

“What is the name of your Nana (maternal grandfather)?”

I told them their names, and I noticed their faces light up when I mentioned my maternal grandfather’s name. At that moment, I was rather surprised at their reaction and struggled to recognise what was so special about him. Fifteen years on from that encounter, I have a clearer understanding. I feel inspired.

I am proud of my history and heritage. I am proud to be British and to have lived in Cambridge all my life, and I am also proud that my country of origin is Bangladesh.


Source: Huffington Post UK
Date of Publication: 4th April 2017
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ibrahim-rahman/from-sylhet-to-cambridge-_b_15684898.html

Ibrahim’s Review of 2015

Here we go again. Another annual review. My seventh actually. A great opportunity to reflect on a rollercoaster twelve months. As rollercoaster rides come, this has been quite a thrilling one. Sometimes a thriller doesn’t quite go the way you want it to. We’ve all seen a crazy game of football littered with goals – some may recall Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Newcastle United in 1996. Pundits and commentators argue that was the greatest match the Premier League has ever seen. Almost twenty years…

Look at me, harking on about the past. History can be interesting though. Ask my mother, she’ll tell you. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road as I share some of my highlights of 2015 with you…

Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother's novel Lascar at the Bishopsgate Library in London
Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother’s novel ‘Lascar’ at the Bishopsgate Institute, London

In January, my mother and I were invited to speak at the Everyday Muslim Symposium, held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. It was a wonderful event to be part of and I really enjoyed the occasion, despite my reading skills being closely scrutinised by an attentive audience – and captured on camera! Many thanks to Sadiya Ahmed and Halima Khanom for giving me the opportunity to participate. You can watch my mother’s talk and my reading right here:


In February, I joined the team of presenters for a sports show on Cambridge 105, a local radio station based in Cambridge. Since August, I have been the lead presenter and producer of the new series. The show has covered local, national and global sport, and is aired every Saturday afternoon. This year, I interviewed a range of guests including Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah of Cambridge Sporting Football Club, as well as the nation’s youngest restaurant/takeaway owner Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed – a former contestant on the popular BBC TV series The Apprentice.

Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport
Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport

You can listen to all the interviews on my brand-new Soundcloud page! I have really enjoyed hosting the show this year. Many thanks to my fellow team members Jack Swindlehurst, Jack LangleyTim Ebanks and Sam Tunbridge for all your help and support. Special thanks to Tim Willett, the station manager, for giving me the opportunity to be involved. It has been a pleasure to be part of Cambridge 105 and I hope the station continues to go from strength to strength.


Shaful Islam, Bobby Friction and Ibrahim Rahman
With quiz team-mate Shaful Islam (left) and BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction (centre)

2015 also witnessed a memorable ICC Cricket World Cup, particularly for Bangladesh who reached the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time. Unfortunately for England it was a tournament to forget, as they failed to qualify from their group.

In March, I ventured to the West Midlands to appear on a live BBC Asian Network show. I was on the Bobby Friction show and represented Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz! It was great fun and we did pretty well – scoring 9/10! Many thanks to the production team and Bobby for having me. Shaf Islam was a top team-mate as well! You can listen to our performance (and all the banter) through the audio clip below:


Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards
Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards

It was a great year for Ramadan Roundup, as the latest episode of the series was nominated for a national film award. I attended this year’s Limelight Film Awards in June. Unfortunately, Ramadan Roundup 4 didn’t win the award but it was very humbling to have been shortlisted. News of the nomination was covered on local radio station Cambridge 105, newspapers East London News, London Bangla and Cambridge News, and on television through Islam Channel. You can watch our Ramadan Roundup interview with Raza Amode and myself right here:

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone for your support and to those who have contributed to the series. Unfortunately my plans for producing Ramadan Roundup 5 this year did not go ahead as I had hoped. Having said that, the episode is still in pre-production and I hope to continue working on it next year. God willing.

On the other hand, I can confirm that I have just started to film Ramadan Roundup 4.5, a mini-episode that is linked to Ramadan Roundup 4 but leads on to Ramadan Roundup 5. More news to come very soon, but do keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates! The adventure continues…

Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production...
Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production…

Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC's Ramadan in a Day project
Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC’s Ramadan in a Day project

In July, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own stories through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that you can still watch on the BBC Asian Network YouTube channel. Check out one of the clips right here:


Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015

In September, I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Regional Journalist of the Year category at the Asian Media Awards 2015. I attended the official shortlist announcement at the ITV Studios in London, before making the very long trip to the Hilton Manchester Deansgate for the main showpiece in October. Unfortunately I missed out on the award, but I was really humbled to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s awards. It was a fantastic occasion.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile was listed in the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

And there you have it. My biggest moments in 2015 in a nutshell. Now, I’m going to sit in front of my clock and stare at it until it strikes twelve. Analogue or digital you ask? Don’t bother asking, that’s a very boring thing to do. Also time-consuming. Go ahead and laugh, you know that was funny…

As 2015 draws to a close, I shall leave you with this quote:

“The more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you will remember and appreciate the journey.”

This year has been thrilling and memorable. A massive thank you to all of you for your support and kindness. I wrote in my last annual review hoping this year would be a great year for you all, and I really hope it has been.

Thank you for following my adventures this year. Let’s see what happens in 2016. Let the journey continue.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2015

Thursday 5th November 2015. The Meridian Grand, London – the luxurious setting for this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who event.

After attending the previous two events in 2013 and 2014, I was keen to get involved this time round and see what I could do to assist with from behind the scenes, particularly with the publication. I was tasked with editing the profiles of some new and existing entries that were to be included in this year’s publication. I also managed the social media sites for the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who this year, setting up profiles on Twitter and Instagram to promote the showpiece as well as helping to run the already existing Facebook page. I was keen for there to be a stronger social media presence, especially during the event. I thought this would be a great opportunity to promote the hashtag #bbwhoswho, knowing that there are many within the Bangladeshi community who are frequent users of social media and love to share photos.

On the night of the showpiece hosted by news presenter Lisa Aziz and barrister Anawar Miah, I tweeted throughout using the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who Twitter account – @bbwhoswho. The overall response to the Twitter coverage was positive, with guests engaging with the tweets and following the trend of using #bbwhoswhoRupa Huq MP, an award-winner on the night, and Zac Goldsmith MP, a London Mayoral candidate, both tweeted about the event.

Regarding the publication, I was listed as one of the contributors on the first page. Second from bottom.

Ibrahim was a contributor in this year's British Bangladeshi Who's Who publication
Ibrahim was listed a contributor in this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication

In other news, before the awards ceremony kicked off, I was interviewed by Zakir Khan (see picture below). Somehow I made him laugh. Or maybe he was laughing at one of his own jokes. Or maybe he wanted to challenge me to a lightsaber duel. Look at him aiming his lightsaber-style microphone at me AND laughing… before the event started, they played out a segment from the Star Wars soundtrack. Funny, right? Fortunately, he wasn’t actually as menacing as his facial expressions showed. Phew! We had a brief chat about my contribution to this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication and how I was helping out at the event. I wonder where this interview will be shown… Channel S possibly?

Ibrahim is interviewed by Zakir Khan
Ibrahim was interviewed by Zakir Khan before the event

While we are on the subject of audio equipment, Rez Kabir added a lively touch with his rich and distinctive voice-overs throughout the show. He just sat in a dark corner of the hall, bellowing into a microphone for a couple of hours. Well played. He’s also a very talented actor!

It was also a nice occasion to meet familiar and new faces…

Award-winning accountant Mahbub Murshed with Ibrahim
Award-winning accountant Mahbub Murshed with Ibrahim
Ibrahim with award-winner Kamru Ali
Ibrahim with award-winner Kamru Ali

To conclude, I enjoyed being part of the project. I would like to thank Abdul Karim Goni and Shahadoth Karim for giving me the opportunity to help out with the publication and at the event itself. The Meridian Grand was an excellent choice for this year’s venue and I think it would be good to see the next event hosted there again. Well done to everyone involved.

Asian Media Awards 2015

Thursday 29th October 2015. Destination Manchester.

Cambridge to Deansgate… journey time approximately 4.5 hours? Yes, it was VERY long and there was an eleven minute delay leaving from London Euston, which had a knock-on effect for the rest of the journey. Despite that, I arrived at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel on time and looked forward to what was expected to be an enjoyable and memorable evening. What a venue. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the night there, but I did get a nice view from the top floor…

Ibrahim's view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel - the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim’s view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel – the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was one of five finalists shortlisted under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. Below is my profile, published in page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure. Every finalist had their own profile too.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile – page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

The winner was Sangeeta Bhabra, presenter of ITV Meridian News. Congratulations to Sangeeta for winning the award!

My interest in broadcasting started four years ago when I was invited for a live interview, representing my university’s Islamic Society on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire‘s Sunday Breakfast show. Despite being incredibly nervous and unprepared for it, I enjoyed the experience and was really keen to do more! Since then, I have reported about Ramadan, the Hajj, and both Eid celebrations in Cambridge. I am currently presenting a sports show every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105.

It wasn’t that long ago when my short film Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for a national film award, so I’m really humbled and privileged to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. It was also a real pleasure to see familiar and new faces on the night. One of them being up-and-coming comedian Guz Khan, also known as Guzzy Bear! He used to be a teacher I think…

Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim Rahman
Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim

Finally, I want to thank you all for your amazing support. It really means a lot. Huge thanks to my family and friends, especially to Raza Amode for coming along to the event.

All praise is to Allah and all success is from Him.

The Road to Manchester

No. I have not become a Manchester City fan. Neither do I support that other club that is within close proximity to them. Don’t even go there. Liverpool FC through and through. Jürgen Klopp – welcome to Anfield!

Klopp for the Kop: Jürgen Klopp is the new manager of Liverpool FC

Anyway, this blog post is not about football so let’s move on.

Since the Limelight Film Awards took place in June, the last four months for me have been really busy. Time for a quick recap.

Ramadan came and went. During the month of fasting, you may have come across my photo project on Instagram and Facebook – Ibrahim’s Ramadan Diary. I posted a photo every day, capturing scenery around Cambridge and writing some personal reflections.

Also during Ramadan, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own story through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that can be viewed on BBC Asian Network’s YouTube channel. It was a fun project and it was great to be part of something that was entertaining but also informative.

Since August, I have been presenting and producing the new series of Cambridge 105 Sport, a live radio show covering local, national and global sport – aired every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105. The show also aims to focus on recognising sporting activities in the local community, as well as interviewing live guests in the Cambridge 105 studio.

Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed
Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed were live guests on Cambridge 105 Sport

So far this series, I interviewed Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah, two representatives from Cambridge Sporting Football Club, and I recently spoke to Safwaan Choudhury (the youngest restaurant/takeaway owner in the UK) and Nurun Ahmed (a former contestant on last year’s TV series of “The Apprentice”). Podcasts are available for all of these interviews and can be heard via the Cambridge 105 website, iTunes and the RadioPlayer smartphone app. Likewise, you can also listen to them right here:

So what was the point of the Manchester reference? Hold on people, I’m getting there. Last month, I had been shortlisted as a finalist under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. I attended the Shortlist Announcement at ITV’s London Studios and I had the opportunity to meet journalist and broadcaster Mihir Bose, author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor, and ITN producer Roohi Hasan.

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With journalist and broadcaster Mihir Bose
Author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor with Ibrahim Rahman
With author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor
With media and communications expert Hasina Momtaz

The Regional Journalist of the Year award is a new category featuring in the Asian Media Awards 2015. The winner will be announced at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Thursday 29th October 2015. Here are the nominees:

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Since the Shortlist Announcement, news of my nomination was published in the East London News, London Bangla and Weekly Desh (see below). In summary, the article written in Bengali lists the work I have done recently, and some information on the Asian Media Awards Shortlist Announcement.

wpid-weekly_desh_ama_16_10_2015.png

So there you have it. Seven days to go! I’m really looking forward to the occasion. It’s been a very eventful past few months. I must take up this opportunity to thank everybody for your fantastic support. It really means a lot. All praise is to God.

Manchester awaits.

British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015

Yes, this event was ages ago. But since many of you have been engrossed by the “election fever”, I don’t think it’s too late to share my latest blog post with you all. Anyway, let’s wind the clock back…

Wednesday 11th March 2015. I attended the inaugural British Bangladeshi Business Awards at the New Bingley Hall in Birmingham. My mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee in the “Media and the Arts” category. Here is a quick summary of my experience at this event.

We arrived at the venue a few minutes before 7:00pm and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the event would be starting strictly on time. By Bangladeshi standards, this was MIGHTILY impressive. I’m still in shock! Okay, perhaps I’m taking it a bit too far, but it was impressive nonetheless. This is the equivalent of Bangladesh achieving an Olympic gold medal. Or knocking England out of the World Cup… hold on, that DID actually happen right?

The Prime Minister was there too! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to speak to him, but he was clearly the main attraction of the event. There was also a moment of comedy when one of the speakers on stage inadvertently mispronounced the PM’s surname. Here’s a hint. It’s a country in Central Africa. Bonus points if you can get it right. Send me your answers on a postcard… never mind. Tweet them if you want.

David Cameron at the British Bangladeshi Business Awards
David Cameron at the British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015

Apart from that, I thought the event was poorly organised. I felt there was a real lack of engagement with the audience. Too many people in the audience were busy talking amongst themselves and did not pay attention or show respect to those who were on stage.

The food was nice though.

Anyway, my mother was shortlisted but there was to be no silverware on this occasion. However, she didn’t go away empty-handed. Check out the certificate below. Another great achievement – well done!

Ibrahim's mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee  in the "Media and the Arts" category
Ibrahim’s mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee in the “Media and the Arts” category

All in all, it was an interesting and lively evening but regarding the execution of the event, it was far from satisfactory… even if David Cameron did show up.

Speaking of David Cameron, does anyone remember this? Go ahead. Watch it.

Bobby’s Breaking Boundaries

The last few weeks have been pretty exciting, particularly if you are a fan of the Bangladesh cricket team! Australia went on to win the ICC Cricket World Cup, but Bangladesh made history by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. It was a memorable tournament for the Tigers!

Earlier this month, I travelled alone to Birmingham. Believe me, it was a tough and exhausting journey! Cambridge to London King’s Cross, took the London Underground to Euston, and then jumped on the London Midland service all the way from London Euston to Birmingham New Street. From Cambridge to Birmingham, it must’ve taken me three hours! Why did I go to Birmingham, you ask? Read on.

I was at BBC Asian Network, representing Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz on the Bobby Friction show! Five countries took part in the game – Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and England. The two teams that achieved the highest scores would appear in the final to battle for the ultimate prize… actually, there wasn’t a prize at all. We were all fighting for pride and bragging rights…

Team Pakistan were the first to be called up on Day One of the quiz and scored 10/10, leaving me and my team-mate Shaful Islam with a mountain to climb if we were to reach the final.

The quiz was divided into two parts. The first five questions were about Bangladeshi cricket, with the latter focusing on general knowledge of cricket. The first round began. Each question was bowled in with searing pace. We had to attack. We danced down the wicket and slogged them all for six. In other words, we got off to the perfect start, blazing through the first round as we turned up the pressure on Team Pakistan with five correct answers. The chase was on. So far so good. Five down, five more to go…

After a short musical interlude, it was time for the final round. Three more questions were launched at us. We kept our calm and composure, blasting them over the ropes yet again. We started to believe. We had hope. The final was within touching distance. We saw light at the end of the tunnel… and then the penultimate delivery left us stunned.

We failed to provide an answer for the ninth question. It was a dot ball. We knew at that point, it was out of our hands. We recovered to successfully answer the final question, finishing the quiz on 9/10. We were so close. It felt like the Asia Cup final of 2012 when Pakistan beat Bangladesh by a mere TWO runs… it was agonising! However, we had to remind ourselves that our involvement in this competition wasn’t quite over yet…

We were relying on Team India, Team Sri Lanka and Team England to score lower than us, which would have confirmed our place in the final against Team Pakistan. The dream was still alive. There was still a glimmer of hope but our chances were now hanging by a thread. Sadly, our fate was eventually sealed when Team England scored a perfect 10, knocking us out of the competition along with India (9) and Sri Lanka (8).

Dramatics aside, I had a fantastic time on the show! It was a really enjoyable experience and I want to thank the production team and Bobby for having me. It was great meeting Shaf as well – who was an awesome team-mate!

You can listen to our performance (and all our jokes) by checking out the audio clip below. Enjoy!

BBC Asian Network: Bobby’s Breaking Boundaries (Day Two), Team Bangladesh – 05 March 2015 by Ibrahim Rahman on Mixcloud

Ibrahim’s Review of 2014

It’s that time of year again. The time when I turn around 180 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise and immerse myself with flashbacks. Whoa, that was bright! Oh, that was just me being dazzled by a car’s headlights. How can I be looking at a car’s headlights when I am supposed to be looking at my computer and focusing on this annual review? We’ll never know. Or maybe you will. It could just be one of life’s mysteries. Anyway, I digress.

Welcome to my sixth annual review. As always, another eventful year has found itself arrive and depart through the revolving doors of time. Is it me or am I starting to become poetic? No, I’m serious. Tweet me about it. Use an appropriate hashtag if you like. Be nice though. Let’s rewind the last twelve months…

Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time
Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time

I have travelled to quite a few places this year, and January witnessed my first trip to Anfield. After winning free tickets in a competition, I went to visit the home of my favourite football team – Liverpool FC. The result was a disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa but watching from the stands was a memorable experience! I visited Anfield again three months later to watch the “Celebration of the 96” charity match. Another 2-2 draw!

Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium
Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium

In February, lightning struck twice. My brother Imran ALSO won free tickets to watch Arsenal play Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as the Gunners sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over their London rivals. It was a different kind of experience to the one I had at Anfield, but enjoyable nonetheless. The inside of the stadium was visually impressive and we had a nice view from the stands. Overall, it was an enjoyable visit and the match was decent. Let’s hope Imran wins tickets again!

Ibrahim speaks on-stage at the Maa Amar Maa Awards
Ibrahim speaks on-stage at this year’s Maa Amar Maa Awards

In March, I attended the Maa Amar Maa Awards in London – an awards ceremony hosted by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK. My mother won the Mother of the Year award! I was also invited on stage to say a few words which was quite nerve-wracking, but good practice for my public speaking skills. I met old and new faces but at the end of the day, it was a wonderful and joyous occasion. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan
Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan

Some days after the event, we were both invited for a live interview on BBC Asian Network. In an exciting and lively exchange of words with presenter Nadia Ali, I was asked about why I nominated my mother for an award. We also participated in a fun “Mother v Son” quiz! We were interviewed alongside Dilara Khan, the CEO of Pillar Productions and producer of Maa Amar Maa. Once again, another memorable day!

The Second Yellow
The Second Yellow

Welcome to May. I teamed up with Abu Ali to form The Second Yellow, a joint venture with the aim of delivering and discussing some of the biggest stories in football through writing articles and producing a podcast series. We have produced two episodes so far but are hoping for greater things in the new year. Watch this space!

Ramadan Roundup 4
Ramadan Roundup 4

I spent the next couple of months preparing for Ramadan Roundup 4. Raza Amode and Ubaid Sajid returned for this year’s instalment, after previously appearing in Ramadan Roundup 2. We also welcomed many new faces including Nadia Ali from BBC Asian Network! Cambridge locals Moghees Darr, Amira Haque and Ayat Rasool also made their first on-screen appearances in the series, and Uzma Chaudhry silenced the doubters by providing her voice all the way from Manchester for the opening scene. I should visit Manchester one day, it sounds like a nice place! It was a big cast this year and I am really grateful to everyone for being part of it! THANK YOU!

Ibrahim at Inspire FM
Ibrahim talked about the Ramadan Roundup series at Inspire FM

Throughout July, Ramadan Roundup gained a fair amount of media exposure through Inspire FM, a community radio station in Luton. I talked about the series as a live guest and “co-host” on the Urban Kube Show, presented by Shemiza Rashid. The series also got a mention in Weekly Desh, a bilingual British Bangladeshi weekly newspaper distributed around the UK. A North American-based online magazine called The Aerogram also published their series review. Thank you to all for your coverage!

In August, I reported for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to cover the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge. My Ramadan reports from last year were also repeated again on the Sunday Breakfast show.

September came along and I joined local community radio station Cambridge 105 as a reporter. My first report appeared on 105 Drive with Julian Clover, after attending the “Question Cambridge” event and I interviewed Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, about his thoughts on the city’s transportation infrastructure and encouraging more people to get into entrepreneurship. Listen to the report here.

Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network
Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network

I also worked for a month as a trainee assistant producer at BBC Asian Network on Nadia Ali‘s show. I had an amazing time! I recorded, edited and uploaded short video clips onto the BBC Asian Network Facebook page and had some fun posting and reading tweets! I also had the privilege of meeting Nurun Ahmed, a contestant from the tenth series of The Apprentice.

Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of "The Apprentice"
Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of “The Apprentice”

I recorded an awesome Apprentice-style video with Nadia performing as Sir Alan Sugar, who was analysing a comical pitch from Nurun. The video reached out to over 25,000 people within 7 days! I really enjoyed the experience and definitely would love to return again!

And then it was November. I attended the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014 publication launch and awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London. I was listed in this year’s publication, recognising my work as a reporter, filmmaker, web designer and developer. I was also told that I am the youngest ever entrant to be listed in the book!

Finally, we reach December. I returned to Cambridge 105 to report from this year’s Mill Road Winter Fair. As the Fair returned for its tenth year, the Cambridge Mosque on Mawson Road also held its annual open day. I went to find out what was happening and then I went off to interview local stallholders. My two reports also featured in their podcast. All in all, another enjoyable day!

2014 has been an amazing year for me. There have been some challenging and difficult moments at times, but the tremendous support I have received from so many of you really helped me to keep going. Here is a quote I found a couple of days ago from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Don’t forget those who have helped you along the way. Meet them; give them a call. We can never show too much appreciation to those who matter.”

I cannot thank you all enough, I am so grateful for all your support and generosity. May you all be immensely rewarded for your efforts. I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people this year and I hope 2015 will be a great year for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed following my adventures this year – let’s create some new ones together.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P.S. There’s a new web series on the horizon…

Ibrahim’s Review of 2013

Salutations. My fellow readers, welcome to the blog post that you have all been waiting for. You have been rubbing your hands viciously with excitement. Your heart has been pounding. You have been running around like a headless chicken, screaming with joy… maybe not.

This is my fifth annual review. We have reached a milestone!

There is plenty to talk about. It has been a year that began with frustration and uncertainty, but ended with satisfaction and a renewed sense of optimism. What happened? Let us turn back the clock…

It has been a difficult experience adjusting to life after university, as I officially attained graduate status in October 2012. The transition period between being a graduate and securing a job in the field of your degree or interest, it is a real test of one’s character and mental strength. It is like a football match. You find yourself a goal down but the response is crucial. How do you react? How do you approach the situation? How do you turn the tables in your favour when your back is against the wall? Everyone reacts differently to pressure. I discovered an interesting quote from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“When you think you have come to a dead end, read the map carefully once again and you will find a path you hadn’t dreamt of.”

Web development has been relatively quiet for 2013. From February to June, I volunteered at the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and managed their website, ensuring all of their content was up to date. Two web projects eventually came along at once in December. One website is almost complete and I am close to starting the next one. I think this probably warrants a blog post of its own! I do not intend to be so cagey, but I am also wary of keeping this review as concise as possible. All being well, you will find out soon enough.

This year, I was a reporter for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, assisting with the production of a short series on Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting). I interviewed a range of local guests including Abdal Hakim Murad/Timothy J. Winter (a world-renowned Islamic scholar, researcher, writer and academic). He is the older brother of Henry Winter, the football correspondent of The Daily Telegraph. In July-August, the Ramadan series (comprising of four episodes or five if you include my report on the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge) was aired on Suzie Roberts’ Sunday Breakfast show. I returned in October to interview pilgrims who previously made the journey to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). Eid-ul-Adha followed soon after and I reported about this year’s celebrations from Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall in Cambridge. I really enjoyed working with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and would like to thank all my interviewees for their contributions. Once again, huge thanks to Heather Noble, Suzie Roberts and the rest of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire team for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

I recently got back into writing articles again! It’s been a while actually. When I was fourteen, I used to write for a paper called the Bangla Mirror. My first article was about Liverpool FC winning the Champions League… anyway, I produced a series of articles on tennis for SportPulse. I wrote five online articles, summarising all the men’s fourth round matches and the women’s semi-finals at Wimbledon, plus two men’s first round matches from the US Open. I recently became News Correspondent for The Asian World, a monthly newspaper based in Birmingham with a readership of over 200,000 and delivered articles on cricket. I covered the Bangladesh v New Zealand Test series that took place in October.

I have also done a fair amount of networking this year. I was listed in the “Brightest 50” and “Brightest 100” publications, highlighting and celebrating the achievements of selected British Bangladeshis from across the UK. I was recognised for my academic achievements, my endeavours in web design and development, and my work as a reporter for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.  I was also one of five individuals from around the country to be invited to attend the finalists launch of the Asian Media Awards in September. Hosted by presenter and broadcaster Lisa Aziz, the nation’s leading media professionals gathered at City Hall, London, as the full list of nominees for this year’s Asian Media Awards were announced. A month later, I was at Alexandra Palace, London, for the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who event. My mother, Shahida Rahman, was listed in their 2013 publication and was recognised for her work in literature.

Filmmaking? Not much to report for this year I’m afraid. I made two videos. One was a short film called “Dealing With a Difficult Teenager” starring three optometry students from Anglia Ruskin University, who all demonstrated how they thought an optometrist should handle a customer in the form of a stubborn teenage girl accompanied by her mother. They submitted this video as part of their work and they passed. Well done! It was really fun working with you all and I wish you all the best for the future!

My second and final video of 2013 was “Ramadan Roundup 3“. In this year’s instalment, I explored fasting in more depth and provided a report about the recent developments of the New Cambridge Mosque Project. I also had a “chat” with the Prime Minister about fasting, I wonder if he’ll give it a try next year? The Ramadan Roundup Facebook page has been doing well and has attracted hundreds of likes. Brilliant! Thank you for the support!

Overall, 2013 has been an eventful year and I am really looking forward to what lies ahead in 2014. I have met so many wonderful new faces recently, and I am looking forward to working with some of you in the new year! As always, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures. I am so grateful for all your support and generosity, and I wish you all the best for the year ahead.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bangladesh Draw in Mirpur

My second article was published in the December 2013 edition of the Asian World, a monthly newspaper based in Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Bangladesh v New Zealand
21-25 October 2013
Second Test, Mirpur
Bangladesh: 282 and 269-3
New Zealand: 437
MATCH DRAWN

Persistent rainfall throughout the Second Test steered Bangladesh and New Zealand towards a disappointing and frustrating conclusion in Mirpur, as the series ended 0-0.

Looking to build on their encouraging performance in the First Test, the Tigers decided to bat first with Tamim Iqbal leading the charge. The Bangladeshi opener was the top scorer of the first innings with 95 off 153 balls, collecting 17 fours in an impressive individual display. Although Marshall Ayub (41) and Mominul Haque (47) narrowly missed out on half-centuries, Bangladesh were eventually dismissed for 282.

New Zealand responded strongly through a maiden Test century from Corey Anderson, the 22-year-old blasting 13 fours and 2 sixes in a superb 116 off 173. Supporting knocks from BJ Watling (70 not out), Kane Williamson (62), Ish Sodhi (58) and Ross Taylor (53) boosted the total to 437, providing the visitors with an important advantage in the match. The Bangladeshi bowlers struggled to make their mark, despite the noteworthy efforts of their all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who managed to complete his tenth five-wicket haul. It was evident that the home side were faced with a difficult task as they prepared for their second innings.

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner successfully nullified any potential threats early on by removing the likes of Anamul Haque and Marshall Ayub. However, Tamim Iqbal replied with a patient 70 off 218 deliveries and established an excellent 157-run partnership with Mominul Haque, who maintained his tremendous form with a second successive century – striking 16 fours in an unbeaten 126 from 225. Bangladesh had set a new record – this was their highest third-wicket partnership in Tests. As Shakib Al Hasan chipped in with a solid 32 and remained at the crease with Mominul Haque, Bangladesh’s dominance with the bat ensured New Zealand were handed a challenging proposition going into the final day.

It was an impressive reaction from the Tigers which demonstrated a high level of discipline and maturity, particularly when they have been culpable for throwing away wickets in the third innings of Test matches. When the fifth day arrived, both teams were deprived of any action due to rain as the match came to a close. Bangladesh can walk away with their heads held high after drawing a Test series against a side ranked higher than them in the rankings. Mominul Haque was named both man of the match and the series.

Bangladesh Draw in Mirpur