letters and Messages for Mahendra Agarwal
from Khalid A-H.Ansari (Chairman, Mid-day
From the Desk of Khalid A-H Ansari
On behalf of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) I have a great pleasure in conveying our very best wishes to the Indian Squash Professionals (ISP) on their historic 75th squash tournament.
Given the general dearth of sponsors for sports disciplines other than cricket in our country, the feat of organising 75 Squash tournaments in any state in our Country is, indeed, praiseworthy. It deserves inclusion in the Guinness and Limca Books of Records.
The yeoman services that the ISP has been rendering to the game Squash by catering to the financial needs of our professional, by popularising the sport in far-flung corners of our state and through its pursuit of excellence, is commendable.
We at the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra are grateful to ISP, to its selfless Founder-Director Mahendra Agarwal and its committed and indefatigable team of office-bearers for the unstinted help they have giving us over the years.
If the number of squash
players in the state has increased astronomically, if the number of squash
courts, tournament, competitors and coaching camps have multiplied
exponentially, if the prize money on offer has reached hitherto unimaginable
levels, a great deal of credit must, in all fairness, go to ISP, whose
efforts have also been lauded by former prime minister Shri Atal Behati
Vajpayee and other prominent leaders.
In addition to
“adopting” five promising young players, ISP-the country’s only
non-government-aided sports NGO-has its own website and publishes the widely
circulated magazine, “PROSQUASH” to Promote the sports.
We are given to
understand that the 75th edition of the ISP tournament, which is
offering prize money in excess of Rs. 5 lakhs, has attracted players from
all over the country and abroad in 18 categories from Under-7 to Over-60
While congratulating ISP, I take this opportunity of conveying our very wishes for the success of the tournament. The century beckons!
Khalid A-H Ansari
Message from Ranjan Sanghi (Director, Sah and Sanghi Group and President Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra) for organising 75th Platinum Jubilee tournament
8th December, 2006
On behalf of the Squash Racquets Association Of Maharashtra (SRAM) I have great pleasure in congratulating the Indian Squash Professional and founder-director Mr. Mahendra Agarwal on their Dimonds Jubilee Tournament and Wish the players all the success and assure them of our support and co-operation at all times.
I would also like to convey our appreciation foe the wonderful progress that ISP has and has continued to make a mark in promoting the game of squash and taking it to the masses. ISP has organized several tournaments and improved the standers of Players in Maharashtra by way of organizing coaching at various clubs.
I take this opportunity to wish them the very best and many more years of monumental success in all their future endeavors.
For SQUASH RACQUETS ASSOCIATION OF MAHARASHTRA
POISED TO MAKE SPORTING HISTORY
The Indian Squash
Professionals (ISP), the only non-profit making sports NGO in the
India, functioning since 1993 is poised on the brink of an important
milestone and founder director Mahendra Jagdish Agarwal is happy
man, but far from contented. Happy because appreciation support for
the activities of ISP is growing by the day and not content because
there is lot of work yet to be done.
From January 1993, till date , ISP has organized 73 tournaments, 26 free coaching camp all over India (including Rajkot and Mussorie) and adopted five players (Arif Paul, Deepali Anvekar, Priyanka Yadav, Abhishek Pradhan and Ankita Sharma). The ISP also has its own website, www.ispsquash.com, which is the only active squash website in the India, updated daily and receiving monthly an average of 1.50,000 hits. The ISP also publishes a new magazine, “PROSQUASH” , which is being distributed to 3000 squash players free of cost and read by 15,000 squash lovers throughtout the country. This magazine has completed 38 issues. Yet, Agarwal is striving to do more, much more.
The ISP Platinum
Jubilee All India Squash Carnival, to be held from January 26 to 31
at The Club and Juhu Vile Parle Gymkhana promises to be the biggest
yet. Offering prize money Rs 5.54 Lakhs, the tournament will feature
the cream of India’s talent, besides talented players from abroad
who will be invited and hosted for the event.
The ISP has many
firsts to its credit, thanks to the initiatives of Agarwal. Together
with other committee members he focused on promoting squash in the
interiors of Maharashtra (Nanded, Beed, Satara, Pimpri,
Kolhapur,Solapur, Aurangbad, Thane & Nasik) exposing masses to
the game. He also restructured the foundation of the professionals
– who were the backbone of Indian squash by setting up systems,
procedures and performance standards. before 1993, a squash
professional in Mumbai would get a mere salary of 2500 or 3000
rupees but now they minimum of Rs. 10000 per month.
Agarwal has involved himself completely in promotion of the game and has succeeded to quite an extent with his energetic leadership, vision and spirit over the years. As committee member of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM), Agarwal succeeded in getting up three public squash courts in Andheri sports complex, Mumbai, Police Gymkhana, Mumbai and the Pimpri Chinchwad, Municipal Coorporation squash court in Pune.
attraction that draws to it students aspiring to go abroad on squash scholarships), a great deal of credit must deservedly go to largely to Mahendra Agarwal, his band of dedicated workers in ISP and his colleagues in the SRAM.
Having started PROSQUASH, his expensive hobby, under the guidance of the late Raju Chainani, the trail-blazing squash correspondent of the Times of India and Sportsweek (his contribution in popularising the game of squash in Maharashtra was immeasurable) and Pradeep Vijayakar, the Times all-round Sports Journalist. Mahendra has taken the game to never-dreamt-of heights nation-wide through his unique publication.
Although Mumbai-based, the coverage of PROSQUASH is nation-wide; its reach and influence among players, coaches and administrators, as also in the corridors of power in New Delhi, considerable.
Those of us in the business of newspaper and magazine publishing know only too well what it takes in terms of blood, tears, toil and sweat to regularly bring out any publication of consistent quality.For Mahendra to have published 50 issues of PROSQUASH, a journal of record for posterity, which zealously spreads the gospel of squash to more than 3000 members of the burgeoning fraternity at his own expense and no cost to squash lovers in India and abroad with impressive regularity, is remarkable by any yardstick.
As it well known, the unassuming Mahendra has gathered around him a dedicated band of workers who assist in bringing out the professionally produced publication. Having witnessed their contagious labour of love, I have no doubt that all of us, who eagerly look forward to receiving copies of PROSQUASH, will have the pleasure of reading its 100th issue.
Those of us who realize the enormity of his contribution to the game of squash are also hoping that recognition in the form of state and central government awards will soon come his deserved way.
of unforgettable squash
It took the vision of Mahendra Agarwal to go beyond that, provide opportunities for the professionals by first organising tournaments exclusively for them. When people began flocking to these events interest grew five-fold. Agarwal then began having tournaments for them and we had the start of the handicap and doubles events. In time five-star hotels began evincing interest. If The Leela, with guidance of Capt Nair and son Vivek, was the first hub, others came in its wake and even though The Leela courts closed, squash continues to flourish at the other hotels, clubs providing jobs for the pros.
All this pioneering activity needed to be chronicled for posterity. Raju Chainani was bringing out his newsletter “SIMPLY SQUASH” but he was more international and didn't devote much time to the grassroots game. He advised Mahendra Agarwal to come up with Newsletter which had more of Indian squash news. PROSQUASH decided to highlight the activities. As the activities grew the news increased from four to the present sixteen pages.
PROSQUASH began featuring other development activities like coaching camps. When Rehmat Khan, the coach of Jahangir, made Mumbai his home, PROSQUASH featured him, enlarging his image which he capitalised upon to make big money. PROSQUASH, more than the newspapers highlighted the other great Pakistan player-coach Mohibullah Khan when he stopped over on way back to Karachi.
In time PROSQUASH began featuring the youngsters. Now this is a very important contribution. Youngsters and their parents keep these cuttings carefully and when the time comes for admission for foreign universities and squash scholarships these come useful. There are many number of youngsters who thus benefited. PROSQUASH has played a big role in this.
Then came the tussle with officialdom. It was felt that the national federation was being run in a high-handed manner. Juniors' entries were not allowed to be submitted to foreign events unless the national federation was involved. Draws of tournaments were fudged to favour some players. All this injustice had to be highlighted. PROSQUASH began playing this role. People looked to PROSQUASH rather than the national papers to take up cudgels on behalf of the aggrieved players.
As the sport of squash spread people in places apart from the metros began having activities. These were not being highlighted by the national media. PROSQUASH began featuring them, events in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Pune, Ajmer, Bellary and Indore began getting the prominence they needed.
All in all PROSQUASH has played its role in taking the sport of squash to another level. The more the merrier saying applies to sport. There is the national federation, there are the clubs and there is looming presence of Indian Squash Professionals using its ingenuity to create events that capture the imagination of people beyond the squash courts.
PROSQUASH has reflected this ingenuity and its special issues have been even more special. Let's hope PROSQUASH marches on to the other suceeding jubilees in a manner that will capture the imagination of a grateful squash fraternity.
and still going strong
One could see a
contended smile on Mahendra Agarwal’s face. The founder director of the
Indian Squash Professional (ISP), yesterday, took the
opportunity to announce the Hero Honda-Khar Gymkhana ISP Golden Jubilee
The Squash Racquets
Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) has commended Mahendra Agarwal for his
untiring efforts in the promotion of squash.
THE DESK OF KHALID A-H ASNARI
Since cricket is very
much the flavour of the month, it may not be altogether out of place to
draw a parallel between legend Sunil Manohar Gavaskar and Mahendra
Agarwal, our very own squash lover and patron.
It is said that
although Gavaskar had an insatiable appetite for runs, he did not bother
overly about keeping an eye on the score-board when at the crease.
Garnering runs was his magnificent obsession. Similarly, despite his all
consuming passion for the game – which has found expression through a
red hot zeal to set up new squash courts, organize new and more and more
tournaments – The indefatigable Mahendra has seldom cared to keep count
of his achievements.
The Founder –
Director (He is much too young and young-at-heart to be called grand
daddy) of Indian squash Professionals (ISP), Mahendra Agarwal will achieve
the distinction of organizing its Golden Jubilee tournament next week at
Mumbai’s Khar Gymkhana.
achievements is mind – boggling, when you consider the problems and hard
work involved in weaning our sports sponsors away from their love affairs
with the game of cricket.
But then, he has also
taken short cuts by putting his hands in his own (oversized) pockets to
make funds available, whenever they have not been forthcoming.
Mahendra’s feat is
undeniably unparalleled in the history of Indian and – arguably –
world sport. In all likelihood, it merits inclusion in the Guinness Book
of Records and of course, it’s Indian equivalent – the Limca Book of
Apart from tournaments,
Mahendra has organized free coaching camps in various parts of the
such as Rehmat Khan (Pakistan and U.K) and Abdul Shaikh (Canada) have been
called upon to hone the skills of club players and professionals (markers)
personal efforts to improve the lot of our markers are well-known
Moreover, ISP has “adopted” four players set up its own website www.ispsquash.com
and continues to publish the country’s leading squash magazine “PROSQUASH”,
which is distributed free of cost to 3000 players and read by an estimated
15,000 lovers of the game in India and abroad.
On behalf of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) and the burgeoning squash community of our states, I have great pleasure in wishing ISP and Mahendra Agarwal on their Golden Jubilee tournament and conveying to them our very best wishes for the future in their commendable endeavours.
Khalid A-H Ansari
Via : Email