Bricks, Bouquets & AwardsIn 1998, on behalf of the Indian community in the Netherlands, the Mayor of Zoetermeer and the Ambassador of India presented Wahid with The Golden Jubilee Community Service Award. So far he is the only person to receive this award.
In April 2002 Wahid was awarded the coveted Dutch honour, Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau or the Knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau. It was presented on the occasion of the queen’s birthday. Wahid is believed to be the first Indian national to receive the rare honour, which is normally given only to Dutch nationals who have made distinguished contributions to socio-economic life in the Netherlands. He was chosen for the award for his efforts in the promotion of multicultural activities in the country. The Dutch award was given to him as “a tribute to his commitment, devotion, and years of dedicated work promoting knowledge about, and understanding between, the peoples of India and the Netherlands of their culture, history, philosophy, religious and social structure of the two countries,” according to the citation for the award.
The Global Indian, a magazine published from the UAE in their inaugural issue of January 2004 carried an article on 100 NRIs under the title Global Indians: making a Difference. How the 100 achievers among the Diaspora are making waves. Wahid was one of the 100 Indians.
For his services to the PIO/NRI community, in April 2006, on behalf of the Foundation for Critical Choices for India, a Netherlands based think tank, Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Ambassador of India presented Wahid with the Silver Jubilee Award.
In December 2006, The Global People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), USA decided to recognise Wahid's many years of dedicated and committed service to the community and society and awarded him the GOPIO Pravashi Bharatiya Community Service Award for the year 2007. On 6th January 2007, at the Awards banquet at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi Mr Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs presented the Pravashi Bharatiya Community service award to Wahid. He was the only one from Europe to receive this award.
On 9th January 2011, during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011, the President of India Shrimati Pratibha Devi Singh Patil conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest honour conferred by the Government of India on overseas Indians to Wahid Saleh. The award was conferred in recognition of his outstanding achievement in the field of Community Service, his valuable contribution in promoting the honour and prestige of India, for fostering the interests of Overseas Indians. Wahid Saleh is recognized for his significant contribution to the Indian community in the Netherlands and for his philanthropic work in Assam.
Overseas Indians ExtraOrdinaire is a who’s who of 50 selected NRIs. This compilation is not only about the global Indian industrialists and business icons like Dr. Hari Harilela, Hindujas, Sunil Vaswani, Laxmi Mital but also the inclusion of lesser-publicised overseas Indians who have made significant contributions to enriching the life of the community and the country they live in. Many of the NRIs are held in high regard in their own adopted countries, very often little is known about them in India or in other countries. According to the publisher “This publication is an attempt to highlight the extraordinary, inspirational success stories of certain overseas Indians”. The publishers of “The Indian”, based in Hong Kong named Wahid Saleh” as one of the Overseas Indians Extraordinaire.
Wahid has a comprehensive overview of Dutch-Indian relations and many details of the presence of the Indian community in the Netherlands. He lends his vast knowledge as a service to the Dutch multi-cultural society on an honorary basis.
In Assam Wahid established the Anwar Qadir Mohammed Salehuddin & Najmun Nisa Memorial Trust for Higher Education and donated the required funds for this trust.
He is married to a Dutch national and has two grown up children and three grandchildren.
The most treasured "bouquets" which Wahid received are the appreciations from his fellow compatriots for the work done by him.
Photo's of Assam by
courtesy of Chandan Mahanta
St. Louis, Missouri.