Mohammed Rafiq Ibrahim Punjabi (Qureshi)
Partner and Managing Director mohammed Rafiq & Partner LLC Muscat (Oman), Mumbai, India
Starting his career in engineering, Mr. Rafiq went on to set up successful businesses in mining and construction based in the Middle East. But he still considers India his home. Originally from Rajasthan, he was awarded ‘Jewels of Rajasthan-2012’.
He was born in Rajasthan Mohammed Rafiq Ibrahim Punjabi (Qureshi), but as a boy he moved with his family to Karnataka. At age 8 while living in Bagalkot, Karnataka, Rafiq was invited to an event by no less thanthe then state’s Chief Minister who had heard about the little boy’s extraordinary ability. Rafiq was introduced by his father, Haji Ibrahim qureshi, at the function. Rafiq impressed the boy with his intelligence as well as his drawing ability the Chief Minister said, “One day this little chap is going to be an engineer and India will be proud of him.” While that prophecy did come true, what the esteemed guest did not foresee is that the little boy would go on to achieve a lot more than an engineering degree.
A keen sportsman, Md. Rafiq, while in college made winning medals a habit at the state and district level. So versatile was he level, he also captained the football team. He also participated in athletics table tennis, boxing as well as motor sports. This active lifestyle and his adventurous spirit along with close association with friends in the defence forces led Mohammed Rafiq to join the Territorial Army Once he had secured his B.E. in Civil Engineering and Architecture.
Rising up fast in the army, MD Rafiq earned a commission as a task force commander, impressing his superiors by his ability to take on tasks which were too arduous for others. While based in Belgaum, he also managed to get on board air force and elite Black Cat Commando training programmes. Yet, despite his love of the strenuous physical activity and camaraderie the services had to offer, he felt the calling to follow his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in business.
He felt it was time to spread his wings and step out into the unknown. Moving to Saudi Arabia he set up a construction company in Damman as a joint venture with local partners. The company was successful and Rafiq diversified into marble mining and cutting. He revealed a knack for inventing in a new area of expertise-redesigning an edge cutting marble machine. His keen business acumen took the company further and Rafiq was honoured by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s prestigious Chamber of Commerce.
Mohammed Rafiq, seeing the potential for marble business in mineral rich Oman, moved there after 15 years in Saudi Arabia. He has been in Oman for the last over five years. There he lauched the Marble Mines & Factory as well as the Construction & Builders Company. Even while his companies were making a good profit, Rafiq felt that he could do more for India. With the subcontinent region’s rapid development skilled manpower was a desperate need for the Arabian Gulf. Acting on instinct and using his well established contacts and family’s businesses back home, Rafiq started to recruit his countrymen to well paying jobs in the Gulf. Once again, this was a tremendous success. He estimates that he has secured jobs for about 5,000 of his country men in the Gulf. This translates into a huge sum to the tune of Rs 900 crore sent back to India through his deeds alone!
For Rafiq it is repaying an old debt to the country he was born in and loves. His father, Khan Sab Haji Ibrahim Qureshi had fought in India’s freedom struggle. But when the violence of partition engulfed the country, khan sab along with others were hiding from marauders near their village of Churu near the border with Pakistan. Spotted by some riders, the group were set upon. Khan Sab stepped up and tried to stop them. When they swung at him with their sticks, he fought back and unseated them. Things could have gone bad from there but an officer spotted the altercation and rode up to see what was wrong. When Khan Sab explained that they wanted no trouble and just wanted to protect their families, the officer said that maharaja Karni Singh of Bikaner was camped nearby and asked some of the village representatives to come with him. Khan Sab was the only one from the the group willing to make the Journey and upon meeting the maharaj he explained their Plight. Maharajah Karni Singh listened to the bold villager and gave his verdict – food, water and tents were to be supplied to the people and those who wanted to stay in India were welcome while those who wanted to leave for Pakistan would be given safe passage, protected by his men. Khan Sab, of course, decided to stay and settled down in Bombay where he set up a successful construction business.
Rafiq has not forgotten that debt and takes great pride in the Rashtriya Ekta Samman he has been honoured with in India. One of many honours he has received. He has also received the Hind Rattan Award as well as several sports related awards for sponsorship and promotion of hockey in particular. Rafiq feels that the substantial sums his company spends on sponsorship is justified as it gives Indians abroad a chance to see quality events with world class Indian sportsmen such as hockey star Dhanraj Pillai Participatin – The sort of events that they would otherwise miss as the lead their lives in foreign countries.
Rafiq has ensured that equality and justice is very much a part of his corporate ethos. Regardless of caste or creed all the people who work for him are treated as equals. In the wake of the convulsive Babri Masjid demolition, as sentiments began to get heated in his camps in Saudi Arabia, he stepped forward to ensure that nothng untoward happened to any of his fellow countrymen – a debt repaid for the same fairness that had been shown to his family more than half a century ago. This he feels is the very least he can do for the country that gave him so many opportunities. The only country he truly considers home - India.
Mohammed Rafiq Ibrahim Punjabi (Qureshi), the little boy who once showed so much promise, has today lived up to that promise. He is an engineer, entrepreneur, an avid philatelist and antique collector, and a philanthropist who gives generously to mosques, churches, temples and schools as well as the CRY Trust and the Lions Club projects. To sum it up a close friends of his said, “Most of us go through life but Rafiq, you truly have lived yours.”
MD Rafiq was awarded ‘jewels of Rajasthan – 2012’, Honouring the achievements of Rajasthan settled all over the world who were also felicitated at a high profie gala night organized in jaipur at Hotel clarks Amer on January 8, 2012 during 10TH PBD (Pravaiya Bhartiya Diwas) Jaipur. A coffee table book, ‘Jewels of Rajasthan – 2012’ was also published by Maneesh Media Agency profiling the 64 successful Rajasthanis settled in the US, the UK, Middle East, Thailand as well as in different states of India.
- Pro. Dr. Kedar Sharma
- Swami Prabhupada
- Samin K. Sharma, MD
- Late Sh. Jagjit Singh
- Manoj Kumar
- Avinash Chander Mannan
- Gunvant B. Dave
- Haridas Kotahwala
- Pratap Singh Chouhan
- Dr. Raghunath Prasad Tiwari - Umang
- Dr. Kumar vishwas
- Dr. (Mrs) Lilly George
- Anil Goel
- Dr. Om Sharma
- Chand Bihari Ji Saboo
- Chitra Goel
- Ajey Jain
- Madan Jhawar
- Kamlesh C. Mehta
- Jodh Raj Loddha
- Dr. Renu Khator
- Mr. Kailash Jhalani
- Mohammed Rafiq Ibrahim Punjabi (Qureshi)
- Mr. Narpat Bhandari
- Mr. Sarosh Khan
- Mr. S. Abhaya Kumar
- Mr. V. Premraj Jain
- Mr. Lal K. Motwani
- Mr. Mukeshbhai Babubhai Gopani