Ausaf Sayeed, the outgoing Consul General of India in Chicago who made several visits to various local gurdwaras during his tenure and made “Sikh lives better”, was given a hearty farewell by the Sikh community Jan. 1, at Lombard, Ill.
The Sikh Community of Midwest Chicago organized a farewell dinner at Viceroy of India Restaurant, honoring him for what the organizers described as the most involved and respected of all consuls general in Chicago’s history.
At the event, attended by prominent Sikh community leaders, Sayeed was profusely thanked for his contribution and support of the community.
“Sayeed’s contribution to the entire Indian community has been tremendous. He made several visits to gurdwaras, and through his service, made many Sikh lives better. His purpose was to serve the community and give them service. He wholeheartedly lived up to the expectations of his role,” said Balwant Singh Hansraj. “Wherever you went, you touched hearts. I extend my best wishes for your next assignment,” he said.
In a rare gesture of bonhomie, Pakistan Consul General Faisal Niaz Tirmizi attended the event. Tirmizi praised Sayeed and called him an embodiment of service who built bridges and brought people together.
Also present was Gopal Lalmalani, Mayor, Village of Oakbrook who was one of the distinguished speakers. He mentioned about the work Sayeed has done. He said since 1973 when he came to the U.S., he has not seen such an engaging and connected consul general who could bring many diverse organizations together.
Sayeed, while addressing the audience, talked about his experiences working in the Chicago office. He assumed office in 2013 after serving as Indian Ambassador in Yemen from 2010-2013. He explained how he always emphasized the channelization of the Indian communities. He was a given standing ovation by everyone present. Mr. Sayeed quoted from the Holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. He also talked about the sayings of many great saints specifying the role that Sikhism plays in being able to serve communities and their own diaspora at large. Teams from Indiana, Milwaukee were also present to say thanks and goodbye to the Consulate General.
“I am humbled by all the lovely words spoken about me. I have received so much love during my tenure in this office,” Sayeed said in a brief speech. He talked about Guru Nanak Dev ji and Baba Mardana. Quoting Guru Nanak’s words “Vasde Raho” he explained how traveling across the world helps all in discovering the new meanings of life, according to an Asian Media USA press release.
Sayeed explained the significance of turban and Guru Granth Sahib and concluded his speech by saying “Wahe Guru ji da Khalsa, Wahe Guru ji di Fateh”.