A cultivated, dignified man, Ghulam Naqshband was a great friend and supporter of Sommelier India WINE magazine and we will miss his gentle presence greatly. Although a bachelor, Ghulam kept a beautiful home and an excellent table. He was a genuine wine lover and started “The Wine Society” in Delhi in 1991 with the support of the French Embassy. Originally called Table de France, it was the first wine club in the country. Share your memories here or on our Facebook page.
A regular guest at the Sommelier India Wine Dinners, Ghulam thoroughly enjoyed his wine and was himself a great host. While we didn’t experience his cooking, there are tales of his mastery in the kitchen, especially in French cuisine. On one occasion when The Wine Society had organised a ‘cooking with wine’ dinner, Ghulam was there up in front with all the ladies talking and participating with the Chef. A fact not commonly known is that it was Ghulam who started the Alliance Francaise in Delhi, as far back as 1952.
Born and brought up in Kasur in Pakistan, Naqshband has been a witness to the 1947 partition and decided to stay back in India even though his parents and two brothers were in Pakistan.” I was determined to stay in Delhi even though it meant living by myself. I chose to live life on my own terms. I don’t believe in a two-nation theory; I believe in one god and don’t adhere to religious demands. Today I am a contended human being,” he says wiping away every sign of remorse. He turned down every opportunity he got post partition to live with his family.” The social and political environment there did not suit my secularism. I found that people there formed their opinions based on the media. They took their newspapers’ biased reports seriously,” he says disappointedly. He joined the Embassy of Iraq and later went on to work with Saha and Rai travel agencies in Delhi. A little known fact about the man is that he founded the Alliance Francaise de Delhi in 1952 to promote the French language and culture.” This opened new avenues for me with all the exposure I got,” he exclaims.
His eclectic interest apart from travel included reading, writing and art. Mr Naqshband’s association with travel and tourist trade went beyond industry position, as he was actively involved in many social and cultural organization.
Each year, a deserving student of travel and tourism management at the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Gwalior, receives a scholarship in his name from the Naqshband Educational Trust for Indian Culture. He also set up the Rotary Naqshband Institute for the physically challenged.
Ghulam Naqshband will be remembered for his zest for life, his genteel personality and his discipline.