A Page from My Memory Book

Sunday, February 21, 2021

February is a month of celebrations in Kuwait. National day and liberation day celebrations are all around, buildings are decorated with colorful lights that glows in the entire country. This year COVID-19 restricted public gathering and functions, but the enthusiasm is not restricted one can feel the happiness everywhere.

We all are spending more time at home thus we get ample occasions to think and revive our memory. I was sitting and thinking how I came to Kuwait. The story begins with the invitation from Haji Saeed bin Ahmad Al-Lootah to setup scientific research institutions in Dubai and I was deputed by my government to translate his idea into reality. I established “Dubai Institute of Environmental Research” as its founder Director and Later Dubai Pharmacy College between 1990-1993. Haji Saeed Lootah left us just last year in his nineties, He was the founder of various institutions of higher sciences long before the boom era of Dubai.

Incidentally, 1990 was the year when Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2nd August and created turmoil in not only in Kuwait but also in this region. On January 17, 1991 the army set on fire hundreds of oil wells and millions of gallons of oil gushed out, accumulate in the desert forming oil lakes and float in the Arabian Gulf, and smoke in the air created serious environmental problem in Kuwait and in neighboring countries. It made me restless being an environmental scientist, I tried to look for the officials from Kuwait in UAE to find if anything can be done to stop this criminal act. I could locate two scientists from Kuwait in Alain University, Late Dr. Mahmood Yusuf, of EPC, Kuwait, and Dr. Dhari Al-Ajmi, Division Director of Environmental Sciences Department of KISR. I invited them to visit our institute to make them aware about our facilities that can be used by them for any research needed. Dr. Dhari paid visit and spent a day in our laboratory.

Luckily, the liberation of Kuwait came in no time due to stern action of combined forces. When they went back and institutions started working again, I was invited to come to Kuwait to do studies on what we discussed during our meeting. I loaded all the available equipment’s with my colleague Dr. Saeed Khan, who is now heading Dubai Pharmacy College, and landed in Kuwait on June 20, 2091. We were lodged in the Plaza hotel, Al-Muthanna which was the only operating hotel in the area, the market was not opened. We could see a damaged floor of a hotel in front. That was my first visit to Kuwait, the country was thinly populated. At the airport only one main hall and one terminal was operative. I could see the fire in oilfield from the window of my plane. That was the time when top international environmental scientists were in Kuwait and the target of many studies was the monitoring of global impact due to oil field fires.
At KISR, I met with a team of scientists from environment department, we went door to door to collect water samples, location to location to examine air pollution and collected in house and ambient air dust, from the entire region. I was taken to oil field site for the collection of oil and soil samples by Yusuf Abdal who is now heading project management in KISR. We also conducted pulmonary function test of several residents from the most affected area with the help a very enthusiastic scientist Dr. Fatima Abdali. She efficiently collected data for the Lung function considered to be the target of smoke pollution due to oil fires.

Dr. Ahmad Doasari, who is currently a professor in the University helped me in collecting water and dust samples. During sampling a very interesting incident took place, probably in Jahara, we knocked the door of a house to collect sample from their overhead water tank, an elderly man came out and looked at me with anger, Dr. Ahmad stepped forward and explained to him in Arabic the purpose of our visit. On listening, the man looked at me and asked how much I am charging to conduct this study. Dr. Ahmad explained to him that I am not charging any money and came here on my own as a part of collaborative study, hearing that the man moved forward and hugged me; the warmth, I still feel in my chest. During that time, the money of Kuwait was being drained off for the reconstruction process that could not be justified in the eyes of common citizens.

Later, I came to Kuwait several times for the follow up of dissipation pattern of pollutants from the environment. During one of the visits, I have been offered a job at KISR by the then director general which I politely declined because I was on the deputation to Dubai by my government to establish research institute. On completion of the project, I went back in 1993 to my parent Institute in India. One year later, I received an offer again to join KISR to continue some of the unfinished studies and my interest in the subject brought me to Kuwait in 1994. Since then I am here. Interestingly, 2021 is the year of my superannuation, probably that is the reason I am recalling the beginning.



By:
Dr. Mirza Umair Beg, Senior Scientist, KISR, Kuwait
Disclaimer: Statements and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and written by them; the author is solely responsible for the content in this article. IndiansinKuwait.com does not hold any responsibility for them.

Express your comments...

 
Dr Sherain Al- Subiai
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
It is a great honor to work with Dr Beg. Very sincere person who can easily build trust with his team. I am very thankful that fate brought you to Kuwait to be a major part of my career development.
As the first day meeting you had lots feelings, also these days before leaving us has lots of emotions, I just can not imagine KISR without you, I wish a good health, wealth and all the best from my heart.

Sherain

Dr. Ali E. Hajiah
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Very nice documentary article full of interesting memories. I wish you all the best.

Ali

Dr. Noura Aljandal
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
It was a great please to wirk under your supervision. You guided me through my research career untill I finish my PhD and now I''m almost Full Research Scientist. Gid bless you wherever you go and you will never be forgotten.
Your Forever Student
Noura

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