In Fond Remembrance of my Mother India, “Rais Fatima”.

In Fond Remembrance of my Mother India

On this day every year, I spend some of my time with this very special lady, in a cemetery, visiting her on her grave. I am her youngest son, and I would like to think that her spirit lives in me, or I can say she is forever with me in spirits.

L to R late Syed Afzal Husain Rizvi, (Husband) Late Rais Fatima Rizvi (Wife) Eldest Daughter Maina Agha in red with her daughter Fatima Agha, In the back is Nawab Agha ( Husband of Maina Agha)

My mother, Late Rais Fatima Rizvi, left us seventeen years ago, valiantly fighting cancer. But as she remains alive in our memories, I would like to say, she won over it after all. For, to live in the hearts of those you leave behind is not to die. She embodied the indomitable spirit, intense curiosity, and abiding love and devotion in the soul of the Diaspora Indian Woman.  She was “Mother India” with the strength and independence of Willa Cather’s American frontier woman.

My mother was a graceful and courageous woman. Born on the 5th of May 1936, she hailed from an orthodox Shia Muslim family, was also called, “Bari Beti”, the eldest daughter. Back home in Lucknow, she was a Principal, imparting vocational skills to young girls. an entrepreneur  She championed the cause of the poor and the dispossessed. She loved children and would often visit orphanages and spend time with the orphans there, giving of her love and time selflessly. For that was her.

She moved to America in 1983 and brought her dynamism, exuberance and spirit and a love for her roots, which remains with her children even today. She took to American life with amazing humor and enterprise. She enrolled in English classes to upgrade her to Americanize—English, the way Americans spoke the language. Learned to drive a car and even graduated from the famous Fashion Institute of Technology FIT, New York (she was always good with the sewing machine), I recall how on seeing my mother sewing outfit for her granddaughter Nazish Agha Esq. who intercepted her saying, “Mommy, sew nahi so”, meaning don’t stitch go to sleep. Everyone was always amazed at how easily my mother adapted to the United States – participating in every area of community life, driving the highways and back roads of New Jersey, and even learning how to use the computer including Excel worksheets.


She was an inspiration to me and my six siblings trying to settle down to a new life, thousands of miles away from our home in Lucknow. She loved both India and America equally and moved happily between her two homes.  Just as she brought Lucknow’s rich culinary and artisan traditions to America, she returned to Lucknow to gift others with a bit of the American Dream.

She was an indulgent cook and continued to cook Awadhi cuisine for friends and family. Her sewain vermicelli on Eid brought visitors flocking to our home. She made our stone house in New Jersey home for warmth love and comfort! It shall forever be my regret that she could not live to see my daughters Alizah and Anum and love and guide them as I would have wanted. For all seven of us, her children, numerous grandchildren, she was the oasis of hope and unconditional love… years after her passing, she continues to live in our hearts…. to inspire and guide.

A woman of few words, she showed her love and concern for others with practical action.  Be it in India or America, she was known as someone who would always help without question and without preconditions.

Today I dedicate this column to my mother because she was truly transcendent- a woman who lived each moment to the fullest and who sought not just to rise upward but to take everyone else with her. 

 For no one more than her embodies the spirit of the Diaspora, a column to highlight the excellence, diversity and multi-cultural richness that diasporas’ have brought to the United States of America. It celebrates the investment of their intellectual, academic and entrepreneurial contribution to the great American Dream. 

For those who have taken the trouble to go through this tribute, I request to please take good care of your elders and if they are no more then I request a brief prayer in their memory and when you do that please remember my parents too, in their memory as a tribute to this truly remarkable woman I am proud to have had as my mother.

Dua Goh (Seeking your prayers)


Adam (Afzal) Rizvi

Adam Rizvi

Adam Rizvi

Adam Rizvi has a unique talent for publishing to marketing to managing projects, writers & assigning the task to correspondents. Edits an e-paper & cover the news. An activist, spend time with family & friends. His adorable daughters, Alizah & Anum are his lifelines. He spends his time reading, swimming, hiking, cycling, and watching with them their favorite TV shows, & fixing the Big Old House where he lives. Studied literature & management. Volunteer for non-profits. President of a Travel Agency. Publisher. Circulated the newspapers. Acted & Assisted in directing & production of the award-winning film & TV Serial. Scripted a little. Modeled. Emceed the live shows & judged competitions. A caring sibling and was an obedient son of his late doting parents whom he misses dearly. Adam uses his various positions & experiences in building a strong relationship with all. Appreciates his articles being read, commented, liked, and shared. He can be reached at his personal email:

12 thoughts on “In Fond Remembrance of my Mother India, “Rais Fatima”.

  • March 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    A wonderful tribute to a great mother from an equally wonderful son. God Bless.

  • March 10, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Thank You so much for your valuable time, feeling honored and blessed.

  • March 13, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Bhai very well written….Aunty went places seeing her here in Lko, that for me is a BIG WOW!!! – God Bless her. Love to the family

    • The India Observer
      May 6, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Thank you so much, Allan, miss your Dad, his style, his daily reading of the newspaper, rolling off his cigarette with so much discipline his collection of book, his love for the plants. An extremely dedicated father always thinking of you and Robert. May the noble soul rest in Peace, Amen

  • March 26, 2018 at 8:48 am

    I didn’t really meet my Dadi but reading about her makes me wish I had the chance to hug her, talk to her, learn things from her. Thank you for sharing a part of her with us, she is an inspiration to me, someone I’m sure I will look up to all my life. Rest In Peace Dadi.

    • The India Observer
      May 6, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Thank you Arisha, I wish I could share more, maybe we can sit and chat and then you can write, Love your words and appreciate your sentiments, thanks

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