Appreciation letters and Messages for Mahendra Agarwal for 75th Platinum Jubilee and 50th Golden Jubilee Tournament
ISP Squash
 
 

APPRECIATION LETTERS AND MESSAGES FOR MAHENDRA AGARWAL

 

for 75th Platinum Jubilee and 50th Golden Jubilee Tournament

   
 

Mahendra Agarwal a squash visionary

 
 

MAHENDRA AGARWAL
 

It’s hard to find visionaries in the field of sport. India has not taken sports on a professional basis and we have amateurs in charge of sports some which are played in high professional standards.

 

But there are exceptions. One such is Mahendra Jagdish Agarwal, the Founder Director of Indian Squash Professionals (ISP), the only non profit making sports NGO of India since 1993.

 

During the past years, Mr. Agarwal has organized and sponsored several squash tournaments, camps and programmes. In January 1993, during his squash training at The Leela, he thought of sponsoring a squash tournament for the first time in India for the Professionals category by forming an NGO named ISP.  ISP was also instrumental in introducing Doubles squash tournament in India way back in 1993...

 
 

Together with other committee members he focused on promoting squash in India mainly in the interiors of Maharashtra and exposing the the game to the masses. His goal was to provide an integrated platform to the youngsters and help them prepare for International events by identifying talents. He also restructured the foundation of the Professionals - who were the backbone of Indian Squash by setting up systems, procedures and performance standards.

 

Fondly described as focused, passionate, sincere and dynamic, Mr. Agarwal has involved himself completely in promotion of the game and has succeeded to a big extent with his energetic leadership, vision and spirit over the years.

 

Renowned as a successful builder in Mumbai, Mr Agarwal, knows the sacrifices and work it takes to become the best and is now set to provide the opportunity to our talented Indian squash players to do the same. He is striving to take squash to its highest peak by adopting young talented, promising players and grooming them from scratch and giving them that extra boost to break through.

Mr. Agarwal started publishing India’s leading squash magazine "PROSQUASH" which he distributes at no cost to India’s squash fraternity. Simultaneously, he launched India’s first squash website which is being updated daily.

 

Mr. Agarwal has to his credit the conceptualization and operation of the first ever sports NGO, which has also been appreciated by ex-Prime Minister, ex-Deputy Prime Minister, Vice-President, Sports Minister & Chief Election Commissioner.   

Contact Details:
Tel: 0091-22-42382000
Email: squashindia@yahoo.com

   
   
   
 

 

 Message from Khalid A-H.Ansari (Chairman, Mid-day publications) 
for organising 75th Platinum Jubilee tournament

From the Desk of Khalid A-H Ansari

On behalf of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) I have a great pleasure in conveying our very best wishes to the Indian Squash Professionals (ISP) on their historic 75th squash tournament.

Given the general dearth of sponsors for sports disciplines other than cricket in our country, the feat of organising 75 Squash tournaments in any state in our Country is, indeed, praiseworthy. It deserves inclusion in the Guinness and Limca Books of Records.

The yeoman services that the ISP has been rendering to the game Squash by catering to the financial needs of our professional, by popularising the sport in far-flung corners of our state and through its pursuit of excellence, is commendable.

We at the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra are grateful to ISP, to its selfless Founder-Director Mahendra Agarwal and its committed and indefatigable team of office-bearers for the unstinted help they have giving us over the years.

If the number of squash players in the state has increased astronomically, if the number of squash courts, tournament, competitors and coaching camps have multiplied exponentially, if the prize money on offer has reached hitherto unimaginable levels, a great deal of credit must, in all fairness, go to ISP, whose efforts have also been lauded by former prime minister Shri Atal Behati Vajpayee and other prominent leaders. 

In addition to “adopting” five promising young players, ISP-the country’s only non-government-aided sports NGO-has its own website and publishes the widely circulated magazine, “PROSQUASH” to Promote the sports. 

We are given to understand that the 75th edition of the ISP tournament, which is offering prize money in excess of Rs. 5 lakhs, has attracted players from all over the country and abroad in 18 categories from Under-7 to Over-60 

While congratulating ISP, I take this opportunity of conveying our very wishes for the success of the tournament. The century beckons!

Khalid A-H Ansari
Chairman Emeritus
Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra
Sydney (Australia)

Via: Email

 
 

Message from Ranjan Sanghi (Director, Sah and Sanghi Group and President Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra) for organising 75th Platinum Jubilee tournament

8th December, 2006

The Director,
Indian Squash Professionals
Office No.2, Ground Floor,
Monarch Chambers,
Marol Maroshi Road,
Mumbai 4000 059

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Squash Racquets Association Of Maharashtra (SRAM) I have great pleasure in congratulating the Indian Squash Professional and founder-director Mr. Mahendra Agarwal on their Dimonds Jubilee Tournament and Wish the players all the success and assure them of our support and co-operation at all times.

I would also like to convey our appreciation foe the wonderful progress that ISP has and has continued to make a mark in promoting the game of squash and taking it to the masses. ISP has organized several tournaments and improved the standers of Players in Maharashtra by way of organizing coaching at various clubs.

I take this opportunity to wish them the very best and many more years of monumental success in all their future endeavors.

For SQUASH RACQUETS ASSOCIATION OF MAHARASHTRA

RANJAN SANGHI
PRESIDENT

    

ISP POISED TO MAKE SPORTING HISTORY
(Article in Afternoon : 11/01/2007) 

The Indian Squash Professionals (ISP), the only non-profit making sports NGO in the India, functioning since 1993 is poised on the brink of an important milestone and founder director Mahendra Jagdish Agarwal is happy man, but far from contented. Happy because appreciation support for the activities of ISP is growing by the day and not content because there is lot of work yet to be done. 

From January 1993, till date , ISP has organized 73 tournaments, 26 free coaching camp all over India (including Rajkot and Mussorie) and adopted five players (Arif Paul, Deepali Anvekar, Priyanka Yadav, Abhishek Pradhan and Ankita Sharma). The ISP also has its own website, www.ispsquash.com, which is the only active squash website in the India, updated daily and receiving  monthly an average of 1.50,000 hits. The ISP also publishes a new magazine, “PROSQUASH” , which is being distributed to 3000 squash players free of cost and read by 15,000 squash lovers throughtout the country. This magazine has completed 38 issues. Yet, Agarwal is striving to do more, much more.

The ISP Platinum Jubilee All India Squash Carnival, to be held from January 26 to 31 at The Club and Juhu Vile Parle Gymkhana promises to be the biggest yet. Offering prize money Rs 5.54 Lakhs, the tournament will feature the cream of India’s talent, besides talented players from abroad who will be invited and hosted for the event. 

The ISP has many firsts to its credit, thanks to the initiatives of Agarwal. Together with other committee members he focused on promoting squash in the interiors of Maharashtra (Nanded, Beed, Satara, Pimpri, Kolhapur,Solapur, Aurangbad, Thane & Nasik) exposing masses to the game. He also restructured the foundation of the professionals – who were the backbone of Indian squash by setting up systems, procedures and performance standards. before 1993, a squash professional in Mumbai would get a mere salary of 2500 or 3000 rupees but now they minimum of Rs. 10000 per month. 

Agarwal has involved himself completely in promotion of the game and has succeeded to quite an extent with his energetic leadership, vision and spirit over the years. As committee member of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM), Agarwal succeeded in getting up three public squash courts in Andheri sports complex, Mumbai, Police Gymkhana, Mumbai and the Pimpri Chinchwad, Municipal Coorporation squash court in Pune.

  
  

“PROSQUASH” TURNS FIFTY
(Article in PROSQUASH Magazine - by Khalid A.H-Ansari (Padmashri Awardee)

If you apply the expression “give till it hurts”, that is popular with charity organisations, to Mahendra Agarwal's contribution to Indian squash over the past 16 years, you will have to conclude that the self-effacing Kerry Packer of Indian squash has a superhuman threshold of pain. 

It would be no exaggeration for me to say that in all my 40 years' association with Indian sport in different capacities at various levels all over our country, I have not come across a sports patron and organiser as visionary, large-hearted, selfless and devoted as Mahendra. 

He is the fulcrum that gives the Indian Squash Professionals (ISP), as also the Squash Racquets Association (SRAM), of which I am privileged to be Chairman Emeritus, balance and power. 

If the game of squash has reached its present level of popularity in terms of number of players, courts, tournaments, coaching facilities and prize money (not to mention the magnet-like 

attraction that draws to it students aspiring to go abroad on squash scholarships), a great deal of credit must deservedly go to largely to Mahendra Agarwal, his band of dedicated workers in ISP and his colleagues in the SRAM. 

Having started PROSQUASH, his expensive hobby, under the guidance of the late Raju Chainani, the trail-blazing squash correspondent of the Times of India and Sportsweek (his contribution in popularising the game of squash in Maharashtra was immeasurable) and Pradeep Vijayakar, the Times all-round Sports Journalist. Mahendra has taken the game to never-dreamt-of heights nation-wide through his unique publication. 

Although Mumbai-based, the coverage of PROSQUASH is nation-wide; its reach and influence among players, coaches and administrators, as also in the corridors of power in New Delhi, considerable. 

Those of us in the business of newspaper and magazine publishing know only too well what it takes in terms of blood, tears, toil and sweat to regularly bring out any publication of consistent quality. 

For Mahendra to have published 50 issues of PROSQUASH, a journal of record for posterity, which zealously spreads the gospel of squash to more than 3000 members of the burgeoning fraternity at his own expense and no cost to squash lovers in India and abroad with impressive regularity, is remarkable by any yardstick.

As it well known, the unassuming Mahendra has gathered around him a dedicated band of workers who assist in bringing out the professionally produced publication.  Having witnessed their contagious labour of love, I have no doubt that all of us, who eagerly look forward to receiving copies of PROSQUASH, will have the pleasure of reading its 100th issue.

Those of us who realize the enormity of his contribution to the game of squash are also hoping that recognition in the form of state and central government awards will soon come his deserved way.

 
   

A jubilee of unforgettable squash 
Pradeep Vijayakar (Senior Editor of Times of India, Mumbai) 

 

Papa Pandole launched the first PROSQUASH in December 1996 along with Vaman Apte, Subhash Wali, Mahendra Agarwal, Ajoy Bhandare and Rahmat Khan

  

The golden jubilee beckons for PROSQUASH. It's hard to believe that 50 issues of the newsletter have reached out to more than 3000 squash fraternity all over the country and abroad.

It seems only the other day that Mahendra Agarwal called me to explore the idea about a newsletter about the project he was embarking on promoting the interests of the squash markers.

We decided to call them professionals since they were making a living from the game. Thus I coined the world PRO and added the word SQUASH. And PROSQUASH was born.

The world of squash was a small compact one. There were the south Mumbai clubs like CCI, Bombay Gymkhana and Willingdon Sports Club and at the other end there was Otters Club. They would organise tournaments and leave it at that. All they got was a mention in some of the newspapers, none in the language papers.

It took the vision of Mahendra Agarwal to go beyond that, provide opportunities for the professionals by first organising tournaments exclusively for them.  When people began flocking to these events interest grew five-fold. Agarwal then began having tournaments for them and we had the start of the handicap and doubles events. In time five-star hotels began evincing interest. If The Leela, with guidance of Capt Nair and son Vivek, was the first hub, others came in its wake and even though The Leela courts closed, squash continues to flourish at the other hotels, clubs providing jobs for the pros.

All this pioneering activity needed to be chronicled for posterity. Raju Chainani was bringing out his newsletter “SIMPLY SQUASH” but he was more international and didn't devote much time to the grassroots game. He advised Mahendra Agarwal to come up with Newsletter which had more of Indian squash news.  PROSQUASH decided to highlight the activities. As the activities grew the news increased from four to the present sixteen pages.

PROSQUASH began featuring other development activities like coaching camps. When Rehmat Khan, the coach of Jahangir, made Mumbai his home, PROSQUASH featured him, enlarging his image which he capitalised upon to make big money. PROSQUASH, more than the newspapers highlighted the other great Pakistan player-coach Mohibullah Khan when he stopped over on way back to Karachi.

In time PROSQUASH began featuring the youngsters. Now this is a very important contribution. Youngsters and their parents keep these cuttings carefully and when the time comes for admission for foreign universities and squash scholarships these come useful. There are many number of youngsters who thus benefited. PROSQUASH has played a big role in this.

Then came the tussle with officialdom. It was felt that the national federation was being run in a high-handed manner. Juniors' entries were not allowed to be  submitted to foreign events unless the national federation was involved. Draws of tournaments were fudged to favour some players. All this injustice had to be highlighted. PROSQUASH began playing this role. People looked to PROSQUASH rather than the national papers to take up cudgels on behalf of the aggrieved players.

As the sport of squash spread people in places apart from the metros began having activities. These were not being highlighted by the national media. PROSQUASH began featuring them, events in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Pune, Ajmer, Bellary and Indore began getting the prominence they needed.

All in all PROSQUASH has played its role in taking the sport of squash to another level. The more the merrier saying applies to sport. There is the national federation, there are the clubs and there is looming presence of  Indian Squash Professionals using its ingenuity to create events that capture the imagination of people beyond the squash courts.

PROSQUASH has reflected this ingenuity and its special issues have been even more special. Let's hope PROSQUASH marches on to the other suceeding jubilees in a manner that will capture the imagination of a grateful squash fraternity.

 

Fifty, and still going strong
   By: A Mid Day Correspondent
    January 21, 2004

One could see a contended smile on Mahendra Agarwal’s face. The founder director of the Indian Squash Professional (ISP), yesterday, took the opportunity to announce the Hero Honda-Khar Gymkhana ISP Golden Jubilee Squash.

One would wonder about the smile and satisfaction that Agarwal was wearing. Well, it had to be. ISP, a non-governmental organization will be conducting its 50th tournament since its inception in 1993.

‘‘It may not sound as good as it can be felt. For ISP it is a big moment,’’ said an excited Agarwal, whose ISP acclaimed appreciation right from prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to his deputy Lal Krishna Advani.

With as many as three to four tournament held every year before 1993, today, with the help of ISP the sport enjoys at least one tournament per month. In the last couple of years the number must have crossed over 12.

The number game does not end here. The rise in tournament has certainly helped to increase participation. ‘‘We hardly received 50-60 entries when we first started organising the tournament. I can proud claim that the tournament today attracts over 200 participants,’’ stated the proud founder.
ISP’s growth has not only been in terms of participation but also in terms of prize money.

In the first tournament — conducted only for professionals — the winner went home with a haul of Rs 4000. The total prize money involved was Rs 30,000.

In 1997, the individual winner in the Videocon  Classic Squash tournament was given Rs 25,000 out of a total of Rs 4 lakh.

The record for the highest individual prize money was broken last year in the Herald Maritime Services tournament when the men’s champions got richer by Rs 75,000.

The Hero Honda-Khar Gymkhana tourney has once again attracted top players. Though the prize money may not be as attractive as one might have hoped, ISP insists that the tourney’s surely close to their heart.

The Hero Honda tournament will be held between January 25 and February 1.

 

Kudos ISP, Agarwal
   By: A Mid Day Correspondent (January 22, 2004) 

The Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) has commended Mahendra Agarwal for his untiring efforts in the promotion of  squash.

Agarwal is the Founder-Director Indian Squash Professionals (ISP) which will celebrate its Golden Jubilee tournament at the Khar Gymkhana next week.

“Mahendra’s achievement is mind-boggling, when you consider the problems and hard work involved in weaning our sports sponsors away from their love affair with the game of cricket.” said SRAM president Khalid Ansari in a message.

In keeping with the cricket fever which has gripped the nation, Ansari made a cricket-related comparison to Agarwal’s half century feat. “It is said that although Sunil Gavaskar had an insatiable appetite for runs, he did not bother overly about keeping an eye on the score-board when at the crease. Garnering runs was his magnificent obsession.

“Similarly, despite his all-consuming passion for the game — which has found expression through a red hot zeal to set up new squash courts, organise new and more and more tournaments — the indefatigable Mahendra has seldom cared to keep count of his achievements.”

Roping in sponsors for non-cricket sports is an uphill task for most sports promoters but Agarwal, according to Ansari put the onus on himself.

“He (Agarwal) has also taken short cuts by putting his hands in his own (oversized) pockets to make funds available, whenever they have not been forthcoming,” the SRAM president said.

Apart from organising squash tournaments and coaching camps, Agarwal’s efforts in inviting international coaches such as Rehmat Khan (Pakistan and UK) and Abdul Shaikh (Canada) to coach club players and professionals in Mumbai.

“Mahendra’s feat is undeniably unparalleled in the history of Indian and — arguably — world sport. In all likelihood, it merits inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records and, of course, it’s Indian equivalent — the Limca Book of Records,” remarked Ansari

 

FROM THE DESK OF KHALID A-H ASNARI
For organising 50th tournament
 

Since cricket is very much the flavour of the month, it may not be altogether out of place to draw a parallel between legend Sunil Manohar Gavaskar and Mahendra Agarwal, our very own squash lover and patron. 

It is said that although Gavaskar had an insatiable appetite for runs, he did not bother overly about keeping an eye on the score-board when at the crease. Garnering runs was his magnificent obsession. Similarly, despite his all consuming passion for the game – which has found expression through a red hot zeal to set up new squash courts, organize new and more and more tournaments – The indefatigable Mahendra has seldom cared to keep count of his achievements. 

The Founder – Director (He is much too young and young-at-heart to be called grand daddy) of Indian squash Professionals (ISP), Mahendra Agarwal will achieve the distinction of organizing its Golden Jubilee tournament next week at Mumbai’s Khar Gymkhana. 

Mahendra’s achievements is mind – boggling, when you consider the problems and hard work involved in weaning our sports sponsors away from their love affairs with the game of cricket. 

But then, he has also taken short cuts by putting his hands in his own (oversized) pockets to make funds available, whenever they have not been forthcoming. 

Mahendra’s feat is undeniably unparalleled in the history of Indian and – arguably – world sport. In all likelihood, it merits inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records and of course, it’s Indian equivalent – the Limca Book of Records. 

Apart from tournaments, Mahendra has organized free coaching camps in various parts of the country. 

International coaches such as Rehmat Khan (Pakistan and U.K) and Abdul Shaikh (Canada) have been called upon to hone the skills of club players and professionals (markers) in Mumbai. 

Mahendra’s unstinted personal efforts to improve the lot of our markers are well-known Moreover, ISP has “adopted” four players set up its own website www.ispsquash.com and continues to publish the country’s leading squash magazine “PROSQUASH”, which is distributed free of cost to 3000 players and read by an estimated 15,000 lovers of the game in India and abroad. 

On behalf of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) and the burgeoning squash community of our states, I have great pleasure in wishing ISP and Mahendra Agarwal on their Golden Jubilee tournament and conveying to them our very best wishes for the future in their commendable endeavours.

Sincerely 

Khalid A-H Ansari
President
Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra
Sydney (Australia)

Via : Email 

They’re no longer ‘markers’ but ‘professionals’.
This duo helped the city’s squash trainers to reclaim their game.
- By Nitin Nair, (Indian Express-12/04/2004)

  THEY take you through your first steps and patiently see you get a grip on the nuances of the game. 
But it was only a decade ago that ‘markers’ sparring partners in squash, received their first real rush- recognition for the sweat and toil behind the champions of the game. 

Recalls builder Mahendra Agarwal, who practiced at a health club with Chandrakant Pawar, nine-time ‘professionals’ (markers are now known ‘professionals’) National champion: “For five years, Pawar had been telling me that a tournament needed to be organised for professionals alone. I finally agreed and a couple of my friends came forward to sponsor the tourney.”
Thus, in 1993, the first ever squash tourney for professionals was conducted at Otter’s Club, Bandra, which incidentally Pawar himself won. Thrilled by the response, Agarwal and Pawar decided that professionals, who hail from humble backgrounds, needed an organization of their own. So they started Indian Squash Professionals (ISP).
 
“Former National champion Raj Manchanda had once impressed upon me the idea of getting together the markers, who work in various clubs around Mumbai,” says the soft-spoken Pawar.

In the 11 years since, the ISP has organised 53 tournaments—and has given professionals a sense of belonging. Apart from annual get-togethers, Agarwal also ensures that they out of Mumbai to participate in national tourneys.
 
In its nurturing role, the ISP decided to ‘adopt’ Arif Paul, a talented teenager from a middle class family with loads of potential, in 1996. Paul went on to win the U-19 Nationals. He also received a squash scholarship with Denison College, Ohio, and now works with a banking firm in Scotland. Anvekar, also went on to become an U-19 National champion.
 

Mumbai squash never had it so good
   By: A Mid Day Correspondent (11/04/2004)

Charity and good work begins at home, is an adage that is being taken literally by members of Mumbai’s squash fraternity and their benevolence has benefited the game tremendously. Squash has never had it so good.

The example set by the Indian Squash Professionals (ISP), whose efforts have seen the sporting body earn the distinction of becoming the only NGO to have organised 50 tournaments, seems to have rubbed off on other individuals, who have provided their unstinting support to promote squash.

The latest in the list of benefactors is a group of individuals who pooled in their resources to finance the recently concluded Tulip Star-ISP squash tournament at the Hotel Tulip Star. All members of the Tulip Star Health Club who play doubles squash contributed Rs 10,000 each to make this 53rd ISP event possible.

The tournament, received more than 48 entries in the doubles and had players from Chembur Gymkhana, Mandpeshwar Club, Dahisar, Goregaon Sports Club, Matunga Gymkhana, CCI, Bombay Gymkhana and Country Club participating, some clubs that would never have featured in a squash event even as recently as five years back.

That the game has spread to the entire city is an understatement. Much of the credit should go to people like Vicky Kalludi, Mukesh Desai, Ganesh Jain, Vivek Abrol, Salim Mistry, Ayub Ghori, Sunil Goel, Bunty Singh, Aslam Lashkaria, who came together to make the event possible.

Of the above nine names, Kalludi has sponsored two squash tournaments and will sponsor one more in June 2004. Desai and 52-year-old Mistry were the winners at the Juhu Centaur-ISP squash in May 2002 and felt the need to make some financial contribution in order to keep the event going.

Going by the current trend, the future of squash seems to be in healthy hands as all the above have one common aim: to make squash more popular.