Hyderabad: Sameera Aziz, a media personality and writer, has become the first woman from Saudi Arabia to be recognised for her work for the promotion of Urdu language.
She has been bestowed with the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad special award by the Telangana government in recognition of her work to promote the language in Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old received the award on November 11, the birth anniversary of India's first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, which is celebrated as Minorities' Welfare Day by the state.
Sameera, who is also a novelist, poetess, filmmaker and radio presenter, is excited. "I am humbled by this exceptional honour and recognition," she said.
Working in Urdu literature since her childhood, she is also said to be the first Saudi novelist of Urdu.
A writer of many works of fiction, short stories and poetry, she is also active in Urdu and English journalism for the last 15 years.
Coming from a multicultural background, Sameera is aiming to do academic research into the practice of Urdu language by Saudi nationals in Saudi Arabia.
She believes the research will be a milestone for the promotion of Urdu language in an international arena and a bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.
"Many Saudi families speak Urdu. I want to do research on them as to how the language came to them and why they love it," she told IANS.
"Since Hyderabad is a stronghold of Urdu, I believe this is the perfect place to do Ph. D. on this subject."
The Jeddah-based media personality is currently in Mumbai working on her maiden Bollywood movie 'Reem'.
She also claims to be first Saudi director, producer and writer in Bollywood.
The film is being produced by her own production house 'Sana Solkar Production' and it is based on a story written by her.
India is not new for her. "I have been coming here for last 22 years. It was on Juhu beach that I wrote my first Urdu novel."
The novel 'Rishtay badal bhe jatay hain' was based on the true story of an Indian couple.
Sameera is also a radio presenter of her weekly show 'Marhaba with Sameera Aziz' in Asian Radio Live, based in Britain.
She was associated with English daily Saudi Gazette as senior international editor and is currently the president of Asian Information Agency (AIA), a worldwide news service.
She also worked for various Urdu and English newspapers in Pakistan.
Born to Pakistani expatriate parents in Saudi Arabia in 1979, Sameera is also an activist, working against the evil of child marriage. Working for the rights of women, she is also the supporter of women driving in Saudi Arabia.