In Memory of Haji Mohamed Rashid Pierkhan (10 January 1938 – 13 July 2005)

Managing Director, Rapar Broadcasting Network (RBN) and President of Surinaamse Islamitische Vereniging (SIV)

The Message, September 1990 Issue, p. 12

Haji Mohamed Rashid Pierkhan

The late Brother Haji Mohamed Rashid Pierkhan inherited his business acumen, foresight and love for media work from his father, the late Brother Noer Pierkhan. The foundation for the Pierkhan’s media empire was established when Brother Noer Pierkhan, under the name of ACME Service, started a radio programme in Sarnami Hindi on 10 March 1957 on Radio Paramaribo (Rapar). This programme soon became very popular. The number of advertisements received encouraged Mr. Noer Pierkhan to start his own advertising agency, which he did under the name of First Indian Advertising Agency.

Brother Rashid Pierkhan went through a very difficult time when his father suddenly passed away in 1966 at the age of 48. In that same year, he also lost his mother, his grandfather and his grandmother. As a result, Brother Rashid Pierkhan, who was a Civil Servant and at the time was also studying at the Suriname Law School, had to shoulder the addition burden of running the business, as well. Consequently, he resigned from the Government Service, left his studies at the Law School, and joined Rapar.

He was supported very well by Mr. Wilfred Lionarons, Director of Rapar in those days. In 1974, Brother Rashid Pierkhan purchased the rest of the shares of the company and, with his business skills, succeeded in expanding the company.

Brother Rashid Pierkhan did not like publicity and preferred working behind the scenes, from where he felt he could better manage and monitor his company. He did some radio talk shows, amongst which was the very popular Kal Aaj aur Kal (Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow), a programme with very high listening ratings and the active participation of a large number of listeners from the public.

In addition to the electronic media (radio and television, with several frequencies in Paramaribo and Nickerie), Brother Pierkhan started broadcasting information and public views via the written media. Among the popular publications that can be mentioned are the daily Dagblad Suriname and the weekly Bollywood Masala.

He was also successful in the social, educational and cultural fields. As Director of Cultural and Art Promotion, he invited several leading foreign artists to Suriname and was able to promote and strengthen the cultural bonds of Suriname with Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and India.

Besides his other activities, he managed to spend considerable time in his hobby, undertaking small-scale agriculture projects.

In the religious field, Brother Rashid Pierkhan was a very devoted person. He was President of the Surinaamse Islamitische Vereniging (SIV) for 21 years. The developments within the SIV during this period are quite significant, both in the construction work as well as in the expanding of the organisation. He was acting as co-ordinator for the Central Ahmadiyya Anjuman, Lahore (Pakistan) for the Jamaats [branches] in Guyana and Trinidad. Under his presidency, several very successful international Ahmadiyya conventions were held in Suriname.  During his business tours, he made it a point to visit various Ahmadiyya Jamaats in various parts of the world and the Central Anjuman in Lahore, Pakistan. For his commendable services rendered to the Surinamese society, Brother Rashid Pierkhan was awarded the honour of Grandmaster in the Order of the Yellow Star, and was made Knight. He was also awarded with the Sitara-e-Ahmadiyyat by the SIV.

His Janaza salah [funeral prayer] was offered at the SIV graveyard, Doekhiweg, Paramaribo.  It was led by Imam Ghulam Nabi Orie. Glimpses of his funeral service were shown on the website of the daily newspaper, Dagblad Suriname, which is owned by Mr. Faried Pierkhan, son of the late Brother Mohamed Rashid Pierkhan

Among his relatives and friends and the general public, he was known as “a ready helper.” In his public welfare work, he received the full support of his wife, Helouis Indrawatie Somair, and their children, Nisha, Faried and Shireen.

With the demise of Brother Haji Mohamed Rashid Pierkhan, Suriname has lost a great son and a devoted member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. May Allah shower His choicest blessings and forgiveness on the departed soul.