Mumbai: She owns Shalimar hotel, a famous and highly successful eating joint in South Mumbai. She also runs a school SAFA, which has the unique distinction of imparting modern as well as religious education to its students.
Meet Ishrat Shahabuddin Shaikh, 42, a widow and an entrepreneur who epitomizes the idea of brilliant management as she runs her eating joint and also brings up five kids all alone. Born and brought up in Azamgarh Shaikh comes from a modestly rich family. She migrated to Mumbai after she got married Shahabuddin Shaikh at the age of 18.
Ishrat Shahbudiin Shaikh in her hotelShanno as Ishrat is popularly known within her family, was a housewife enjoying a peaceful and happy life until her family met with an accident in 2002. She lost her husband; her daughter, Khansa and other two daughters Zara and Sara got seriously injured.
While talking to TCN, Ishrat said, “That gruesome accident shattered my life into pieces. I was in a situation, where on the one hand I had to bring up my kids and at the same time I had to take over the business. Then there was SAFA School also, which was the dream of my husband.”
Shalimar RestaurantAt that time her businessmen brothers and her mother-in-law, Rehana Shaikh, a highly religious woman, who lost her only son, encouraged her to look after the multi crore, multi cuisine restaurant, Shalimar which employs nearly 350 employees and is spread across 18000 sq.ft.
Shaikh takes her inspiration from Hazrat Khadija, “Hazrat Khadija, wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a businesswoman and that finally motivated me to join the business.” Talking about hijab, Ishrat said, “Veil is never a deterrent but interestingly it helped me dealing with outsiders and my employees.”
She also attributed her successful business to her employees and staff in the hotel and in the school. She is very loving and caring towards her staff. Arshad a sweeper in the hotel said, “Madam, always call me as Arshad Bhai that sounds very loving.”
“Love can win you anyone in this world and these are the people who helped me at the time of distress. I am very grateful to them.” Ishrat said.
Safa School run by IshratThe most important aspect of the hotel is the taste of food it serves. “Taste of our dishes has improved a lot since the time Ishrat Madam took over,” informed, Abdul Rehman Azmi, manager of the hotel. “She even introduced sweet section and consolidated Dastarkhwan; five enclosed cabins offer sit-down seating from 2 people to a dozen, pure white upholstery and rare privacy in Mumbai. Each cabin has its own telephone and more importantly best suited for the family,” said Abdul Rehman Azmi.
Umaer, 23, Ishrat’s son who joined her mother at the age of 16, is geared up to open two more branches of Shalimar hotel in Andheri, western suburb and at Vashi, an eastern suburb of Mumbai.
Talking about her future plans, Ishrat said that she is planning to handover the hotel to her son, “Umaer is big enough to handle the business and I will concentrate on SAFA School. From this year only we are starting SAFA Junior College.”