Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month - Mahmud Nawaz | Blog posts

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Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month - Mahmud Nawaz

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South Asian Heritage Month runs from 18 July to 17 August each year to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian cultures, histories, and communities.

The theme for 2023 is ‘Stories to tell’, which is all about celebrating the stories that make up our diverse and vibrant community. Colleagues at Mid Yorkshire are getting involved by sharing what makes them proud of their heritage, and what the month means to them.

Mahmud Nawaz

Mahmud Nawaz

Non-Executive Director


Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Whilst I was born and bred in London, I was adopted by Yorkshire for over 20 years now which absolutely is what I regard as my home.

My parents came over from Bangladesh – well, East Pakistan as it was known then. They came separately, as with many Asian families moving over, my dad first and then later my mum. I was born a year or so later, and a year after that, following the War of Independence, Bangladesh was formed.

My parents placed a great value on education – my mum had a university degree from Bangladesh that wasn’t recognised in the UK, I always found that a hard thing to understand. I am always grateful that they sacrificed so much (a middle class lifestyle in Bangladesh) in order for their children to have a better, safer life.

How long have you worked at MYTT?

I’ve been a NED at Mid Yorkshire since November 2020.

What moments in your life/career have shaped who you are today?

Probably the biggest shaping moment for my life was the death of my wife in 2004 from a sudden brain haemorrhage. From a life/career perspective, two things began for me from then. 

First, I saw amazing compassionate care at Bradford Royal Infirmary – not just for my wife but for me as well. That completely changed my view of what I thought the NHS was about, and to be honest was the reason I was keen to give something back by becoming a NED in the NHS. I am always in awe of the amazing care the NHS gives to us all.

Second, my wife believed passionately in organ donation. She had told me her wishes too, so that at that most awful moment of death, when I was asked by the transplant coordinator whether I would consider organ donation, I was able to say yes without hesitation – she had prepared me for that chat by telling me her wishes (as the family is always consulted), and for that I will always be grateful. 

As a result, she went on to save four lives, including a boy of one who wouldn’t have made it to two without part of her liver. Since then I’ve been an active ambassador for organ donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, and I sit on the organ donation committee not just here at MYTT but in Leeds too, and last year I had the privilege of being on the Board of the British Transplant Games that came to Leeds.

MYTT flags of the world What does South Asian Heritage Month mean to you?

South Asian Heritage Month is such a great opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity we have in our society.  My favourite pop-up banner in Trust HQ is the one of the heart with the flags of all the different countries represented by our wonderful staff at MYTT. It is so inspiring.

South Asian Heritage Month – like Black History Month, Pride month and so on – should be a chance for people to genuinely celebrate diversity and feel a real sense of belonging.

What makes you proud about your culture or heritage?

South Asian societies have so many great elements that I personally value and I think we can all learn from – especially a great sense of charitable giving and community support, putting others before yourself. 

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