“Not everyone becomes a footman. He must be very close to the Royal Family and they would have trusted him,” said director Sanjukta Bose of the International Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata (IIHM) proudly, while describing the now-famous footman, Badar Azim.
The footman who hails from a slum in the city’s Park Circus area joined the IIHM in 2008 for an undergraduate degree in international hospitality. Ms. Bose remembers him as a “nice, reserved, polite and quiet student” in college. “He was not an extraordinary student but was good in studies and interested in sports too,” she told The Hindu on Monday.
Later, as a part of the institute’s student exchange programme, Mr. Azim went to Edinburgh Napier University to complete his third year. “It was in July 2011that he joined the Buckingham Palace,” Ms. Bose recalls. Mr. Azim was not the only student from IIHM who joined the staff at Buckingham Palace; there were some persons who had worked there for over eight to nine years, said Mr. Bose.
But when asked whether Mr. Azim was the “lucky one”, she responded, “It was more than mere luck. He was very good at whatever he did. But that was not all. He was kind-hearted too.” Mr. Azim’s efforts at raising funds for students from St Mary’s Orphanage and Day School Dum Dum who had joined the IIHM, is testimony to her statement. “It was a moment not of surprise but of pride when I read about the footman of Buckingham Palace who was involved in the formal proclamation of the Royal baby,” said Ms. Bose. “I knew instantly it was our Badar Azim that everyone was talking about.”