There’s no better time to be in the Sultanate than the days leading up to our 47th National Day. It is a time when national pride is at an all-time high, and the dazzling hues of red, green and white, representing the national flag, overshadow every other colour in the streets, all the way from Khasab in the north to Salalah in the south.
This year, as the nation comes together to celebrate 47 years of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said’s rule in the Sultanate, there’s no lack of pomp.
Car owners have already decorated their cars in the colours of the flag with slogans such as “Oman at 47”, “I love Oman”, “Long live His Majesty” and “I love my leader”, as well as adorning them with photos of His Majesty the Sultan.
Thousands of colourful lightbulbs, flags and almost 900 decorative lights have also been switched on along the main roads.
The lights will stay on until the end of November. There are six different shapes, all of them representing Oman’s rich heritage, natural treasures and music. This year’s designs include incense burner “Mirash”, musical notes and three types of flowers.
Come tomorrow (November 18), fireworks are set to light up the skies over Al Amerat, Seeb and Salalah to mark National Day.
Aside from the fervour on the streets, the residents and citizens of Oman are all elated to celebrate this glorious day, and also have a lot to share about their love for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
We speak to a few personalities, Omanis and expats, to shed light on the topic.
Tawfiq al Lawati, member of the Majlis Al Shura
The day, 18th November, holds a special place in our hearts and historical significance in our memory because of the socio-economic transformation it brought to Oman, where pluralism, tolerance and goodwill formed the cornerstones and gave birth to economic progress that reflects optimism.
“I am from a generation which saw Oman before 1970, when there was no schools, no roads, very less medical services and no electricity.
“But what we have seen after the ascension of His Majesty is nothing short of a miracle. There was a complete transformation after that, and now, as you can see, there are schools, excellent roads, hospitals, leisure facilities, and above all, great social well-being of the people living here.
“Today, Oman is recognised by His Majesty – he is on the forefront of our nation. He has aided in maintaining good relations with our neighbours and have tried to propagate a peaceful living with others without interfering with anyone.
“Of course, as you know, apart from being known for its natural resources, Oman is also famous for its people who are generous and kind-hearted.
“Nevertheless, this 47th National Day, I would like to point out that whatever we say or do, we can never give the right credit that His Majesty deserves; he has put his heart, mind and soul into the well-being of this country.
“So, I think the only way we can thank him is by standing together to fulfill his plans and goals.
“Ultimately, I pray to Allah to grant His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said a long and healthy life.”
His Excellency Indra Mani Pandey, the Indian Ambassador to Oman
Oman has made impressive achievements in economic, social and political developments of the country during 47 years of Renaissance, under the wise and dynamic leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said.
“Oman today has a developed infrastructure, including roads, ports, airports, telecom, power and water supply as well as Special Economic Zone for the development of industries.
“India has always commended and supported the role played by Oman in maintaining peace and security, both at the regional as well as global levels. Both India and Oman have always stressed – in their foreign policy – peaceful co-existence of the countries, negotiated settlement of disputes and cooperation for mutual development.
“On the auspicious occasion of the 47th National Day of Oman, we extend our greetings to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, the Government and the people of Oman. We wish His Majesty a long and healthy life, and success in all national, regional and global endeavours.”
Dr Amal al Hashmi, BSc, MD; senior consultant neurologist and head of the Central Stroke Unit in the Ministry of Health
Under the dynamic vision of His Majesty the Sultan, our Oman witnessed an inspiring transformation. The visionary leader turned Oman to what we see around today.
“The leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos brought in a burst of positivity and hope to every Omani, old and young, women and men.
“And here I quote His Majesty’s words: ‘I will work as quickly as possible to make you happy for a better future and for each of you to help with this duty.’
“In the historical speech delivered by His Majesty on July 23, 1970, His Majesty brought joy and hope to every Omani, young and elderly, women and men.
“The year 1970 has been dear and important in the lives of every Omani. It is the year His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said assumed power in the country. Since then our beautiful Oman witnessed a dramatic and an inspiring transformation.
“Under the dynamic vision of His Majesty the Sultan, the visionary leader turned Oman to what we see around today.
“The leadership brought in a burst of positivity and hope to every Omani, old and young, women and men.
“We do not need to talk about the significant achievements that have been made; achievements can speak up for that.”
Her Excellency Sharmila Parajuli Dhakal, Ambassador of Nepal to Oman
On behalf of the Government of Nepal, the Nepali community living in the Sultanate of Oman and myself as the first residential ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, I would like to extend sincere congratulations to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said and the friendly people of the Sultanate on the auspicious occasion of the 47th National Day of the Sultanate of Oman.
“I would also like to pray for His Majesty’s personal good health, happiness and well-being for long- lasting peace, prosperity and welfare of the Sultanate of Oman and her people.
“This year, Nepal and the Sultanate of Oman marked the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic relations along with the high-level official visit of the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister of Nepal on September 2017 that provided bigger stride in the existing relation between both the countries and their people.
“It is a matter of great satisfaction that the Sultanate of Oman has made the outstanding progress
under visionary leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
“His contribution to make Oman as an ideal of peace and stability, progress and solidarity at the regional and international levels have been widely witnessed and praised.”
Oman National Football team and Al-Hilal Goalkeeper Ali al Habsi
First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to His Majesty who has been looking after all of us diligently for the last 47 years. Without him, whatever we see around us wouldn’t have been possible.
“Today, we see such great advancements in various fields and we cannot help but think where this country would have been without his guidance and support.
“Another field where I can comment on is how much His Majesty has aided in the development of sports in the country. You see many Omanis, including me, playing at international level and taking on some of the greats.
“We’re now producing some really talented football superstars. Soon, I am sure that a lot more Omanis will also be heading to several leagues abroad; just like I did.
“But none of this would have been possible without all the infrastructure that has been provided to us. Anybody who is looking to hone his talents has numerous opportunities, starting from school level.
“His Majesty has made it very clear that he wants everyone to fulfil his or her dreams without any hindrances, and he has made that possible to us.
“So, again, I would like to thank him for making that possible.”
PM Jabir, social welfare secretary of the Indian Social Club
I first arrived here in November 1982. I was only 22 years old at that time, and as a fresh post-graduate from Kerala, India.
“It was immediately after the 12th National Day and the entire Oman was still bright with the illumination and His Majesty’s pictures. The airport was small but calm and beautiful.
“I remember that the road from the airport to Ruwi was single lane. The remains of the runway could still be visible in the present MBD area where the vegetable market has been set up.
Plaza cinema was the place where people used to gather and make small talk; everyone knew each other.
The development had already started by then, though. The 15thnational day which coincided with the fifth AGCC summit brought about many changes: new dual roads came up from Ruwi to the airport and beyond, and the engineering wonder – the Qurum-Ruwi highway – opened.
“The progress was quick, and I could see the stunning changes in the years that followed.
“I am in love with this country. I wanted to retire and go back to my country, but decided against it. I would love to continue staying in Oman as long as the authorities allow me.
“There are many reasons: the peace, the tranquillity, the friendly people and the world-renowned hospitality.”
Qais al Khonji, Award-winning Omani entrepreneur
I think a lot has been accomplished, and as citizens and private sector we are always eager for more. I’m very happy with projects like Tanfeedh and the Duqum Free Zone.
“But I’m also seeking that we turn to more and more industrial projects. Some neighbours are already ahead in certain industries. But that shouldn’t stop us from finding opportunities and areas where the region is lacking to manufacture.
“The way forward in order increase the GDP is turning industrial.”
Shaker Jalal, the ‘Da Vinci of Oman’ and development manager at an international bank in Muscat
His Majesty has been the pillar to our nation for over four decades now, and it makes me proud to be a part of it all. Without his guidance, I cannot even begin to think where Oman would be,” Shaker Jalal said.
“He has been at the forefront in Oman’s politics, economy and well-being. This is why our country remains at peace within the nation, and also with other neighbouring countries.
“It’s also amazing how Omanis and expats all live in peace with one another here. This is why we call it a ‘National Day’ — a day where we all set aside our nationalities and express our love as a nation.
“On a different note, I think it is His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ love for music and art that has resulted in the success stories of numerous artists, musicians and other talented individuals.
“He has made it possible for us to work with our freedom and express ourselves. He has also given us numerous platforms to showcase our works publicly. Without the right medium, one cannot prosper; and what he has done is create the perfect medium for us to work with.
“I am currently hosting my exhibition at the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), which has to be one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. And that itself is a true testament to how blessed we all are.”
Tonny George Alexander, the Director of Oman UAE Exchange
I arrived here in 1995 and that time the place was serene and clean with a mixture of modernisation and rich culture.
“But over the last four decades, I would say that the Sultanate enjoyed rapid development, led from the front by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
“In 1970, there were only three formal schools with 900 students across the entire country; now there are more than 1,580 schools in the country.
“My humble and simple words would not do justice to all the achievements we have witnessed over the last 47 years.
“Another aspect is the wonderful people of Oman. They are extremely welcoming and friendly, and make the country the peaceful place that it is today.”
Kurian Joshi, an artist and art director for an advertising agency
I have been here for 25 years, and ever since I came here, I have felt his presence in every aspect of my life here. He is a great, great man, and an even wonderful ruler. I think it is through his leadership and direction that Oman has reached where it has today.
“I had lived in Dubai before moving to Muscat. I had also received a lot of offers after I moved to Oman, but somehow, I never felt like leaving this country. That’s the charm Oman has.
“My wife and family also love this country. I have seen the development over the last two-and-a-half decades, and I can tell you that everything points to a very peaceful life. It is very comfortable to maintain a family life here.
“I have a daughter, and I am very confident that she will be safe. I think this is something His Majesty always wanted; a safe and secure environment for everyone to live and coexist.
“Other developments I have seen are on the roads. I have been driving for over 17 years now, and I cannot help but notice how good they are. I am from India, and it’s a country where the roads have to be maintained very frequently.
“Here, I have seen roads last even more years than I have actually stayed here. I think it was all in his plans for a great country when he drew up his vision.”
Mohammad Osama Rawat, the General Manager of Oriental Pharmacy
The Sultanate of Oman is going to celebrate its 47th anniversary of an era of remarkable progress under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
“The visionary leadership of His Majesty has brought a radical transformation in Oman, in the life of Omani citizens and in the life of each individual living in Oman.
“The lifestyle in Oman has evolved into a modern, forward-looking society and the country is witnessing continuous overall development.
“I came to Oman in July 1992 and have been witness to its infrastructure development like roads, hospitals, schools, universities, etc.
“The healthcare facilities and the roads infrastructure in Oman are world-class. The state-of-the-art Grand Mosque, the supreme court building, the Royal Opera House Muscat, the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (which opened last year) and the new airport (which will be operational in the coming months) are other unique jewels of development which I have witnessed in person during my stay in Oman.
“However, what matters most to me is that in spite of all the developments Oman remains genuine, humble and authentic. Wherever you go in Oman, you will still find traditional Arabian hospitality and heritage.
“At international level, His Majesty has been the guiding light and driving force behind Oman’s pursuit of global peace. He received the International Peace Award in 1998, but in my humble opinion His Majesty genuinely deserves the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’.
“I sincerely pray to the Almighty to bless His Majesty with a long, healthy and active life to carry Oman and his mission of peace to further, greater heights.”
Adnan al Raisi, professional Omani cyclist touring across the Muscat region
I started cycling when I was a kid. And ever since I began cycling and doing stunts professionally, I have been touring across Oman and many other parts of the GCC.
“But, this time around, I am riding 40 kilometres from Muscat to the airport.
“I am doing this only for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. I don’t know where to start but I hope my trips on the cycle are good enough to thank him for all he has done for us (Omanis) and the expats living here.
“I have added photos of His Majesty, created designs and some flowers to celebrate this special day.
“I want to dedicate this to him for his happiness. I hope someone will take a photo of this cycle and show it to him. Without him, I don’t know how or where our country would have been.
“National Day is an emotional day for all of us, and we will continue to celebrate it in the most elaborate way possible.
“Many people have asked me why I cycle around Muscat, and come and ask me for photographs; that’s a testament to how much people enjoy seeing this small parade on the road.”