A Collection of Inspiring Stories, Readings and Photo Essays of the Ismailis of Tajikistan

EVERY LINK ON THIS PAGE IS WORTH A CLICK

His Highness the Aga Khan's First Historic Visit to Badakhshan

His Highness the Aga Khan’s First Historic Visit to Badakhshan

“Shukr Mawlo, Shukr Mawlo” – When Hope is All You Have Left, a Story for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Salgirah by Gulnor Saratbekova (Uruguay/Tajikistan)

Literary Reading: The Mystery of the Missing Mount Nasir Khushraw

Olivier Galibert: Ismaili Portraits from Tajikistan by Olivier Galibert (France)

Voices: A Western Correspondent’s Account of the Aga Khan’s Historic First Visit to His Followers in Gorno-Badakhshan

Photo  Gallery: Ismaili Portraits From Tajikistan (I) by A. M. Rajput, UK

Literary Reading: Shi’a Ismaili Tradition in Central Asia – Evolution, Continuities and Changes

“Ba Shokouh” – The Magnificent Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Matthieu Paley: Journey to the Roof of the World (Portraits of Ismailis)

 

Ideas of One Humanity in World Religions: Comparative Study of Ginan “Hum dil Khalak Allah Sohi Vase” by Shiraz Pradhan, With a Recitation

Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul….” – Holy Qur’an, 4:1

Instability is infectious, but so is hope. And that it is why it is so important for us to carry the torch of hope as we seek to share the gift of pluralism….Profound expressions about our common humanity are embedded in the world’s great religious traditions, including my own…” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Lisbon, June 12, 2014.

Credit: Istockphoto.com. Please click on image for "One Humanity"

Image Credit: Istockphoto.com. Copyright. Please click on image for “One Humanity”

PLEASE CLICK: Ideas of One Humanity, Love and Peace in World Religions: Comparative Study of Ginan “Hum dil Khalak Allah Sohi Vase” with a Hindu Bhajan

Toral Pradhan Expands and Publishes Fascinating Ismaili History Article as Dual English-Gujarati Booklet

One of the most popular history articles ever published on this bog has been expanded, revised and published as a 40 page dual-language booklet by its author, Toral Pradhan. The article which was first published in October 2013 (please click A Brief History of the Khoja Ismaili Community in Daman, India, from the Portuguese Period to the Present), was highly acclaimed by our readers, who submitted more than 30 comments.
History of Khoja Community in Daman by Toral Pradhan English CoverPradhan passionately set out to explore the history of the origins of the Daman Khoja Ismaili Jamat in order to pay her respects and tribute to the jamat as well as to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the jamatkhana in Daman in March 2014. She obtained the information for her lively small booklet from primary sources which included visits to the local archives in and around Daman. The town was formerly ruled by the Portuguese, before India took it over in 1961. The fusion of the two cultures and its impact on the small Ismaili community in Daman is strongly emphasized in the book, which includes dozens of small historical illustrations including a center fold of colourful photos of gowns and headgear.

The style and format of Pradhan’s book is like many publications in Canada where books are published in dual languages, English in the first half and French forming the other half (see the two images of the book on this post, which are the front and back of the book).

The benefit of Pradhan’s dual language book is that it can be shared among families with Gujarati and English readers.  The 40 page booklet is about 6.5″ x 4.5″ in size.

History of Khoja Community in Daman by Toral Pradhan Gujarati Cover

“Daman Khoja Samaj No Itihas”
(transliteration)

Simerg will be making this book available in the near future if there is a sufficient demand for it in North America. The cost including shipping to any North American address will be around US$6.00 – $7.00.

We invite readers interested in acquiring this booklet to send an email to Simerg@aol.com, Subject: Booklet – History of the Daman Jamat. No payment is required at this time. We will advise you when the book reaches us in Canada, and send you an invoice if you are still interested.

To the Memory of Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam

The Energy of Roshan and Zeenab

The deaths of Roshan and Zeenab in Kabul at the hand of terrorists have touched the hearts of thousands around the world.

The deaths of Roshan and Zeenab in Kabul at the hand of terrorists on the eve of Navroz have touched the hearts of thousands in Afghanistan, Canada and all around the world.

By Navyn Naran

how were you born?

who is your mother?
whose child are you?
who bears a child?
a woman.

we, are all children.
children of the One,
“Who begets not , nor is He begotten
and there is none like unto Him”
so speaks the faith.

It is about the children,
our children,
each child, one child, any child
all the children

you, were a child
and are still;
a body, with a Spirit Breathed into you,
and your ‘child becomes the Man’

on a new moment and new day,
The Movement stirs,
is it the Wind of the Universe
pushing forward Time?
Giving Life and Taking Life Away

a woman bears a child
The Blessing comes to her,
and she, is the mother.
a teacher, teaches children
inculcates knowledge
to respect
and understand Allah’s Creation
spiritual and physical.
Why?
so that “we may leave this world
a better place than the way
we find it”
does not the Qur’an says:
“and whoseover takes a life,
it is as if he has destroyed all humanity”?

and the Prophet (s.a.s) has said;
“And Paradise lies
at the foot of the Mother”
then what is it you are
trying to achieve?

A Child. A Spark
of the Almighty’s Hand
Lo!
“an oil, neither of the east , nor of the west,
whose Light glows forth, though no fire touched it.”
Who?
Allah!
“Light upon light” the Noor says.

Roshan was light, Zeenab, a flowering plant

the mothers of children of the world
“she was more than a mother”
“her body may have died but the values
will only be stronger”
mother of her own children
mothers of belief and tenacity
mothers of courage and love..

as water flows, a child grows
plants reach high, lit from Greater than the sky..
what will you teach them, these children?
what will you share with them, the values?
how will you train them, the principles?

Rahim, Rishma, Karim, Sameera,
Karim-Aly and family,
children

know this:
E=MC2
“the energy of the Universe is in one mustard seed”…
the Energy of Roshan and Zeenab
is now faster than the speed of light

Squared

Revised: Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Copyright: Navyn Naran

______________

Author’s note: This poem in written to the Taliban in the context that each of them was born to and through a mother. Each was a child in time, and still is their mother’s child. The poem is best acted out and the various stanzas are to be read by children and adult children of different ages…this should invoke a feeling of an individual’s journey in time and a realization that killing one human is as if “one destroyed entire humanity,” including oneself. This, the taliban are doing. The energy they believe they want to overthrow, through the children they destroy, will be  transcended to a greater Force because it is Blessed through Allah.

________________

To read more about Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam and the recent tragedy in Kabul, please visit http://ismailimail.wordpress.com, a definitive resource of news about the Ismaili community. We welcome your tribute to Roshan and Zeenab; please click Leave a comment or if you encounter a technical difficulty send your message to simerg@aol.com, subject: Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam.

 

A First-Hand Account of the Migration of Tanzanian Ismailis to Canada by Sadru Meghji

 “FOR MY TANZANIAN JAMAT, DIVERSIFICATION, YES, YES, YES; EXODUS, NO, NO, NO” – His Highness the Aga Khan, Kenya, 1972.

Sadru Meghji originally of Kilosa, Tanzania, tells the story of his 1971 visit to the Canadian High Commission in Dar-es-Salaam and how he became involved in assisting the migration of Tanzanian Ismailis to Canada. Meghji says that this form of assistance has been part of his family tradition from the time of his grandfather in 1899. Sadru’s father, Vazier Rajabali Meghji Visram, also continued similar service to the Ismaili community and, in the photo below, is seen receiving a ring and blessings from His Highness the Aga Khan during the 49th Ismaili Imam’s takhtnashini (enthronement) visit to Dar-es-Salaam in 1957.  Please click on the following link or photo for Sadru Meghji’s informative “lost history” piece.

PLEASE CLICK: Rediscovering a Lost Piece of Ismaili History — First Steps in the Migration of Tanzanian Ismailis to Canada

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, blessing Vazier Rajabali Meghji Visram during his visit to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (then Tanganiika) in October 1957. Phooto: Sadru Meghji Collection, Toronto.  Please click on photo for article.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, blessing Vazier Rajabali Meghji Visram during his visit to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in October 1957. Photo: Sadru Meghji Collection, Toronto. Please click on photo for article.

Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014): Leader, Humanitarian and Man of Letters Passes Away in London, UK

REMEMBERING AN ISMAILI MAN OF LETTERS

Born in Kisumu, Kenya, to Rabhiabai and Kassam Janmohamed on June 6, 1931, Ameer Kassam Janmohamed was kind and generous and true to the responsibilities he had to his family and friends, his faith and the noble causes he undertook in public life from his youthful days. His long time service to the Rotarians was particularly significant.

Please click on Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014) or photo for tribute.

Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014), lived his life to the fullest. Please click on photo for tribute.

Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014), lived his life to the fullest. Please click on photo for tribute.

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Ismaili Authors: Excerpt from M. H. Velshi’s “Conversation on Three Continents”

Toronto based Ismaili author, M..H. Velshi whose book excerpt can be read by clicking on the image or link below

Toronto based Ismaili author, M..H. Velshi whose book excerpt can be read by clicking on the image or link below

The year is 1936, and the setting for a serious dialogue between a brother and his sister is Mumbai’s famous Chawpati on Marine Drive – with the continent of Africa in the distant horizon, thousands of miles away….

“To Africa,” she said. 

She looked at his startled face and continued, “That’s your future. So many of my friends have gone and bought shops or farms, or found work on the railways…You know for many years our Imam, Mowlana Sultan Mohammed Shah, has been issuing firmans to us Ismailis to migrate to Africa. Now the Ismailis have built large jamatkhanas in Africa where people can pray and meet freely every day. You won’t be alone. When I heard one of his firmans…I knew it was a message meant for you. It’s your way out.”

PLEASE CLICK: “Conversations on Three Continents”

Please click on image for book excerpt.

Please click on image for book excerpt.

To acquire a Kindle version ($9.11) or a paperback copy ($11.66) at Amazon please click on Conversations on Three Continents.

 

Lessons from Ismaili History

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

Abdulmalik Merchant,  Publisher-Editor, Simerg. Click photo for profile.

Abdulmalik Merchant, Publisher-Editor, Simerg. Click photo for profile.

To mark Simerg’s 3rd anniversary, a special series “Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures” was launched  because I have felt that learning about outstanding Ismaili figures can help us to make better decisions as members or leaders of the community to which we belong, and instill in us greater sense of responsibility when dealing with community success stories, issues and challenges as well as personal disappointments and setbacks. Fourteen different individuals have contributed to the series so far and their thank you letters to numerous individuals covering 1400 years of history are a must read. Please click on 14 Inspirational Thank You Letters to Remarkable Ismaili Historical Figures and take your time to read each thank you letter over the next few days or weeks. I am sure you will be enlightened by these letters to Prince Amyn, Prince Sadruddin, Pir Sabzali, Ismaili philosophers and other historical figures.

Please click on image to download series "I Wish I'd Been There"

Please click on image to download series “I Wish I’d Been There”

In the same vein as “Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures”, Simerg had earlier presented a series called “I Wish I’d Been There” in which 31 writers from different backgrounds took an incident in Ismaili History and briefly described why they would have liked to have been a witness to an iconic moment of their choice.

From the historical period of Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali and Imam Hussein to Imam Mahdi’s unveiling at Sijilmasa in today’s Morocco to the burning of the library in Alamut as well as the more recent history covering the periods of Tharia Topan and Ismail Gangji, this rich series deserves to be read. The 121 page PDF publication can be quickly downloaded by clicking on I Wish I’d Been There Series – PDF or the series articles can be  individually accessed by clicking on I Wish I’d Been There.

Both the series are engaging, informative as well as inspiring, and we are sure readers will wish to share them with their family members and friends.

Date posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Poems for Salgirah: The Noor of Imamat Breathing with the Trillion Stars….and OOops (the Optimistically Out of Poverty Society) by Navyn Naran

ThE NOOR OF IMAMAT….OOops

By Navyn Naran

The arc of the Milky Way hangs over the imposing mountain fortress of Alamut in this starry scene. Photo: Babak Tafreshi. Copyright.

The arc of the Milky Way with over 100 thousand million stars hangs over the imposing mountain fortress of Alamut in this starry scene. Photo: Babak Tafreshi. Copyright.

Find your space, under a trillion stars
In the crystal quiet of the night,
no thoughts, no bars,
Breathe softly, abreast of a beating heart,
Under the open night sky, atop a mountain’s peak,
Where all is still, the breath and the heart’s beat.

A hum of air, quiet, warm,
Dark blue, black and milky way’s starry storm
a smattering of stars, incandescent light
hura and oil before any concern of dawn.
Breathing with the pulse of oceans and earths,
Under heaven of stars, as if asleep, but alert,
feel the ebb and flow in the breath of the world

din and duniya, Ya Ali
In desert sand under a diamond sky, Ya Ali
Peace it is, Ya Ali,
The Noor of Imamat born, Ya Ali
Breathing with the trillion stars, Ya Ali
Under dome of the hearth, You as me.

Hazar Imam, your firmans are pearls
the essence of the word, an individual learns
on your Birthday we reflect on Peace and Truth
on that which is not seen, that which will soothe.

OOops!

i will bow before you, and begin my poem.
let’s twirl under the sunshine,
optimistically
see all the wealth around us;
out of poverty comes sunlight
and “where hope takes root” paths emerge.

lift up your eyes and walk out of poverty.
in your very mind, exit poverty.
and if there is poverty of health and you can’t walk,
then move passionately, breathe deeply, sing from your heart

poverty in wealth?
a greater wealth than the wallet, is in our connection
recognizing one another is an unspoken place
look not always above you; look also below
gratefulness is greater than wealth

and if wallets are full,
is there an emptiness of heart? of mind? the poverty of love?
bridge our smiles, consult, listen to each other….

but walk, yes do walk.
walk out of poverty of respect. Leave.
“even the ants greet one another before they begin”
respect is greater wealth.

walk also out of the poverty of knowledge.
moving out of poverty, i may apply the information
no matter how minute or detailed.
stand solidly, grounded
walk out of lack of stability
one brick after another, consistently, as putty between the bricks

and in poverty of truth
speak heart and mind to self, if no other.
rich in your truth, there, is wealth.

you whistle and sing, and here
there is no poverty. rise, rise, further

poverty of ethics?
command over self a discipline and grace,
barakah will visit you, at its patient pace

poverty of generosity? i see it not,
naught to offer, sit with me here and drink water…refresh
smile and the world will smile at you, abundant generosity
simple living with high thinking.

walk.
let’s always walk.
out of poverty, i trust?
yes, yes…optimistically out of poverty,
a must.

in this quiet of night , in the softness and peace of morning snow,
Full of the magic of creation
there is physical, the obvious and the unknown
You hold the rope of being.

And this is a manifest world,
of the eye and the seeing
as in the surface of the ocean.
surface, recognised well, by surface.
and beyond? entire worlds and realities, hidden

there lie truths
and through the physical Imam
lies Truth
tis a journey
a truer reality, hidden batin

A birthday, the celebration of a physical reality
of a spiritual Being in a physical world.

Date posted: Friday, December 13, 2013

____________________

About the author: Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care.

Poems for Salgirah: ALI by Sherali Kara

(English translation follows this transliteration from Hindi)

ALI

By Sherali Kara

Hum jiyenge aur jiyenge sirf ALI tere liye. 
Ruhani bache tere hai, Haath thaam ke rakhna ALI. 

Tub bhi ALI he thaa, Ab hai tu Hazar Imam ALI.
Taa qayamat tak rahenga Hayul Qayum ALI ALI.

Kya tariqat shaan hai teri.
Khub haqiqi jalwa hai tera.
Kya noorani tevar tere hai.
Shaan e Khuda tu hi ALI hai.

Teri Hidayat se ALI hum jaamat ne taraqi ke.
Lakho Abjo sukhran karo ‘Sukran ALI Sukhran ALI

Is salegrah ke jasn me kya dena hai tujhe ALI.
Khub ibaadat aur khidmat jum kar karna hume ALI.

English Translation

We will again and again serve ALI, you and you only.
We are your spiritual children, hold our hands tight. 

You were ALI of the past, now you are Hazar Imam ALI.
You will be physically forever, Always Present and Everliving ALI ALI

What a tariqat greatness you have.
What a haqiqi brightness you posses.
With the Noorani enlightenment in you O ALI.
You are the greatness of GOD, only you ALI.

With your guidance, we jamat have prospered.
Millions and billions of thank you ALI, thank you ALI

On this Occasion of your Salgirah (Birthday),
what do we need to give you? O ALI.

Lots and Lot of Ibaadat and Khidmat by us is our gift to you. O ALI

Date posted: Friday, December 13, 2013.

___________

Author’s note: When I mention the word ALI, I am referring to the ALI who has been with us from the beginning of time and will remain with us till the end of time. Also, ALI here refers to all the Imams and not simply the first Imam, Hazrat Ali.

About the author: Since his teenage years, Sherali Kara, now fifty-three, has taken a keen interest in furthering his spiritual knowledge, and over the years has developed a deep spiritual and esoteric insight into several ayats from the Holy Qur’an, Ismaili ginans and qasidas. He hails from a family that has a long tradition of Khidmat (service) in the Ismaili Jamat. His mother, Malekbibi Kara, was called the “ginan queen” of her time. Mr. Kara composes poems and couplets specifically on the theme of ALI.  He lives in Andheri, a suburb of Mumbai, and provides Realty Advisory services.