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.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Ismailis in China – A Travelogue with a Special Photo Collection by Ghulam Panjwani

A LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
By Abdulmalik J. A Merchant

Abdulmalik Merchant,  Publisher-Editor, Simerg

Abdulmalik Merchant, Publisher-Editor, Simerg

Between Simerg and its photo website Simergphotos, I have published almost 900 pieces (see Table of Contents) since I began blogging in early 2009. I am thrilled about every piece that I receive, review and publish. I work closely with the many contributors, and collaborate with them every step of the way until the piece is finally published. Readers’ feedback varies from article to article, but the best response has always been reserved for the photo pieces. The photos of the Tashkurgan Jamatkhana in China which I published almost 3 years ago (see A Jamatkhana in Tashkorgan, China) precipitated a tremendous outpouring of interest due to the mystery surrounding the Ismailis in China. Readers were captivated and wanted to know more. I did not have enough material to satisfy their curiosity on that subject.

All that changed with a truly remarkable collection of photos that I started receiving recently from Ghulam Panjwani of Nairobi, who over the past several years has made numerous trips to China. He and his wife Mumtaz prepared a comprehensive narrative about the Chinese Ismailis including their social and religious customs and traditions.

PLEASE CLICK: Ismailis in China – A Travelogue with a Special Photo Collection

That the Panjwanis have decided to share their valuable experience and inside knowledge via Simerg is a source of immense happiness to me, and I am deeply grateful to them for their special contribution, as we embark on a new exciting year at Simerg and Simergphotos.

The goal is to reach more and more readers, and you can help in this process by informing your friends and relatives as well as your contacts about both www.simerg.com and www.simerphotos.com. A free subscription is only a click away at the top right of this page.

I welcome your feedback at Simerg@aol.com and invite you to contribute original pieces for the two blogs. You  have a wide choice of topics you can write about.

I hope you enjoy Ghulam’s piece for the New Year! My parents, Jehangir and Maleksultan Merchant, and daughter Nurin join me in wishing you and your families a very happy and joyous 2014. May all your wishes be fulfilled.

Please click on image below or Ismailis in China – A Travelogue with a Special Photo Collection

GMP000PostCover_IsmailisinChina

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.

The Story of an Ismaili Farmer Who Has Served the Mahuva Jamat All His Life by Salman Bheriyani

“The jamatbhai…was blind and for ‘wudu’ he used to draw water from a nearby well.  Gulamhusen made sure that he was there to help the jamatbhai in the daily ritual. Through acts such as this, Gulamhusen began to serve the jamat of the town”….Read More

Long serving Ismaili, 77 year old farmer Gulamhusen Alibhai Jamani of Mahuva, India, with a  medal that was presented him during Volunteer Day. Please click on image for story.

Long serving Ismaili, 77-year-old farmer Gulamhusen Alibhai Jamani of Mahuva, India, with a medal that was presented to him to recognise volunteers. Please click on image for story.

Simerg’s Volunteer Series (previous stories):

We invite contributions for the series. Please click STORIES OF ISMAILI VOLUNTEERS.

Photo Essay: A 9 Year Old Ismaili Boy’s First Steps on Becoming an Astronaut @Simergphotos

Photo Essay: A 9 Year Old Ismaili Boy’s First Steps of Becoming an Astronaut

Qayl dressed as an astronaut. Please click on photo to read Qayl's photo essay.

Qayl dressed as an astronaut. Please click on photo to read Qayl’s photo essay.

A 9-year-old Ismaili boy’s passion for space exploration finds truth in His Highness the Aga Khan’s visionary thoughts from the 1950s. Soon after becoming the 49th Imam of the Ismailis, Prince Karim visited East Africa and on several of his visits with Ismaili youths, he challenged them to think about the future and prepare for it by educating themselves well. In one of the meetings, he said, “if I say that your children are going to have a cup of tea on the moon, you will probably laugh. Well, fine, this is the way it should be, we laugh at it today but your children will not laugh at it.”

Qayl is 9 years old and recently met 10 Astronauts, talking to them, interviewing them and taking pictures. For the photo essay about his inspiring encounters, please click:

Sultan Somjee’s First Novel, BEAD BAI, is Uplifting and Lays Bare the Khoja Clan of Early Nairobi

Book Review: BEAD BAI

“….if like me, you look at the face again after reading the  450-page tome, you would be forgiven for losing yourself in sheer  rapture of the woman who has made you fall in love with her story. Why?  Because a male writer has given birth to her in his book and clothed her with the ghosts and memories of Kenya history’s past” -  Excerpt from a review by Cyprian Fernandes

Bead Bai is drawn from domestic and community life of Sakina evolving around two objects of women’s art that are depicted in this image. Both are of considerable social and artistic values among two culturally different people living side by side as separate yet in some ways inter-reliant societies on the savannah. One object is the revered bandhani shawl of the Khoja Ismailis (left) and the other is the emankeeki, a beaded neck-to-chest ornament of the Maasai. For a review of the book please click on image.

Bead Bai is drawn from domestic and community life of Sakina evolving around two objects of women’s art that are depicted in this image. Both are of considerable social and artistic values among two culturally different people living side by side as separate yet in some ways inter-reliant societies on the savannah. One object is the revered bandhani shawl of the Khoja Ismailis (left) and the other is the emankeeki, a beaded neck-to-chest ornament of the Maasai. For a review of the book please click on image.