Historical Photos from the Archives of Master Khimani of South Africa – Part II

Editor’s note: Our readers described the first piece of this series on historical photos from the collection of the Late Master Khimani as a veritable treasure trove, excellent and amazing, rare and inspiring. One reader noted, “these brought back lots of past memories of our forefathers and elders almost a century ago.” Simerg is pleased to present the second set of photos.  If you haven’t seen the first installment, please click A Brief Note on Master Khimani’s Service to the South African Jamat, and Historical Photos from His Family Archives.

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Note: The exact dates of the photos are not known in many instances. The photos appeared in The Ismaili during the period 1923-1929.

A portrait of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan (1877 – 1957), direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan had presented a memorable gift of a statue to the Prince of Wales to commemorate the Prince’s visit to India. Here His Highness the Aga Khan is seen making an address at the statue’s unveiling in December 1927, in the presence of Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, the Governor of Bombay, and his wife Lady Wilson who are seated on the stage. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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The statue of the Prince of Wales is unveiled by Bombay’s Governor, Lord Wilson. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan in conversation with the young Raja of Travancore during his visit to Bombay. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan presided over a meeting held at the Excelsior Theatre in Bombay to Protest the Class Area Bill in South Africa. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan addressing a gathering at the Excelsior Theatre in Bombay to protest against the Class Area Bill in South Africa. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Scene outside Bandra Ismaili Jamatkhana, located outside Bombay, when the Flag Ceremony was performed by Mukhi Laljibhai Deoraj amid great enthusiasm. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Photograph taken on the occasion of the Flag Ceremony performed at Bombay’s Central Jamatkhana by Kamadia Kassamali Hassanali. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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A portrait of Major Alimahomed R. Mecklai, President of the Recreation Club Institute Bombay, the forerunner to the modern-day Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board, which was previously known as the Ismailia Association. Major Mecklai was a “happy warrior” and a sincere worker for the Ismaili community and the public alike. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Major Mecklai, President of the Recreation Club Institute, Bombay, reading an address to Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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A portrait of Vazir Alidina Visram, who contributed significantly for the socio-economic advancement of the Ismaili community in East Africa. He has been referred to as the “Merchant Prince of Kenya and Uganda.” Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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A sketch of Sir Tharia Topan, a leading 19th century Ismaili figure in East Africa. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada

Please read Mohib Ebrahim’s piece The Three Kings Without Crowns which includes Sir Tharia Topan and Alidina Visram, pictured above.

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Varas Mir Suleman of Salamiya, Syria, acted as the President of the Municipal Council and was Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan’s Wazir in Salamiya. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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A portrait of Mahomedbhoy Kassum Lakha, an Ismaili amongst Kenyan Politicians. He was the Member of the Legislative Council of Kenya. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Varas Janmohamed Hansraj contributed substantially for an Ismaili widow home in Zanzibar. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Varas Salebhoy Cassam contributed generously in Zanzibar and built a musafarkhana (a guest house for traveller’s, a ‘home away from home’) in Dar-es-Salaam. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Two panoramic photos of the Ismaili Volunteer Corps of Bombay. ‘The Ismaili’ caption says: “….the Aga Khan’s volunteer corps of Bombay are rendering yeomen service to the community. Their selfless and often thankless task consists of keeping good order and proper management on the auspicious occasions of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Blessed visits to Jamatkhanas, Hasanabad and other Ismaili Places of Bombay and suburbs. The community is grateful to these young Ismaili stalwarts who are often on duty at great personal inconvenience and even business consideration are made subordinate to the call of duty.” Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan with Ismaili volunteers and boy scouts of Dodoma (left of runner), and Tabora in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Varas Ismailbhai Gangji, seated on floor at right, became a great figure in Ismaili history for his service to the Jamat during the reign of Imam Shah Aga Hassanali Shah. The group photo includes Nawab Bahadurkhanji of Junagad and his staff. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada

For Varas Gangji, please read Maleksultan J. Merchant’s piece Varas Ismail Gangji: The Turning Point

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The magnificent Ismaili Jamatkhana at Porbander in the Indian State of Gujarat. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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The lovely Ismaili Jamatkhana at Warangal in the Indian State of Andra Pradesh. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan with members the Ismaili Central Board of Education for Bombay and Suburbs. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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The commencement of a Jamati procession from one of the Ismaili Jamatkhana’s in Bombay to celebrate Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan’s 50th birthday (1927). The 48th Ismaili Imam was born in Karachi on November 2, 1877. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Office bearers and members of the Recreation Institute Bombay on the grounds of the Willingden Club to celebrate the 50th birthday of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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The newly built Aga Khan Ismaili Khoja Central Free School in Bombay. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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The Seth Kasambhai Valli house for needy Ismailis in Karachi. It was built by Seth Bandally Bhoy Kassam and presented to the Ismaili Imam, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, for community use. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan seen coming down the steps at the Apollo Pier in Bombay as he is about to set sail for Africa. Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan is accorded a Royal Salute from the Guard of Honour in Mombasa. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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The Baitul-Ilm of the 1920s: Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan with the students, teachers and committee members of the Ismaili Religious Girls School in Zanzibar. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada

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The Baitul-Ilm of the 1920s: Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan with the students, teachers and committee members of the Ismaili Religious Boys School in Zanzibar. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan with Ismaili Boy Scouts of Kandi Moholla (now Karimabad), Bombay. Take note of the musical pieces that numerous scouts appear to be playing, the bicycles and how the scouts have spread themselves out. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Varas Bhasaria Fadoo rendered services to the Ismaili community throughout his life. Among his charitable deeds was the contribution of a beautiful ‘musafarkhana’ in Karachi. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Varas Mohamed Nasar Jindani who rendered invaluable services to the Ismaili community. He covered the expenses of the staff of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan when he visited Zanzibar. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

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Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan pictured with the family of Allanabhai Manji at their residence in Bombay’s Warden Road. Photo: Sadruddin Khimani Family Collection, Vancouver, Canada.

Date posted: Sunday, May 20, 2012.
Last update: Saturday, May 26, 2012.

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If you missed the first part, please click A Brief Note on Master Khimani’s Service to the South African Jamat, and Historical Photos from His Family Archives

For final part, please click Historical Photos from the Archives of Master Khimani of South Africa – Part III

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7 thoughts on “Historical Photos from the Archives of Master Khimani of South Africa – Part II

  1. This is very impressive – remembering the work of the past that has built a better future. This is a great collection, and I cannot epress it in words or in a comment. Our gratiitude to the Khimani family for preserving our heritage and sharing it with a world-wide audience.

  2. Congratulations to the Khimani family for preserving the historical magazines and pictures. As a senior, I was there to witness and see the leaders of our jamat in Golden pagree with long coats, but things have changed since. It was also the time when our jamati members and leaders were more careful for the work entrusted to them.

    Because of their dedicated work, the Ismailis have progressed, are happy and educated. I myself studied at the Central Free School and the Diamond Jubilee school in Mumbai.

    Thank you once again for this wonderful piece and photos.

    Ya Ali Madad, Jusabali Lakhani-79 (USA)

  3. I have known Vali Jamal since I was in Kampala with his sister Khatoon as my classmate in Old Kampala Secondary School. My nephew Shamir, son of late Dr Mohamud Bhatia, has taken great interest in Vali’s book that I am anxiously waiting for as soon as it is published. I sent a few photos and my late father Huzurmukhi Gulamhusein Jiwa Bhatia’s autobiography the early version that I was fortunate to translate to Shamir and this is included in Vali’s book. I could go on and on! Vali is quite right in saying we Ismailis to quote him ‘I also became aware that not many of our people care about our history any more’.

    The Editor of Simerg, Abdul Malik Merchant is a great source of inspiration to those who would care to keep up with his website. Officers, Teachers, Parents and Pupils of Baitul-Al-Ilm must be made aware of this. In my opinion, besides their scheduled courses of Ta’lim this website would be an essential source to plan their activities like drama, narratives, stories etc. Living in the Western world our heritage should be kept alive and thriving. The question is, who will bell the cat? Scholars are hardly at the top in the machinery of leadership in several of our communal institutions I find, This is my personal opinion!

  4. These are valuable photos, like in priceless. I loved the picture of the flag-raising at the Bombay jamatkhana. I shall use it, with full attribution, to illustrate a point in my book (Uganda Asians: Now and Then, etc), that, while most of the migrants to Africa came from rural areas – after all India was >85% rural then – India was already a well developed country by then. I loved the portraits of Varas Allidina Visram and Tharia Topan. I had similar ones from other sources for my book, from which I have drawn their profiles – Varas Allidina as a “natural” as his empire was based in Uganda. I have five pages on him, the first time anybody managed this. My grandfather Valli Jamal Pradhan was one his agents, already travelling to Wadelai and Congo by 1904. Tharia Topan I sneaked in for being one of the very early Indian pioneers to East Africa.

    In doing my book I became painfully aware that, unlike for this collection, we lost most of our memorabilia in the expulsion (1972). I also became aware that not many of our people care about our history any more. One particular set of pictures was of the past presidents of the council, including my own grandfather, Mukhi Valli Jamal Pradhan. The pictures used to hang on the council chamber walls. I asked the last president of the council if the pictures were there. He was nonchalant about it. There was an ambitious project to record Ismaili history in East Africa to coincide with the Golden Jubilee year. Nothing came of it. History matters. We thank Master Khimani for preserving our history in not just South Africa and East Africa, but also India. Hope the pictures’ll be archived somewhere forever. I shall go even further: Along with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, an entity should be established to preserve such records. The Global Centre for Pluralism could be it. Such pictures show how East Africa became multicultural in the 1900s and then how Canada became that too starting from the mid-1960s.

    We thank Master Khimani for preserving our history in not just South Africa and East Africa, but also India. Hope the magazines and pictures will be archived somewhere forever.

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