Simerg’s Special Series on Books by Ismaili Authors: “Coughdrops” by Nargis Fazal of Vancouver, British Columbia, is Beautifully Illustrated and Will Delight Children

by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergBarakah and Simergphotos

Simerg’s series entitled “Books by Ismaili Authors” continues with Canadian writer Nargis Fazal’s book “Coughdrops”. We follow the same Q/A format as our recent presentations of books written by Nazlin Rahemtulla, Azmina Suleman, Alnasir Rajan, Shafeen Ali, Mansoor Ladha, Zeni Shariff and Shamas Nanji. We invite Ismaili authors around the world to participate in this series, regardless of when their books were published. See details of the series HERE and submit your responses to Simerg’s editor, Malik, at Simerg@aol.com.

****************

Simerg: What is behind the naming of the title of the book? 

Nargis Fazal: Baby Koala is the main character of my book. He is named “Coughdrops” because he smells like the Eucalyptus trees that he lives on and feeds from.

Simerg: Why would you want me or my family members to read the book, and what will we all learn from it?

Nargis: The adventures of curious baby koala will delight you and the beautiful illustrations will fill you with utter joy. This is a great book to read with your children and grandchildren! They will ask for repeats! The learning themes include (a) Safety and Responsibility; (b) Friendships and Feelings; (c) Parental and Familial Bonding, Love, and Care; (d) Kindness and Compassion for all Creatures; and (e) Australia’s Flora and Fauna.

Kids will be pleasantly surprised to discover new tiny creatures entering the various scenes in this book. This book can be a great resource not only for the parents and families but also for Early Childhood Educators. It can be used to impart knowledge across many learning themes, especially safety for children which is paramount. Coughdrops fits in very well with a multicultural, pluralistic curriculum for young children.

Simerg: What inspired you to write the book?

Nargis: I wrote this book as a part of my assignment for my course as an Early Childhood Educator in 1988. I had printed the whole story by hand as well as illustrated it myself. I used it throughout my career with diverse groups of children. The kids and their families simply loved it. This inspired me to publish it so all children could enjoy it! As an Early Years Professional I wanted to leave a legacy not only for my own children and grandchildren but also for all the future generations to come.

Article continues below

Coughdrops Ismaili Authors Nargis Fazal Simerg
Front and back covers of Nargis Fazal’s delightful illustrated book for children, “Coughdrops.” 24 pp. Blurb, June 2015. Please click on image for enlargement.

Simerg: How can I purchase the book and what are its available formats?

Nargis: Coughdrops is available in hardcover as well as soft cover from Blurb. You can also purchase it from me by writing to me. Please visit my website www.nargisfazal.com.

Simerg: How did you find a publisher for the book?

Nargis: My son Rahim who lives in San Francisco recommended Blurb.

Simerg: Did you hire an editor, an illustrator or did you do all the work by yourself?

Nargis: My daughter Noorin who has a Masters in Teaching edited my manuscript. Through “99 Designs” (Rahim’s find) I was able to choose the illustrator. Her name is Marija Stojkovic. She lives in Lescovac, Serbia. She works as a freelance stage designer, graphic designer and illustrator.

Simerg: Which was your first book and how many have you written?

Nargis: Coughdrops is my first book. I have just finished writing the final manuscript for my second book which will be published soon.

Simerg: How long did it take you to write Coughdrops — from start to finish and to begin marketing it?

Nargis: It took me a year to write the final manuscript and work with the illustrator Marija to get the pictures done. It took a couple of more months to get the printed version ready.

Simerg: Tell us something more about the book and its main character.

Nargis: Curious baby Koala lives in his mother’s pouch. He wonders what lies beyond the patch of eucalyptus trees where he was born. So he sneaks away to explore the world around him. As he scampers further and further away from home he meets many amazing creatures for the first time in his life. He experiences various feelings and emotions. Some situations terrify him and make him fear for his wellbeing and safety. Little koala realizes he is lost! How will he return home? Will he see his mother again soon?

In this delightfully illustrated story, read about curious koala’s Big Adventures. Bring along your critical thinking skills and join Coughdrops on his journey of growth and development.

Date posted: June 12, 2021.

_______________________

Nargis Fazal, Ismaili author series Simerg, Coughdrops, Children illustrated book koala
Nargis Fazal

Nargis Fazal was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She spent much of her young adulthood in the United Kingdom, where she studied the sciences and worked in Medical Research. In 1981, Nargis and her husband moved to Vancouver, Canada, where their two children were born. Her passion for being actively involved in her children’s development and education inspired her to become an Early Childhood Educator. At present, Nargis is also trained as a Special Needs Educator and a Montessori Practitioner. Her many interests include yoga, reading, meditation, and travelling with her family.

_____________________

CALLING ALL ISMAILI AUTHORS

We encourage Ismaili writers to introduce their books in a similar format as has been done in the post above. Please also see the series launch article and submit your responses to Malik at Simerg@aol.com. All submissions will be acknowledged. If a writer has published multiple books, each book will be highlighted in a separate article, and not combined with other books into one post. All writers should include a brief profile with a portrait photo.

The Ismaili Authors’ Series so far (in chronological sequence, oldest article first):

  1. “Justice Bertha Wilson Pushes the Boundaries of Humanity” by Shamas Nanji (series start, February 10, 2021)
  2. “Little One, You Are The Universe” by Zeni Shariff (February 25, 2021)
  3. “Memoirs of a Muhindi” by Mansoor Ladha (March 6, 2021)
  4. “To Be One With God: Seven Journeys to the Meaning of Life” by Shafeen Ali (March 25, 2021)
  5. “Invisible Birthmarks” by Alnasir Rajan (April 13, 2021)
  6. “IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE – Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge” by Azmina Suleman (April 28, 2021)
  7. “RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty” by Nazlin Rahemtulla (May 28, 2021)

_______________________

We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Tells Universities to Invest In Training as He Grants Charter to the Aga Khan University; and Link to Excerpts from Hazar Imam’s Speech

The following report is reproduced from the website of the President of Kenya. Thematic excerpts of the virtual speech made by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, can be read at Simerg’s sister website Barakah, which is dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat (please read Mawlana Hazar Imam Thematic Excerpts).

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils a plaque on June 11, 2021, on the historic occasion of the Award of the Charter to the Aga Khan University. Photo: Aga Khan University.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils a plaque on June 11, 2021, on the historic occasion of the Award of the Charter to the Aga Khan University. Photo: Aga Khan University.

June 11, 2021: President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked universities to invest in research and training that support Kenya’s new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

“The Competence-Based Curriculum is a revolutionary step we took as a country to provide our learners with twenty-first-century practical skills relevant to the needs of the present world,” the President said.

President Kenyatta, who spoke on Friday in Nairobi when he awarded a charter to the Aga Khan University-Kenya (AKU), also urged universities to concentrate on producing graduates who can tackle global challenges and make the world a better place.

The Head of State reminded Kenyan universities to ensure that they offer quality education.

“You must strive to remain compliant to both the programmatic and institutional standards set by our professional regulatory bodies such as the Commission for University Education,” President Kenyatta said.

At the same time, the President directed regulatory institutions in the education sector to execute their mandate fully in order to ensure the quality of university education is not compromised.

“Regulatory standards are not mere exercises in box-ticking.  They are the lifeblood of a vital process that ensures that learning delivers tangible results for both the learner as well as the nation,” the President emphasized.

On research, the President challenged universities to be at the forefront in providing solutions to emerging challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the event, President Kenyatta also inaugurated the Aga Khan University’s new Kshs 5 billion ultra-modern building. The building will be the university’s main campus in Kenya, housing its graduate school of Media and Communications, Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Institute for Human Development as well as the Brain and Mind Institute among other programmes.

His Highness the Aga Khan, who is the Chancellor of the Aga Khan University, addressed the occasion via video link, saying the awarding of charter to AKU is a vote of confidence in the university.

He thanked President Kenyatta’s leadership for creating an enabling environment that has allowed private universities in Kenya to flourish.

Education CS Prof George Magoha, Commission for University Education (CUE) Chairman Prof Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha, CUE Secretary Prof Mwenda Ntarangwi as well as the Aga Khan University’s Vice Chancellor Dr Firoz Rasul spoke during the occasion.

With the award of the charter, the Aga Khan University becomes Kenya’s 21st private chartered university.

Date posted: June 11, 2021.

Please also click Mawlana Hazar Imam Thematic Excerpts.

_________________________

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Prime Minister Trudeau Vows to Stand for Muslim Community: “This Hate is Insidious and Despicable – and it Must Stop,” as Truck Driver Targets and Rams into Muslim Family in London, Ontario, Killing 4

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergBarakah and Simergphotos

“They were out on Sunday…. going for a family walk on a beautiful spring evening near their quiet, safe London neighbourhood. Now four of them are gone. A nine-year-old boy is in hospital trying to recover from serious injuries while the rest of his entire life has been snuffed out in front of him by a black Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by someone apparently filled with hate…. I can’t understand how a young man, now charged, who would have been raised and schooled in a time when Canadian multiculturalism is more than a concept, but a reality, would be filled with so much anger toward a family he didn’t even know.” — PLEASE READ COMPLETE COLUMN BY JANE SIMS IN THE LONDON FREE PRESS

Rana Najjar, her son Rashad, 11, her husband and sister Hadin place flowers Monday at an impromptu memorial to a London Muslim family that was struck down Sunday night at the intersection of South Carriage and Hyde Park roads in London while walking. Four members of the family were killed and fifth, a nine-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries in what police believe was an intentional act by a driver targeting Muslims. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)
Please click on image for article in London Free Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to combat Islamophobia in the country following a “targeted attack” on a Muslim family in London, Ontario, which led to death of three adults and one teen. Trudeau expressed grief over the incident and condemned the “hateful and heinous” act. “I spoke on the phone this evening with @LdnOntMayor and @NTahir2015 about the hateful and heinous attack that took place in London, Ontario yesterday. I let them know we’ll continue to use every tool we have to combat Islamophobia — and we’ll be here for those who are grieving,” Trudeau tweeted.

In another tweet, the Prime Minister said:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was among those who paid tribute to the victims, tweeting: “Hate and Islamophobia have NO place in Ontario.”

The targeted attack on the Muslim family took place in London, Ontario on Sunday, June 6, when the family was out for an evening walk on a splendid spring day.

Simerg conveys its deepest condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the victims as well as to all Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians who are grieving from this horrible tragedy. We pray for the complete recovery of the child who is in the hospital. We pray that the souls of all the deceased victims may rest in eternal peace. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (“Surely we belong to God and to Him we return” — Holy Qur’an, 2:156).

Date posted: June 8, 2021.

_____________________

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Aga Khan Park and East Don Trail: Amazing Nature Photos & Videos You Must Not Miss by Malik Merchant

The ponds are flowing at Aga Khan Park, bringing stillness and calmness to our minds. The geese are beating their wings as they bathe in their favourite pond. Then, it is amazing to see them take off on the shortest and safest runway in the world with two majestic buildings — the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum — built by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in full view! It is a wonderful sight. Intimacy and procreation are nature’s gift — the mallards and frogs are captured in their act, facing confrontations — yes, see the videos! Watch a tiny turtle walk to a pond of water, overcoming obstacles along the way. There are photos too to make the article complete.

I am providing a sample video, below, one of several I have included in Simergphotos where you will get a fuller taste of my extraordinary encounter with nature at Aga Khan Park and the exciting East Don Trail. This is a post you don’t want to miss! Show it to your children; they will love it.

Canadian geese at pond in Aga Khan Park, as they lift off. Click to watch video, and click Simergphotos for full story, more videos as well as photos

To see full post with extraordinary photos and videos please click Simergphotos.

Date posted: June 5, 2021.

________________________

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Aga Khan arrives for award ceremony in Lahore Pakistan

Mawlana Hazar Imam’s References to Simurgh – the Ideal and Perfect King – and Attar’s “Conference of the Birds”; and the Book’s Availability in English

Compiled and introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergBarakah and Simergphotos

Simurgh, Simorg, SIMORGH, Conference of the Birds, Aga Khan Museum, Bellerive, SimergPhotos, Photo of the Day by Afraaz Mulji
The Simurgh ceramic vase at the Aga Khan Museum, Bellerive Room.

In our “Photo of the Day” feature published in Simergphotos on June 2, 2021, musician, author and artist Afraaz Mulji picked out the ceramic object Simurgh as his favourite piece among 60 other ceramic works of art that make up the beautiful Bellerive Room at Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum. The collection was gifted by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s widow, Princess Catherine, to honour his memory. The Prince (d. 2003) was a consummate collector who formed one of the great collections of art from the Muslim world.

Bellerive Room, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto. Photo: Malik Merchant Simerg Princess Sadruddin and Princess Catherine
Bellerive Room, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Looking through Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speeches, we noted that he had mentioned Simurgh in a dynamic and stirring address that he delivered at the inaugural ceremony of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture held in Lahore, Pakistan on October 23, 1980.

Article continues below

Aga Khan arrives for award ceremony in Lahore Pakistan
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, arrives for the inaugural ceremony of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture held on October 23 1980, in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: AKDN/Christopher Little.
Aga Khan Award Ceremony AKDN photo Lahore 1980 simerg
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, presents the Aga Khan Award for Architecture to representatives of the Kampung Improvement Programme (KIP) in Jakarta, Indonesia at the first award ceremony held on October 23. 1980, in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: AKDN/Christopher Little.

Mawlana Hazar Imam said:

“…..as we celebrate the first Awards and open the way for the forthcoming ones, all these challenges (Please read Speech at AKDN) can help us in defining the attitudes we must develop in thinking of the future and the areas of discovery open to us. It is a task we must accomplish together, fully acknowledging our diversities, but knowing, as well, that there is a Straight Path which is that of our Faith.

“Let me close, therefore, by reminding you of Attar’s great poem, the Conference of the Birds, Mantiqat at-Tayr.

“The birds, you will recall, in huge quantities went in search of the Simurgh, the ideal and perfect king. After many tribulations, thirty of them do reach the end of the journey and come to the gate of the Supreme Majesty. The Chamberlain tests them and then opens the door and they sit on the masnad, the seat of the Majesty and Glory. And, as an inner glow came into them, they realised that it is they together who were the Simurgh and that the Simurgh was the thirty birds.

“Is this not what these Awards mean? From the travails and labours of thousands, humble masons or expensive experts, there have emerged those works made by us and for us which we can present as being, all together, as an aggregate, as a group, the statement of our hopes and of our expectations as much as of our achievements.”

________________

The Conference of the Birds: Selected Works in English


Afkham Darbandi
and
Dick Davis
From left: Front covers of The Conference of the Birds by Davis, Nott, and Sis. Click on links below for pricing and availability. May we note that there are translation by other writers.

1. Attar’s Conference of the Birds by C.S. Nott has been available for more than 60 years in English, with a newer paperback released in 2016. Please check out C.S. Nott Conference of the Birds on Amazon.

2. Penguin Classics published a highly acclaimed translation in English by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis, with an introduction by the latter, in 1984. See Darbandi & Davis Conference of the Birds on Amazon. See also its availability at Chapters-Indigo.

3. More recently Peter Sis, an award winning children’s book writer and illustrator, has offered a beautiful and uplifting adaptation of Attar’s poem which is available in both hardback and paperback formats. See Peter Sis Conference of the Birds on Amazon. See also its availability at Bookoutlet.

Date posted: June 3, 2021.

_______________________

We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Bellerive Room, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto. Photo: Malik Merchant Simerg Princess Sadruddin and Princess Catherine

Photo of the Day: The Simurgh at Aga Khan Museum, Afraaz Mulji’s Favourite Piece

Artist, musician and writer Afraaz Mulji reflects on his favourite ceramic object, the Simurgh, situated in the Bellerive Room in the Aga Khan Museum. Please click MORE or on the photo below to read his piece.

Simurgh, Simorg, SIMORGH, Conference of the Birds, Aga Khan Museum, Bellerive, SimergPhotos, Photo of the Day by Afraaz Mulji
Aga Khan Museum’s Simurgh, a ceramic artwork collected by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. Please click on image for story.

Date posted: June 2, 2021.

__________________________

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Barakah Presents Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan from the Bernard Gotfryd Collection at the US Library of Congress

Simerg’s sister website Barakah, which is dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat, presents a small but impressive suite of photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam and members of his family by acclaimed photojournalist Bernard Gotfryd (d. 2016). Please click Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam by Gotfryd or on image below.

Aga Khan Bernard Gotfryd LOC
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo: Bernard Gotfryd / Library of Congress. Please click on image for Barakah’s post with more photos.

Over the coming weeks, readers will be seeing many more collections of historic photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family that have been submitted to us for publication. We thank families around the world for their excellent response to our request to seek out their khajanas (treasures) from their old albums and archives. Please continue to search your archives and write to Malik Merchant at Simerg@aol.com to discuss your collection. All letters will be responded to within 24 hours.

Again, to view our latest post please click Aga Khan Photos by Bernard Gotfryd, and share the link with your family and friends around the world.

Date posted: May 30, 2021

___________________

Simerg’s Special Series on Books by Ismaili Authors: “RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty” by Nazlin Rahemtulla of Vancouver, British Columbia

by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergBarakah and Simergphotos

Simerg’s series entitled “Books by Ismaili Authors” continues with Canadian writer Nazlin Rahemtulla’s book “RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty” (carrying the subtitle “The Story of an Ismaili Girl’s Expulsion from Uganda and Acceptance in Canada”). We follow the same Q/A format as our recent presentations of books written by Azmina Suleman, Alnasir Rajan, Shafeen Ali, Mansoor Ladha, Zeni Shariff and Shamas Nanji. We invite Ismaili authors around the world to participate in this series, regardless of when their books were published. See details of the series HERE and submit your responses to Simerg’s editor, Malik, at Simerg@aol.com.

****************

Simerg: What is behind the naming of the title of the book? 

Nazlin Rahemtulla: Our family often received invitations from African friends to attend village celebrations. They were written on bark cloth and included the acronym “RSVP” standing for “Rice and Stew Very Plenty”. At the end of the book, I liken my blessings to that invitation – Rice and Stew Very Plenty.

Simerg: Why would you want me or my family members to read the book, and what will we all learn from it?

Nazlin: Many people from Uganda shared my experiences, and my stories may unfold memories for them. Also, after publication, I heard from many young adults who were grateful to read about their families’ lives in Uganda. Especially as some claimed that their families had been reluctant to recount their experiences.

Simerg: What inspired you to write the book?

Nazlin: The notion of documenting my family’s history had been at the back of my mind for many years. Once I started a draft, friends convinced me to consider writing/publishing it in an autobiographical format for others to read.

Article continues below

Front and back covers of Nazlin Rahemtulla's autobiography "RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty, Simerg Ismaili Author Series
Front and back cover pages of Nazlin Rahemtulla’s autobiography “RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty.” 320 pp. Friesen Press, June 2012. Please click on image for enlargement.

Simerg: How can I purchase the book and what are its available formats?

Nazlin: The book is available in paperback on Amazon and through my publisher, Friesen Press in paperback and eBook. [To access Nazlin’s book page at Friesen, please click RSVP — Ed.]

Simerg: How did you find a publisher for the book?

Nazlin: I was looking for a locally based publisher and came across Friesen Press through a web search.

Simerg: Did you hire an editor, an illustrator or did you do all the work by yourself?

Nazlin: My good friend, Margaret Fairweather, helped me research, proofread and edit the book.  My niece, Narmin Kassam, painted the elephant on the cover for her son, Aleem. Narmin writes, “the elephant pays tribute to Aleem’s African roots and represents strength, honour, stability, patience, luck, fortune, and protection”.

Simerg: Which was your first book and how many have you written?

Nazlin: This is my first and only book to date.

Simerg: How long did it take you to write RSVP — from start to finish and to begin marketing it?

Nazlin: It took approximately two years from start to publishing. I must admit I did not spend a great deal of time marketing the book, however, friends and family were my marketing team.

Simerg: Tell us something more about the book and its main character.

Nazlin: RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty is an autobiography that chronicles my life. I was born in Jinja, Uganda, and RSVP traces my family’s ancestry to Gujarat, India, and I tell of my parents and grand-parents settling in Uganda. The book also describes my experiences of growing up in Jinja; the Asian expulsion in 1972 by Idi Amin within a 90 day deadline; and the resettlement of many Ismailis in Canada and around the world. I may also note that my brother, Bahadur, and I were a handful of Ismailis who initially participated in the reclamation of our family’s assets in Uganda. In the final section of the book, I reflect on my and my family’s lives in Canada.

Date posted: May 28, 2021.

(In 2012, Nazlin Rahemtulla had graciously permitted Simerg to publish an excerpt from her book RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty; please read the excerpt HERE — Ed.)

_______________________

Nazlin Rahemtulla, RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty, Simerg Ismaili author series, Story of an Ismaili Girl's Expulsion from Uganda and Acceptance in Canada
Nazlin Rahemtulla

Nazlin Rahemtulla who presently lives in Burnaby, BC was born in Jinja, Uganda of Indian ancestry. Her long-awaited dream of telling her family’s story of migration to Uganda from India, and her own settlement in Canada, as a result of  Idi Amin’s disastrous rule in the East African, is achieved with the publication of her autobiographical work RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty, which she has co-authored with Margaret Fairweather. Her story is told from the perspective of her and her family’s deep attachment to the Ismaili Muslim faith, and its ever-present significance in their lives. This strong affinity with her faith also leads her to describe the infinite good works of the late 48th Ismaili Imam Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, and his successor, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

_____________________

CALLING ALL ISMAILI AUTHORS

We encourage Ismaili writers to introduce their books in a similar format as has been done in the post above. Please also see the series launch article and submit your responses to Malik at Simerg@aol.com. All submissions will be acknowledged. If a writer has published multiple books, each book will be highlighted in a separate article, and not combined with other books into one post. All writers should include a brief profile with a portrait photo.

The Ismaili Authors’ Series so far (in chronological sequence, oldest article first):

  1. “Justice Bertha Wilson Pushes the Boundaries of Humanity” by Shamas Nanji (series start, February 10, 2021)
  2. “Little One, You Are The Universe” by Zeni Shariff (February 25, 2021)
  3. “Memoirs of a Muhindi” by Mansoor Ladha (March 6, 2021)
  4. “To Be One With God: Seven Journeys to the Meaning of Life” by Shafeen Ali (March 25, 2021)
  5. “Invisible Birthmarks” by Alnasir Rajan (April 13, 2021)
  6. “IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE – Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge” by Azmina Suleman (April 28, 2021)
  7. “RSVP Rice and Stew Very Plenty” by Nazlin Rahemtulla (May 28, 2021)

_______________________

We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Two Great Readings from Ismaili History: Mu’aayad Shirazi and Ghaddir-Khumm by (Late) Jehangir A. Merchant

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

Alwaez Jehangir and Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant pictured at Gatineau Park during their visit to Ottawa in 2007.

Thursday May 27, 2021, will be the 3rd anniversary of the passing of Jehangir Merchant (December 13, 1928 – May 27, 2018), father of Malik (publisher and editor of this website), Fahar and his wife Nina, Alnoor and his fiance Shellina; grandchildren Naim and Nurin; and sister Banu. Our mother and grandmother, Maleksultan (popularly known as Mrs. Merchant), who was our dad’s partner of 66 years, was then still alive; she passed earlier this year on January 21, 2021. This website was launched twelve years ago in the spring of 2009 with their encouragement, guidance and support. The first piece published in Simerg was entitled The Mystery of the Missing Mount Nasir Khushraw.

Among several articles by my dad that were published on Simerg, two original contributions that absolutely stand out and are a must read are (1) a letter of gratitude to his greatest hero in Ismaili history, the Fatimid missionary Muayyad din Shirazi and; (2) Ghadir Khumm and the Two Weighty Matters for the acclaimed series I Wish I’d Been There. Please read the two pieces by clicking on the hyperlinks I have provided in the preceding sentence or on the two images shown below.

Please click on image to read Jehangir A. Merchant’s thank you letter to Fatimid missionary Al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi

*******

Please click on image to read Jehangir A. Merchant’s “Ghadir-Khumm and the Two Weighty Matters”

We fondly remember our parents and grandparents, and pray for the eternal peace of their souls. Ameen.

Date posted: May 26, 2021.

__________________

Ottawa Tulip Festival 2021

Ottawa’s Dazzling Tulip Show; and Quiet Moments at the Global Centre for Pluralism with His Highness the Aga Khan’s Reflections on Water, the Ottawa River and the Centre’s Garden

Following Nurin Merchant’s fantastic photos of tulips at the start of the Ottawa’s annual tulip festival, her dad Malik decided to visit the dazzling tulips at Dow’s Lake, Rideau Falls Park and Major Hill’s Park during an important family related visit to Ottawa more than 2 weeks later, when the festival was winding down! He was surprised that so many hundreds of thousands of tulips were still in full bloom.

He was also able to spend beautiful moments at the Global Centre for Pluralism located by the Ottawa River, about which Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan reflected during the Centre’s opening ceremony 4 years ago. Click HERE or on photo below to view the beautiful tulip photos on Simerg’s sister website Simergphotos as well as to read Mawlana Hazar Imam’s inspiring quotes on Water and the Ottawa River.

Tulips as far as the eyes can see. Please click on image for Ottawa’s grand tulip show and the Aga Khan’s reflections on water and the Ottawa River.

Date posted: May 24, 2021.

__________________