1. Zul Khoja recalls a memorable visit by the Imam to their family shop in South Africa
The above is a picture of Mawlana Sultan Muhammad Shah when he came to our shop during his South African visit in 1945. I remember somethings very vividly. We were all very excited about the visit and the Mulaqat with the Imam. The Jamati leaders, in their wisdom, decided that the Imam would visit every business for Barakah and have a picture taken with the family. Our shop floor was red cement. We spent several days applying red polish and made sure that it was clean and shiny. The entire store was cleaned, dusted and spotless.
When the day arrived we were not too sure of the exact time, because Mawla sometimes spoke to the family members a little longer than others. When he arrived in front of the store we immediately took our places and there he was in His Majesty! He immediately sat down in the chair reserved for him and it so happened that the sun was shining very bright that day (why wouldn’t it?) and it reflected off the red shiny floor. Hence the Imam looking up. It was a truly memorable experience and his visit is still vivid today after fifty years! I do not know what the Imam said to my parents and grandmother.
2. Al-Karim (Korji) Pirani Tells a Story behind the Diamond Jubilee Scale
Last year my family and I travelled to Tanzania for a holiday. We had lived close to Upanga Jamatkhana when we were residents in Tanzania and decided to go to the Jamatkhana during our visit. We found to our amazement that the scale that was used to weigh Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah during his Diamond jubilee was still there, on the ground floor, with some other memorabilia including photographs from the celebrations and a huge wooden plaque (appx. 5′ x 2′ or may be larger) containing a handwritten inscription about the Diamond Jubilee event (note the stylish first letter of each paragraph).
The scale was first used in Mumbai for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations there and as my father Abdul (Korji) Pirani of Toronto recalls, it was shipped to Dar-es-Salaam upon the completion of the ceremonies in India. As a note, the scale had been donated by my late grandfather (Itmadi Mohamed Korji Pirani) for the Diamond Jubilee in India. I believe the cost was approximately 8000 rupees. The stage, on the other hand, was much more expensive – about 40 to 50,000 rupees – and had been donated by another family.
With a slight trepidation my son, Jamil, climbed up on to the scale to see whether it still worked after 65 years – and lo, the needle went up (see photo). With minor tuning and adjustment it might show a weight as accurate as any of today’s electronic gadgets but like many other antiquated objects of the past, such as computers, it is quite huge and bulky.
The scale, such as the one shown here, might be of historical importance and perhaps one day find its proper place in a museum! We were gratified that the scale and the memorabilia have been preserved by the institutions and the Jamat.
Both the above contributors, Alijah Zul Khoja and Al-Karim Pirani, are members of the Ottawa Jamat, Canada.
We want to hear from you:
Your stories will be published in this or related pages under Voices. Certain stories, such as the one published on this page, may merit their own page and title because of their length.
Please forward your contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org along with any pertinent photos (scanned). Specify subject as “Aga Khan III Anecdotes”. Alternatively, for text only, please complete the REPLY form below with your name and correct email address. All contributions are subject to editing for language and brevity.
THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE PLAQUE SHOWN ABOVE
Here on this very ground, our beloved 48th
Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan III Hazrat
Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah was
weighed against Diamonds by His followers,
the Ismailis on 10th August, 1946 as part
of His Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Over 70,000 people, among them the
representatives of the British Crown, members
of the diplomatic corps and other distinguished
personalities witnessed this great event.
Thousands of Ismailis from all over Tanganyika
and Africa, and also from other parts of the
world came to attend this grand occasion.
The value of the diamonds placed on the scale
was £648,000. This amount was presented to
the Holy Imam by His followers as an unconditional
However, the Holy Imam did not take the said
amount for Himself but graciously gave it back to
His followers, and out of it, as per His wish, was
born the Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust
Limited and its offshoots, as well as the cooperative
socities’, [sic] cooperations, and societies with their
‘Home for All’ schemes.
This ceremony in all its glory signified the
unbounded devotion of the Ismailis for their
Beloved Imam, and above all, the Love
of the Imam for His Spiritual children.
Please read other articles in special series on Aga Khan III: