Book Review of Mansoor Ladha’s Memoirs of a Muhindi: Fleeing East Africa for the West

By NIZAR MOTANI

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Memoirs of a Muhindi: Fleeing East Africa for the West
By Mansoor Ladha,
252 pp. University of Regina Press,
CDN$ 23.15 (at Amazon), Kindle Edition CDN$ 11.19
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Memoirs of a Muhindi by Mansoor Ladha

Memoirs of a Muhindi by Mansoor Ladha

Since the word Diaspora is encountered in many written accounts and conversations, the author has, thankfully, shed light on it.

“In Greek, the word diaspora means “to scatter,” but today we use the term to describe a community of people who live outside their country of origin or ancestry but maintain connections with it. A diaspora includes both emigrants and their descendants. While some people lose their attachment to their ancestral homeland, others maintain a strong connection to a place their ancestors may have left generations ago.”

As most of the Africa-born Asians reside in the West and their numbers are dwindling through natural causes, Ladha has taken upon himself to relate his own personal experiences and historical events about life in colonial and independent East Africa. And he has done a splendid job using his multiple journalistic skills.

I wish I had read and discussed his memoir with my family and friends much earlier.

The first generation in the West will see themselves in Ladha’s story; the diasporic generations born outside East Africa will learn about their parents’ unsustainable situation in East Africa and their dispossession, displacement and resettlement in North America and Western Europe.

Surprisingly, Ladha does not explain – for the benefit of the Western-born generations and other potential readers – “who is a muhindi?” until page 16! Muhindi is a Swahili word to describe a person of Asian descent. Simply put, it refers to a brown-skinned person.

To this reviewer, a Uganda-born third generation muhindi with a doctorate in African history, expelled by the notorious Idi Amin in 1972, Ladha’s memoir is replete with unusual personal experiences and less-known historical events.

An excellent discussion of the three-tier colonial, racially-structured system, which controlled, segregated and shaped race-relations, attitudes, behavior and opportunities in British East Africa, sets the stage for his story of navigating it hurdles. Under this racially segregated system, during and after the colonial period, Ladha takes the readers to places where most muhindis could not or would not go.

He is a self-proclaimed man with pride and principles. So when things turn out according to his expectations, he is happy; when they don’t, he is furious. Through this rather unorthodox muhindi, we get to visit: the palace of the Sultan of Zanzibar for an audience, while still in primary school; the British-controlled newspaper, The Standard, where he was the only Asian reporter and a copy editor; President Nyerere’s State House as the only Asian in the University of Dar-es-Salaam’s student executive committee, which went to protest the terms of the National Service (which he calls national servitude), resulting in their arrest, expulsion from the university, and deportation to their hometowns; the Nation House in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was given an expatriate   white person’s most privileged status employment package as a copy editor; his refuge in a British pub in England to narrowly escape a lynching by a mob of skinheads shouting “Paki go home,” and many more such unpredictable or gratifying occurrences.

His brothers had similar unusual experiences. Shiraz, a Makerere University educated doctor wanted to escape his government employment in Tanzania. So he fled to Uganda, only to find himself assigned to Idi Amin’s home town to take care of his prisoners with a possibility of becoming the brutal murderer’s personal physician. He had to flee again, this time to the United States.

The Aga Khan being interviewed by Mansoor Ladha, one of the few Ismaili journalists who has had the privilege to interview the Aga Khan.

1970: Mansoor Ladha interviewing His Highness the Aga Khan for Tanzania’s daily, The Standard (now Daily News). Photo: Mansoor Ladha Collection. Copyright.

Mehboob (Mebs), the youngest brother, was sponsored by Shiraz and his Catholic wife to study in America. The poor chap ended up in a Catholic school where he had to “confess” his sins every week and attend mass. He left with no verdict on his sinfulness but an abiding love of wine.

Ladha himself left his beloved Tanzania as he could no longer live in the post-independence Tanzania where nationalization had rendered his family financially emasculated and Africanization had closed the doors of employment at the highest echelons for all the muhindis. Such elite positions were reserved for Africans, as they were for Europeans in the colonial period.

He did visit his beloved Tanzania twice as a tourist and also made two journeys to his grandparents’ ancestral homes in Gujarat. Canada became his new, permanent home but the barriers facing non-white immigrants surfaced often. Through determination and even daring, he became the editor and publisher of several weeklies in Alberta. Later he retired after selling his newspaper business, making Calgary his home.

Suffice to say, this interesting and enlightening memoir should be worthy of consideration by diasporic book clubs. Most of the fifteen chapters contain experiences, episodes and opinions likely to generate animated exchanges.

Besides being a valuable addition to one’s own library, it would be a suitable gift for your colleagues and neighbors who often ask the diasporic muhindis: “What is your nationality?” But they actually are curious about your country of origin, why you are not black if you came from Africa, and reasons for being in “their” countries.

Finally, many readers may be inspired by Ladha‘s memoir to tell their own stories in their own memoirs.

Date posted: December 27, 2018.

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To acquire Mansoor Ladha’s book including the Kindle Edition please click https://www.amazon.ca/Memoirs-Muhindi-Fleeing-East-Africa/dp/0889774749.

Nizar Motani on the Aga KhanNizar A. Motani has a doctorate from the University of London (SOAS) in African history, specializing in British colonial rule in East Africa. He has been a college professor at Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME) and Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI). He was the first Publication Officer at the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London, UK). He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Readers will be also be interested in the following pieces by Dr. Motani that were published on Simerg and Barakah: 

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Additional reviews of Mansoor Ladha’s Memoirs at:

Reminiscences of Two Great Ismaili Missionaries of the 20th Century – Pir Sabzali and Meghji Missionary

“[Pir Sabzali and Meghji Missionary] drew all their courage and strength from their intense and ardent practice of Ibadat and went out to accomplish their missions with intelligence and knowledge, and with the firm belief that the help of Hazar Imam was always with them.”

A youthful portrait of the Ismaili missionary, Meghji Maherali (1881 – 1941), of Mombasa, Kenya. Photo Credit: Archives of the family of Meghji Missionary. Copyright.

BY IZAT VELJI

My profound gratitude and thanks [to the late Ameer Janmohamed] for sharing so much about Pir Sabzali – it is indeed a living history. The personal comments and recollections made his Thank You Letter to Pir Sabzali all the more interesting and real. The group picture shown below of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah with Ismaili missionaries astonished me because there in the photo staring back at me is my nanabapa [maternal grandfather]. I happen to be the proud grand-daughter of Missionary Meghji Maherali, seated at the extreme left in the centre row. In the same row, third from right, is Pir Sabzali.

Every time missionary Pir Sabzali came into Mombasa, he never left without visiting nanabapa. The two had ever so much to share. There was no rivalry, competition or one-upmanship between them. This was very evident from everything that my mother, Noorbanu, shared with us kids.

Mum said that at the dining table, Pir Sabzali and nanabapa shared stories about their travels and advised and helped each other on how to improve each other’s skills in establishing the various jamats they visited. They also discussed ways of improving their waezes [sermons] and participation in discussions so as to become more effective. Apparently, there was a lot of gentleness and warmth as well as mutual respect between them, and they had a soft sense of humour when they recounted personal anecdotes. It seems like they really fed off each other. Pir Sabzali would relay messages of blessings to nanabapa’s family from Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah.

Please click to enlarge and read caption. Photo: (Late) Ameer Janmohamed Collection. UK.

Later, they would retire to the front room where nanima would send a tray of chai and ‘goodies’ via my mum, who was then seven or eight years old. She remembered all this with so much pride and joy. My mum passed away in 2000. She said that the two missionaries would sit for hours apparently discussing all matters Ibadat (special worship prayers).

They drew all their courage and strength from their intense and ardent practice of Ibadat and went out to accomplish their missions with intelligence and knowledge, and with the firm belief that the help of Hazar Imam was always with them. With missionary Sabzali’s encouragement and help, nanabapa established a school of waezins in Mombasa, one of his recruits being my father, Noordin Koorjee. Even back then, our missionary leaders practised ‘succession planning’ so that Imam’s work would not come to a standstill after they passed on.

These two ashaqs [devotees] were very sincere in their service to Mawla, and deeply loyal to their Mashuq (the lord of the devotee).

STANDING BACK ROW- l to r: Missionary’s sons Gulamhussein, Fatehali, Sherali, Hussein; 2nd child Mehdi Gulamali is not in picture; SITTING ON CHAIRS – l to r: Daughters Khatija, Fatma, Missionary Meghji Maherali, wife Zainub with Hussein’s 3rd child Shirin, Hussein’s wife, Sikina; SITTING ON FLOOR – l to r: Dolat – Hussein’s 1st child, daughter Noorbanu (mother of Izat Velji, author of this article). Photo Credit: Archives of the family of Meghji Missionary. Copyright.

When Pir Sabzali’s health deteriorated and he was in his last days, Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah sent him a message saying that he still wished to send Sabzali to Africa. Missionary Sabzali died a few days later. This came verbally from my parents, not once but several times. I have no way of authenticating this statement, but if it’s true then only Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah and Mawlana Shah Karim, the present Imam, would know the true import and reach of this message to Pir Sabzali.

When nanabapa died, Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah sent a telegram to the Mombasa Council that “Missionary Meghji’s funeral be held with a lot of pomp because of Meghji’s long and wonderful service to the Mombasa jamat.” So, out came the Scouts Band, all spit and polish followed by the cubs and scouts troops followed by the jamat giving kandh to nanabapa all the way from Chief jamat khana to the cemetery. That’s a long distance.

Today, almost eighty years later, I stand head bowed, in sheer admiration for nanabapa and Missionary Sabzali, whose soul was granted Piratan by Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah. Incidents and events like these are simply overwhelming and sometimes difficult to grasp and comprehend. It is their spirit and devotion which keep the Jamat inspired.

Copyright: Izat Velji/Simerg.

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Editor’s note: Izat Velji’s piece originally appeared on this website in response to Ameer Janmohamed’s Thank You Letter to Pir Sabzali and the Ismaili Pirs of the Ginanic Tradition, which was  published as part of this website’s highly acclaimed third anniversary series on thanking Ismaili historical figures.

We welcome your feedback – please click Leave a comment.

About the writer: Izat Velji spent her early childhood years in Kenya and Tanzania. After completing her secondary schooling in Kenya, she pursued a degree in education and teaching at the University of Nairobi. She then settled in Canada where she completed her degree in Medical Lab Sciences. Later, she was recruited into the faculty of the Aga Khan School of Nursing in Karachi where she taught a number of science subjects including Clinical Microbiology and Basic Immunology. During her tenure in Karachi, she was very fortunate to have met His Highness the Aga Khan who visited her lab and class, once with the late Pakistani President Zia ul-Haqq, and on another occasion with his brother Prince Amyn. Encouraged by her husband, Izat also undertook voluntary assignments with the Aga Khan Health Board for Karachi to develop, conduct feasibilities as well as implement Health Education materials for the province of Sindh and the Northern Areas of Pakistan including Hunza and Chitral. The material that she helped prepare continues to be used today by AKDN Agencies such as Focus in their teaching modules. Since returning to Canada, Izat has been very active with the Ismaili community as a volunteer and especially with the Duke of Edinburgh’s program for youth aged 14 to 25. Most recently in 2011, she was acknowledged by the Governor General at the Gold Award Ceremony.

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Readers’ Reflections and Prayers for Grief-Stricken Syria

The following is a selection of comments received from readers in response to Simerg’s recent posts concerning Syria, namely:

LETTERS

Ya Ali Madad:

Friend, brother… I have so much pain in my heart, I can not write… my tears are bigger than my chances to talk. [We] are united and together to face the barbarism!

Abd an-Nur al-Gharib

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Being an Ismaili Muslim, we all have done bayah of the Imam of the Time and this means we are spiritual children of Mawlana Hazar Imam and he is our father and mother, which connects all murids around the world as Ismaili brothers and sisters.

My deep prayers, wishes, dua, bandagi, and concern for my brothers and sisters in Syria. May our beloved Hazar Imam, the Lord of din and duniya, please bestow his protection upon the jamat and guard them with his hands on their shoulders.

Mawla ease their difficulties, make the Syrian jamats prosperous, and bless them with long, healthy lives as well as abundance of peace and love.

Mawla, it is my humble prayer that with your divine grace and power, the murids facing difficulties are protected. Inshallah, these humble supplications will reach you. Ameen.

Amirali Minsariya

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Difficult times do come in life of an individual or jamat but we must face them with courage and patience. I just want to tell my brothers and sisters in faith dwelling in Salamiyah that you are not alone there; we all are with you and will stand by you and we are ready to help you in any possible way we can.

Rizwan Shariff

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Our prayer is for your peace! It is terrible to perceive that we are unable to help you physically.

Vasila Bozichaeva

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Dear Syrian Brothers and Sisters.

I am writing this to you from USA to let you know that our prayers and good wishes are always with you. May Mowlana Hazar Imam grant all Syrian Murids respite from their troubles and bless them with peace and prosperity.

Karim Hasham

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Ignorant as I am in Arabic, the English version you have given out of this Prayer (Naad-e-Ali) with beautiful Arabic script that sadly I cannot read, but can hear it and share it with our afflicted brethren not just in Syria but also in Bahrain, Iran and more currently with Shia in Sana’a in Yemen. This, the most powerful prayer of Nade Ali in its entirety rings in my ears and jogs my memory of times when I have addressed it to Mowla.

Since our young days our parents taught us lovingly while comforting us. When any of us face tribulations, for Mushkeel Asaan we privately recite it connecting as if on a direct line, a personal phone call to Ali. He is engraved in our hearts; this supplication is embossed deep down in our soul as the SOS, ultimate call out to help us, to our Mowla Ali present our ‘ghat’ closer than our jugular vein. Ginans: ‘Rome rome maaro Shah vase, jem champa phul manhe vaas…avun Janine bhagatai kijiye …’

Enough. Words fail me as I bow down my head in Sujjud with all his created human kind. Thank you for the beautiful gift of ‘Nade Ali’ to us, the victims of atrocities, pain and suffering. Ameen.

Zarinaspeaks

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It is indeed heart rendering and heart wrenching to see such cruelty taking place in Syria. It is my hope and prayer that sanity prevails and may Almighty Allah give strength and courage to the families who have lost their kith and kin and may their souls rest in eternal peace in the world beyond and they attain Jannathul Firdhouse.

Amyn Chatoor

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Ya Ali Madad,

I am Jalal from Salamieh, and I am an Ismaili teacher in the National council. From my side, I believe that your prayers with ours can open the sky for the end of this stupid civil war. So far, I really appreciate your interests and deep emotions about the Ismaili brothers and sisters.

Your brother in faith.

Jalal

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My deepfelt condolences to each and every family who has lost loved ones and intense prayers that Mawla gives you the courage to bear this loss and that Salamiya and indeed Syria returns to peace and tranquility. You are not alone; of that you can be sure! The world Ismailis are with you. You will prevail, inshallah! It must be so terrifying having ISIS at your doorstep! The threat is so very real.

Izat

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I feel extremely saddened by the torture and brutality that the jamat of Syria is facing. Our sincere prayers for their mushkil asan. May the peace and safety soon return to Syria.

Syria jamat please stay strong to your faith. We stand by you in your difficult times.

Nessa

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Time and again, in his farmans of recent years, especially during the Golden Jubilee Mowlana Hazar Imam has said to the jamat to say a silent prayer. Calling the names of the imams, or Prophet Mohammed or Ali. Also the most powerful prayer is the Salwat.
The Syrian jamat is going through a lot of difficult times and we pray for peace to be restored for them. Amen.

Ya Ali Tun Reham Kar, Ya Mowla Tun Fazal Kar, Har Bhala Tun Dur Kar, Mushkil ku Asaan, Mowla Ali.

Shirin Hirji

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Our prayers are with the bravest jamat in the world! May ALLAH protect you from all brutal acts of so-called Muslims. Syria is in our prayers.

Maqsood Ali Khan

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Thank you for the opportunity to interact. The situation is very dangerous in Salamieh. We are tracked in the city from both the east and the west by the ISIS and al Nusra fronts. The soldiers from Salamieh belong to Government force trying to defend. Note that Salamieh is represented by numerous Muslim tariqahs. We have lived peacefully together for many many years. We have some choices including:

1. The hope that Canadian air forces will also play a role around Salamieh;
2. More military support to Salamieh from the regime; and
3. Possible plane evacuation of women and children from the city in case we can’t defend the city any more.

No doubt, there is support to the community from AKDN, but it is like staying here (and dying?). Yesterday the rebels fired 2 missile at Salamieh and 10 people died, with 30 injured.

The world should move to stop this dangerous situation around Salamieh.

Ya Ali Madad

Ali

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Dear brothers and sisters:

Every moment holds love if we connect inside. Like the sea’s calm beneath, God’s strength rules if we submit the tides and ripples of pain to Him in total surrender and say Salwaat or His name in jaap continuously. Ali bolo Munivar jan Ali ke charan chint lao ek man. Solace and peace come from knowing that we are always in His sight even though we may not be able to see Him. This pain is necessary to awaken. Just submit all pain to Him aape uthi shah ne besan dije vira, sohi tamara dharam likhaiya (You get up and have Him sit at the driver’s seat of your heart, your religion is only that much. Ask Him continuously your next step, tauba shukhar madad).

Jal tu Jalal tu , Kudrat no karnaar tu , Har bala taad tu, Mushkil asaan kar tu Ya Ali Ya Ali Ya Ali

With love, prayers, light. We are one soul, we suffer with your suffering too. Rest assured that is true.

Naaz

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Ya Ali Madad,

I am extremely grief stricken to know about my beloved spiritual brothers and sisters along with our little Masoom angles to be the victims of horrendous brutalities of ISIS thugs. May our beloved Mowlana Hazir Imam help the jamat all over to get away with their worldly and spiritual challenges and may GOD bestow them the highest place in Jannah. Let us pray to Mowla to keep all humanity under his gracious custody safe and secure. The humanity is under threat and it is time that we all need to stay united and face them without any fear. They will meet their fate soon and will burn in hell. Their end is near.

Tahira Noor

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Your message has a very deep and touching impact on the Syrian Jamat. Your continuous support and prayers will definitely make a change hopefully.

With Ya Ali Madad

Mahmoud Syria

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Dearest Ismaili parents, brothers, sisters and children:

We are deeply sad for the difficult circumstances you are facing. We might be far but our hearts are heavy with grief. We cannot reach you but we are of the same spiritual parent that makes us pray for you more strongly. Inshallah Mowla will help you overcome this very difficult moment in your lives. Allah bless all the departed souls in eternal peace Ameen.

Nade Ali, Nade Ali. Ya Mawla to madat kar, mushkil assan kar, rahem kar.  Shukr Alhamdulillah.

Ya Ali Madad.

Zeenat Salim

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My prayers for our Syrian brothers and sisters. May Mawla bring peace and security to your homes. May the departed souls rest in peace. Ameen.

Amin Hunzai

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This is beyond troubling. It is like going back to the time of Genghis Khan who committed the same barbaric acts.

Mallee Stanley

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We remember you at this time and pray that peace return to you, your great city and great country. We remember you prayed for us when we were expelled from Uganda. We remember you were beloved of Prince Aly Khan and he of you – “Salamiyah ke pyare, himatwale, tumko lakho salaam”, we used to sing. (Beloved of Salamiyah, the brave one, 100 thousand greetings to you.) How he dashed out over the mountains from Beirut to declare to you that the naas had been passed to Karim al Husseini. May peace be upon him who rests in your city and may peace reign over you again. You are not forgotten.

Vali Jamal

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All I think of is how our beloved Hazar Imam must be feeling. Can you imagine how much this must hurt him? The scariest thing is there doesn’t seem to be an end to this war. In fact, things are just getting worse in so many countries – in Yemen too. Sincere prayers always.

Rashida Rahemtulla

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I pray to Hazar Imam that whatever sewa that I have done, the benefit of that service should go to my brothers and sisters in Syria. Ameen.

Karim Jivraj

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You are very right; with complete faith if one recites Nad-e-Ali; and Inshallah success will be positive. This particular piece of writing made my day.

Manji

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God: Keep and save Syria and defend its good people, culture and its deep history. Ameen, Ameen Ameen. Ya Allah, Ya Muhammad, Ya Ali, defeat its enemies. “There is no hero but Ali; there is no sword but Dhu’lfaqar”.

Hatim Mahamid

Date posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015.

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If you missed the earlier posts, please click on the following links:

We invite our readers to offer their solidarity with the Ismaili jamat in Syria and the people of Syria by conveying their heartfelt wishes and prayers by clicking on Leave a comment or in the comment box below. If you encounter any difficulty in submitting your comment, please email your comment for publication to Simerg@aol.com, subject “Syria.” Please note that we never publish your email address with your feedback, and that you may submit your feedback using a pen name or a partial name, if you wish.

In Memoriam: Mohammed Ibrahim Ali (1925 – 2014) by Enoo

PLEASE CLICK: In Memoriam: Mohammed Ibrahim Ali

 A SON’S TRIBUTE TO A LOVING FATHER

Renowned Ismaili musician and composer, Enoo, pictured with his beloved dad in 2005 before the Vancouver  mulaqat with Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Enoo archives.

Renowned Ismaili musician and composer, Enoo, pictured with his beloved dad in Vancouver in 2005 before the mulaqat with Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Enoo archives.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Simerg invites obituaries/in memoriam pieces honouring deceased family members. Please see submission guidelines and examples by clicking Obituaries and Tributes.

A Story from ‘Pyara Imam ni Pyari Wato’: Historical Memories by Sairab Abuturabi and Jaferali Bhalwani

Loving Tales of our Beloved Imams: (I) Farazdaq’s Praise and Support of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.)

“…This tale belongs to ages past. It goes back to the era of Hazrat Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), our third Imam, from whose veins was to ensue the Divine Line of the Imams. He was the Imam who, on the battlefield of Karbala, received the nass of Imamat from his father, Hazrat Imam Hussain (a.s.) with the blessing: “Through you the line of Imamat will continue till the Day of Judgment…”

Please click for story

The Holy Qur’an: An Anecdote from His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visit to an Ismaili Religious Night School

In this piece Kamaluddin Mohammed, a prominent and highly respected Ismaili scholar and missionary explains the importance of studying the Holy Qur’an, and gives an anecdote from a religious night school visit made by the current 49th Imam of the Ismailis, His Highness the Aga Khan, during his visit to India in 1967.

PLEASE CLICK:  Ismaili Children’s Understanding of the Holy Qur’an Gives Immense Happiness to Mawlana Hazar Imam

Calligraphy writing has been a preeminent Islamic art since the seventh century when the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and recorded in the Arabic language. Controlled, angular lettering called Kufic script was commonly employed in the writing of early Qurans. This folio from the Qur'an, is Sura 9, "Repentance" (al-Tauba), verses 31-32, Near East or North Africa, ca. 900. Photo:  Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Please click on image for article.

Calligraphy writing has been a preeminent Islamic art since the seventh century when the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and recorded in the Arabic language. Controlled, angular lettering called Kufic script was commonly employed in the writing of early Qurans. This folio from the Qur’an, is Sura 9, “Repentance” (al-Tauba), verses 31-32, Near East or North Africa, ca. 900. Photo: Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Please click on image for article.

Simerg Exclusive Interview: Samina Baig, the First Pakistani and Ismaili Woman to Climb Mt. Everest, Sets Ambitious Goal to Conquer the World’s Seven Summits

On May 19, 2013, at precisely 7:40 am, Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman to reach the peak of the world`s highest mountain, Everest, and proudly place on it the flag of Pakistan as well as that of the Ismaili Imamat, which is often referred to as ‘My Flag’ by members of the Ismaili community. She spent 10 minutes on the summit as her mentor, trainer and proud older brother, Mirza Ali Baig, watched her unique accomplishment from a few hundred metres away….Continue Reading This World Exclusive Interview

Samina Baig climbing Mt. Everest. Photo: Mirza Ali. Copyright.

Samina Baig climbing Mt. Everest. Photo: Mirza Ali. Copyright. Click on image to read interview.

PLEASE CLICK: Simerg’s Exclusive Interview with Mirza Ali and his Sister Samina Baig Who Became the First Ismaili and Pakistani Woman to Reach the Summit of Mt. Everest

 

Shaheeds Khudabaksh Talib, Karmali Dahya and Lalji Ladha: An Account of their 1925 Tragic Accident in Tanganyika by Sadru Meghji

“This account of a Jamati tragedy that occurred almost ninety years ago, in 1925,  is based on an authentic Gujarati narrative that was prepared by an officer  of the Aga Khan Council in Dar-es-Salaam, just four days after the accident that took the lives of three Ismailis, namely Khudabaksh Talib, Karmali Dahya and Lalji Ladha, who were bestowed with the title of Shaheeds….” — Sadru Meghji

Please click: A True Account of How Three Ismaili “Shaheeds” Lost Their Lives in a Tragic Accident in 1925 Near Kilosa, Tanganyika

Portraits of the three Shahids, Karmali Dahya, Lalji Ladha and Missionary Khudabaksh Talib (right), who died when their lorry slid into a ditch near Kilosa in 1925. The photo was displayed in the lobbies of jamatkhanas around East Africa at the instruction of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957). Photo: Anverali Talib Family Collection, Montreal, PQ, Canada.

Portraits of the three Shaheeds, Karmali Dahya, Lalji Ladha and Missionary Khudabaksh Talib (right), who died when their lorry slid into a ditch near Kilosa in 1925. The photo was displayed in the lobbies of jamatkhanas around East Africa at the instruction of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957). Photo: Anverali Talib Family Collection, Montreal, PQ, Canada.

Ismaili Youth and Students Thrilled to Receive Invitations to Massey Hall Gathering to Honour their 49th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan – Simerg Wants Your Stories and Photos!

Simerg Welcomes Eye Witness Accounts of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Parliament Address and His Presence at the Iconic Massey Hall

Massey Hall is a performing arts theatre in the Garden District of downtown Toronto. The theatre originally was designed to seat 3,500 patrons but, after extensive renovations in the 1940s, now seats nearly 2800. Photo via blogto.com.

Massey Hall is a performing arts theatre in the Garden District of downtown Toronto. The theatre originally was designed to seat 3,500 patrons but, after extensive renovations in the 1940s, now seats nearly 2800. Photo via blogto.com.

Many dozens of Ismaili youth and university students living and studying in close proximity to Metro Toronto were pleasantly surprised to receive an email invitation for a gathering on Friday, February 28th at 2pm at Toronto’s iconic Massey Hall in which His Highness the Aga Khan will be present. This event will follow his historic address in Ottawa at the Canadian Parliament on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at the invitation of the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

Recipients of the email were left wondering whether the email invitation was indeed some kind of a spam, and many youth were contemplating on not replying to the invitation. But with key government of Canada phone numbers and details listed in the email most were expected to confirm their attendance by the February 24th deadline.

An elderly Ismaili who also received an email invitation proudly forwarded it to his contacts, including the editor of this website. The invitation to him read:

Dear (name withheld),

The Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper is pleased to invite you to an event in honour of His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.

Prime Minister Harper will be joined by Minister Baird, Minister Kenney, Minister Alexander, and other Ministers and Parliamentarians.

The event will be held at Massey Hall on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 2 p.m. in Toronto, Ontario in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, to honour him on the occasion of his visit to Canada and address to Parliament the previous day.

The dress code for this event is business attire.

Please confirm your attendance and mailing address by replying to this email no later than February 24th, 2014. Upon confirmation of your attendance, additional details regarding the event at Massey Hall will be sent to you.

Kindly note this invitation is personal and non-transferable.

Best regards,

Name and contact information withheld

Congratulations to him and all others who will participate at the historic ceremonies.

If you are at the Parliament on Thursday or at Massey Hall on Friday we would like you to share your experience and story for the benefit of this website’s world-wide readers. Your contribution will be appreciated by everyone.  Please click on  Leave a comment and provide as much information from the event(s) as you can, including your own personal and memorable experience. If you have a Facebook or other social media page or blog provide the link. Photos (as well as your narrative) may also be submitted to Simerg@aol.com.

A special post will be created with everyone’s stories and photos to mark the historical occasion!

Date posted: Monday, February 24, 2014.

Copyright.

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See also:

Special Series — Ismaili Oral Testimonies from the Mountains of Northern Pakistan: (I) A Mountaineer’s Adventures

“…In the Diamir Face, Nanga Parbat is one of the most difficult and technical mountain to climb. Where there is 100 metres of negative incline climbing, and in that wall there are stairs in four places and one has to hang on those places….You cannot rest freely on the climbing route of Nanga Parbat, if you walk for eight hours then you have to stay on the rope for eight hours for having rest. It is not like G-2 and Broad Peak where you can rest, you can sit and then continue your climbing. But in Nanga Parbat you have to stay bent on the rope continuously for eight hours with no possibility of sitting down…”

PLEASE CLICK: Mountain Voices —  Ismaili Testimonies of Life in the Remote Mountains of Pakistan: (I) A Mountaineer’s Adventure

The road to school is full of potential dangers for Shimshal children. Photo: Pam Henson. Copyright.

The road to school is full of potential dangers for Shimshal children. Photo: Pam Henson. Copyright.