Flashback 2016, Photograph and Video: Tears of Joy in Kyrgyzstan as His Highness the Aga Khan Blesses Ismailis

In a spontaneous moment, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad — may peace be upon him and his family — walks towards his Ismaili followers and gives them blessings for everything they wish for. Please click MORE or on photo below to read stories and photographs from 1979 (London, England) and 2016 (Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.)

Aga Khan Kyrgyzstan blessings simerg and barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, blesses a crowd during his visit to Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, in October 2016. Please click on photo for inspiring stories from 1979 and 2016

Featured image at top of post: A snapshot from a digital portrait rendition of His Highness the Aga Khan by Toronto’s Ismaili artist Akbar Kanji that, through hundreds of thumbnails, features the Ismaili Imam’s contribution to his community and the world at large. The work is dated 2011. For the artist, the concept is to “portray our Imam’s entire life and his dedications at a glance which we cannot imagine until we come closer to him.”

Date posted: January 27, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Ismaili Cultural Centre, Port Moddy, News, Simerg

New Ismaili Cultural Centre Being Proposed for Port Moody, British Columbia – Details and Excellent Artistic Renderings

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

According to Wikipedia, “Port Moody is a city in British Columbia, Canada, and a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. It envelops the east end of Burrard Inlet and is the smallest of the Tri-Cities, bordered by Coquitlam on the east and south and by Burnaby on the west.”

A new Ismaili Cultural Centre housing a Jamatkhana is being proposed in the city to replace the one further to the west that had to close down due to structural problems. Veteran journalist Mario Bartel presents a report dated January 18, 2023 in TRICITY News about the proposed cultural centre that would also include a 12-sorey residential rental tower. Please read Bartel’s report by clicking HERE or on image below.

Also, click on Anthem Properties: Rental housing tower with Jamatkhana cultural hub proposed for Port Moody for an excellent presentation of the proposed Ismaili Cultural Centre, including maps, street views and a number of artistic renderings.

Ismaili Cultural Centre, Port Moddy, News, Simerg
Artistic rendering of the proposed Ismaili Cultural Centre to be located at 3180 St. Johns Street, Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada. Photograph: IBI Group/Anthem Properties.

Date posted: January 21, 2023.

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Related: Please click Anthem Properties: Rental housing tower with Jamatkhana cultural hub proposed for Port Moody

REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Maleksultan and Jehangir Merchant’s Contribution to the IIS: Cataloguing Khojki Manuscripts and Gujarati Translation of Farhad Daftary’s Short History of the Ismailis

By MALIK MERCHANT

January 21, 2023, marks the 2nd anniversary of the death of my beloved mother, “Mrs. Merchant“. She and my late dad, Jehangir, who passed away in May 2018, worked hand in hand for over 60 years in the service of the Ismaili community, its institutions and the Imam-of-the-Time, Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. In their service, they also contributed to the work of the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS.)

My mum could read the Khojki script, and she and my dad undertook the task of cataloguing the Khojki manuscripts at the IIS. As the manuscripts had been transferred onto microfiche, the IIS provided my parents with a microfiche reader which enabled them to catalogue the manuscripts.

mr and mrs merchant
Photograph: Tribute album prepared by the BUI students of London, England, on the retirement of Mr. and Mrs. Merchant. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

On January 20, Simerg’s sister website produced a piece about the honour that was given to Dr. Farhad Daftary on January 18, 2023, for his devoted services to the Institute of Ismaili Studies, which he joined in 1988.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan was present at the event and expressed everyone’s gratitude to Dr. Daftary for his lifetime of work to the field of Ismaili studies. During his long tenure at the IIS, Dr. Daftary authored or edited 23 books and oversaw the publication of 150 books as well as contributed countless articles in scholarly journals and encyclopedias.

Most recently, in 2020, Dr. Daftary published a much anticipated volume entitled The Ismaili Imams: A Biographical History. The much sought book, unfortunately, has been a hard find at literature counters in Calgary and in other parts of Canada. I think very little effort has been made to restock the title, as I get a blank stare from literature counter members when I ask about the availability of the book and when they are expected to receive more stock! Perhaps, this important book is out of print and if that be the case then the IIS should certainly reprint it. This is one work that the Jamat had waited for more than 40 years since the IIS was established on December 13, 1977.

However, of all the books that Daftary published over the past 30 years, there is one that will always remain his seminal contribution to Ismaili studies. Entitled The Ismalis: Their History and Doctrines, the first edition was published in the early 1990’s and the 2nd edition came out in 2007. The voluminous 800 page book was more suited to scholars, researchers and keen readers of history. A few years later, in 1998, Dr. Daftary published a shorter version of the volume under the title A Short History of the Ismailis. Translations were done in numerous European languages.

Front and back cover flap of the Gujarati translation of Dr. Farhad Daftary’s work A Short History of the Ismailis. The translation was done under the title Ismailiono Toonk Itihas by Ismaili missionaries Jehangir Merchant and Sultanali Mohamed.

My dad was approached and whole heartedly accepted the challenge to do the Gujarati translation of the work. His Gujarati was very good but he was a very humble man. He sought the help of his missionary colleague Sultanali Mohamed to assist him and improve the translation even further.

Until the commencement of this project, my dad had looked after himself well physically. Such was his stamina that my daughter, Nurin, who went to visit him before he began the translation told me that during her morning walks with her grandad, he would outpace her leaving her metres behind. All this physical activity that he had conducted for years, came to a standstill once he undertook the Gujarati translation. He devoted day and night to the translation. He wanted the translation to be as perfect as possible and ensure that it adhered to Dr. Daftary’s style of writing. It wasn’t easy but he did it sincerely and from the bottom of his heart.

Missionary Sultanali Mohamed (1927-2020), co-translator with Jehangir Merchant of Farhad Daftary’s Short History of the Ismailis.

Sultanali missionary and my mum were very closely involved in the translation. The book went to India for printing and my dad insisted that he should see the proofs before the book was published.

What a shock when the proofs came back! The translation had been altered in many parts of the book and mistakes had been introduced. He decided to withdraw his name as the translator if the book was to be published in its sub-standard revised form without his approval He was deeply hurt, and responded to Dr. Daftary citing examples of the alterations that had been made in many parts of the book that were not acceptable to him. Moreover, numerous errors had been introduced. He found it hard to understand why the changes were made. He and Sultanali would have accepted the proof if it was better than the translation they had submitted for publication.

Dr. Daftary respectfully requested my dad to do the needful to bring the translation to its original form. My dad spent the next several weeks and reworked on the proofs that he had been provided. Throughout his dedicated time, he would have in front of him Gujarati-English dictionaries to ensure the best possible translation. He and my mum were thorough in all the services they rendered to Jamati institutions which they had begun in the early 1950’s after qualifying as missionaries and religious education teachers. Their first professional job was as teachers in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique.

Finally, after weeks of additional hard work, my dad and Sultanali’s translation was published and I have published, above, an image of the cover of the book. It doesn’t carry their names on the cover flap. However, they are listed in the inside title page of the book, shown below.

A cropped image of the inside title page of the Gujarati translation of Dr. Farhad Daftary's book A Short History of the Ismailis. The names of translators, Jehangir Alibhai Merchant and Sultanali Mohamed, appear on the last two lines of the page. Simerg
A cropped image of the inside title page of the Gujarati translation of Dr. Farhad Daftary’s book A Short History of the Ismailis. The names of translators, Jehangir Alibhai Merchant and Sultanali Mohamed, appear on the last two lines of the page.

I vividly recollect his dedication to Dr. Daftary’s book. Even I was ignored during my visits to Vancouver. Such was his love and dedication during his service to institutions. We were their “secondary children”, their students always receiving the highest priority but we accepted that throughout our lives. They sought and did everything for our education and to raise us to be good murids of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

On this day, we as a family pray for the rest of their souls in eternal peace. Their contribution to the Jamat was sincere. They worked hard for Jamati institutions and did the very best to set the best possible standards for themselves and their students. My mum is still fondly remembered by her students for the number of times she would call them when they had recitation duties in Jamatkhana — whether it was delivering prayers, ginans, waeze’s (sermons) or any other literary or religious recital. She wanted to ensure they were well prepared and fully ready for their recitations.

My parents had aspirations for their children and grandchildren as well as the youth of the Jamat, and I sincerely hope that we are able to fulfill their hopes and expectations of being good Ismaili Muslims, following its ethics and maintaining our devotion and love for Mawlana Hazar Imam.

Date posted: January 20, 2023.
Last updated: January 21, 2023 (see correction note below.)

Correction: An earlier version of the post stated that Mrs. Merchant was involved in the transliteration of titles of Khojki manuscripts at the IIS. She was actually involved in cataloguing the manuscripts with her husband, Jehangir. The oversight is regretted and the post has been revised.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Must Attend Event in Calgary, Saturday, January 21, 2023: Screening of Aleem Karmali’s Acclaimed Film “Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda” – Please Watch Trailer and Reserve Your Tickets Now

“What an absolutely marvelous job you did in creating this work… How very important it was for you to do this because I think it gives a truer picture of what actually happened… Your film should be more widely distributed – especially to schools. To learn that our decisions can have significant repercussions is an important idea to understand” — Jennifer Shelley, Edmonton

Note: The event is now over.

[Simerg is delighted to inform its readers, especially those living in and around the Calgary area, that Edmonton based filmmaker Aleem Karmali is travelling to Calgary for the screening of his highly acclaimed film “Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda”, on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at the Globe Cinema located at 617 8 Ave SW, Calgary. The doors to the cinema will open at 1:00 PM and the film will commence shortly thereafter. At the screening, Aleem will engage in a discussion with Honourable Salma Lakhani, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, whose appointment to the position was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 30, 2020. Salma herself became stateless when Idi Amin announced the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in August 1972. As readers may be aware, Simerg had carried a special article on Salma Lakhani with a link to an interview she gave to the Canadian Geographic magazine. We sincerely hope Calgary residents will fill up the cinema for Karmali’s film. Tickets are only $10.00 and can be purchased by clicking on EVENTBRITE. At Simerg’s invitation, Aleem Karmali has prepared the following short introductory piece about the film he is screening in Calgary — Ed.]

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The Ugandan Asian Refugees: Canada’s First Major Movement of Non-European Refugees

Ugandan refugees at the Montreal Longue Pointe reception centre. Aleem Karmali fiml story on Simerg
Ugandan refugees at the Montreal Longue Pointe reception centre. Photograph: Library and Archives Canada, sourced from https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=fonandcol&IdNumber=4332941, Creative Commons.

By ALEEM KARMALI

The story of the Ugandan Asian refugees has received a fair amount of coverage in the past year, marking the 50th anniversary of Idi Amin’s expulsion of South Asians from Uganda in 1972. The expulsion targeted around 50 thousand people from a diverse array of ethnic and religious backgrounds, including several thousand Ismaili Muslims. 

Often when these stories are told, they focus on the experiences of the refugees during the expulsion, their settlement in the UK, Canada, or other countries, and their contributions to their new societies. Typically, the story begins with Idi Amin’s expulsion order and they rarely engage with the damaging legacy of British colonialism in shaping the tangled historical context leading up to the expulsion. 

In Canada specifically, the stories often focus specifically on Ismailis. However, while the Ismailis were the largest group that came to Canada, this was actually a diverse community, including many Goans, Hindus, Sikhs, and other Muslims. 

DOCUMENTING AN UNTOLD CANADIAN STORY 

When I set out to make a documentary film about the expulsion, I wanted to tell the Canadian story in a slightly different way than others had generally approached it. I approached the expulsion as a key moment in Canadian refugee and immigration history. 

The Ugandan Asians were the first major movement of non-European and non-white refugees accepted in Canadian history. We tend to view Canada today as a multicultural, diverse, and pluralistic society. However, it was not always so. 

Canada’s early history had very exclusionary immigration policies rooted in Canada’s history as a British colony. Eventually, Canadian immigration policies began to change, laying the foundations for Canada’s decision to accept almost 8,000 Ugandan refugees. 

The Uganda movement also left a legacy in Canada. The generally positive perception of the Ugandan refugees opened the door to more, and larger, refugee movements from outside Europe, including the Boat People in the late 1970s, and later movements from Afghanistan and Syria. 

Another legacy is that the experiences of Canadian immigration officials on the ground in Uganda led to new policies, particularly the world’s first policy of private sponsorship of refugees. 

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THE FILM: “THROWN INTO CANADA”

The film, Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda,” is a 77-minute feature-length documentary, which premiered in November 2022 in Edmonton. It has also been featured at Carleton University’s “Beyond Resettlement” conference and was a selection in the Waterloo Region Migration Film Festival

The film features interviews with historians, Canadian immigration officials, and former Ugandan refugees from the Ismaili, Goan, and Hindu communities. Notable interviews include Dr. Shezan Muhammedi, Prof. Karim H. Karim, Senator Mobina Jaffer, and Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, the 19th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. 

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Watch Trailer

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CALGARY SCREENING: JANUARY 21, 2023, GLOBE CINEMA, DOORS OPEN 1:00 PM; AND LINK TO PURCHASE TICKETS

An upcoming screening will be held on Saturday, January 21 in Calgary at the Globe Cinema617 8 Ave SW, Calgary — followed by a panel discussion with Her Honour Salma Lakhani and myself. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by clicking on EVENTBRITE.

The film is independently-produced with grant funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council.

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TESTIMONIALS ON THE FILM

The following is feedback received from previous screenings of the film:

“I want to compliment you on a superb documentary.” — Michael Molloy, Canadian Immigration Official in Kampala in 1972

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“It is beautifully told – written and visual. I love many creative elements you’ve included and I was so happy to hear so many voices.” — Shelley Ayres, Producer/Director of “Expelled: My Roots in Uganda” (CTV)

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“The film was so well made, and I learned so much.” — Ikhlas Hussain, Waterloo Public Library

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“What a wonderful contribution!!”  — Dr. Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Associate Professor of Muslim Societies at Georgetown University

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“What an absolutely marvelous job you did in creating this work… How very important it was for you to do this because I think it gives a truer picture of what actually happened… Your film should be more widely distributed – especially to schools. To learn that our decisions can have significant repercussions is an important idea to understand.” — Jennifer Shelley, Edmonton Resident

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PURCHASE TICKETS

Again, tickets for the film can be purchased by clicking on EVENTBRITE.

Date posted: January 17, 2023.
Last updated: January 20, 2023 (trailer added.)

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Aleem Karmali is a filmmaker, writer and educator based in Edmonton, Canada, Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda
Aleem Karmali

Aleem Karmali is an independent documentary filmmaker, writer and educator based in Edmonton, Canada. Through his company Crescent Productions, his films generally explore the intersections of history, diversity, culture and religion, with a particular focus on the contributions of Muslim civilizations to the world. He is also an alumnus of The Institute of Ismaili Studies and has produced several projects for The.Ismaili and the Aga Khan Development Network over the years. He also contributed The Unveiling at Sijilmasa for Simerg’s acclaimed series I Wish I’d Been There.

REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Morant’s Curve: One of the World’s Premiere Train Lookout Points in Banff National Park’s Bow Valley Parkway

Malik Merchant returns to Banff National Park after 15 long years, and this time at the start of 2023 in the thick of winter. His photographs will bring you closer to one of Canada’s top destinations and you will be awed with what you learn and see about Morant’s Curve as well as a rare endangered snail that only lives in Banff’s sulphur springs….and, of course, we have other Rocky Mountain photographs too! You must read and share this beautiful post. CLICK FOR MORE! Or click on photos, below.

Can you spot the endangered snail? Click on image for more photographs from the Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff’. Photograph: Malik Merchant.

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Morant's Curve, Malik Merchant Simerg Photos.
Morant’s Curve, Bow Valley Parkway, Hwy 1A, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Please click on photo for more beautiful photographs. Photograph: Malik Merchant.

Date posted: January 14, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

His Highness the Aga Khan: Anchor Links to 2021-2022 Stories on the 49th Ismaili Imam and a New Page for 2023

More than 35 stories can now be easily accessed through anchor links on Barakah’s revised page covering 2021-2022 news events related to His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family. Please click July 13, 2021 – December 31, 2021: Aga Khan or on image below, following which we have a link to the start-up page for 2023 events.

Aga Khan News: Anchor Links 2021- 2022 Stories

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Aga Khan News 2023: Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Zahra at UN Conference Climate Resilient Pakistan

Climate Resilient Pakistan January 9 2023, Geneva, Palais des Nations, Simerg News
A view of delegates attending “Climate Resilient Pakistan” in the conference hall at the UN building in Geneva, Palais des Nations, on January 9, 2023. Photograph: UN Photo/Violaine Martin.

Featured photo at top of post: Prince Rahim Aga Khan, oldest son of the Aga Khan, visits the Vatican, November 2022.

Date posted: January 10, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Memories of Pelé (1940 – 2022): The Most Beloved Football Player of All Time

“I think the secret to success is to respect people, to be prepared, always, and then never never think that you are the best” — Pelé (watch VOA video clip, below)

By MALIK MERCHANT

When the FIFA World Cup began in Qatar on November 20, 2022, our thoughts were with Pelé as he was reported to be in the last stages of his life. Of course, for that reason alone, many neutrals would have wished for Brazil to win the world cup in honour of everyone’s favourite, Pelé. Brazil were eventually defeated in the quarter finals in a penalty shootout against Croatia; Pelé continued to live but finally succumbed to his illness on Thursday, December 29, 2022, at the age of 82.

The entire sporting world is in mourning and tributes are pouring in from footballers and football fans from around the world — and even from world leaders! Both President Biden and former President Obama have issued their own sentiments and feelings about the death of the king of soccer, Pelé, who defined football as the beautiful game. With players like him and his contemporary the great Eusébio  (d. 2014) of Portugal, Argentina’s Diego Maradonna (d. 2020), France’s Zinedine Zidane, Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, Holland’s Johan Cruyff (d. 2016) and others, as well as today’s rising star Mbappe of PSG and France along with the astonishing Messi and Ronaldo who would not agree with that definition?

Story continues below

Pelé pictured before facing Boca Juniors in the second leg of 1963 Copa Libertadores Finals at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires. He is the all-time leading goalscorer for Santos FC. Photograph: Via Wikipedia, Public Domain..

In the late 1950’s and during the 1960’s, young kids like me growing up in Africa became fans of Brazil for one reason alone: Pelé. Our hearts would break and we would be plunged into utter sadness for days after Brazil’s loss, and this was felt in 1966 when Brazil failed to win the third consecutive world cup after winning the 1958 and 1962 world cups, with Pelé being instrumental in those successes.

Pelé (Number 10) dribbles past 3 players in the 1958 World Cup against Sweden. Photograph: Public domain

We would all show up at the air conditioned (New) Chox cinema in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to watch the highlights of the world cup that had been condensed into a film of 90 minutes. The cinema showings were jam packed and it was like being in a real football match. Emotions ran high. It was painful to see Brazil lose and not proceed beyond the group stage in 1966 — Pelé was apparently hacked down with tackles and fouls throughout the group round matches and especially against Bulgaria. The knee injury he sustained made him ineffective in the last group game against Portugal. Four year later, in 1970, we were bubbling with joy as we watched Brazil win the world cup for the third time with Pelé at centre stage.

Pelé and Benfica’s Eusébio Visit Mozambique

In the late fifties, I was in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) and Brazil brought a team to Mozambique, composed of Pelé along with other Brazilian star players — Didi, Vava, Garrincha and so on. But I was still very young to recall much about the match. However the name Pelé remained transfixed in my mind from that moment onwards. Another great footballer — he was actually born in Mozambique — was no other than Eusébio, who was nicknamed the Black Panther. He ended up playing in Portugal for Benfica, who became the Portuguese champions in 1961/2 and went on to defeat Real Madrid in the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) in 1962, a game that I listened live at Aziz Noorali’s place, my next door neighbour. Eusébio scored in a stunning 5-3 victory.

Benfica toured Mozambique and brought their star player Eusébio to play against the Mozambique national side at either the Desportivo or Sporting Stadium (they were adjacent to each other). An Ismaili name Sattar Issa, a central defender, played for the Mozambique team. Though thoroughly thrashed by Benfica 7-3 with Eusebio scoring 3 or 4 goals, Sattar’s performance impressed Benfica so much that it was rumoured he would be leaving Mozambique to play for Benfica. However, that did not materialize. One other outstanding Ismaili player before Sattar who played for the league team Ferroviário and also the Mozambique national side was the late Amir Ismail, whose final home was in Vancouver. My mum was a fan of his and she would warn him to go to bed early and not go about galavanting at night before game day. He deeply respected my parents, as did Sattar, who was also a hard hitting cricket batsman. There were other Ismaili football stars including Amir Merali — I think he and Sattar played for rival teams, Sporting and Desportivo. In one crucial game between the two teams that I attended — and, I think, it was the season’s final and deciding game to determine the league winner — Sattar left his defensive position in the last two minutes to go into the penalty area at the other end as it was a must win game. Alas, there was a counter attack and Sattar’s team lost the match! For us, who had known Sattar for years, it was a heart breaking moment.

Over the past several hours, I have been reading obituaries on Pelé and I am sharing with our readers the one that has appeared on Voice of America below. The two minute clip on Pelé is also worth watching and one thing that struck me the most was Pele’s words: “I think the secret to success is to respect people, to be prepared always and then never never think that you are the best.”

Pele and Eusebio Simerg

Pelé (left) and Eusébio. Photograph: Thesefootballtimes

Of course, with regard to who is the best footballer of all time, the argument will bever be settled. But on examining Pelé’s footballing career and his impact around the world, as well as his accomplishments as an ambassador of football and a great humanitarian, I have to say I love him more than any other footballer in our time. I have fond memories of Eusébio too as I was almost 9 when I watched him in Lourenço Marques for Benfica. They were both outstanding individuals and footballers and I am glad I came across a superb piece by Paul Mc Parlan entitled “Remembering three rare but momentous occasions when Pele and Eusebio squared off.” Please read Parlan’s article, especially if you know who Eusébio was and were his admirer.

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Obituary: Brazilian Football Legend Pele Dies at 82

World Mourns Pele, Simerg

Fans of Brazilian football legend Pele hang a banner reading “Eternal King Pele” outside the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital, where Pele died after a long battle with cancer, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dec. 29, 2022. Photograph: AFP/Via VOA

By VOICE OF AMERICA (VOA) NEWS

Brazilian football legend Pele, who burst onto the world scene as a goal-scoring teenager and led his national team to an unprecedented three World Cup titles, died Thursday at the age of 82.

He was hospitalized in late November, and doctors said in December he was dealing with cancer that had advanced along with kidney and cardiac problems. In September 2021, he had surgery to remove a tumor from his colon.

The Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was being treated, said in a statement that he died of multiple organ failure.

“Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram.

Widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, Pele dazzled on the World Cup stage for Brazil and in club games and international tours with his team Santos before helping generate a surge of excitement around the sport in the United States with a late-career stint with the New York Cosmos.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on Oct. 23, 1940, in Tres Coracoes, about 250 kilometers northwest of Rio de Janeiro, Pele signed with Santos at the age of 15.

By 16, he was part of Brazil’s national team, and in 1958 he made his World Cup debut at age 17. He is the youngest player to ever score in the men’s World Cup and the youngest to ever score three goals in one game, which he accomplished in Brazil’s second match of the tournament.

17-year-old Pelé cries on the shoulder of goalkeeper Gilmar after Brazil won the 1958 World Cup final. Photograph" Wikipedia/Public domain.
17-year-old Pelé cries on the shoulder of goalkeeper Gilmar after Brazil won the 1958 World Cup final. Photograph” Wikipedia/Public domain.

Two more goals in the tournament’s final match helped Pele lead Brazil to the championship. He won two more World Cups with Brazil, in 1962 and 1970.

His international career included 77 goals in 92 matches, and he was named FIFA’s co-player of the 20th century along with Argentina’s Diego Maradona.

After retiring from Santos and international duty, Pele joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in 1975 and played three seasons there.

In his post-football life, Pele served as Brazil’s sports minister and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization appointed him UNESCO Champion for Sport for what it said was his “outstanding commitment to promote sport and help disadvantaged children.”

WATCH VIDEO: BELOVED PELE DIES AT 82

In 2020, Pele tweeted that he was proud of his relationship with the U.N., as well as his involvement in campaigns to promote breastfeeding in Brazil and to eradicate illiteracy.

“Today, I insist on being involved in good causes, both with NGO’s, Public institutions and my sponsors,” he posted. “This is part of my legacy and I applaud other football legends that have also been following this path, using the beautiful game to make the world better.”

Brazil has declared three days of mourning, and the arch at Wembley Stadium in London has been lighted in Brazil’s colors.

“I had the privilege that younger Brazilians didn’t have: I saw Pele play, live, at Pacaembu and Morumbi. Play, no. I saw Pele give a show,” said Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president-elect of Brazil.

“Because when he got the ball, he always did something special, which often ended up in a goal,” he said.

Neymar, a fellow Brazilian and star for Paris Saint-Germain, said that before Pele, soccer was just a sport.

“He transformed football into an art, into entertainment. … Football and Brazil gained status thanks to the King. He has gone, but his magic will remain. Pele is ETERNAL!” Neymar wrote on Instagram.

French star Kylian Mbappe said Pele’s legacy will endure.

“The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING.” Mbappe said via Twitter.

“Rest in peace, Pele,” Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi tweeted Thursday.

Some information for this report in VOA came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Date posted: December 30, 2022.

Credit for featured (collage) image at top of post: (Left) Pelé dribbling past a defender while playing for Brazil, May 1960 (public domain), and a portrait of Pelé by John Mathew Smith from Laurel Maryland, US. CC BY-SA 2.0

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

The Aga Khan: Barakah’s 2022 Stories, Articles and Photos to Revisit

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

As we enter the year 2023 this weekend, we present links to articles we posted in 2022 on Simerg’s sister website, Barakah, which is dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat. The Aga Khan is the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, and is directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him and his family) through his son-in-law Imam Ali, the first Imam of all Shia Muslims, who was married to the Prophet’s daughter, Fatimah.

We commence the presentation with an image containing a verse from the Qur’an, a tradition (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad and excerpts from the Aga Khan’s speeches and/or interviews. This is followed with links to more than thirty must read 2022 pieces.

The Ismaili Imamat is Unique

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Note: All photos may be clicked for enlargement. Preceding each photograph is a link to the corresponding piece. Please click on the links and read the articles.

Please click: Princess Yasmin Aga Khan: Birthday and Knighthood

Yasmin Aga Khan

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Please click: Ode to the Imam of the Present Time: His Highness the Aga Khan

The Aga Khan

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Please click:

Hussain Aga Khan

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Please click: The Hereditary Imamat and the Aga Khan’s 86th Birthday

Greeting for the Aga Khan's birthday

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Please click:

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Please click: 2010 Photo Flashback: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture in Qatar

Aga Khan in Qatar

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Please click: The Life of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan III

Aga Khan III

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Please click: Oman’s 3-Day Feast of Culture: The Aga Khan Awards

Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2022

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Please click: A Handwritten Message of Hope and Prayer from the Aga Khan

Aga Khan Portrait

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Please click: Prince Rahim Aga Khan: 51 Years in Pictures

Prince Rahim Aga Khan

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Please click: Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Zahra in British Columbia

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Please click: The Aga Khans, the Ismaili Imamat and the British Crown

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Please click: Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Her Work for the Ismaili Imamat

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Please click: A Review of the Aga Khan’s “Where Hope Takes Root”

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Please click: The Silver Jubilee Service Set Presented to the Aga Khan

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Please click: The Aga Khan: Modern Personification of Historical Islamic Rationalism, Charity and Peace

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Please click: The Aga Khan’s View of the World

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Please click: The Aga Khan Stands Out as an Icon of Action

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Please click: The Aga Khan at Harvard

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Please click: A Tribute to the Aga Khan

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Please click: Gift of a Standard to the Aga Khan and its Significance

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Please click: World Leaders’ Congratulatory Messages to the Aga Khan

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Please click: The Aga Khan’s Installation Ceremony from a Rare Magazine

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Please click: Reflections on “Depth of Field – The Aga Khan Beyond the Lens”

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Please click: Dolly Jamani’s Memorable Photograph with the Aga Khan

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Please click: Message from the Aga Khan to His Followers in Tajikistan

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Please click: The Aga Khan Recites Eid ul-Fitr Prayers at Age 7

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Please click: The Aga Khan and Late Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

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Please click: Irfan Aga Khan: The Seven Year Old Prince’s Name and its Roots

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Please click: Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s Journey of Sea Exploration

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Please click: Yasmin Aga Khan: A Princess with a Mission

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Please click: The Aga Khan and Late Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

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Please click: March 21, 1960: The Aga Khan in Burma

Begum Aga Khan

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Please click: An Unforgettable Meeeting with Om Habibeh Aga Khan

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Please click: 22nd Birthday of Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan

Prince Aliy Muhammad Aga Khan

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Please click: Reminiscing the Aga Khan’s Participation in the 1964 Winter Olympic Games

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Please click: January – December 2022: News Coverage

With this post, we welcome new readers to our 3 websites – Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos – and wish them as well as all our existing readers a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2023.

Date posted: December 29, 2022.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Asians queue outside the British High Commission in Kampala to verify their citizenship status following Idi Amin's decree of August 1972 giving them notice to leave the country within 90 days. Simerg.

“Uganda Expulsion at 50: A Time for Reflection” – Recording of Event Held on Sunday November 6, 2022

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

[NOTE: The event is over. We invite you to watch a recording of the event by clicking on  https://youtu.be/xPnry0TvCY8. For a background article, see below — Ed.]

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November 6, 2022: Uganda Expulsion at Fifty

The Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for the United Kingdom (ITREB, UK) is hosting a virtual panel discussion today, Sunday, November 6, 2022, involving five leading members of the Ismaili Muslim Jamat (community) who have been involved in one way or another in the resettlement process since the expulsion of Asians from Uganda 50 years ago. The link for the panel discussion is Watch Zoom: Uganda Expulsion at 50. (Note: Passcode/password not required, as the Zoom link provided is more than sufficient to enter the event.)

The discussion will commence at 7:30 PM GMT (see other local times below). Readers of this website are urged to watch this unique and important session and inform their family members, friends and other contacts to join the session. Please mark it on your calendar.

The session is part of ITREB UK’s Heritage Series and is entitled “The Ugandan Asian Expulsion at 50 — Reflections on the Emergence of a new Ismaili Diaspora in North America and Europe.” The program is an initiative of BUA50 (British Ugandan Asians at 50) which is composed of a Steering Committe with members from the UK and other countries around the world. BUA50 commemorative events have also taken place in South Africa and Australia.

The panelists for this event will include Amin Mawji OBE (Order of the British Empire), who is currently the Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Uganda. He will provide the opening remarks. Others in the panel are lawyer and economist as well as author of a recent book, Memories of a Ugandan Refugee: Encounters of Hope from Kampala to Vancouver, Jalal Jaffer, one of the early expellees who has held senior leadership positions in Ismaili institutions, and Arafat Jamal, Diplomat and Senior Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Sudan.

Story continues below

In August 1972, President Idi Amin decreed that all resident Asians had to leave Uganda within 90 days. Departing Asian were allowed to take only £ 50.00 per family and a maximum of 220 kgs (485 lbs) of personal effects. The UK, Canada, other countries and the United Nations scrambled to assist thousands who were rendered stateless. Photograph: Journey into Hope, The Ismaili Canada, 1994.
In August 1972, President Idi Amin decreed that all resident Asians had to leave Uganda within 90 days. Thousands were rendered stateless by this decree and scrambled to the UK, Canada and other countries with the assistance of the United Nations. Photograph: Journey into Hope, A Chronicle of the Ugandan Asian Migration, Published by The Ismaili, Canada, 1994.

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Asians queue outside the British High Commission in Kampala to verify their citizenship status following Idi Amin's decree of August 1972 giving them notice to leave the country within 90 days. Simerg.
In August 1972, President Idi Amin decreed that all resident Asians had to leave Uganda within 90 days. Departing Asian were allowed to take only £ 50.00 per family and a maximum of 220 kgs (485 lbs.) of personal effects. The UK, Canada, other countries and the United Nations scrambled to assist thousands who were rendered stateless. In this photo, Asians queue outside the British High Commission in Kampala to verify their citizenship status, while a newspaper vendor walks around selling copies of the latest issue of the English newspaper Uganda Argus. Photograph: © The Mohamed Amin Foundation.

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Departing Asians on the tarmac of Entebbe airport as the first flights began to leave Kampala following Idi Amin's decree in August 1972 which gave them 90 days to leave the country. Departing Asian were allowed to take only £ 50.00 per family and a maximum of 220 kgs (485 lbs) of personal effects.
Departing Asians on the tarmac of Entebbe airport as the first flights began to leave Kampala following Idi Amin’s decree in August 1972 which gave them 90 days to leave the country. Stateless Asian were allowed to take only £ 50.00 per family and a maximum of 220 kgs (485 lbs.) of personal effects. Photograph: © The Mohamed Amin Foundation.

The panelist will be in conversation with Dr. Mohamed Keshavjee, a lawyer, mediator and author of several highly acclaimed books, among them “Into That Heaven of Freedom” and “Islam, Sharia and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mechanisms for Legal Redress in the Muslim Community.” Dr. Keshavjee has a background in the International Protection of Human Rights. He recently participated in a BUA50 event held in South Africa.

The closing remarks will be offered by Mahmood Ahmed of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF, UK), who was the founding Diplomatic Representative of the AKDN, Uganda.

The Ugandan expulsion of 1972 lay at the fault-line of disagreement between the Uganda, British and Indian governments who refused to take responsibility for the fate of the Asian minorities of East Africa at the end of the decolonisation process. In the words of Yash Tandon, a Ugandan policymaker, political activist, professor, author and public intellectual, the Asian minorities became “stepchildren of the colonial empire.”

An event not to be missed, this unique session is open to everyone and requires no prior registration.

Again, the link to the session is Watch Zoom: Uganda Expulsion at 50 ((Note: Passcode/password not required, as the link provided is more than sufficient to enter the event.) The session is on Sunday, November 6, 2022, and the program can be viewed around the world at the following local times:

. 7:30 PM GMT (UK, Portugal)

. 8:30 PM (France, Spain, Germany and many other European countries)

. 2:30 PM (New York, Toronto etc.)

. 11:30 AM (Vancouver, Los Angeles etc.)

. 12:30 PM (Edmonton, Denver etc.)

. 1:30 PM (Chicago, Houston etc.)

. 10:30 PM (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa)

Readers in other worldwide cities in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, the Far East well as Australia and New Zealand, please calibrate your calendar time according to the GMT time of 7:30 PM.

NOTE: When you open the Zoom link and if the ITREB UK event hasn’t begun, the start time of the event that is displayed on your screen is your local time, wherever you may be.

Do not miss this important and unique discussion.

Date posted: November 3, 2022.
Last updated: December 17, 2022 (added link to recording of event, see top of page.)

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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. The editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Demystifying the Rich Ismaili Tradition of Ginans: Carleton University’s Esteemed Scholar Karim H. Karim to Give Keynote Lecture Organized by the Association for the Study of Ginans, Saturday, December 17, 2022 via Zoom

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

[Note: The event has ended. A link to a recording of the presentation will be provided when it becomes available; please read background article below — Ed.]

The rich and beautiful tradition of Ginans (Hymns, contemplative or reflective knowledge), sometimes referred to as poetry, that was introduced into the Indian subcontinent by Ismaili dais (missionaries) such as Pirs Satgur Noor, Shams, Sadardin helped gain new converts as well as sustain the faith of their subsequent generations for hundreds of years. The hope and promise given by the Pirs in their compositions that their hereditary spiritual master — the Imam who was at the time based in Iran — would one day make his appearance in the subcontinent (jampu dip) was realized several centuries later with the arrival of the 46th Imam, Mawlana Shah Hassanali Shah, Aga Khan I, in the 19th century.

Memorized and sung in Ismaili homes and religious gatherings, the Ginans remained the most powerful tool for keeping the faith alive. Today, in the western world, the tradition continues to thrive with Ginans being recited by Ismaili children as young as 5 or 6. With the arrival of thousands of Ismailis from the Middle East and Central Asia over the past 30 years, it is inspiring to note that they too have adopted the Ginanic tradition, just as Ismailis, whose origins are in South Asia have adopted the tradition of reciting Qasidas composed in Arabic and Farsi by eminent Ismaili figures and dais such Nasir Khusraw and Shams Tabriz.

Karim H Karim Carleton University, Association for the Study of Ginans, News, Announcement
Karim H Karim

However, how well are Ginans and their meanings understood by the new generation of Ismailis? Why is there so much confusion surrounding the Hindu element in Ginans? For that matter, are Ginans essentially Hindu in nature? And what about the solid Islamic concepts of the Unity of God (Tawhid) and Muslim ethics of compassion, honesty, forgiveness that are enshrined in the Ginans? The Prophet Muhammad himself is featured in many Ginans. Hopefully, Karim H. Karim, will seek to enlighten his audience on Saturday December 17 in his talk entitled “Are Ginans Islamic or Hindu?”

The term Satpanth (true path) was introduced by Ismaili Pirs in their compositions. In his brief synopsis about his lecture, Karim H. Karim notes:

“Satpanth’s core beliefs are founded on Shia Islamic concepts. Its ginans articulate Ismaili principles in Indic languages, music, and symbols. Like other pluralist traditions in India, Satpanth has drawn from mythological and cosmological knowledge that is integral to South Asian spirituality. Ginans flourish at the religious cross-roads of the sub-continent, the Middle East and Central Asia. This liminal space is rich and dynamic: it is integrative of traditions and worldviews, generative of art and thought, and nourishing of spirituality. It is a site of the human quest for truth that narrow notions about religion cannot confine.”

Simerg hopes that all its readers — Ismaili Muslims, non-Ismaili Muslims as well as people of other faiths — will participate in Dr. Karim’s Zoom presentation that will take place as follows:

Zoom connection: https://tinyurl.com/2sru2w7j
Zoom  ID : 9150118939, Passcode: asg22
Broadcast Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022.
Broadcast times in various parts of the world:
India (Mumbai): 9:30 PM;
Pakistan: 9:00 PM;
East Africa: 7:00 PM;
Syria: 12:00 PM (Noon)
Dubai: 1:00 PM;
UK, Portugal (GMT): 4:00 PM;
France, Spain etc.: 5:00 PM; and
North America: EST (Toronto, Atlanta, New York etc.): 11:00 AM; CST (Chicago, Houston etc): 10:00 AM; MST (Calgary, Denver etc.): 9:00 AM; PST (Vancouver, Los Angeles etc.): 8:00 AM.

Readers in other worldwide cities in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, the Far East well as Australia and New Zealand, should calibrate their time according to the GMT time of 4:00 PM (16:00 hours, Saturday December 17, 2022).

Date posted: December 16, 2022.
Last updated: December 17, 2022.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.