Remembering Mohezin Tejani: Brilliant Author, Humanitarian and Global Nomad Dead at 61


As received….(January 2, 2013)

Dear Friends of Mo,

I’m afraid I have some awful, awful news to share. Our dearest, most beloved Mo passed away today on New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2013, at approximately 2.30 a.m. in our home here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

We had been out celebrating the coming of the New Year with lots of friends and Mo, as always, was in great form. He had put a flowered headband and a bow around his forehead and had everyone laughing and dancing all night. We floated sky lanterns at midnight and were marvelling at how they danced their way up into the heavens in order to touch the moon and its iridescent halo that was pulsating with luminous light.

When we returned home, Mo stumbled a bit in the elevator but walked to our door without any problem. He sat down at the dining table and asked me to get him a glass of water. As I turned my back to open the refrigerator, he fell off the chair and crashed to the floor. In the half second it took to get to him, he was nearly unconscious. He couldn’t see or hear me. His heart had given out.

Not many of us could hold the amount of love and joy and exuberance that always filled Mo’s heart. He was forever determined to live life to the fullest and in the now. And that he did. While it seems so unfair that he was taken from us so suddenly six months before his 62nd birthday, I think his physical body simply could no longer contain his emotional body.

If you would like to send a message to Mo or about how Mo touched your lives, you can email me [or submit them on this page – editor] and I will collect them all to share with his family…..

Thank you for all your support.


Lisa S. Keary, Ph.D. Researcher | Writer | Activist | Editor Chiang Mai, Thailand


A Reflection

By Malik Merchant

Mohezin Tejani - author and humanitarian

Mohezin Tejani – author and humanitarian

Just about a month ago, when Mohezin Tejani sent his trilogy, “The Seven Ages of Man Redux”, for Simerg he expressed the wish that it should be published by Christmas. Despite some special circumstances, and the fact that I was behind with some other articles that had already arrived before Mohezin’s piece, I got his brilliant piece out on December 19th, 2012. He was absolutely thrilled, and wrote back to say how pleased he was with the presentation. But, being in a little bit of a hurry, I had introduced a few errors into his three remarkable poems about life in Africa, Asian and America in 2012. He never expressed any displeasure at this, and asked me to correct the mistakes whenever I had the time. He was always very warm and affectionate.

He well understood life and its ups-and-downs as well as its challenges. His goals were high and noble, many of which he fulfilled by serving humanitarian causes around the world. In this, he said, he was inspired by the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and contributed a very special Thank You Letter to Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan – “A Man of Multiple Visions” for Simerg’s series on Thanking Ismaili Historical Figures. Being a writer who had particpated in numerous writer’s festivals in different countries, he also had the desire to visit Canada to take part in similar festivals in cities such as Ottawa and Vancouver. He was also ambitious about getting one of his books published in Canada. I had promised him I would do everything on my part to see his wishes fulfilled.

Under the circumstances, nothing would come more of a shock to me than to be suddenly informed that my wonderful friend, a great author and humanitarian, passed away, on New Year’s Day at the age of 61. The sad news was conveyed to me by one of his cousins, and I later spoke as well as exchanged emails with members of his family, who are preparing to make the long trip to Thailand for his funeral ceremony. His closest friend, Lisa, sent me an email that is published before this piece.

Just two days before his death, I decided to publish a special post, Mo Tejani, An Ismaili Essayist of Distinction at Simerg, which was entirely dedicated to Mohezin’s writings, which I haven’t done for any other author. My purpose was simple: for Mohezin’s writings to be read and enjoyed during the holiday season. On hindsight, that he died shortly after the publication of the post was surreal enough. I had never met Mohezin, yet I felt very close to him. With his sudden passing, many of his dreams remain unfulfilled. But I have to say, he fulfilled my cherished dreams and wishes in unexpected ways. He submitted great pieces, spontaneously, without being asked. For me, publishing his writings was a great privilege and an honour. He delighted me and the readers with his outstanding mind, wit and style. He also kept his promises by submitting his essays on time, it was me who was always behind. For a simple publisher-editor like myself, Mohezin made my heart dance. That is what great humanitarians and individuals are all about – they put others interests before their own, and Mohezin did exactly that. He did not distinguish between large, small and tiny publishers. Simerg was equally important to him. He encouraged me and gave me wonderful advice, even on family matters. His goal in life was to please others and he was always generous with his actions and words, as I found out in our email exchanges.

His letters always ended with the word, shanti.

It is now the turn of the present and future readers of his essays as well as his beloved brother and friend at Simerg to say to him, “Mohezin, shanti forever.”

At the same time, we convey our condolences to his beloved family and friends as well as his colleagues around the world.

Date posted: January 3, 2012.
Date updated: January 5, 2013 (typos).


Readers are invited to click on Mo Tejani, An Ismaili Essayist of Distinction at Simerg. The post has links to all of Tejani’s articles on this website/blog. You may leave a tribute, comment or feedback for Mohezin in “Leave a Comment,” below.


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28 thoughts on “Remembering Mohezin Tejani: Brilliant Author, Humanitarian and Global Nomad Dead at 61

  1. I met Moe at UCL in London where we went to college for a while. He and I hitchhiked through England and across Europe, including the Alps in the winter. I then drove him from NYC, USA, to a college in Michigan when he was doing post-grad work. He was the most fun loving guy I have ever met. When I brought him home to visit my six other brothers and sisters his spirit was indomitable. He could not-not smile. Moe, I could not have had a better companion all those times we laughed, talked, had a beer, and debated all things political. You taught me that “the true meaning of life is to live it”. You did it. Peace.

    • Thank you for your kind words and memories of my brother, Mo. We miss him but he is always in our thoughts. We celebrate his birhtday and the day of his leaving us each year. With the rest of members of our family whom we have lost, we honour him with a bench dedicated to his memory with the word “safari ya muisho” which means journey’s end, on the beach at White Rock, British Columbia. As Mo would say, “shanti, Shanti.”

  2. Bit late to leave a message- I only came across this site today. I go to teach at University in Thailand. Teaching in Chiang Maim I met Mo and his girl friend. My medical doctor student took us out for a meal. I knew about his family but not him. He was in process of publishing his book. He told me that he was at Makerere with Yasmyn Brown – UK journalist and writer.
    Mo’s family were good at writing as one of his cousin wrote a book about his growing up in Uganda. I had it on my shelf for years – thinking it would be another synthetic syrupy book – but it was quite touching.
    I should hae kept up with Mo longer.
    June 2013

    Mo Pirani

  3. A belated thank you Mo for your generous comment on my piece last year, which made me feel welcome as a team member. Adieu.

  4. Mo was a couple of classes behind me at The Aga Khan School in Kampala but we were good friends and shared some good jokes together in Kampala. And I also remember the song’ “She will be wearing…” that was Mo’s favorite song. May Allah grant him a place in Janaat–Ameen

    Mehboob Abji

  5. What sad and terrible news. What a sweet, wonderful man Mo was. We had many a night partying together in Ubud and at Byron Bay wrietr’s festivals and I was always so excited when I discovered we were at the same festival together. In typical Mo fashion he had to go out on new year’s eve. I will miss him as will so many people who spent any time with a the gentle man who laughed and smiled so much.

  6. Today, as we, Mo’s family who have travelled to Chiang Mai, and his friends, get ready to lay him to peace and celebrate his life, I sit here, reading all the thoughts of people all over the world whose lives he touched and enriched. I sit here,reliving his life with us, his real brothers and sisters, marvelling at how many more call him brother. I sit here, marvelling at the fact that we too called him friend, like you, all his friends do. As siblings, we are all guilty of taking him so much for granted, that he would always be there with us and for us. A big part of me is lost but I thank all who have written and called and will write and will call and all who have reflected on his life. You give me, and us, some shanti as we prepare to give him final shanti. We loved ye, Mo.

    • Shamim, I am almost sure you too were at HH Aga Khan School and one of my bright and favourite pupils, I have a hunch. Shanti to Mo and all afflicted souls touched by his loss.
      Yours ever Zarina

  7. I am so sad, it’s a great loss. Mo was a couple of classes junior to me – but was in our Crazy Gang of Mountain Climbers of Aga Khan School. He was never too grumpy or tired & curled-up, in the cold evening after the 12 – 15 mile climb – was always ready to initiate singing by the little fire, with Goof …….”She’ll be wearing next to n’…….” A mega of a person!
    It’s a great loss to our ‘Gang’ May his soul rest in Shanti…Eternal peace ..Ameen.

    My heart goes to his Family and particularly to my friends Fee his brother and (‘Dholu’) Shamim his sister. My heart goes to you too Lisa. Mpole – Shanti – Shanti.

  8. It was always nice to read any articles written by Mo. My sincerest condolence to his family and also to Lisa his friend. May his soul rest in Peace. Amen.

    Shirin Hirji

  9. What a shock! I was having so much fun reading his articles and was always wanting to meet him. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Ameen. Shanti Mo!

    Naz Kanji

  10. We owe it to Simerg to bring so much good from all peoples. Mo’s contribution here at Simerg has given way to see us one gem of a person who we’ll all miss. Wish his soul eternal rest, Ameen; and pray for his loved one’s well-being. Ameen.

  11. Mohezin Tejani if he is the brother of Shamim Tejani – as I saw the photo of both in one of Vali Jamal’s e-mail that first gave me the very sad news. I think as an HH Aga Khan Primary School Teacher in my very first year in 1959 he might have been a pupil in my class as I taught upper primary classes mostly. I give my heartfelt condolences to his family and to Lisa S. Keary who was his friend and has contributed towards this piece. I also thank Abdulmalik Merchant, the editor of, for his reflections about Mohezin. For our departed, most dear friend, I too add the word SHANTI, which means Eternal Peace.

  12. I remember Mo, from High School, as the inventive one! I quietly observed him and his unconventional ways. It was a road map to inventive creativity. I am a designer and know that world. Recently we have communicated when you both thought /flirted with the idea of coming to work in Qatar. I was hoping!

    I am so sad that Mo is gone… before I could meet him again and talk about his books. What an amazing life and such a perfect (if we could choose… I would choose this way) way to go.

    My heart goes out to you, Lisa. I know first hand that it is a long way to comfort. I will be thinking of you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

  13. Pete Wood
    January 4, 2013
    I have known Mo since 1993. We both lived in Honduras from that year til 1996, and we spend considerable time together, both work-wise and socially. We have been in touch by e-mail ever since then and saw each other a few times as well. Mo was very full of life and such a positive person. i never heard him say a negative word about anyone. Rest in peace Mo. My heart goes out to his family.

  14. I had the enormous privilege of getting to know Mo well over just five days this Christmas, just before he died so unexpectedly. I felt I had found a soul mate and a genuinely unique thinker and friend. Above all with Mo I had enormous fun, quite apart from the intellectual stimulation. He was (and still is to me) a great great inspiration for not only how to live a good life but how to put that experience into action. Would that I were able to achieve 5 per cent of what he managed to achieve. To be 5 per cent as good a man as he is too much of a tall order.

  15. Mo was admired across oceans and continents. I toast his strength of spirit and courageous writer’s soul. What a powerful reminder that, as Buddha taught, “None of us is guaranteed even one more breath.” I light a candle here in Oakland, California, in his honor; let’s all keep the flame burning.

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