Simerg’s Special Series on Books by Ismaili Authors: “IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE – Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge” by Azmina Suleman of Calgary, Alberta

by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergBarakah and Simergphotos

Simerg’s series entitled “Books by Ismaili Authors” continues with Canadian writer Azmina Suleman’s book “In the Name of Justice – Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge.” We follow the same Q/A format as our recent presentations of books written by Alnasir Rajan, Shafeen Ali, Mansoor Ladha, Zeni Shariff and Shamas Nanji. We encourage Ismaili authors to participate in this series, regardless of when their books were published. See details of the series HERE and submit your responses to the editor of Simerg, Malik, at Simerg@aol.com.

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

Azmina Suleman: A man of honor, principle and great personal integrity, James Valentine Hogarth Milvain’s name was often synonymous with ‘Justice’ in Alberta. He was appointed judge of the Alberta Supreme Court in 1959 and Chief Justice in 1968. Known for his ready wit, wisdom and innate ‘horse sense,’ Milvain was also popularly dubbed the ‘Cowboy Judge’ where his ranching background kept him close to people, and where ethics and morality guided him in everything he did.

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

Azmina: The book reads like an ‘oral’ judgment. Its tone and text has been kept deliberately simple and free of ‘legal jargon’ so even the ordinary man on the street not necessarily well-versed in the law can appreciate Alberta’s law and its early history – the hardships, courage and tenacity of the early pioneers who helped open up the ‘old West’ in Canada.

Simerg: What inspired you to write the book?

Azmina: I actually had the privilege of knowing Milvain for a short period of time Yet, he managed to leave a lasting impression on my mind – more for his humility, compassion and ‘common touch’ than his formidable list of legal accomplish­ments. After graduating from journalism, I felt inspired to write about this outstanding human being whom I genuinely admired and respected, and simply called ‘Uncle Val.’ I may note that in 1987 Justice Milvain was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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Cover of Azmina Suleman's "In the Name of Justice -- Portrait of a 'Cowboy' Judge,"
Cover of Azmina Suleman’s “In the Name of Justice — Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge,” pp. 316, available in Hardback.

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

Azmina: The book is available in hardcover printed format, and can be purchased at a special discounted price by clicking on The Legal Archives Society of Alberta (LASA)

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

Azmina: The book was published through LASA and printed in Canada.

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

Azmina: The book was professionally edited, but I created the cover myself and had some help formatting the manuscript itself.

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

Azmina: I have written two books: My first book “In the Name of Justice – Portrait of a ‘Cowboy’ Judge,” that is being highlighted in this post, was published in 1998. My second book: “A Passage to Eternity – A Mystical Account of a Near-Death Expe­rience and Poetic Journey into the Afterlife” was published in 2004.

Simerg: How long did it take you to write In the Name of Justice — from start to finish and to begin marketing it?

Azmina: Approximately 4 to 5 years from start to finish.

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

Azmina: Justice Milvain was born in 1904 on a ranch in Southern Alberta during the days of the pioneers, legendary cowboy, horse-buggy and itinerant country doctor. From his humble farm beginnings to his slow rise in the legal profession in Calgary, Milvain became known for his special no-nonsense brand of ‘western’ justice and practical landmark decisions, which went beyond the mere letter of the law to invoke its true spirit while administrating justice in the ‘wild and woolly West.’ Milvain’s passing away in 1993 served as a stark reminder of the fact that a material part of Alberta’s living history was slipping away. Consequently, this book now forms a part of the oral and written history of Alberta. To put it in Milvain’s own words: “Without the written or spoken word, it is not possible that wisdom and knowledge can be passed on to others.”

Date posted: April 28, 2021.

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Azmina Suleman
Azmina Suleman

Azmina Suleman was born and educated in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to England to complete her post-secondary education, before immi­grating to Canada in the early 1980’s. She has a Master’s degree in legal his­tory and is a published author and journalist. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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CALLING ALL ISMAILI AUTHORS

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

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

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

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