A Rare Personality in the Service of the Community
The following article was written by Alhaj Dr Hasnain Walji, former President of The World Federation. This tribute to Late Mulla Asgharali M M Jaffer and Late Haji Gulamalibhai Bhanji (Bapu), and reflection of Aunalibhai Saleh Mohamned was translated into Gujarati and his message was included in the monthly publications of Ahmedabad Allahumalabbak and the Bhavnagar Bage Firdos.
The KSI community that had been separated by the vastness of the Indian Ocean, for almost a century, one institution and three men were primarily responsible for the rediscovery of the Khojas by each other. The two other men have passed away and he alone lives to tell the tale. Who is this rare personality in the service of the Community?
I feel blessed to put pen to paper, a few words about a colleague - though he is also an elder, about a friend -though he is also a mentor and above all a fellow humanitarian -though his contributions to humanity are much greater.
This person, born in Zanzibar, showed an early promise of community service, serving as a young volunteer at the Hujjatul Islam Jamaat moving on to being an officer of the Ithnaasheri Gymkhana, and a troop leader in the Zanzibar Boy Scouts. Moving to Dar-es-slaam, as a young man, he broadened the scope of his active services in the field of Islamic Education through the Husseini Society and Madressa in various leadership positions for almost a decade. His life path included a brief but formative time in the life of the Dubai Jamaat where he became one of the earliest Committee Members of the Jamaat that had just been formed.
This man is a rare personality in the KSI Community who decided to go back to his roots – from East Africa to settle in India and serve the Community in Kutch and Kathiawar. It almost seems that this path was decided by some unknown powers. His move to India, as our history was unfolding, became a critical factor in our development. The KSI Community that had been separated by the vastness of the Indian Ocean, for almost a century, began to find each other. To that end, one institution and three men were primarily responsible for this rediscovery of the Khoja by each other. The two other men have passed away and he alone lives, not only to tell the tale but is passionately pursuing to preserve the legacy of those great sacrifices by these towering personalities, who were instrumental in rejoining the Khojas in Africa with the Khojas in the Sub Continent.
The sea of service which the three men plunged into was full of unknowns and through his persistence and efforts, much work was done to fight poverty, ignorance and disease. Over 20 years have gone by since his clarion call to address the issue of poverty in Gujarat at the London Conference which became a game-changer. Today the results of this heart-rendering appeal, followed by his personal efforts, endure through the hundreds of houses for the poor, scores of schools and thousands of children being educated, not just in Kutch and Kathiawad, but also in Bihar, Karnataka Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Sadly these projects that he helped bring to fruition are sometimes obscured by the shortsighted perceptions of those who joined the service bandwagon much later. They who have little idea how far we have come as a Community since those days. The young in the Community, who are, (or will be) at the helm of the Community institutions, will do well to take some time to talk to him first hand to better serve the Community.
For over 30 years, I truly feel blessed to have known this man, observed his zeal to look after the poor and needy in India, and have travelled with him and know that he has a fund of experience and intricate personal knowledge of our past projects in India which could prove useful for our future work India. Those of us who have worked closely with him know him for his untiring passion for the welfare of the Khoja Community and above all for the genuine concern over the well being of the poor and the needy. However, very few of us know at what personal financial and emotional cost he has borne, as he silently championed many a cause for the poor, often at the additional expense of his personal friendships, relationships and goodwill.
Yes! The two great men were Late Mulla Asgharali M M Jaffer and Late Haji Gulamalibhai Bhanji (Bapu) and of course the organization is The World Federation. The outstanding human being that I have penned this reflection for, is none other than ‘Shere Kutch’, Aunalibhai Saleh Mohamned, holder of many accolades from many institutions including the recipient of the Late Mulla Asghar Ali M. M. Jaffer Memorial Award by the World Federation during the 25the Anniversary celebrations.
As they say in Gujarati "ગણા છે ઉપકાર, ગણા છે ઉપકાર, આભાર બાકી છે" . But as mere mortals, we can only say "thank you" and continue to be appreciative of the past workers of The World Federation which has made The World Federation what it is today. It is only for Almighty Allah (SWT) to bless Aunalibhai with ample rewards for the selfless services in facilitating the WF to serve the poor, the homeless, widows and orphans. I pray for his good health and long life so that he continues to benefit us with his experience as well inspire us with his passion for public service.
- Hasnain Walji (Updated 4 December 2013)
1976 Started working in Kutch and Surat in various welfare projects 1980 Activities in Gujarat 1987 Assisting in the establishment of the Husaini Education in Bhavnagar 1987 Joined World Federation to assist in ZCSS 1989 Working in Karnataka and Bihar for poor and needy in those regions.
(1) In Zanzibar: Troop leader of Ithna Asheri Boys Scout Treasurer of Ithna Asheri Gymkhana.
(2 In Dar es Salaam: Secretary and President of Huseini society from 1966 to 1974 Captain of volunteers of Jamat for eight years Secretary of ladies section of Ithna Asheri Union for two terms Secretary for nursery school.
(3) In Dubai: Elected committee member in Dubai
(4) For WF:Liason Office of the WF from 1987 to 2003 Liason officer of ZCSS from 1987 to 2010.
Achievements & Awards
Kindly note that the following titles were given to Alhaj Aunalibhai Saleh mohammad by some of our Jamats and some by Shia Ithna Ashari jamats & trusts.
(1) 'BAPA' given by KSI Jamat - Surat on 21-9-1984 on the occasion of opening of Roza of H Abbas a.s.
(2) ''SHER-E-KUTCH' given by then Vice President of World Federation Alhaj Manzoorbhai Kanani on 19-12-1993 on the occasion of opening of Tauhid Hostel at Bhuj Kutch.
(3) 'SHER-E-GUJARAT' by the KSI Jamat Bhavnagar on 10-11-1996 - Certificate given by Marhum Mulla Saheb.
(4) 'NAZIM-E-MILLAT' given on 17-11-1996 by the Muhammadi Religious and Charitable Trust - Ahmedabad Juhapura KSI Jamat on the opening of Mehfil e Zehra.
(5) 'KHADIM-E-MILLAT' in June 2005 by the Imamia Education and Welfare Trust Bangalore
(6) 'BABA-E-QAUM' (Leader of the Community) given on 4-12-2006 by the Ahlulbait Educational and Technical Society Baragaon Ghousi dist - Mau (UP) on the occasion of opening of the Zainabiya School (Baragaon Ghosi).
(7) 'FAKHR-E-MILLAT' given on 5-10-2008 by the Jafferi Youth Federation Meta and Mulla Asghar Jaafri English School (Meta).
- Federation Samachar of Africa Federation has published this news in their issue of June 2009 on page 34.
Traditional Appreciation: Shawls, Garlands, Imam Zamin and Paghdi
Murabbi Aunalibhai Saleh Mohammadbhai has been awarded more than one thousand shawls, garlands and Imam Zamins throughout his exemplary community serivces - a rare feat in the history of the Khojas of India. In addition to these customary appreciations, he has also been awarded 20 paghdis for his life time achievments in Kutch and Kathiawad.
(1) Certificate of Appreciation Shia Ithna Ashery Jamat Dar es Salaam - June 1974
(2) Citation of Honour Huseini Society Dar Es Salaam - October 1974
(3) Letter of Felicitation with Mementoes given by the Khoja Shia Ithnashery Jamats of Bhuj, Kera, Mundra, Nagalpur, Mandvi and Bharapar at a function arranged by all Kutch Jamats at Bhuj Imambada on 29-4-1986
(4) Letter of Appreciation was received from Murrabi Alhaj Roshanali Bhai H D Nasser then Managing Trustee of Khoja Shia Ithna Ashery Masjid and Imambada Trust on 14-10-1989
(5) Letter of Felicitation given by the Surat Khoja Shia Ithna Ashery Jamat by the hands of Mulla Asgharali M M Jaffer Saheb at surat on 19-1-1994
(6) Letters of Appreciation was received from Alhaj Habibbhai Mulji then President of Africa Federation on 13-1-1995
(7) Letter of Appreciation received from Alhaj Ahmedbhai Bhaloo then President of NASIMCO in March 1995
(8) Mementoes given by the Imamia Education and Welfare Trust Bangalore by the hands of Mulla Asgharali M. M. Jaffer Saheb at Bangalore on 23 -11 -1996
(9) Certificate of Appreciation for Zaynabia Child Sponsorship Scheme given by the President of the World Federation of KSIMC U.K in March 1997
(10) Citation and Mementoes given by the Secretariat of the World Federation of KSIMC U. K in The World Federation Conference held in London On 17-10-1997 Presented by the President Of The W.F. Alhaj Mulla Asgharali M.M Jaffer Saheb
(11) Letter of Appreciation was received from Alhaj Mohamedbhai Dhirani then President of Africa Federation in February 1999
(12) Citation of Honour with Mementoes was given by The Council of Gujarat Khoja Shia Ithna Ashery Jamats on 23-1-2000 At Talaja by the hands of Ruhul Millat Mulla Asgharali M.M. Jaffer Saheb
(13) Citation of Honour with Mementoes was given by The Federation of the Kutch Khoja Shia Ithna Ashery Jamats and Kera Khoja Shia Ithna Ashery Jamat at Kera Kutch on 26-1-2000 in the presence of Reheber e Millat Mulla Asgharali M.M. Jaffer Saheb
(14) Late Mulla Asgharali M.M. Jaffer Memorial Award presented by the World Federation of KSIMC during the 25th Anniversary celebration in September 2002 by then President of World Federation Alhaj Hasnainbhai Walji
(15) Letter of Appreciation received from Dr. Sibtainbhai A. Panjawani then Hon. Secretary of the World Federation in September 2003
(16) Letter of Appreciation received from Alhaj Mohamedbhai Visram then Chairman of Zaynabia Child Sponcership Scheme in September 2003
(17) Alhaj Hasnainbhai Walji as Retiring President of World Federation has appreciated and praised for my services given in India on behalf of World Federation in October 2003 (WF Conference in Dubai)
(18) Citations of Honour was given by the Shia Ithna Ashery Jamat - Meta on 8-5-2004 on the occasion of opening of Mulla Asgharali Jaffer English School by the World Federation then President Alhaj Ahmedbhai Hassam and also celebration of 50 Years of Meta Jamat
(19) Letter of Felicitation given by The Imame Zamana Mission Hyderabad in June 2005
(20) Honoured by The Husseini Madressa of Shia Ithnashery Jamat Dar es Salaam with Memento during their 50 years’ celebration at Dar es Salaam Imambada as Past President in 2006
(21) Letters and Emails of Appreciation were received from Alhaj Muhsinbhai Dharamsi First Chairman of ZCSS & Letter of Gratitude was received from Alhaj Mohamedbhai Alibhai (Chairman ZCSS) on 11-9-2006
(22) Alhaj Hasnainbhai Walji as Ex. President of WF has praised all services given in India by Aunalibhai as Executive Concillor of WF in India in his speech on role of the Ex. Councillor of WF in October 2006 in Dubai WF Meeting
(23) Email of Appreciation were received from Alhaj Sajjadbhai Tejani Asst. Sec. ZCSS (Head of ZCSS) Section Oct.2006 to Oct.2009
(24) Citation of Honour was presented by The Khoja Shia Ithnashery Jamat - Bhuj at Bhuj On 7-1-2007 to Saleh Mohamed Family
(25) Letter of Felicitation with Memento was given by Alhaj Anverbhai J. Dhanji on 2-1-2008 on the inauguration of Husaini Halland Imambada at Vijpadi Town Gujarat by Alhaj Anwerbhai Dhanji
(26) Honoured by Memento by The Al Mahdi Foundation Trust and Huseini Education and Welfare Society Trust Bhavnagar on 17-7-2008 on the Occasion of the opening of the second floor of The Nursery School By Aunali Y Salehmohamed
(27) Citation of Honour with Memento was given by The Al Mahdi Foundation Trust and Husaini Education and Welfare Society Trust Bhavnagar on 6-8-2008 on the occasion of the opening of the third floor Of The Nursery School By Aunali Y Salehmohamed
(28) Certificate of Appreciation was given by The Central Health Board of the Africa Federation in 2010
(29) The Present President of WF Alhaj Dr. Asgharali Bhai Moledina has praised my services and He Address me as Sher-e-Gujarat in public function held at Bhavnagar Mosque On 10-11-2011
(30) Letter of Appreciation was received from Alhaj Gulambhai Sajjan when he was President of NASIMCO
(31) Marhum Mulla Asgharali M.M. Jaffer and Alhaj Hasnainbhai Walji have send Letters and Emails of Appreciation and Thanks when they were President of World Federation
(32) Oustanding service to the WF, May 2017 by Dr Asgharali Moledina
(33) Husayni Madrsah - Dar es Salaam Appreciation for the service rendered 1971-1974