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Kermali bhai Jessa

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Birth & Death

Birth Date: In The Year 1900

Death Date: October 5, 1994

Brief Profile

Kermalibhai Jessa was born in the year 1900 in the town of Lalpur, Hadyana near Jamnagar in Gujarat. Around 1915 he went to Basra (Iraq) to work as a bookkeeper for Jetha Gokal who had a huge shipping business. Kermalibhai used to work from a small room with a window that opened up to collect money or give out money. Even the owner of the company had to collect money from the window. In those days it was a common practice among employers to pay the parents/family of their employees two years’ salary in advance to allow their child to work abroad. So Kermali’s parents were paid in advance for his work in Basra. While in Basra, he did receive a nominal salary or pocket money.

Life Journey

Some of the interesting anecdotes about Kermali were that he had a scar on his head which he got from a fight with an Iraqi. Another interesting story was that whenever he took the money to the bank, he made sure he would not get his eyes off the teller counting the money to prevent the teller sliding some money into his pocket. Kermali worked in Basra for two years and on finishing his term he moved on to Abadan (Iran) where he opened a small shop. After running the shop for two years he moved back to Gujarat. He bought some property in his hometown from the small savings that he had made. He migrated to Dar es Salaam in 1918. He also lived in Dodoma and tried his hand at gold mining in Mbeya before finally settling in Dar es Salaam.


Kermalibhai Jessa belonged to the huge Panjwani clan many of whom settled in Dar es Salaam, for example his brother Walimohamed Jessa, his sister Sakinabai Fazal Gulamhussein Panjwani and his two uncles Jiwan Kurji and Alibhai Kurji. Kermalibhai married Sherbanu Ahmed Karim Ajani of Wardha, Maharashtra. They had 7 sons and 3 daughters. Sherbanubai passed away in Dar es Salaam on 23 October 1987 at the age of 75. Her husband Kermalibhai passed away in Dar es Salaam on 5 October 1994 at the age of 94. Their children are: Fidahussein, Amirali, Yusufali, Roshanali, Shaukat, Nargis Asger Rajani, Laila Gulam Kermali, Zainab Kermalli Jessa, Marhum Akber, Marhum Mohamedraza and Marhuma Fatma Akber Dewji.

  • May Allah (SWT) reward him for his life-long dedicated service to the community and grant him maghferat, rahmat and grant him a high status in Jannah. Amen. Al Fateha.

Source: Br. Rizwan Jessa and Br. Inayat Alidina

Article by: Mustafa Pirmohamed - Orlando



1st February 2020 (6th Jamadi ul Aakhar 1441 AH)