The Voyage of Destiny: From Jamnagar to New York
GULAMHUSEIN RAHEMTULA MAMDAN (1910-1990) This is the story of our dearest Bapaji, a historical panorama, covering from his early childhood in Jamnagar, to east Africa and his family s final settlement in the United States. all chronicled in this volume of the personal recollections. It is fitting that this record should come from a family member who had been his contemporary remembering the period it covers. My mothers grandfather and my grandfather were born in a critical time in Khoja Ismaili history in Kathiavad, Gujarat India. Advise given by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah played a major role in those inspiring times, resulting in a large number of community migrating to many different countries and particularly in East Africa. This story recounts the frequent dialogue my Nana (my mother s father) and my Dada (my grandfather) had with his father and others which proved to be the most rewarding in personal Judgement, unfolding clearly and objectively this fascinating narrative that is valuable. Therefore, Here is the story in a Khoja family of East Africa seen inside from Bapaji s family. This narrative record of a most convulsive period of early settlement of my family in East Africa makes absorbing reading. Undoubtedly, may Nana has discharged honorably the debt he owns to our family to preserve our rich heritage, history and how my grandparents lived intensely and dedicated almost all their lives to the service of mankind and community. Tasnim Mahmoud Eboo This Story of dearest Bapaji, my great-grandfather, as chronicled by my grandfather is a kaleidoscope of histories that take us from the shores of the Indian subcontinent to East Africa at the dawn of the 20th century; on the guidance of our Imam to the awakening continent that played the backdrop for the childhoods of my grandparents and parents as they worked and dreamed, blending their Indian customs and cultures with African ingredients and idioms, all the while retaining a strong identity as Khoja Ismailis. This is a personal story of my great-grandfather s boldness and his faith, my grandfather s passion for radios and cameras, my grandmother s letters to my grandfather, and of my mother and her brother moving from Mwanza to Nairobi and to New York- where, beneath the gaze of the Stature of Liberty, our family story continues to unfold. If you look closely, you will see laughter lines and work-worn hands, a tasbih on the table, and a pot of Jangbari kuku-paka on the stove. We are eternally grateful to my grandfather for his dedication to the immense task of chronicling our family story, and the shared memory of the Khoja Ismailis of East Africa. Sabilah Zahra Mahmoud Eboo
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This book is a testament to perseverance, dedication, and strength of faith. The book is part ethnography, part biography - both a family and a community account of the Ismaili community's transition from India to East Africa to America. The book includes photographs, anecdotes, historical accounts and community records, and stories that, if they weren't penned down, would be forgotten. At the age of 80, Mamdani has taken his life's work as a photographer and captured a film strip that unwinds slowly, richly, and allows readers to share the moments of pain and hours of joy in the small lives that have spanned a whole century, and three continents.