Late Vazier Abdulalli & Fatema Motani collection: Rare and historical photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visits to Uganda 1957 to 1964

Shortly after assuming the hereditary leadership on July 11, 1957 as the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims, His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, took leave from his studies at Harvard University to attend the Takhtnashini or ceremonial installation celebrations in East Africa, India and Pakistan.

Late Vazier Abdulalli and Varasiani Fatema Pirbhai Lalji Motani served as Kamadia and Kamadiani of Kampala’s Darkhana Jamatkhana from c.1957 to c.1964. Late Count Kassamali and Countess Fatema Virani served as Mukhi and Mukhiani at the same time. During their term of office, Mowlana Hazar Imam visited Uganda several times.

Kamadia Abdulalli had the distinct honour of being designated by Hazar Imam to translate his Farmans into Gujarati on the spot. He delivered the Gujarati version of Farmans immediately after Hazar Imam completed the Farmans in English.

The Motani family came to Canada in October 1972 following the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin’s decree.  Our parents were fortunately able to carry with them some of the family photographs when they were forced out of Uganda.

A selection of pictures on this page are from the family’s precious collection.

The photographs were taken at several locations in Kampala during Hazar Imam’s visits to Uganda including Darkhana Jamatkhana; Aga Khan Secondary School; and Aga Khan Hostel.

Our friend Malik created this website Barakah to celebrate Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee, and requested readers to search their archives for historical photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam. In response to Malik’s request, we are happy to share our collection with readers of Barakah.

HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN IN UGANDA

Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 31Mawlana Hazar Imam at Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 07Mata Salamat, Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan (1906 – 2000), at the Takhtnashini celebration on October 25, 1957 at the grounds of Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 02lCount Fatehalli Dhalla presenting a sword, carried in a tray by Vazier Abdulalli Motani, to Mawlana Hazar Imam at the Takhtnashini in Kampala on October 25,1957. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 01Mawlana Hazar Imam addressing the Jamat at the Takhtnashini in Kampala on October 25, 1957. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 06Kamadia Abdulalli and Kamadiani Fatema Motani leaving the stage at the Takhtnashini celebration in Kampala on October 25,1957. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 08Mawlana Hazar Imam with Kamadia Abdulalli and Kamadiani Fatema Motani at Kampala Aga Khan Secondary School. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 32Mawlana Hazar Imam visiting Aga Khan Secondary School, Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 33Mawlana Hazar Imam visiting a classroom at Aga Khan Secondary School, Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 11Mawlana Hazar Imam  blessing Nasara who embraced the Ismaili faith. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 18Mawlana Hazar Imam meeting the Kabaka of Buganda. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 26Mawlana Hazar Imam visiting mosque and meeting Muslim leaders in Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 13Mawlana Hazar Imam arriving at the Darkhana Jamatkhana in Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 16Kampala Darkhana Mukhi and Mukhiani and Kamadia and Kamadiani with volunteers. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 17Kampala Darkhana Mukhi and Mukhiani and Kamadia and Kamadiani with Volunteer Cabinet. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 24Mawlana Hazar Imam at Mengo Jamatkhana with Mukhi Noorali and Mukhiani Kulsum Karmali on the left. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection JK 43LMawlana Hazar Imam at Mengo Jamatkhana’s foundation stone ceremony. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 25Mawlana Hazar Imam addressing the gathering at the foundation ceremony of Mengo Jamatkhana. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 20bMawlana Hazar Imam arriving at Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana. Note the crest of the Imamat and the Ismaili flag on the grill of the  car. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 21Mawlana Hazar Imam entering the Kampala Darkhana mandap. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 29Mawlana Hazar Imam performing Jamati work  at Kampala Mulaqat. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 28Mawlana Hazar Imam performing Jamati work at Kampala Mulaqat. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 22Kamadia Vazier Abdulalli Motani addressing the Jamat during the Mulaqat in Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 39aMawlana Hazar Imam in conversation with Mukhi Count Kassamali Virani and Kamadia Vazier Abdulalli Motani during the Mulaqat in Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 34Mawlana Hazar Imam with Uganda Jamati leadership and members outside the Aga Khan Hostel in Kampala. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 30bMawlana Hazar Imam with members of the Kampala Council. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 35Mawlana Hazar Imam shaking hands with Mukhi Kassamali Virani. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 37Mawlana Hazar Imam at the Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 40Mawlana Hazar Imam greets Kamadia Vazier Abdulalli Motani on arrival at  Entebbe Airport. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 38Mawlana Hazar Imam welcomed by Jamati leadership and Government officials on arrival at  Entebbe Airport. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

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Aga Khan Uganda Visit Motani Collection 27Mawlana Hazar Imam greeting Ugandan leaders at Entebbe Airport. Photo: Copyright © Motani Family Collection.

Date posted: January 23, 2018.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your feedback to simerg@aol.com.

Note: This blog, Barakah, is a special project of http://www.Simerg.com and has been undertaken to celebrate 60 years or the Diamond Jubilee of  His Highness the Aga Khan.

25 comments

  1. Excellent memorable contributions to the Ismaili Imamate of early years by Motani family, as we are able to have a glimpse of early historical events!! Thank you Abdulmalik Bhai for your efforts are incredible in collecting and sharing them!!

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  2. Superb! I recognised 2 of my uncles in the Kampala Jamatkhana Volunteers Cabinet photograph. Standing – 1st Left – my Uncle Murad Karim Devji; sitting on the ground – 3rd from left – Valimohammed Kassam – my aunt Dolatkhanu Karim Devji’s husband.

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  3. Simply beautiful. Excellent work by all those involved. Keep up the good work. This shows that there must be others having these treasures.

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  4. A picture speaks a thousand words – and here we have dozens. Most people in the photos are gone but I saw SB Jaffer, BKS Verjee, Jimmy Verjee, Gulamhussein Abdallah Rahim, Mr Motani (Kamadia’s father), PK Pirani, GA K-Lakha, HK Lakha, Sugraben Visram, Fazal Pirbhai, Raju Vayya, Mrs Husseinali Nathoo, Fidai, Badru and Noorali P Abdulla, Hussein R Ahmed Shivji, and Hssanali Lalji Mangalji (in one with a patch under his left eye from a beam that fell on him). In the mosque photo (it is Kibuli) Prince Badru and Hajji Mussa Kasule. Such photos ought to be preserved in a souvenir.

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    • Re: Your reference to the mosque photo: It was taken at the opening of the Wandagia Mosque, Kampala, built by Haji Kasule and family. If my memory serves me right, the mosque was built but was not opened by the Haji as it was his wish that the Mosque be honoured and officially opened by our beloved Hazar Imam.

      Also Vali in another photo I think I see Late Fazal Pirbhai sitting on the ground.

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      • You are right about Wandegeya Mosque’s opening. I have the souvenir of that from my father’s collection and have extracted many photographs out of that for my book on Uganda Asians with full attribution and all names mentioned. Here no names are given beyond the family names. Yes Scout Master Fazal is in two photos. The group photo outside the hostel should be put out to ID people on it. I think practically all of Kampala’s leadership are there. A picture speaks a thousand words; a picture with full captions speaks lakhs.

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  5. These are truly splendid beautiful memories to someone that shared that continent. I wonder if you have in your archives His Highness’ visit to Stanleyville, Belgian Congo during the late 50’s.

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  6. Invaluable photographic treasure richly possessed by the Motani family whose present and future generations will always be proud to boast and emerge jubilant. The herculean efforts of the Motani family to care and build, step by step, on this sagacious treasure since 1957 is, indeed, praiseworthy and the Motani family richly deserves a FEATHER IN THEIR CAP for projecting PAST HISTORY. No doubt the Motanis have, indeed, burned the midnight oil to accumulate and project these photographic events. This album is of great reverence and excellence – a distinguished photographic fortune well protected since 1957. Our Jamati Libraries throughout the ISMAILI WORLD will be one of the best forums to possess and flashback these past events to the present and future Ismaili generations showcasing few of the million activities performed since 1957 by our present Hazar Imam Shah Karim Al-Husayni, under whose dynamic leadership the Jamat continues to march. To the Motanis – THREE CHEERS TO YOUR FAMILY.

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  7. These are treasures of “Rare Gems”. Thank you for posting this wonderful treasure from members of the Motani family, and indeed a BIG THANK YOU to the Motani family.
    Shiraz Habib Amlani

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  8. A fabulous collection of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visits to Uganda Thanks to the Motani Family for sharing these memories with us

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  9. Thank you Motani Family for the precious pictures. It is a wonderful collection and we feel proud to have known Fatma and Abdul Motani. Mawlana Hazar Imam looks handsome as a young man and is still as energetic as before at the age of 80.

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  10. Wonderful wonderful memories. Thank you Barakah for sharing and to the Motani family. Mawla looks so handsome, and still does, We are blessed in so many ways. Mawla has taught us so much. Amen Mawla.

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  11. Thank you for posting this wonderful treasure from members of the Motani family. It is part of the milestone that has led us thus far – Mawlana Hazar Imam’s journey for our peace, progress and betterment in life.

    Like

  12. Thank you for the album. In the photos at school, I see two uncles – Vazir Pyarali Pirani. the education administrator, from my mother’s side, and Kamadia Abdulalli who was my dad’s first cousin. Awesome memories!

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  13. These photos from the Motani family bring back memories of Kampala. The various individuals shown were known by my family and me later in Kampala and here in Canada.

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  14. A collection of “Rare Gems”….. Simply beautiful and a big Asante to the Motani family for sharing these gems with us.

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  15. These are very nice photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam and I thank the Motani family for sharing their collection of rare and memorable photographs with Barakah.

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  16. It is indeed a great surprise to see so many photos that even I, as a Ugandan, had never before seen. The Motani family has made a very valuable contribution.

    Like

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