July 13, 1957: From Disappointment to Joy, as Dolly Jamani Has a Memorable Photograph with Mawlana Hazar Imam on a Historic Day in Geneva


In the early spring of 1957, at age 27, our mother Daulat Hassanali Jamani (lovingly known as Dolly), with encouragement from our dad, left Kampala, Uganda, to pursue a professional seamstress course at the Paris School of Dressmaking in London, England. She was one of the first Ismaili women from East Africa to go abroad for further studies.

July 1957 was, and will always be, an unforgettable time in Ismaili history. Our beloved 48th Imam, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III, passed away on July 11 after a reign of 70 years, and appointed his grandson, Prince Karim, then 20, to succeed him as the 49th Hereditary Imam of Ismaili Muslims. An installation ceremony for the new Imam had been scheduled two days later, on July 13th, at the Villa Barakat in Geneva, Switzerland.

Aga Khan enthronement.
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, with leaders and members of the Ismaili community during his enthronement as the 49th Imam of the Ismaili Muslims on July 13, 1957 following the death of his grandfather, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III on July 11.

Upon learning of this historic moment, our mother booked a flight to Geneva. Her entry was met with unforeseen delays due to linguistic barriers, and as a result, she missed out on the opportunity of being in the group photos that were taken with Mawlana Hazar Imam, similar to the one shown above.

Her disappointment did not go unnoticed, and Mawlana Hazar Imam very graciously granted her an exclusive photo session in the Villa. Our mother was immensely grateful for this rare privilege, and for the blessings that the Imam bestowed upon her.

Upon returning to Kampala, she was able to realize her life long dream and opened “Dolly and Daughters”, an exclusive dressmaking boutique. 

Sadly, our mum passed away in 1965, at the very young age of 35, leaving behind our dad, Hassanali Jamani, and three young daughters, Nabat, Parviz and myself [Mobina].

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, grants Daulat (Dolly) Hassanali Jamani an exclusive photo opportunity with him at the Villa Barakat in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 13, 1957, shortly after his group photos with Ismaili leaders and members of the community that had gathered to pay him their respects, homage and allegiance as the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on the grounds of the Villa. Photo: Hassanali Jamani Family Collection.

An enlarged copy of the photo was framed in our home in Kampala, but it was left behind when we were forced to leave Uganda in 1972 with the rest of the Jamat and other communities of South Asian origin. In going through the family archives, we came across a copy of the framed photo in one of our albums. It gives us immense happiness to share this very rare photo of our mum with Mawlana Hazar Imam with readers of Barakah.

On a personal note, I developed a love for painting in my early childhood from my mum who was very artistic. I then studied art in the UK. Earlier this year, I completed a painting of Mawlana Hazar Imam rendered from one of his portrait photographs taken during his Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 2017-2018. This past week, Barakah’s sister website, Simerg, featured a special post of the painting of Mawlana Hazar Imam with paintings of members of my immediate family members that I completed in recent years (please click HERE to view the paintings). The painting of Hazar Imam is shown again, below.

This piece is in loving memory of our mum Dolly, and we submit our humble shukhrana to Mawlana Hazar Imam for the graces and blessings that he bestowed on her on July 13, 1957. We constantly remember our mum, and pray for the eternal peace of her soul. Ameen.

Aga Khan painting by Mobina Merani, Barakah.com
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Acrylic on composite wood 13″ x 17″, January 2022. Painting adapted by the artist from an official Diamond Jubilee portrait photo. Painting by Mobina Marani, Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada.

Date posted: June 2, 2022.



Barakah requests readers to search their old albums and archives for historical photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam and members of his family. Please share your treasured collections with readers through Barakah, a website dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam and members of his family. Write in confidence to the editor, Malik Merchant, at mmerchant@barakah.com to discuss your collections. Please click Collections to view photographs that we have received from families and individuals from around the world.


Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.


Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 275 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat. Also visit our two sister websites, Simerg and Simergphotos.

Barakah’s editor may be reached at mmerchant@barakah.com. Please follow Malik @Facebook and @Twitter.


  1. I wish we could have had the blessing of meeting her. Your tribute is beautiful! Thanks for sharing this memory.


  2. Mobina, I still remember that beautiful dress that your mom had made for you. She was a beautiful lady with skills in dress making and painting.

    She left us too soon.

    May Mawla rest her soul in eternal peace. Ameen.


  3. This picture is worth a million for you and your family and may her soul rest in eternal peace.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.


  4. Dear Mobina,

    Such a heart warming tribute to your Mom!

    Her personal audience with Hazar Imam captured in this beautiful photo is a jewel in a crown.

    May her soul rest in eternal peace🙏

    Thank you Malick for profiling personal encounters of the individuals in our Jamat whose stories and experiences enrich all of us.


    Amin Merani


  5. Thanks Mobina, Parviz and Nabat for sharing Hazar Imam’s picture with your mom. May she rest in eternal peace. Ameen.

    Mobina, you have amazing creative skills both in writing and painting. So proud of you!

    Thanks Malik for running this informative and interesting website.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s