His Highness the Aga Khan with Ismaili Leaders and Volunteers at the London Ismaili Centre’s Rooftop Garden

By Shamas Nanjijuma
(Exclusive to Simerg)

The rooftop Islamic Garden at the London Ismaili Centre. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.

With a burbling fountain, delightful plants and flowers, the rooftop garden is one of the most striking parts of the Ismaili Centre in London, England. As Shellyza Moledina wrote in her piece for this website’s sister blog, Simerg.com, the rooftop garden “is the perfect place for quiet reflection in the middle of a busy urban sphere.”

All prepared. Shamas Nanjijma pictured with a team of Ismaili volunteers before lunch is served to His Highness the Aga Khan and Ismaili leaders who attended meetings at the Ismaili Centre in London on July 24, 1989. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.

I found the garden to be the ideal setting for a lunch that was prepared for His Highness the Aga Khan and Ismaili leaders who had gathered at the Ismaili Center for an important meeting on July 24, 1989. I have been in the hospitality industry for several years and, as a Chef, I had the great fortune to serve on this day. Among the distinguished leaders present at the event was the late Sir Diwan Eboo Pirbhai, an iconic figure in the modern history of the Ismailis, who passed away a few months later in January 1990 at the age of 85. He had served both the current and previous Imams for several decades, and was bestowed with the title of Diwan during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Silver Jubilee Celebration in London in July 1983.

This small collection of photos has been in my archives for many many years, and I am truly delighted to share it with readers of this website. At the same time, I express my humble shukrana to Mawlana Hazar Imam for the opportunity that came my way some twenty three years ago. It was a unique occasion in my life.

His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam and direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) commissioned the construction of the Ismaili Centre in London in the late 1970’s. The Foundation Ceremony was performed by Lord Soames in 1979, and the Centre was opened in 1985 by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Ismaili Imam is pictured at the rooftop Islamic Garden during a meeting with Ismaili leaders at the Ismaili Centre on July 24, 1989


Standing with His Highness the Aga Khan are Ismaili leaders from the UK and North America. Some of the recognizable leaders are (l to r) Niyaz Nathoo (UK), Zul Esmail (USA), Anil Ishani (UK), HIS HIGHNESS, Fidahussein Remtulla (UK), the late Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai (Kenya), Nizar Kanji (Canada). Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.


His Highness the Aga Khan with Ismaili leaders. Diwan Eboo is at extreme left of picture, and Nizar Kanji from Canada is seen in between His Highness and the two ladies. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.  


His Highness the Aga Khan with Anil Ishani (UK). Nizar Kanji from Canada is behind His Highness. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.


His Highness the Aga Khan with the serving team. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection .


Delegates having lunch. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.


Lunch at at the rooftop garden. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.

His Highness the Aga Khan with Ismaili volunteers. The Ismaili volunteers are a pillar of strength for the Ismaili community and an envy of many other communities. The Ismaili Imam has recognized them on countelss occasions and has referred to them as ‘hidden leaders’ who serve the community without any expectation of worldly titles or recognition. Photo: Shamash Nanjijuma Collection.

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Photos: Shamas Nanjijuma Collection, Canada.


Profile of Shamas Nanjijuma at Contributors.

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