Contributors

Editor’s note: Profiles of numerous contributors are missing below, and will be inserted in due course. For a complete list of all the posts on this blog, please visit Table of Contents.

Alphabetical  order (last name)

CHAUDHRY, Azhar

Azhar Chaudhry

Azhar Chaudhry (shown above, at right, with His Highness the Aga Khan) started photography in 1961 working in the darkroom to development and print black and white photographs. He jointed the NATION Group in 1962 and was promoted to the rank of chief photographer.

Azhar photographed His Highness the Aga Khan during his many trips to East Africa.

He took many stunning photographs of late President Jomo Kenyatta and former president Daniel Arap Moi. He has also photographed Charlie Chaplin and several Bollywood stars.

Contributions:
Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to East Africa by Azhar Chaudhry

CHUNARA, Gulshan (England)

Gulshan Chunara

Gulshan Chunara was born in Bombay. She spent part of her childhood in Karachi before emigrating to London at the age of 10 in the 60s. After leaving secondary school, she worked for the Greater London Council and National Westminster Bank. She joined the Daily Telegraph in 1976 as a secretary first, then as editorial assistant to specialist journalists in the newsroom. She left the Telegraph in 2006 and now works as a freelance personal and editorial assistant to various Editors of the Daily and Sunday Express and OK magazine.

Contributions:
Historical Photo Essay: The Ismaili Connection with the Town of Amir Pir in Sindh, Pakistan

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EBRAHIM, Mohib (Canada)

An honours graduate of Simon Fraser University in Computer Science and Mathematics, Mohib Ebrahim has been involved in software development and the IT industry since the ’80s. Mohib is Editor and Publisher of the NanoWisdoms Archive (http://www.nanowisdoms.org), a unique website dedicated solely to the Ismaili Imamat’s speeches, interviews and writings launched in 2011 upon receiving special permission from Aiglemont to publish the Aga Khan’s speeches. A keen amateur astronomer for over 30 years, Mohib also enjoys kite flying and studying the relationship between faith and reason.

Contributions:

Photo Essay: Stunning and Beautiful Day and Night Time Photography of North America’s First Ismaili Centre.

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FNDA Architecture (Canada)

Founded in 1986, FNDA Architecture Inc. has become a firm up for any design challenge. Today, FNDA boasts a thriving practice whose local and international experience includes commercial, hospitality, and residential buildings, as well as educational, recreational, and institutional projects. Their buildings combine breathtaking design, efficiency of space, and harmony with nature. Every building FNDA has designed has become a landmark in its context, and a source of pride for its users and owners, in the process garnered international recognition for their profound contribution to culturally sustainable architecture. Please also see http://fndesign.com/.

Contributions:

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HARJI, Muslim and Nevin (Canada)

Nevin (left) and Muslim Harji live happily in Montreal, where, over the last 35 years, they have raised two children and run a successful business. Upon retirement in 2004, Muslim and Nevin truly started to explore the world. All told, together and individually, they have visited more than 40 countries around the globe, experiencing the beauty of the Middle East, the exoticism of Asia and the wonders of South America. Kayaking the Magellan Straights, exploring Palmyra by camel, hiking up to Alamut Fort in Iran or travelling by overnight train in India, Nevin and Muslim have always favoured unique ways of experiencing the countries they visit and plan to continue fostering their love for travelling the world.

Contributions:

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HAYAT, Khizar (Canada)

Khizar Hayat

Khizar Hayat has served the Ismaili community for the past five decades in numerous capacities. Born in Multan, he moved to Karachi where as a young boy he became a Cub Scout. He became a Boy Scout at H.S.H. Prince Aly S. Khan Garden Scouts Troop, and a Troop leader at the Karachi Camporee in 1958. He served as a Scout Master for Vazir Rahim Boarding Scouts Troop [1964-1966] and then acted as a Group Scout Master as well as the Chairman of H.S.H. Prince Aly S. Khan Nazimabad Coordinating Council for Scouts, Guides & Orchestra [1971-1976]. On the occasion of the Investiture Ceremony of Prince Amyn Mohamed as Ismaili Chief Scout in November 1974 in Karachi, he was the Honorary Secretary for His Royal Highness the Aga Khan Association for Ismaili Scouts, Guides, Bands & Orchestras, Karachi.

He has also played numerous roles in the religious development of the Ismaili Jamat. He has been an Honorary Alwaez (missionary) since 1962. In Pakistan, he served as a member of the Executive Board for Ismailia Association (now known as the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board or ITREB) from 1973 until 1976. During this period he obtained his Master’s Degree in History from Karachi University, and then relocated to Canada in 1976 where he has lived ever since. He served in Canada as an active member with the Ismailia Association (now ITREB Canada) from 1979 to 1997, during which time he also arranged exhibitions on the life of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah in numerous Canadian and American cities. In 1992, he founded and edited a fine Islamic magazine, Qalam, which ceased publication in 1994 due to lack of financial resources. Currently, in his retirement, Alwaez Hayat is dedicating his time to the study of the life of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah from his home in Brampton, Ontario.

Contributions:

Exclusive Photos and Story: The Investiture Ceremony of Prince Amyn Mohamed as Chief of Ismaili Scouts

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ISMAILY, Abdul Mohamed (“Papa Jaan”)

Papa Jan

Abdul Mohamed Ismaily, lovingly known as “Papa Jaan,” was born in 1926, in Peshawar, Pakistan. In 1956, he emigrated to Africa, where he worked first as the City Engineer in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and then as the City Planner in Juba, Sudan. A passionate amateur photographer, he followed His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, and his entourage during the 49th Ismaili Imam’s visits to Hunza, Pakistan, Kampala, Uganda, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in 1961 and 1962. In 1966, he migrated along with his wife, Gulshan, and his three daughters, Yasina, Noreen and Shabnam, and became the city engineer and later Director of Planning for the City of Cornwall, in Ontario, Canada. “Papa Jaan” passed away in 1981 at the age of 55, and the vast collection of his photos remained part of his estate. They have been reproduced here with the permission of his family.

Contributions:

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KANJI, Akbar (Canada)

Born in Bangladesh, Akbar Kanji moved to Pakistan where he pursued his childhood dream of becoming an artist by completing a Graphics Design Diploma at the Karachi School of Art. He continued his interest at other Fine Art, Performing Art and Visual Art institutes in Karachi and Toronto, and also trained under well known Pakistani artists including the late Ismaili artist Gulgee, Rabia Zubairi, Talat Hussein and others. He has served the Ismaili community’s Arts and Culture portfolio, and currently resides in Toronto where he works as a graphic designer.

Contributions:
His Highness the Aga Khan’s Work at a Glance

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KARIM, Ali and Dilshad (USA)

ali-and-dilshad-karim_s

Ali and Dilshad Karim are a married couple in their 50’s. Their passion is to travel the world and experience it like locals where possible. They like to travel as Travellers Vs as Tourists and experience places like locals by staying at small locally owned/operated bed and breakfasts as homestays with locals. They also prefer to travel to places that are off the beaten path, less touristy and prefer unexplored places. Through their travelogue, they invite you to join them in their adventures across the globe and enjoy. They will appreciate your feedback and invite you to contact them on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ali.karim.10485 for more information about any of their trips.

Contributions:

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KESHAVJEE, Shariffa (Kenya)

Shariffa Keshavjee is a philanthropist and an entrepreneur with an objective to help women empower themselves. Raised in Kisumu, she considers herself a “pakaa” Kenyan. She is now based in the nation’s capital, Nairobi. She is the founding member and director of the Hawkers Market School and the Kigera Girl Guides Centre which provide educational opportunities for destitute girls in the country’s slums. Her Hawkers Market Girls Centre has been the recipient of the World Bank Development Marketplace Award in 2004 in which the centre was given $85,000. In addition, she is also the founding member of FONA (Friends of the Nairobi Arboretum) which is dedicated to preserving Kenya’s forest and preserved arboreta. Her other interest is in visual arts where she delights in painting on wood, silk and porcelain using water colours, oils and acrylics. She also likes writing, especially for children, and bird watching.

Contributions:

A Journey to the Bagamoyo Jamatkhana

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KURWA, Badrudin

Badrudin Kurwa

Dr Badrudin Kurwa MD, FACS, FRCS(C) was born in Mumbai, India, and moved to Karachi, Pakistan,with his family in 1958. He was recognized as a very talented and bright student from a very early age, and at the age of 12 he was awarded the first prize for his academic excellence by His Highness the Aga Khan (see photo in article above). He became the first Ismaili as well as the youngest person to win the coveted Gold Medal from the Pakistan Association of Scientists and Scientific Professions (PASSP) in 1967. As a youth, Kurwa was also a keen musician and played for the Aga Khan orchestra.

After completing his matriculation, he went to the United Kingdom and did his Pre-medical training in Oxford, and then attended the Medical School at Birmingham University, following which he proceeded to Chicago, USA, for his eye surgery training, He became involved as a volunteer within the Ismaili Muslim community, starting the 1st Ismaili Health Clinic in Chicago, and later helping to establish clinics in Houston and Los Angeles to serve members of the community lacking health insurance coverage. The Houston jamati clinic known as the Ibn-e-Sina clinic (named after the famous Muslim physician/scientist) continues to provide medical services even today after over 30 years, and is expanding to provide care to the local low-income community. 

In 1996, Dr Kurwa founded the Ismaili Health Professionals Association under the auspices of Aga Khan Health Board, USA, and was its first President. He also served with His Highness the Aga Khan National Council for the USA, and as a member organized Health Fairs in major US cities.

On the professional side, Dr. Badrudin Kurwa holds four US patents and has been Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, Doheny Eye Center, and at the University of Galveston, Texas.

Contributions:

Photo Essay: Chitral Through the Lens of an Eye Surgeon

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MAHERALI, Qayl (USA)

Qayl A. Maherali

Qayl Maherali, Canadian born and American resident, is a spirited 9 year old who has just completed grade 3. He loves math and science, reading, listening to music, watching movies, sports and playing computer games.

An avid soccer player, he also enjoys swimming, basketball, American football, tennis, badminton and playing other sports. He also like to “keep his brain busy” by engaging in “brain games” such as chess, sudoku and solving puzzles. 

His love for travel has also led him to have a substantial collection of world monuments ranging from the Mughal Taj Mahal, Egyptian Pyramids, Roman Coliseum, Greek Parthenon, Ottoman Hagia Sofia and Mayan Chichen Itza, to Canadian Parliament Buildings, Buckingham Palace, London’s Big Ben, San Fransicso’s Golden Gate Bridge, Washington-Lincoln- Jefferson Monuments, the White House, Lisbon’s Tower of Belem, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and skyscrapers such as the CN tower, Empire State Building, the twin Petronas Towers, Burj Khalifa. His interest in buildings and architecture has led him to also collect and build various buildings from the Lego Architecture series. His collection grows with more travels and gifts from friends who travel to exotic places … 

His interest in space has so far taken him to Kennedy Space Center – Florida (3 times), US Space & Rocket Center – Alabama (4 times) and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum – Washington, DC (2 times). 

Qayl wants to be an astronaut and an international soccer player when he is all grown up.

Contributions:

Photo Essay: A 9 Year Old Ismaili Boy’s First Steps of Becoming an Astronaut

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MIRZA, Malik (Pakistan)

A chartered accountant by profession, Malik Mirza is an honorary Alwaez who is working as a senior manager of finance in one of the telecommunication companies in Islamabad. He blogs regularly at www.wisdomfrombooks.com.

Contributions:

Journey of Discovery: The Mausoleums of the Famous

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NANJIJUMA, Shamas (Canada)

Shamas Nanjijuma, a retired chef, has served in the hospitality industry for over two decades in the United Kingdom and Canada. He  continues to remain active in the industry by offering seminars as well as serving in an honorary capacity in his specialized area. Most recently, in the spring of 2012, he was asked to assist at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Buildling when His Highness the Aga Khan visited Ottawa.

Contributions:

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

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NARAN, Navyn (USA)

Navyn Naran

Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care.

Contributions:

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NOORMOHAMED, Alia (Canada)

Alia has been a designer since childhood. Growing up in a family of designers, (her mother is an interior designer, and her father is an architect), her creative side was always nurtured. Alia’s educational background is in architecture, and she has a background in art and interior design as well. Alia designs contemporary furniture, for which she has won awards. She is also an artist – painting abstract works full of color and depth. She naturally discovered photography as another creative avenue not only to photograph and sell her works but also to photograph the architecture projects she has taken part in.

Contributions:

Exclusive: Architect’s Statement and Photos of the Fabulous New Ottawa Jamatkhana

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PANJWANI, Ghulam (Kenya)

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Ghulam Panjwani has an extensive record of community service in several countries over a long period of time since the early 1970′s when he moved to Toronto.

He married Mumtaz in 1977 and had two boys Imran Khan (1980) and Hanif Khan (1984). Ghulam served in various Jamati Institutions, including the Ismailia Association (now ITREB), as Jamati Mukhi, and in the first Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Partnership walk in 1980s and was the National Coordinator for Silver Jubilee Project “Dar ul Hikmat”, a national stage quiz show for which he compiled a book published by the Ismailia Association for Canada in 1982.

In 1991, the family moved to the United States to join their family businesses in Dallas. In 1997, in a tragic car accident outside Dallas, they lost both their children. Since then they have worked with and support parents who have gone through similar experiences around the world; and continued with various Jamati services in the USA. Ghulam was appointed on the Council as Chairman for Youth and Sports Board.

In 1998 Ghulam was appointed by the National Council for the USA as Coordinator for project “Spark” which was a holistic approach towards poverty alleviation.

At the same time Ghulam and Mumtaz joined FOCUS International as volunteers and started traveling to Canada, Europe and Pakistan for operational reviews. In 2000 they relocated to London, UK when Ghulam was asked to take over as the Executive Officer for FOCUS Europe. He was part of the FOCUS team which was mobilized in January 2001 when there was an earthquake in Bhuj Gujrat, India.

In 2001 after the September 11 crisis Ghulam was part of the First Jamati Mission to Afghanistan and appointed Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan. Initially they were based in Khorog, Tajikistan and then moved to Faizabad and subsequently to Iskashim, Badakshan Afghanistan and stayed till 2007 where Ghulam worked with FOCUS, AKDN and then Department of Jamati Institutions (DJI).

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) institutions in Afghanistan were established in 2002, and Jamati Institutions and Mukhi/Kamadias in Badakshan were appointed by Mawlana Hazar Imam.

By 2007 with the completion of his assignments in Central Asia, Ghulam was appointed as the Executive Officer of FOCUS in Pakistan and moved to Islamabad.

Like with his other positions, the various projects here were high-profile and involved collaboration with numerous outside organizations. To cite one example Ghulam received an award from the United Nations for Best Practices in Disaster Risks Reduction, which included his development of Search and Rescue Teams which were deployed to many emergencies. The award was presented by Sir John Holmes, the Under Secretary for the United Nations in 2009 in Geneva.

Contributions:

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RAJPUT, Ali M. (England)

Since retiring from University teaching in Birmingham as Professor of Mathematical Statistics, Dr. Ali Rajput has devoted his life to a better understanding of his faith and serving the Ismaili community. In 1985, he completed a Master’s Degree at Birmingham University. In 1991, the current Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, asked him to visit his headquarters in Aiglemont, where Dr. Rajput was assigned to go on a mission to Tajikistan in March, 1991. Ever since that time he has been in the service of the people of Badakhshan, where he spends his summer working as Professor Emeritus at the University of Khorog. He spends the remainder of his time in Birmingham, England.

Contributions:

My Journey to Alamut, Where Every Stone Tells a Story

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RASHID, Hussein (USA)

Hussein Rashid. Photo credit: Aly Ansary

Hussein Rashid, Ph.D. is currently a Visiting Professor at the Virginia Theological Seminary and Associate Editor of Religion Dispatches Magazine. His personal website is at http://www.HusseinRashid.com. He blogs at Islamicate and Talk Islam.

Contributions:

Historical Images: The Naad-e-Ali, “Call Upon Ali….oh Ali, oh Ali, oh Ali,” in Ottoman Calligraphy, and Other Shia Inscriptions in the British Museum’s Islamic Collection

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WALLACE, Allison (Australia)

Allison Wallace, daughter of the late Mrs. Jean Kirk who was Principal of the Aga Khan Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya,, holds an administrative position at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

Contributions:

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MERCHANT, Malik (Canada)

Malik (Abdulmalik) Merchant is the founder and editor of this photo blog as well as the literary websites www.simerg.com and http://www.barakah.com. Born in Mumbai, India, Malik moved to Africa with his parents, Jehangir and Maleksultan Merchant, during his infancy. He was raised in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, where he completed his high school education at the Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School, before proceeding to London, UK, where he obtained a BSc. at the Polytechnic of North London, majoring in Computing. Since 1977, he has worked in the IT industry in the UK (Woking and London), USA (Salt Lake City and Philadelphia) and Canada (Edmonton, Ottawa and Burlington). Within the Ismaili Muslim community, he has acted in various positions including being one of the founding editors of the prestigious Ilm magazine in London, UK. After settling in Canada, he continued being an active member with the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board (ITREB, then known as the Ismailia Association) in Edmonton, and was a library member during His Highness the Aga Khan’s Silver Jubilee Year. He relocated to Ottawa in 1983, and was soon appointed to positions within ITREB as the coordinator of the Saturday Morning Religious Education Classes (now known as Baitul Ilm or BUI), Member for Religious Education and also as its Chairman. Later, during the Golden Jubilee Year of His Highness the Aga Khan he revived the Ottawa Jamatkhana library which had been shut for almost a decade, and also organized a special Golden Jubilee educational Literary Night Program for children and youth of the Jamat. Following the Jubilee he was inspired to create Simerg.com in March 2009, which since has become a very popular and recognized website among Ismailis and non-Ismailis alike. Simergphotos.com, his second internet initiative, was launched in late 2011.

Malik was also a keen sportsman. In East Africa, he represented the Tanzanian Cricket Schools side for a number of years and also won the Dar-es-Salaam youth table tennis Championship in 1967-68. In the UK, he represented his North London Polytechnic in cricket and table tennis league games throughout his studies, and then became instrumental in guiding the Aga Khan cricket team in London to newer heights, as well as acted as its cricket captain and fixtures secretary. In the USA, in Salt Lake City, he reached the Men’s Doubles Tables Tennis Finals in the Utah Open in 1980, before he and his partner lost in a tense final. After settling in Canada he played and also captained for the Ismaili community’s cricket and table tennis teams in Edmonton and Ottawa, and won numerous trophies for his performances.

Contributions (or compilations):

Date page updated: February 13, 2017  (new post by KARIM, Ali on The Silk Road, Part 6).

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Please also visit this website’s companion literary blog http://www.simerg.com.

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