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43. Hashu Tharuani - page 177

The critical examination of the extant sources shows that the Ismailis resided in large number in the villages inside Iranian Baluchistan. It is related that a group of nomad Ismailis entered into the Indian Baluchistan and settled in the southern coast of Lasbela when Jam Ali Khan (d. 1766), one of the chief of the Aliani family of the Jamot tribe of Arab, established his power in Lasbela in 1742. He was succeeded by his eldest son Jam Ghulam Shah (d. 1776) and his younger brother, Jam Mir Khan I (d. 1818) became the third ruler. He was followed by Jam Ali Khan (d. 1830) and his son Jam Mir Khan II (d. 1888), the fifth ruler of Lasbela.
When Imam Hasan Ali Shah resolved to bid farewell to his native abode in 1841, the persecution of his followers thickened in Iran. The Ismailis who inhabited Iranian Baluchistan also migrated to some other safe place to ward off the hovering distress. Some of them are reported to have harboured in the Indian Baluchistan and settled in Lasbela. In those days, the Ismaili merchants of Bhuj, Kutchh had extended their mercantile activities as far as Sonmiani, the seaport of Lasbela, where they gradually spread in the interior regions and lived with the Iranian Ismailis.

The Iranian Ismailis in Lasbela however maintained their own Iranian cultural traditions and customs. With the passage of time, they absorbed the local traditions, which richly sounded in their names, such as Nim, Foto, Laung, Aachar, Jaffer, Karami, Ibn, Ibu, Hashu, Shalu, etc. When the Ismaili merchants of Kutchh came into their contact in Lasbela, they however retained their own cultural tendency, which sounded in their names, such as Angaro, Sumar, Araba, Jumo, Khamiso, Chhanchhar, etc. The most prominent family among them was Aloo or Alwani family. Later on, the original Iranian Ismailis in Lasbela immersed in Indian culture through the learning of the religious education from the Ismailis of Kutchh.

The Ismailis, who later on migrated to Karachi and flourished the Lassi jamat, mastered the study of the ginans. How did they know the ginans when they were originally Iranians and had nothing to do with the tradition of ginans? In fact, they learnt the ginans from the Ismailis of Kutchh. The Ismailis in Lasbela thus emerged as a new generation of the mixed blood of Iran and India, who began to assume the names henceforward as Bhalu (Baledina), Jafu (Jaffer), Gulu (Ghulam Hussain), Mamu (Muhammad), etc.

The province of Las or Lasbela in Baluchistan is about 100 miles long and 80 miles wide. It is bounded to the south by the sea, to the north by the Jahlawan Hills, and to the east and west by ranges of high mountains, which descend from the great mass occupying Baluchistan, and separate it from Sind and Makran. Lasbela was divided into seven towns (niabats): Welpat, Shehr Lyari, Miani, Hab, Kanrach, Ormada and Uthal.

The Ismailis in Lasbela prospered and spread in different villages. In 1796, a terrible famine in Lasbela forced the local people including few Ismaili families to move towards Karachi, but their informations are inaccessible. They however said to have built few cottages, and raised a Jamatkhana on the site, presently known as Inayat Ali Mohammad Bachlani Building. Later on, a caravan from Uthal is reported to have proceeded towards Sonmiani, and then to Karachi in 1843. Varas Khatau hailed originally from Kutchh and was a rich merchant in Sonmiani, exporting wool, ghee, gum and oil of different kinds. Imam Hasan Ali Shah left Afghanistan and reached Quetta on October 5, 1842 and then went to stay for a month with Shahnawaz Khan, the Khan of Kalat. He then proceeded to Sonmiani after crossing the hilly tracks of Baluchistan, and stayed at the residence of Varas Khatau, the son of Aloo, whose family became known as Alwani. The Imam graciously vested him the title of Varas, and he became the first to be titled on Indian soil. In Sonmiani, the Imam launched several hunting expeditions with Varas Khatau. Soon after the Imam's departure, Varas Khatau arranged to send the Ismaili caravan in Karachi, which landed at the bank of Lyari River, where they formed a small jamat at Mir Mohammad Baluch Road in Lyari quarter. This location was famous for having two wells of drinking water, known as Mithawada, and then became known as the Lea Market, which was built in 1930. They raised the existing small Jamatkhana made of mud and chopped grass. Their first Mukhi was Sukhio Thavarani (1843-1853).

In 1852, Jam Mir Khan II (1830-1888), the ruler of Lasbela persecuted the local Ismailis and held them in great abhorrence. When the resentment turned violent, some Ismailis are reported to have lost their lives. In search of a peaceful land when a severe famine broke out in Uthal, few Ismailis families resolved to seek harbour in Karachi. In the form of a caravan of camels, they trekked down to tedious passages of 116 miles in the mountains and reached Karachi after three days. They alighted at the bank of Lyari River. The most prominent among them were the families of Hashu and Shalu. These wretchedly poor Ismailis built some cottages of mud and straw. They had also brought some cattle with them from their native land and entered into the business of hides and skins on small scale. Some also professed in matting, goat-hairs, etc. They made rapid progress and formed the Lassi jamat in Karachi. Most of the Ismailis in Karachi called it as Miran Pir jamat, but the Imam pointed out in 1920 that, 'It is not the jamat of Miran or other Pirs, but it is my own jamat, therefore, it must be identified as the jamat of Lassi.'

Among the predecessors of Mukhi Hashu Tharuani, a certain Kanju deserves special attention. He came from a Persian stock, originally settled in Makran and Persian Baluchistan to the south of Kirman. He had two sons, Khaku and Ghulam Mohammad or Gulu. Beju (or Bijjar) was the only son of Gulu, who left behind three sons, viz. Amir Baksh, Khuda Baksh and Ali Baksh. The son of Ali Baksh was Khamiso, who, owing to draught and scarcity of food grains and fodder, is said to have wandered throughout the Persian Baluchistan in search of bread and butter, and finally settled down in Uthal, which is situated on the Karachi-Bela highway, about 74 miles from Karachi and 38 miles from Bela. It was originally a small quarter, but then became the district quarter.

Khamiso is said to have worked with a Hindu gold merchant to weigh the gold in Lasbela. He had been also in Ormada and Gwadar for several times. He had two sons, Tar Muhammad and Jan Muhammad, who were the local peasants.

Hashim or Hashu, the most prominent figure among the Lassi jamat was the son of Tar Muhammad, who used to recite the ginans in the prayer-hall. The name Tar Muhammad gradually began to be pronounced as Taru, Tharu or Tharuani. The name of his son, Hashim changed also in the same usage as Hashu or Hashuani. Presently, the name 'Hashu' is also spelt as 'Hashoo' and 'Hashuani' as 'Hashwani' in the descendants of Mukhi Hashu.

Hashim the son of Tar Muhammad, became known as Hashu the son of Tharu. Hashu was born most probably in 1820 in the village of Shaikh Raj, between Uthal and Bela in Lasbela. The local people generally called the Ismailis as the Shaikhs, who lived thickly in a village between Uthal and Bela, which also became known as the Shaikh Raj (abode of the Shaikhs or Ismailis). Nothing is known about his formal education. It however infers from old records that he was not absolutely unlettered. It is said that he worked as a peasant with his father in Uthal, and his grandfather took him several times in the villages of Lasbela.

Hashu arrived in Karachi at the age of 33 years in 1852. According to the census report of 1852-3, the Karachi town contained 13,769 inhabitants, and the suburbs 8.459, making a total of 22,227. It was the period of Sir H. Bartle E. Frere, who was the Commissioner of Sind between 1851 and 1857. Mukhi Hashu had no grain left for camels and little or no forage for them. Nothing left but a few bags of rice and three or four of flour. This was the only reported capital of Mukhi Hashu in Karachi. He worked for few months in a shop near Nigar Cinema, and then started his own petty business of hides and skins. He would purchase and sell to the retailers. In the first week of April, 1878, the heavy fluctuations in the leather market cost him a substantial loss, resulting his business bankrupt. It depleted him day after day till his economical condition absolutely deteriorated. His wife comforted him to repose his trust in the Imam. A sad, shrunken figure, nearly overwhelmed with the calamity, but cool and courageous still.

If ever a man was master of his destiny, it was Mukhi Hashu. On October 20, 1878, the wheel of fortune turned to his favour. On that day, he was sitting outside his shop, waiting for the customers. He suddenly saw one European approaching him and asked, 'Who is Mr. Hasoo. I am looking for Mr. Hasoo.' The stranger was an agent of M/S Ralli Bros. Ltd., a leading British firm based at 25, Finsbury Circus, London, E.C.2., who heard many feats of his honesty. He needed an honest broker for the business of hides and bones and offered him its agency unconditionally. Hashu discussed with him through an interpreter and accepted the deal. Henceforward, he entered into a new business field, where he worked hard. Later on, he also got the agency of cotton and grains. He spent his years ahead working as hard as ever, despite a constant decline in health. His efforts brought him slowly and slowly to the summit of fame till 1882, when his business flourished to a steady progress, and became an eminent and affluent merchant in Karachi. It is said that he was also offered by other commercial firms, such as David Sasson, Mackinon Mackenzie, Forbes Campbell, etc., but he continued his association with the Ralli Bros. Ltd.

His thought now turned to wider spheres of human interest. His contact with people during the course of his business was not confined to business alone. He built many water tanks and installed several taps in the poorer quarter of Lyari, Karachi for the poor residents. Many stipends to widows flowed from his generous and capacious pocket. His personality was genial, optimistic, helpful, simple and noble that is truly philanthropic. He would loosened his purse strings to almost all appeals for funds needed by the destitute.

In 1873, Imam Aga Ali Shah, when officiating as a Pir, visited Karachi and appointed him the Mukhi of the Lassi Jamatkhana with Talib Haji as the Kamadia, and granted him a traditional shawl. He was the third Mukhi of Lassi Jamatkhana (1873-1912). The first Mukhi was Sukhio Thavarani (1843-1853) and the second Mukhi was Alarakhia Talib (1853-1873).

didar programme in Karachi. The Imam graciously accepted and returned to Bombay, and then he sailed for Karachi and stayed for 25 days.

He loved having people over for meals. What distinguished him was his attitude of brotherhood towards everyone, was the respect for elders, affection for kith and kin, and consideration for the neighbours. He fed the hungry, clothed the needy, housed the destitute and helped the ailing persons regardless of cast and creed. His generosity surpassed all charity. In 1902, the torrential rains raged Karachi, followed by a fierce flood. All over, there were deluge and inundation, and the Lyari quarter was submerged in water. The pitiable plight moved his heart. He hurled himself in the field as a warrior for a week and rescued over a hundred fishermen, and provided them shelter and foods. The people had by now became accustomed to look upon him as one who could always be trusted in the hour of emergency.

His speech clearly sounded the Indo-Persic stock. He had full black expressive Persian eyes, the regular sharp-cut Iranian features and the long, thick and flowing beard. He had a natural talent in solving the disputes of the community members. They had such abiding trust on him that they would rather approach him for adjudication than resort to the Council. He took in hand no work without reconciling the issue.

In 1902, Mukhi Hashu invited the Imam at his residence to attend his humble mehmani. The Imam did not attend, saying, 'I will not come to your house, because there is your one virgin daughter.' It was his daughter, called Sharafi (or Ashrafi, Ashraf), who was not yet married. Mukhi Hashu took its serious notice and stood in the Jamatkhana and offered for a spouse of his daughter. Khalfan, the servant of the Kharadhar Jamatkhana sent a proposal for his son, Allana, who was already a twice-married person. Mukhi Hashu accepted it and the marriage of Sharafi solemnized with Allana. The Imam was pleased with the wedlock and visited his house and graced him best blessings. The Imam also said to Sharafi, 'Your children will be fragrant like roses and will glorify their names in the world.'

In 1902, the Imam had a photograph with 13 devout followers at the premises of Wadi in Garden, Karachi. These fortunate persons were Mukhi Hashu Tharuani, Varas Ibrahim Varas Vali (d. 1924), Varas Basaria Fadhu (d. 1918), Mukhi Muhammad Ali Ghulamani, Kamadia Rehmatullah Lutf Ali, Kamadia Talib Haji, Kamadia Hashim Fadhu, Mukhi Ramzan Ismail (d. 1910), Alijah Ali Muhammad Mukhi Alidina (d. 1910), Bana Nanji, Fakir Muhammad Vali Muhammad, Mukhi Muhammad Ladha and Kamadia Jaffer Notta.

After doing the photo-shoot with the leaders, the Imam made them stayed inside and told the jamat outside that, 'If you want to behold the dwellers of paradise on earth, you go inside and see the thirteen persons.' The jamat slowly walked inside and bewildered beyond measure to see these thirteen enlightened persons. Since then, the Ismaili families in Karachi kept the above group photo in their homes.

In 1907, Mukhi Hashu Tharuani made a humble submission to the Imam for his retirement at the age of 87 years, owing to rheumatic affliction of the joint. The Imam blessed him and said, 'You make a stair between the Jamatkhana and your house, but do not abandon my services, because I still have to take services from your blood and bones.' His building adjoined the premises of the Jamatkhana and was a little higher. He prepared a wooden ladder of three to five steps at the joining point and entered the Jamatkhana from his house. He continued his service under this facility for further 5 years as a Mukhi.

In those days when the Council did not exist in the community, the five elder persons under the Mukhi formed a traditional committee, known as the justi. Mukhi Hashu efficiently dealt the working of the justi in Lassi, and the Imam desired that his impartial tendency of giving verdict should be benefited. The Imam sent a telegraphic message from Europe and appointed him the first President of the newly formed Ismailia Supreme Council for Karachi on June 1, 1910. Henceforth, he executed two high offices in the community. His impartiality coupled with his coolness of mind and natural desire to do well made him an asset to the newly formed Council. Never would he flinch from speaking the truth or siding with the weak nor would he create unnecessary hitches in the Council, nor would he abstain from denouncing that which may breed trouble, nor lose temper and heap insults on his opponent or make, so to speak, the worst of a good job.

Mukhi Hashu led a saintly life and never ran after wealth. Rather, the wealth ran after him. He was of a compromising nature and would say, 'It is better to be a part of solution rather than the cause of dispute.' He always spoke softly, was never short of temper. If ever he felt annoyed, which was seldom, he would sit down and sort it out. Sometimes he would punish his inner self and take a coin from his pocket as a penalty and deposit in the Jamatkhana. None found him to lose temper even in the most provocative situation. Once a son of Shalu family threw dirt on Mukhi Hashu during the thick of a dispute. He did not mind it and went to his house. He warned his sons not to take its revenge. On that evening, Mukhi Hashu came to the house of Shalu to attend the engagement ceremony of his son. This is a best example of his sincerity. In 1902, Vali Shalu lodged complaint against Mukhi Hashu before the Imam. The Imam looked at Mukhi Hashu and asked, 'What Vali Shalu is speaking for you?' Mukhi Hashu with folding hands said nothing except that, 'This servant (bando) is a sinful.' Vali Shalu once again complained and when he repeated it thrice, the Imam said, 'Why do you dispute like beasts? Look at Mukhi Hashu. His silence is a sign of a true believer.'

To go to him in a depressed state of mind was to return cheerful and full of hope. Indeed, he was a source of joy. If he turned in conversation towards a friend, he turned not partially, but with his full face and his whole body. In shaking hand he was not the first to withdraw his own; nor was he the first to break off in converse with a stranger, nor to turn away his ear. He treated friends and strangers; the rich and poor with equity, and was loved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints.

He could not prolong his services in the Supreme Council for Karachi by virtue of his weakness, and tendered his retirement on November 30, 1910. He also retired from the post of the Mukhi in 1912. During his visit to Lassi Jamatkhana, the Imam presented him a shawl on January 16, 1912 and said, 'Well, you have given an application for retirement due to an old age. I appoint Kamadia Hussaini in your place and appoint Hood Shaluani as a Kamadia.' The Imam had a group photograph with the new and old members of the Council on January 16, 1912.

Mukhi Hashu rendered his services as a Mukhi (1873-1912) for 39 years, which is the longest period among the Mukhis of the Lassi jamat, and also for six months as the founder President of the Supreme Council for Karachi. Wedded to his invaluable services and the weal of the jamat, he worked incessantly until he had literally grown grey in it.

It must be known that there was a house of Mukhi Hashu in Uthal, Lasbela. Chief Missionary Hussaini Pir Muhammad (1878-1951) seems to have visited Baluchistan for the first time. He left Karachi for Sonmiani on August 23, 1912 and proceeded towards Uthal and stayed in the house of Mukhi Hashu. He returned to Karachi via Sonmiani on October 7, 1912.

The last few years of his life was marred by illness and physical affliction, which he bore with tranquility and peace of mind. It was about 7.45 a.m. of December 21, 1915 when a Hindu Dr. Pritamdas examined him at his residence and said that he was quite well. No soon did the doctor leave the residence than Mukhi Hashu came down, saying, 'I feel little pain.' He lowered down himself on the wooden cot, asking his daughter, 'Give me a wrapper (chadar).' He covered his face down to his feet and uttered his last word, 'My time to depart from this mundane world has come' and expired in this state at 8.30 a.m. after a long span of 95 years.

Mukhi Hashu married twice and had four sons, viz. Baledina, Jaffer, Ghulam Hussain, Muhammad and two daughters, Hira and Bhanari from his first wife, called Ha'ansi. His other children from his second wife, called Thari were Abdullah, Kassim, Bana, Hussain, Nazar Ali, Ali Muhammad and Ismail; and four daughters, viz. Sharafi, Jena, Chhati and Mariam.

On January 27, 1938, Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah visited the newly built bungalow of Mukhi Varas Hussain, the grandson of Mukhi Hashu, who reverently welcomed the Imam as saying that it was his bungalow. The Imam entered with the support of a stick and looked all around and spoke thrice, 'Mukhi Hashu's bungalow is very nice.' The front wall of the bungalow was well decorated with the photos of the Imam, Mukhi Hashu and Kamadia Abdullah. The Imam came near the photo of Mukhi Hashu and pointed with two fingers as saying, 'His image is in my eyes. He is visible here in my sight.'

In 1952, when Rai Suleman Hoodbhoy, the Chief Honorary Secretary of the Supreme Council for Pakistan, had an audience with Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah in London, the Imam asked him whether the jamat of Lassi remembered late Mukhi Hashu. To this, he replied affirmatively. The Imam said, 'Be it known that he was a Mukhi in this world and the world hereafter.'

It appears from the accessible records that the Imam have sent his most affectionate paternal maternal loving blessings for services presented by the Hashwani family for the soul of Mukhi Hashu Tharuani on May 17, 1985, July 8, 1987, February 5, 1988, February 12, 1990, etc.

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Hashu Tharuani

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