89. Rajab Ali Megji, Varas - page 357
He was born on February 9, 1908 in
India. He also made his footing in East Africa for better prospect. After
working for two years in the firm of Varas Alidina Visram, he proceeded to
Kilosa. In 1938, he joined his father in agriculture enterprise, procuring sisal,
sugar cane, maize and sorghum. Since then the whole family of Rajab Ali Megji
had been in agricultural activities. It can be said that the family’s
undertaking in planting sugar in Kilombero helped to open up the Kilombero area
where today the Kilombero Sugar scheme is yielding massive benefits. With
foresight of the prospects in the planting of sugarcane, he at one time
sponsored a sugar scheme with small holders, each having 500 acres, with a
central processing factory. Unfortunately, conditions existing in those past
years were not favourable and the scheme did not materialize.
Services in various institutions of the
community were a lifelong event for him. He was a member of the Volunteer Corps
(1932-1937), and acted as the Mukhi and Kamadia of various Brotherhoods and of
the jamat at Kilosa (1932-1937,
1939-1946 and 1949-1966). He also served as an Honorary Secretary of the Aga
Khan School in Kilosa (1939-1948), and as a Supervisor of the school in Kilosa
and Ulanga districts (1944-1960), and also as a member representing Kilosa and
Ulanga districts on the Aga Khan Provincial Council in Dar-es-Salaam. In
appreciation of his services, he merited the title of Varas.
Besides, his charity was a well-known
and his numerous donations included generous contributions for the Jamatkhana
built at Chanjuru in 1956, and another in Mkamba.
It is worthy of note that it was
entirely due to his efforts that the Ismaili participation in the Magole
Agricultural Scheme became possible and today most of the farms at Magole have
been allocated to the Ismailis. As a Chairman of the Central Agricultural
Committee, Rajab Ali Megji was responsible for arranging Prince Amyn Muhammad’s
visit to Magole.
He promoted the Kilosa and Ulanga
Traders Corporation, and the Kilosa and Ulanga Industrial Corporation, and in
both Corporations he acted as the Chairman on various occasions. He also served
on the Regional Labour Tribunal and District and Regional Development
Committees for a very long time.
He passed away in the month of April,
1970 after suffering an attack of cerebral hemorrhage. To many the demise of
this pioneer, Varas Rajab Ali Megji of Kilosa marked an end of the trail of an
unselfish and dedicated philanthropy who served not only the jamat all his life, but others outside
the community as well; a pioneer who has left indelible footprints in the path
of history that he walked.