65. Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri, Chief Wazir - page 249
Sayed Imam Shah (d. 1520) is said to have launched a brisk mission in Gujrat. He converted a certain Khoja Jiva in Khambat, Gujrat. Khoja Jiva was well rooted in Ismailism and he himself converted large number of Kanabi caste of the Hindus, notably Motilal, Daya Ram Nathu, etc. The descendant of Motilal migrated to Surat during the time of Imam Nizar II (1585-1628), who deputed Sayed Abdul Nabi in India, whose tomb is in Kankara Khadi, near Surat. He was followed by the vakils, Hasan Pir (1652-1715), Sayed Ghulam Ali Shah (d. 1792), etc.,
Motilal, the ancestor of Kassim Ali H. Javeri practiced Ismaili faith in the mantle of a Hindu, and his descendants lived in various cloaks, shaded with the Hindu social custom for a long period, and they became known as the guptis. They performed the religious service in the house of Jedas Prabu for 75 years in Surat. Later on, the house of the forefathers of Kassim Ali H. Javeri was used for 45 years as the Jamatkhana, where Imam Aga Ali Shah is reported to have visited for five times.
The gupti Ismailis of north Gujrat abandoned the scarf of concealment, cutting down the Hindus customs, and revealed themselves as the Muslims with the orders of the Imam at the end of 1914. Bhagat Ramji Shivji Mehr Ali (1844-1919) arrived in Surat with an expressed farman of the Imam for the gupti. Meanwhile, a local newspaper in Surat, called 'Deshi Mitra' propagated against the gupti Ismailis. It gave the guptis strength and courage to reveal their true identity in public. The first group comprising of 70 individual came forward and introduced themselves on June 10, 1915 and Islamitized their names. Among them, Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri (Hindu name Chhabildas Harkisandas Javeri), and his brothers, Didar Ali Hasan Ali Javeri (Hindu name Dayabhai Harkisandas Javeri), became the Mukhi and died in 1919, Nuruddin Muhammad Hasan Javeri (Hindu name Nanabhai Harkisandas Javeri), who died in 1954; and Karamali Hasan Ali Javeri (Hindu name Kalidas Harkisandas Javeri) became distinguished as the Ismaili Muslims and abandoned the Hindu customs. They also published their Islamic names in the Government Gazette and placed a sign board on their Jamatkhana, designating it as the Shia Imami Ismaili Jamatkhana.
Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri was born on May 12, 1877 in Surat. His surname was Dhupelia as his father Hasan Ali's (1844-1924) profession was in the incense, a kind of fragrant substance, called dhup. Soon afterwards, his surname became Javeri for his business in jewellery. His father Hasan Ali died on March 29, 1924 at the age of 80 years. Kassim Ali was a leading trader of the diamonds in Bombay. In 1897, when the first marriage of the Imam solemnized in Poona, the gupti Ismailis of Surat administered an excellent arrangement and became familiar among the Ismailis.
In 1900, Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri went to Europe on his mercantile trip and lived in Paris, where he and his brother, Alijah Nuruddin Muhammad Hasan Javeri (d. 1954) erected M/S D.N. Javeri & Co. He made a Jamatkhana in his residence with Murad Ali as Mukhi and Ashad Ali Haji as the Kamadia. His brother, Alijah Nuruddin Muhammad served as the Mukhi between 1907 and 1909.
Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri returned to India in 1908 during the Haji Bibi Case and produced a letter which was 120 years old in the court. Imam Shah Khalilullah Ali had bestowed it upon his two ancestors, namely Shivlal Prabu and Waja Mulji, and clarified that the tithe and offerings presented to the Imam, absolutely belonged only to the Imam. He also refuted that the growth of Ismailism was not originated before 50 years.
He again went to Paris and returned to India in 1914 and lived in Surat. He began to serve the jamat with his efficiency and ability, and settled finally in Bombay since 1920.
In 1922, he was appointed the Kamadia of Darkhana Jamatkhana of Bombay. He also became a Private Secretary of the Imam in 1926. In 1930, Imam Sultan Mohammed Shah sent him to Syria as his special commissioner. In 1932, the Imam appointed him as a Chief Mukhi.
Muhammad Ali, the son of Chief Wazir Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri, Bar-at-law, became the first Ismaili to obtain the degree of LLB (Hon.) in London in 1933.
It is beyond power to express his valuable services he had extended during the Golden Jubilee in 1936, and was awarded a Gold Medal with Chevron and Straight Bar.
Lady Aly Shah left for Iraq in January, 1938. Special arrangement were made for her comfort, and for that reason the Imam took with him Hussain Ali, the son of Chief Wazir Javeri by air to Basra, where he made all possible arrangements for her quiet and peaceful landing.
The first meeting of The Aga Khan Legion was held on December 12, 1940 at the residence of Joint Mukhi Rai Kassim Ali Manji Nathu of Darkhana. It was presided by Prince Aly Khan to review the arrangements and the funds for the Diamond Jubilee. Chief Wazir Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri presented his diamond ring of Rs. 6000/- with enormous cash to Prince Aly Khan, making it an auspicious initiative.
He also attended the first Ismaili 'Mission Conference' held in Dar-es-Salaam on July 20, 1945.
He was consigned to manage the tour of Europe to arrange the diamonds and bring them safely to India for the Diamond jubilee in 1946 with Wazir Abdullah Sumar Shivji (d. 1960). It was indeed a perilous assignment, which he accomplished after some initial problem. The diamonds from London Diamond Syndicate made a five thousand mile journey from England in H.M.S. Derbyshire. He was a veteran leader, so was a great social worker. Whenever the Imam made his tour of didar in India, he took all responsibilities of the arrangements on his shoulders.
He bore the title of Chief Wazir in November, 1949 and became the first to be graced with this honorific conferment, and none else merited till this day. The Council, jamats of Darkhana, Kandi Mola and Hasanabad, the Ismailia Association and other institutions honoured him in a grand reception. The Ismailia Association also gave him a reception, and President Alijah Ghulam Hussain S. Thaver explained his services in his speech. The World Head of the Ismailia Association, Huzur Wazir Ali Mohammad Macklai spoke in his speech that, 'I knew him when I was eight years old. The Jamatkhana of the guptis existed at C.P. Tank, where our Institution started its initiative works. He still looks the same today, as he did then, 50 years ago. The Imam commanded the guptis to reveal themselves in 1914. Kamadia Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri did not hesitate, but overcome the situation instantly and responded the Imam's call at once. I never found him loosing his temperament.'
He also rendered his invaluable services to the citizens of Bombay. The Bombay government vested him the title of Khan Bahadur in appreciation of his services.
Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri was also a member of Bombay Council, and the founder member of the Federal Council for India. His services during the Platinum Jubilee were beyond measure. He also rendered his services to the Diamond Jubilee Trust and Platinum Jubilee Investments Ltd. He served the Ismaili jamat in different capacities for about 50 years.
Imam Sultan Mohammed Shah summoned a conference of the Ismaili delegates in Cairo to review the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee upon the completion of 70 years of his Imamate. Chief Wazir Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri also attended on behalf of the Indian jamats. The delegates discussed mutually in the morning and met the Imam in the evening on March 15, 1951 in Hotel Semiramese. The Imam emphasized that the program should be worked out on the pattern of Golden and Diamond Jubilees to improve the social and economical conditions of the Ismailis. The Imam, Mata Salamat and Prince Aly Khan invited them on next day for a lunch at Mohamedali Club and graced them with a photograph.
The Imam visited India after independence to see the jamat in 1950 and 1951. Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri's health was impaired, nevertheless, he stood in Imam's service actively.
In 1946, the Imam formed a Diamond Jubilee Trust. Later on, some members stood against the Trust in 1953. Muhammad H.H. Premji and his colleagues filed a suit against the Trust in Bombay High Court. The Chief Justice and Justice Tendukar probed the issue, and dismissed the case and gave verdict in favour of the Trust on September 14, 1953. Chief Wazir Kassim Ali Javeri played a vital role in its prosecution. The Imam sent a message to the Council for his admirable role on September 17, 1953 that, 'For the best reconciliation in Diamond Jubilee Case, I am very happy. All the Ismailis in India will remember him for ever for the result of reconciliation.'
It is to be noted that some irresponsible individuals raised some unbearable doubts in Poona. Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri delivered a long speech in Narangi Bagh Jamatkhana to clear the doubts. The gist of his speech was published in the 'Platinum Jubilee Bulletin' (Bombay, January 15, 1954), in which he said, 'The glory of Imam Aga Shah Khalilullah was like an emperor. The daughter of the Iranian king was the wife of Imam Hasan Ali Shah, who inherited enormous ornaments and massive wealth in dowry. Due to some disputes, Aga Hasan Ali Shah came in India and brought his wealth with him. The belt of the Imam was embedded with diamonds and pearls of million rupees. The big diamond stubbed in the buckle of another belt cost lac of rupees and I have seen a like belt worn by Pir Shihabuddin Shah. The treasure of Aga Hasan Ali Shah was inexhaustible and full of gold. These are the facts of my own experience. He was so generous that the gold bars were given away in charity all the times. In past, the Ismailis in India were not as refined as they are now, when hardly 75 Ismaili families resided in Bombay. The Imam guided and financed them in business fields. He established schools and other welfare organizations. Today, these Ismailis hold a front rank in all fields as a progressive community because of his guidance. Besides, they have become great traders in other countries. The Imam would visit the Jamatkhana on every Saturday in Poona long before 50 years. The Ismailis of Bombay also came in Poona for didar and blessings. They stayed in a compound just opposite the railway station. They were fed daily from the kitchen of the Imam, called as anbar, spending Rs. 50,000/- per month. Each two individuals were given enough food that would be enough for twelve people. The Imam spent colossal amounts for his followers. The royal charity of the Imam irrespective of cast and creed is well known in the world. His financial assistance is continued in health and education fields for the welfare of the followers. The Ismailis must realize these facts and be not misguided in the current propaganda and keep their faith firm.'
Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri was also invited to Cairo to attend the token ceremony of the Platinum Jubilee on February 20, 1955. The ceremony was held in the Cleopetra Hall of Hotel Semiramese, attended by 62 delegates. It was a solemn ceremony of 20 minutes. The Ismaili leaders most humbly presented 70 gold ginnies to the Imam, which was graciously accepted. Imam Sultan Mohammed Shah presented the same gold ginnies to the delegates. Besides, the Imam also presented it to Chief Wazir Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri and Wazir Abdul Hamid Ali.
His invaluable and unstinted services can be judged from the following message of the Imam, which was mailed to him on February 1, 1956 that:-
My dear Kamadia,
You spent your whole life serving me and if I am to give you blessings, I have to do it all days and every day for the rest of my life. But I tell you how very much I appreciate your life long service.
You had the luck to be born about the same time as myself. So you served me every day of my life almost I have to write this to you because otherwise I would have to write often my blessings to you.
Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri visited Cairo to see the Imam and presented services on behalf of the Indian jamats. The Imam sent following message through the Federal Council for India on February 11, 1956 that:-
My Chief Mukhi Vazier Kamadia Kassamali presented services and dastboshi all Bharat jamats. I send my most loving best paternal maternal blessings to all. My beloved spiritual children of all Bharat ever in my thought and close to my heart.
The marriage of Rahmat Banu, the daughter of Itmadi Hussain Ali Javeri, the son of Chief Wazir Kassim Ali Hasan Ali Javeri was performed by Amir Ali, the brother of Count Abdullah Hashim Gangji of Africa, on March 4, 1956 at Vallabhai Patel National Stadium, Bombay. Prince Aly S. Khan attended the wedding.
During the last days of his life, his health deteriorated and needed much care. He at last died on Tuesday, May 28, 1968 at Bombay. The Imam sent following telegraphic message:-
Geneva: June 1, 1968
Was much grieved to hear of sad demise Chief Vazir Kassum Ali Javeri. I send my most affectionate paternal maternal loving blessings for the soul of late Chief Vazir Kassum Ali Javeri and pray for eternal peace rest his soul. Late Chief Vazir Kassum Ali served my India jamat well and loyally for many years and will be greatly missed by my jamat and myself. I send my best loving blessings to Javeri family for courage and fortitude in their loss.
His sons Itmadi Hussain Ali and Itmadi Hashim Ali continued to serve the community on the footprints of his father.