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87. Rahimtullah A.C., Wazir - page 350

Among the predecessors of Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah, Piru Dewani deserves special attention. He was a devout Ismaili in Kutchh in the period of Imam Abul Hasan Ali (1730-1792). His son was Fadhu who followed the footprint of his father. His son Mukhi Rai Rahimtullah was a famous social worker in Kutchh in the time of Imam Shah Khalilullah II and Imam Hasan Ali Shah. In 1825, he immigrated to Muscat when plague epidemics broke out fiercely in Kutchh followed by a severe famine. He started his small business in Muscat. Captain W.F.W. Owen visited Muscat in 1825, and described in 'Narrative of Voyages to Explore the Shores of Africa, Arabia and Madagascar' (London, 1833, 1st vol., pp. 336-340) that the town 'inhabited by every caste of Indian merchants.' He made steady progress and generated his intimate terms with Sultan Sayed Sa'id (d. 1856) of Muscat. He was an influential personage in the Sultan's court. In memory of his meritorious services in Oman, a marble plate in his name was placed in the palace of the Sultan of Oman. He visited Mahallat from Muscat in 1840, where he was invested the title of Rai. He came with the Imam in India in 1841. Mukhi Rai Rahimtullah visited Kathiawar with the Imam and died in the village of Darafa, near Ganod. The Ismaili wished his interment in Bombay, but the Imam chose Ganod as his resting place, near the shrine of Hasan Pir. The Imam himself offered his funeral ceremony and burnt a lamp and put it on his grave.
The son of Rai Rahimtullah was Zain al-Abidin (d. 1876), and whose son was Rahim. Currim was the son of Rahim, and the son of Currim was Abdul Hussain, better known as Abdul Hussain Currim Rahimtullah or A.C. Rahimtullah. It must be added that the maternal grandfather of Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah was Mukhi Kassim Musa, who was the Estate Agent of Imam Hasan Ali Shah, Imam Aga Ali Shah and Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah.

Abdul Hussain Currim, was born on January 12, 1902 at Bombay. He passed B.A., and was well steeped in English, Arabic and Persian. He then joined his father's business. Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah related the incidents of his youth on several occasions when he had no proclivity towards Ismailism. Once he told to Missionary Pir Muhammad Haji in Khulna that he had given permission to his wife, Jenabai to go Jamatkhana, but he never attended. During the Diamond Jubilee in Bombay on March 10, 1946, the Ismailis between 3rd March and 10th March celebrated a diamond jubilee week, and the Imam also attended the mehmanis in the Jamatkhanas. His wife urged him to join in the mehmani, which he refused. When she insisted severely, he acceded to her request.

In the mehmani at Wadi, the Imam was sitting on a chair and asked during his turn the name of the person presenting the mehmani. To this, the Imam was told that it was a mehmani of Abdul Hussain Currim. Imam nimbly staired at him. His wife brought her husband near the chair. The Imam removed his glass and gazed at him, and said, 'I know the names of his forefathers.' Then, the Imam counted few names of his forefathers on the fingertip and said, 'The grandfather of this Abdul Hussain was Rahim, his father was Zain al-Abidin, his father was Rai Rahimtullah, his father was Fadhu and his father was Piru Dewani. All of them had served my house whole-heartedly. Abdul Hussain stands in the seventh generation of Piru Dewani, and he too will serve my house with full heart and loyalty. Best blessings, Khana Abad, Khana Abad.'

The Imam called him near his chair and put his blessed hand on his shoulder. Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah related the moment in his words that, 'I felt a heavy weight as if a mountain on my shoulder. My head lowered down the ground, which was erect so far. The tears streamed out of my eyes, and drenched in perspiration. I remembered nothing what happened in twinkle of eyes.'

He came back to his house and asked his grandmother, who was virtually blind. He said, 'The age of the Aga Khan is about 68 years and my grandfather expired before 70 years. He had never seen him, how he knew him and his forefathers?' She replied that all the Imams were the bearers of the very light of Ali. She continued to say that when she betrothed, his grandfather was alive, and his one old box still subsisted beneath the cupboard. She asked him to bring it. He brought the box, having the boundary of leather and wood. It contained an old robe, with countless patches on it, and a stick. She said, 'These are the blessed relics touched by Imam Shah Khalilullah Ali, belonging to your grandfather, whom I have seen. He visited village to village in India and collected tithe. When the accumulated funds reached upto Rs. 5000/-, he purchased gold coins and hid in the robe with rough stitches. The excess gold coins were inserted in its hollow and sealed on both ends. He then rode away on an ass towards Kirman. After an appalling itinerary of six to seven months, he reached Kirman and presented the gold coins to the Imam. Thus, he served Imam Abul Hasan Shah and Imam Shah Khalilullah Ali.'

The above incident was a new phase, which transformed him all of a sudden into a religious awakening, and resolved with full determination to serve the jamat like his ancestors. He soon entered into the services of the Ismaili community in different fields. He became an Hon. Joint Secretary of Diamond Jubilee Trust, Honorary Treasurer of Ismailia Home and Helping Society, Honorary Joint Secretary of Ismailia General Hospital, President of Ismailia Co-operative Bank, Joint Managing Director of National Land and Building Co., Honorary General Secretary of the Ismailia Association for India (1948-1953), Honorary Secretary of Platinum Jubilee Celebrations Committee, Honorary Managing Director of Platinum Jubilee Investments Ltd., Hon. Secretary of The Ismailia Corporation Housing Society Ltd., Vadala. He also fought legally to recover the plot of Vadala.

During his services in Ismailia Association for India with the President Varas Ghulam Hussain Thavar Pir Muhammad, he is noted for promoting waez activities in India among the young students, and started waez training centers and assemblies in different quarters. He was also a journalist and became an editor of Platinum Jubilee Bulletin in 1951. He had also compiled many articles, most of them appeared in the monthly Aina. It was his untiring efforts that the Ismailia Association published the first and second volumes of the 'Kalam-i Imam-i Moobin' - a collection of the farmans of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah.

lang=EN-US style='font-family:'Bookman Old Style''>The Imam summoned a conference of the Ismaili delegates in Cairo to review the momentous occasion of the Platinum Jubilee upon the completion of 70 years of his Imamate. Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah represented India. The delegates discussed mutually in the morning and met the Imam at evening on March 15, 1951 in Hotel Semiramese. The Imam emphasized that the programme 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. He also sought kind approval from the Imam for the foundation of Platinum Jubilee Investment Ltd.

During the Platinum Jubilee in Karachi on February 3, 1954, the Imam did not like mammoth influx of the Ismailis of India and Africa, and told to Wazir Ibrahim Manji, the President of the Platinum Jubilee Association to issue a circular. In January, 1954, a circular was issued, stating, 'Delegates have instructions that no Ismaili from Bharat or Africa is to come for the Platinum Jubilee celebration at Karachi except those who will be invited officially by the Association.' Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah, the Hon. Secretary of the Platinum Jubilee Celebration Committee for India came officially with his wife alongwith other Indian delegates and had an audience of the Imam.

He also accompanied Prince Aly S. Khan in 1954 to visit about 13 centres in India.

Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah was the Managing Director of Bharat Shipping Agency Ltd. in Bombay. After discussing with the delegates of Pakistan in Paris in 1955, the Imam ordered him to go in Khulna to take charge of the Crescent Jute Mill. He said, 'Mawla, I am not proficient in the field. How can I discharge a big responsibility? The Mill went to rack and ruin loss due to mis-management and has a debt of millions of rupees. It is like a sinking ship.' The Imam said, 'I have decided to deliver you this sinking ship. You don't worry. I will remain with you and guide you from time to time with my best blessings.'

He migrated to Khulna, Bangladesh in 1956 and joined the Crescent Jute Mill Co. Ltd. and became its Managing Director in September, 1957. With his aptitude and wise administrative skills, he changed the fate of the Mill in a short period. Its loss was recovered and loans were adjusted. He also won the hearts of a fleet of 7000 workers and accepted their demands, and got their strikes ended. He built a mosque for them in the Mill, and offered Friday prayers with them, and sometimes he delivered the sermons. He decorated the mosque with Chinese hanging lights and carpeted it. He sent three workers on pilgrimage each year. He also built a maternity home for them and also spent massive amount for the education of their children. He also became the treasurer of Self-Help Center to provide bread and butter to the destitute, and for its maintenance, he collected funds from Jute Mills and Jute Presses.

He was also a member of the governing body of Daulatpur College and took major role in promoting education. Being the President of Rotary Club in Khulna, he suggested to start a Book-Bank Scheme to lend text-books to the deserving students. He was also a member of the Regional Committee of the Banking Publicity Board of the State Bank of Pakistan to enhance notion of saving among the people.

Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah was also the President of the District Council in Khulna for three years, and the President of the Area Committee of the Ismailia Association for Pakistan till death. He also established the Karimabad Co-operative Society and arranged its plot in Khulna.

When he was on a trip of Europe, he suddenly heard the sad demise of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah on July 11, 1957. He rushed to Geneva and conveyed his condolence to Prince Aly Khan and Mata Salamat in Barkat Villa. He also participated in the ascension ceremony of Hazar Imam in Barkat Villa and took bayt with other leaders. He also attended the burial ceremony in Aswan.

After assuming the Imamate, the Imam came in Pakistan and took a visit of the Crescent Jute Mill in Khulna. The Imam also went to his house. On those days, a galaxy of leaping worries revolved in his mind and fastened him all around. The Imam advised him not to whirl in worries and work with courage and assured to be with him all the times.

He was bestowed the title of Alijah in 1950 and Rai in 1955 in India and Wazir in 1960 in Pakistan. He rendered magnitude of the services in India and Pakistan for 15 years with the impulse of his illustrated ancestors.

He died on April 1, 1963 and was buried in the compound of the mill in deference of the wish of the workers, who said that he was their benefactor and sympathizer and had made them gold out of dust.

In a message to the Supreme Council for Dacca on April 8, 1963, the Imam said, 'Much grieved to hear the sad demise of Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah. Best loving blessings for the soul of late Wazir and I pray eternal peace rest his soul.'

The Imam came in Pakistan on November 21, 1964 and visited Khulna on December 1, 1964. On next day, the Imam made a flying visit of the Crescent Jute Mill and offered fatiha on his grave and also paid tribute at his grave when withdrew from the Mill.

His family presented a mehmani during this visit before the Imam in Karachi. When his wife Jenabai mourned, the Imam said, 'Do not grieve. Late Wazir is in eternal peace. I give my best blessings for his soul.'

It may be recorded that three eminent personages passed away in Pakistan in 17 days, who were attached with the Ismailia Association for Pakistan, viz. Missionary Hamir Lakha died on March 16, 1963, Missionary Jaffer Ali Sufi died on March 18, 1963 and Wazir A.C. Rahimtullah, the Chairman of Khulna branch of the Ismailia Association expired on April 1, 1963. The Ismailia Association organized a grand majalis on April 7, 1963 for the departed souls in Garden Jamatkhana. Wazir Ghulam Hyder Bandali (1905-1986), the President sent a humble service with a report to the Imam on April 9, 1963. In reply, the Imam sent following message:-

My dear President

I have received your letter of April 9th.

Kindly convey to the office bearers and members of the Ismailia Association, waezeens and religious teachers my best loving paternal maternal blessings for service, with best blessings for the souls of the late:

Rai Hamir Lakha

Vazir A.C. Rahamtola of Khulna

I pray that their souls may rest in eternal peace. My three spiritual children had rendered truly excellent services to myself and my jamats. They lived fine lives of hard work and service and were exemplary spiritual children.

His first wife, Shireen (d. 1926) begot two sons, Sultan and Mehboob. His second wife, Jenabai also served as a member of the Fidai Academy, Bombay (1948-1952). She was appointed the member of the Khulna Council in 1961, the President of Khulna Health Centre (1962-1963). She was also the founder of Prince Aly Canteen in Khulna, the sponsour and advisor of Khulna Industrial Home & Economic Society, the advisor of Ladies Volunteer Corps, Khulna, etc. She was also the Managing Director of Crescent Jute Mills. In appreciation of her meritorious services, the Imam invested her the title of Varasiani on August 10, 1963. Shed died on May 27, 1987, leaving behind a daughter, called Abida.

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Rahimtullah A.C., Wazir

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