The Endangered Species

Subtitle : An Account of the Journey of Faith by the Khoja Ithna-Asheri Community
Author : Hassan Ali M. Jaffer
Language : English
ISBN: 978-177136027-2

True to its title, The Endangered Species attempts to provide answers to some burning questions, while weaving a unique tapestry of personalities, events and ideas that has shaped the KSI community. This book, which represents a labor of love over almost a decad, by a remarkable personality nurtured within the Khoja Community, is very opportune.

The author, Hassanbha Jaffer has had the good fortune of experiencing much of this tradition first hand, for the past 75 years. As a keen analytical observer, he is well known of his candid and oftentimes rather acidic analysis of the state of the Community and has migrated many of us into discomfort zones. His ‘out of the box’ thinking about community affairs is also reflected in his unique turn of phrase, not found in the manuals of creative writing.

Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris, (KSI) are spread over five continents and number just under 125,000. Despite being a miniscule percentage of the 200 million Shia Ithna-Asheris worldwide, their perceived influence and fame belies their numbers – hence the title, The Endangered Species. The author, Hassan A M Jaffer, deftly delves into a narrative based on the characteristic migratory patterns of the Khojas, hailing from Kutch and Kathiawad, who ventured towards the then unknown continent of Africa during the 19th century and beyond to the West in the past 4 decades.The book illustrates how, upon their arrival in Africa, beginning the late 19th Century, the Khojas coped with the daunting prospects on a vast unexplored tract of land within the milieu of African and Arab cultures. Through the prism of real life Khoja experiences, the book highlights the challenges of these pioneers who were subjected to German, British, French Italian, Belgian and Portuguese colonial rules, and yet against all odds managed to emerge with their identities virtually intact. The book also illustrates how in the wake of the partition of the sub-continent, (led by a Khoja – Mohamed Ali Jinnah) how the Indian and Pakistani Khojas developed under different influences and cultures.

New features of the 2nd Edition:

  • Migration charts
  • New photos
  • Details of the burial place of Aga Khan II and photos of his final resting place in Najaf within the precincts of the Shrine of Imam Ali (as)
  • How Azadari was observed by the early Aga Khans while in Mumbai. Excerpts from the account given by Edulji Dhanjee Kabafrom his book: “Khoja Kom no Itihas” – published in 1910
  • Details of the permanent Khoja Heritage Exhibition and working of the Mulla Asghar Memorial Library and Research Centre, Toronto

*Available for sale in the MARC library.*

Other Reviews:

April 2013 edition of Federation Samachar. It starts on page 84 of the pdf.