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Mombasa Parajiya Pattni Samaj Honours Pranbhai Dhanak, Webmaster - Pattni Connection

 

CUTCHI MUSLIM SONARA JAMAAT, MOMBASA

WELCOME

PRANBHAI DHANAK

WEBMASTER - PATTNI CONNECTION

 

Memorable photo taken after the meeting

Historical gathering - Two communities get together after 600 years!!

1) Kantilal Narandas Jinabhai Ghaghada (London) 

2) Datardina Ibrahim Kamora

3) Girdharlal Bhanjibhai Meghji Dhanak (London)

4) Kantilal Hirji Virji Ghaghada  (Committee member) 

5) Bharat Pravinbhai Vaya

6) Ashok Bhagwanjibhai Ghaghada (Trustee)

7)  Abdulaziz Siddik Samani

8) Kishorbhai Narandas Vaya (Hon. Vice Chairman)

9) Pranlal Chhaganbhai Arjan Dhanak

(Webmaster – Pattni Connection)

10) Bharatbhai Bhimji Rattanshi (Hon. Chairman),

11) Abdulaziz Ahmed Jafferani. (son of Ahmed Haji Elias Jafferani)

12) Osmanbhai Siddik Samani

13) Ayoob Abdulsattar Jafferani

14) Bhupen Narandas Jinabhai Ghaghada (Toronto, Canada)

15) Ahmed Ibrahim Sodha

16) Bhailal Muljibhai Ratanshi Dhanak (Trustee)


MOMBASA MAKING HISTORY - FIRSTEVER MEETING OF TWO COMMUNITIES AFTER 600 YEARS

 


Historical Meeting of two communities: Parajiya Pattni Sonis and Parajiya Muslim Sonis.

 

Nearly 600 years ago some section of the Parajiya Soni community converted to Muslims. They are called Cutchi Muslim Sonis.

 

Like our Parajiya Pattni pioneers, many of the Muslim Sonara community also settled in Mombasa more than 100years ago.

 

Since this community has a common history with Parajiya Pattni Sonis, they have also been following The Pattni Connection website regularly.

 

A BIG THANK YOU TO CUTCHI MUSLIM SONARA JAMAAT, MOMBASA FOR THE HONOUR

 

Muslim Sonis organized a reception inviting both communities on Tuesday, 26th June 2012 and invited Pranbhai Dhanak, webmaster of Pattni Connection website as their chief guest.

 


History of Kutchi Muslim Sonis

Welcome Speech by Mohammed Zakaria


Assalamu Alaikum and Good Evening.

 

Thank you Mr. Pranbhai, Mr. Bharat and distinguished members of the Pattni Samaj and the Sonara Jamat.

 

I would mention a few words regarding the history of the Muslim Sonara Community. Taking our lineage as a tree - we have the information about its roots, courtesy of Mr. Pranbhai - and the most recent history which may form its branches. What we lack is the connection between the two, which I may call the trunk.

 

Seeing the plight of educational facilities in Kutch, in those days, one cannot expect from the Sonaras to have left any recorded historical facts about their past. Any history writing about the Sonaras must rely on the memories of the elders of the community. These memories are fast fading away unless the modern youth act promptly to preserve this valued treasure.

 

Several theories exist on how we left Patan and settled in Kutch. One of which is as follows:-

 

It was in the 18th century during the reign of Mogul emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir somewhere in between 1658 and 1707. A group of Hindu Parajia Pattnis left their homeland in Patan – Gujarat for a yatra heading towards Narayan Sarowar locally known as Naransar in Kutch. On their way they met a muslim saint – Shah Shafi R.A. who converted two thirds of the group to Islam of which some settled in Kutch and others moved to Ahmedabad. And the remaining third continued with the yatra.

 

The other theory is that the new Muslims initially settled in Ahmadabad and later, a group moved to Nalya-Kutch.

 

Now, the following words are an extract of the hard work done by Mr. Haji Ahmed Sodha who is also present with us and we appreciate what he had initiated more than a decade ago:-

 

“In the Indian sub-continent, Islam has always gained its way through dedicated missionary activities of some saintly personalities. As a gesture of obedience, families accompanied their benefactors and settled in the region of Abdasa in Kutch.

 

These people were the ancestors of what is today “The Kutchi Muslim Sonara Community”.

 

Having embraced Islam from the Shree Parajia Pattni Community of goldsmiths, working in gold and silver was always their ancestral profession which they have retained till today. No exact date of conversion to Islam of the Sonaras is available, nor do any records exist about their historical facts.

 

The facts stated here are based on the memories of the elders of the Jamat, handed down from generation to generation. The Sonaras had already settled in Kutch during the reign of Mogul emperor Aurangzeb.

 

Kutch being a region of perpetual scarcity where severe droughts strike several times within a decade bringing about hunger and deprivation, the people of Kutch during those days of tribulations, travel to far-off lands in search of their livelihood. For this reason, Sonaras also went to distant places leaving behind their families at home.

 

At the initial stage their destination was Sindh – a neighbouring place which was more prosperous compared to Kutch because of the waters of the Indus River. The Sonaras put up their shops in many villages and towns of Sindh, making frequent trips back home.

 

Moreover they also thought of going abroad, and many of them went to Muscat in Arabia but a majority of such people went to the East African Island port of Zanzibar in the early days of the nineteenth century. Thus their ties with East Africa are more than one hundred and fifty years old.”

 

With this, I end the extraction of the compilation by Mr. Haji Ahmed Sodha. I would now like to request Azhar Ayoob to start off the open discussions session.

 

Thank you.


Members of the Mombasa Parajiya Pattni Samaj,  members of Cutchi Muslim Sonara Jamaat and guests attended this historical meeting. This was the first ever such a meeting of two communities has ever taken after 600 years of separation!

 

Map of Patan - Kutch and Kathiawar was put up on a big screen


History of Memon Sonis in Mombasa

- Pranbhai Dhanak

 

According to the Indian history, those Parajiya Sonis who converted to Islam became known as Parajiya Muslim Sonis. They were first settled Bhuj (1548–1584) and so were called Kutchi Muslim Sonis. It is from there that Kutchi Sonis migrated to Kathiawar and Gujarat.

 

The term Gujarati Muslims Soni is usually used to signify an Indian Muslim from the state of Gujarat in west India, who speaks the Gujarati Language as a mother-tongue (first language).

 

Many members of this community migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and have settled in Karachi and Sindh. Many families also migrated and settled in Mombasa more than 100 years ago.

 

According to Mohammed Zakariya, Memon Soni in Mombasa:

 

The 'Cutchi Muslim Sonara Jamat', as we know of, consists about 5,000 members worldwide, out of which over 3,000 are in Karachi, about 200 in Mombasa, about 200-300 are in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, a family or two are in the U.K. and the U.S.A each, a handful are in Moroni in the Comoros islands, and a few are still in Cutch. Since many still have their old surnames, the Muslim community are all aware that they were once Parajiya Sonis.

 

Reception held in Mombasa to honor Pranbhai Dhanak, Webmaster of Pattni Connection



Guests warmly received by the elders of the Muslim Community

 

A warm and friendly welcome was awaiting guests. The members of the Muslim Sonis all stood up to receive them and warmly greet Pranbhai and guests upon arrival.

 


A large video screen with a message “Welcome Pattni Connection” was set up near the head table.

 

One thing that really struck me was the similarity of the way Muslim speaking fluent Gujarati with same accent like ours!

 

Pranbhai was invited to sit at the head table as chief guest along with the chairman of Mombasa Pattni Soni Samaj, Bharatbhai Bhimji Ratanshi, Ashokbhai Bhagwanji Devji (Trustee) and our community elder Shree Girdharlal Bhanji Dhanak from London.

 

Muslim Soni youths started the proceeding by greeting and welcoming guests.

 

Ayoobbhai's welcome speech


Ayoobbhai who is one of the elder of the Cutchi Muslim Sonara Jamaat and the current chairman of the Mombasa Goldsmith Association welcome Pranbhai. He was keen to know more about their history of his community and to find out their roots.

 


Bharatbhai address to both communities

 

Chairman Bharatbhai Bhimji Ratanshi in his speech, discussed about the friendly relations between with the Memon Soni and the Pattni Soni communities in Mombasa. They do business with each other and also invite each other at the weddings. Bharatbhai thanked the Cutchi Muslim Sonara Jamaat for organising the historic gathering.

 

He then invited Pranbhai Dhanak to throw some light on their historical roots.

 

Keynote Speech by Pranbhai Dhanak

 

In his speech Pranbhai started by saying “Just by being together this evening we are making history”. Parajiya Soni came into existence nearly 2000 years ago. This community split approximately 600 years ago during the Mogul time when some section of the community converted to become Muslims.

 

 

Pranbhai gave valuable insight into the genealogy and family history of the Parajiya Soni community. Historical facts based on the ancient Indian history, Shreemad Bhagwat and from the Barot’s books, he discussed in detail of his own Dhanak family lineage as an example.

 

Since our community Barot stopped recording births after their conversion to Muslims, in order to find their Hindu ancestral roots, the Muslim Sonara community needs to do some research to find names of last 30 generations to their last Hindu name. It is only then possible to get the full family history of the Muslim Sonara Jamaat.

 

Unfortunately they could only go back eight generations. Eight generation is around 150 - 160 years of history. In order to find to go back to their Hindu roots, they will need to more research within their community to meet in the Parajiya Soni family tree.

 

It is through the internet technology and the Pattni Connection website that two communities formally came together for the first time. This meeting will go down as a historic day and will reverberate for many years to come.

 

Concluding his speech, Pranbhai thanked Muslim Soni Jamaat for the honour bestowed on him as their chief guest.

 

Open session for Questions & Discussions

 

The meeting was then thrown open for questions and discussion. Light refreshments were served after the meeting.

 

It was a truly memorable evening bringing two communities closer.