We believe, as many of you also do that the incredible 700-year entrepreneurial migratory history of the Khojas should not be allowed to die just because our elders are passing away. Our response is Khojawiki.org - a not-for-profit collaborative effort to systematically record living people's stories about their own experiences and their recollection of the stories of their parents and other ancestors in their own words, using the power of the Internet.
The Khojas of Western India are recognized by historians and other scholars as a distinct socio-cultural group with their own written script-Khojki and a tradition of preserving spoken and written Kutchi and Gujarati - of literature, song, and dance and finally, a very unique naming tradition that preserves their identity over the centuries. They have had a remarkable journey of enterprise and migration - from farmers to petty traders in Multan and Sind and after migrating with their ruler's conquest of Kutch and Kathiawar in the 1600's, as laborers and street vendors, later moving on as major traders, merchants and industrialists into the the rest of India, Asia and Africa under British imperial domain. That, in turn, has lead to the on-going diaspora to the West where they thrive as businessmen and professionals.
This long history is made up of thousands very rich personal stories of courage, sacrifice, strongly-held family values and a fine tradition of public service or "sewa". And these stories - of each Khoja person and family and as well as the collective "people's" history - is a unique treasure, not only for future generations of that family but also for society.
Due to these multiple transitions, the traditional way of passing down ancestral information from parent to child has been lost and unfortunately, our collective memory stands broken. As more of our elders die, they take with them important links to our complex identity - the very answers that our children and friends demand - who are we and how did we get here. We all know that feeling - that time is taking away something that is being lost forever.
Recently a Dutch history student Gijsbert Oonk, in explaining how his professor persuaded him to write about Indians in East Africa said "He encouraged me to write a history from below or, more specifically, a history of ‘people without history.’"
Those unintended but gravely offensive words have spurred us into this mission.
Abdul Aziz Gulamhusein Remtulla’s life in Ceylon exemplifies the frequent tendency of the Khoja migrants to go beyond their narrow communal interests to engage in the civic life of their new home in order to “payback” to that society. The son of a successful Gwadar-born merchant, Abdul Aziz, as he came to be known in Sri Lanka, made his home in Colombo of the 1930’s and went on to devote more than 50 years of his life to the plight of migrant tea-plantation workers who had been grossly exploited, firstly by the colonial plantation owners and later by the Sri Lankans. During this time, as a trade unionist and politician, Abdul Aziz Bhai became the voice of conscience for successive post-independence governments, earning a reputation as a fearless fighter and a polite and cultured human being, creating political alliances for his cause. Abdul Aziz Bhai died in 1990 and it is a testament to his towering stature in Sri Lankan society that the President, Prime Minister and politicians of all stripes were in attendance at his funeral. The government issued a special commemorative stamp to honour his contributions to that beautiful but sometimes troubled nation.
Earliest Historical Reference To Khoja Merchants = 1543 AD
A wealthy Khoja merchant from Surat, whose ship, the "Quedagh Merchant", Captain William Kidd, notorious British pirate, captured and for which he was hanged 300 years ago!Read More
IN THE NEWS
KHOJAWIKI SECURES A TREASURE-TROVE OF GERMAN COLONIAL RECORDS OF KHOJAS IN TANZANIA.
During a recent visit to the German National Archives in Koblenz, we discovered some recently digitized records from Tanzania - a couple of very detailed German Colonial Handbooks dated 1903-1904-and 1908.
From those, our volunteers have painstakingly extracted all recorded Khoja family names & details and added them on to the Khojawiki website database.
This is a valuable find- thousands of Khojas from Tanzania can now find confirmation of their family oral history...of their great-grandparents and trace them to various towns and villages of their first settlement, including the Dukas and other businesses they established. We have names and business details from centers like Morogoro, Kilosa, Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Pangani, etc. and also from small “bush” settlements like Magalla, etc.
All the towns and names are listed underneath and the detailed information for each ancestor is up-loaded on the Khojawiki database. Please check your family name on the general search engine above to see if your ancestor has been recorded.
Once again, we at Khojawiki are very proud of our volunteers who are trying to preserve our family heritage so our grandchildren can know their real past.
SEARCH HERE - BY TOWNS, AND THEN INSERT NAME IN MAIN SEARCH ENGINE ABOVE
BAGAMOYO PG 1
BAGAMOYO PG 2
BAGAMOYO PG 3
BUKOBA PG 1
BUKOBA PG 2
BUKOBA PG 3
DAR ES SALAAM PG 1
DAR ES SALAAM PG 2
DAR ES SALAAM PG 3
DAR ES SALAAM PG 4
DAR ES SALAAM PG 5
DAR ES SALAAM PG 6
DAR ES SALAAM PG 7
IRINGA PG 1
IRINGA PG 2
KILOSA PG 1
KILOSA PG 2
KILOSA PG 3
KILOSA PG 4
KILWA PG 1
KILWA PG 2
KILWA PG 3
KILWA PG 4
KILWA PG 4
KONDOA PG 1
LINDI PG 1
LINDI PG 2
MAFIA PG 1
MAFIA PG 2
MAFIA PG 3
MAFIA PG 4
MAFIA PG 5
MAFIA PG 6
MAGALLA PG 1
MAHENGE PG 1
MOROGORO PG 1
MOROGORO PG 2
MPWAPWA PG 1
MPWAPWA PG 2
PANGANI PG 1
PANGANI PG 2
PANGANI PG 3
PANGANI PG 4
PANGANI PG 5
PANGANI PG 6
PANGANI PG 7
PANGANI PG 8
TABORA PG 1
TABORA PG 2
TABORA PG 3
TANGA PG 1
TANGA PG 2
TANGA PG 3
UJIJI PG 1
UJIJI PG 2
KHOJAWIKI at the SECOND KHOJA STUDIES CONFERENCE, MUMBAI UNIVERSITY, Jan 2019.
Mr. I. I. Dewji, Director of the Khoja Oral Family History Documentation Project was invited to speak to a conference at Mumbai University that included, amongst many other scholars, the Directors of the two very prestigious academic institutions engaged in Khoja Studies-The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) of the University of Paris and the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
Mr. Dewji's presentation was on the subject of "Crowd-sourcing and Wiki initiatives in history preservation."
We are pleased to provide a video of his talk:
"KHOJAWIKI.org TEAMS UP TO BRING YOU A VERY USEFUL SERVICE!"
A constant complaint in the West is that children do not understand grandparents when they speak Kutchi language. Valuable opportunities for transmitting knowledge, history or just family interaction are lost.
Whilst it may be hard to learn a whole new language, Alykhan Kaba has a solution - a web-based translator app that will help you with over several thousand words. It's free and run by a not-for-profit organization.
http://www.kutchilanguageonline.org is an open website where you can translate almost all words that we commonly encounter in Kutchi. It provides English to Kutchi and reverse.
Try it. Surprise Nanimaa. It will be fun and it will heartwarming.
I.I.Dewji Director, Khojawiki.org
"DIASPORIC DISTRACTIONS" LAUNCHED IN NORTH AMERICA"
Mr. Iqbal Dewji, Dr Mohamed Keshavjee and Mr. Ali Velshi. Photo credit: Aly Zahur Ramji
Khojawiki.org was the venue for the launch in Canada of a new book on short stories “Diasporic Distractions” marking the Indian diaspora in Africa with a particular focus on the end of the colonial era.
The book was launched by Iqbal Dewji, Director of Khojawiki.org at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto on Sunday 6th May 2018.
Mr. Dewji formally launching "Daisporic Distractions". Photo credit: Aly Zahur Ramji
TORONTO DROP-IN CENTRE:
We are extremely pleased to announce that the 1st Khojawiki Drop-In Centre is in operation at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Don Mills. Located opposite the Agakhan Museum, it is convenient for our seniors to come for a cup of chai and share their personal stories with our dedicated group of volunteers, who then enter the narratives, photos and other mementos on this website for preservation. The center is bright, spacious and has a room dedicated to audio-visual recordings to keep for posterity. All are welcome between 11 am to 6 pm on week-days. The weekend is by appointment.
Our complete contact:
KHOJAWIKI, 6 Garamond Court, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3C 1Z5
Almost 2000 people globally have joined our Facebook group "KHOJAWIKI" and now receive great stories about our people weekly. Please go to the Facebook group “Khojawiki” and add yourselves as members.
3. HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS
In Canada, high school students must volunteer 40 hours to the community service and as a registered charity, we are qualified to provide the certification. Please contact us if you can get youth in your family to build your family tree and at the same time qualify for these hours. Guaranteed, they would likely never forget their ancestral lineage!Contact