We believe, as many of you also do, that the wonderful 700-year migratory history of the Khojas should not be allowed to die, even as our elders pass 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 language-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. The Khojas have had an remarkable journey of migration through the centuries - from small traders and farmers in Multan and Sind into laborers and street vendors after moving with their ruler's conquest of Kutch and Kathiawar in the 1500's and later as traders, merchants, and industrialists into the the rest of India, Asia and Africa under British imperial dominion. That has been followed by the current diaspora to the West, where they continue to thrive often 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 "peoples" history - is a unique treasure, not only for future generations of that family but also of the whole community.
Unfortunately due to these multiple transitions, the traditional way of passing down information from parent to child has been lost and our collective memory sits broken. And 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.
In fact, recently a Dutch history student, Gisbert Oonk, explaining how his professor persuaded him 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(Remu)life in Ceylon exemplifies the frequent tendency of the Khoja migrants to engage in the civic life of their new home and to “pay back” to that society. The son of a successful Gwadar-born immigrant, who made his home in Colombo of the 1930’s, Abdul Aziz, as he came to be known in Sri Lanka, went on to devote more than 50 years to the plight of the tea-plantation workers, who have been grossly exploited first by the colonial plantation owners and later by local Sri Lankan owners. Abdul Aziz Bhai died on 29th April 1990 and it is a testament to his towering stature in Sri Lankan society that the President, Prime Minster and most politicians of all stripes were in attendance at his funeral. In fact, the government also issued a special commemorative stamp in honour of his contribution to that beautiful but 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 centres 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. Its free and run by a not-for-profit organisation.
http://www.kutchilanguageonline.org is a 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 centre is bright, spacious and has a room dedicated for audio-visual recordings to keep for posterity. All are welcome between 11 am to 6 pm on week-days. Weekend is by appointment.
Almost 2000 people globally have joined our Facebook group "KHOJAWIKI" and now receive great stories about our people weekly. Please go to Facebook group “Khojawiki” and add yourselves on 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 a 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