FAQ         Help         Contact Us

Past News

From Khoja Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


"DIASPORIC DISTRACTIONS" LAUNCHED IN NORTH AMERICA"

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.

Dewji explained that Khojawiki.org, a registered not for profit, civil society initiative is dedicated to the preservation of oral family histories of the Khojas, who trace their origin from Gujarat in the Indian Subcontinent. “We provide space for elders to meet and begin the process of recalling their memories and then we provide a global website where these narratives and pictures are shared and preserved for posterity”. He saw synergy in the endeavors undertaken by Khoja Ismaili writers such as Sultan Somjee’s and his two books “Bead Bai” and “Home Between Crossings” and Mansoor Ladha’s recent book “Memoirs of a Muhindi”, emphasizing that promoting such works was an important part of Khojawiki’s mandate.

DAISPORIC DISTRACTIONS CAPTURES THE NARRATIVES OF THE 20TH CENTURY INDIANS

Speaking to an audience made up of filmmakers, politicians, writers, scholars and academics, (including Canadian Federal Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi), author Dr. Mohamed Keshavjee, in discussion with Mr. Ali Velshi, the internationally well-known broadcaster, formerly News Anchor at CNN and now chief business correspondent of MSNBC, explained the background to the book as follows:

“It captures the narratives of the 20th century Indians” he said. “Though situated in Africa, the stories speak to all Indians regardless of where they come from. These are the type of characters the diaspora produced in places as diverse as Durban and Dar es salaam in Africa , Port of Spain and Georgetown in the Caribbean, and Penang and Singapore in the Far East. They can now even be found in Tooting Broadway in London”.

“Diasporic Distractions” written in a simple but entertaining manner, is an easy read and captures all the foibles that immigrant communities embody globally. It was published in Kuala Lumpur and had its debut launch at the University of Malaya in October 2017. Asked why he chose Malaysia for publication and what was so similar between the Indian diaspora there and in the rest of Africa, Keshavjee replied “firstly, both those diasporas produced two well known leaders of the Indian freedom movement – Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa and Subhas Chandra Bose in Malaya- but more importantly, it was British colonialism that gave rise to the push and pull effect of Indian migration and this migration produced its own characters. These characters represent the forces they encountered and the creativity they mustered. They are funny, zany, crafty, entrepreneurial and in some cases disingenuous. But eminently human. Malaysians saw in these stories some of their own characters and their own post-colonial predicaments. They could relate to them”

The book, with endorsements from The London Magazine, one of the oldest literary magazines in the world, covers themes such as post colonial insecurity faced by many minorities, rapid urbanization, nostalgic memories overseas Indians have of an India that is now past and, indeed, the darker side of prejudice which they themselves embodied. Set in different countries, the stories, in short, are able to capture major social and political movements through single experiences immigrant communities face in new areas of settlement.

“This is the story of every one of us “he said “This is the story of human movements- something that has taken place since the beginning of time. The narrative is the best way of telling it because we all love stories. We are actually made up of them” he stressed.

An animated session, prompted by the ever exuberant Ali Velshi, where Dr. Keshavjee read out excerpts from the book, had the audience in raptures of laughter.

“THE WORK OF KHOJAWIKI.ORG BECOMES MORE URGENT TODAY"

Questions were raised as to the best way to make new generations aware of our history and what has brought us to where we are now.

“ We are facing new challenges” Dr. Keshavjee stressed. “Therefore, the work of Khojawiki becomes more urgent today. Our world is bedeviled by new dystopias and unless we search for meaning and moorings, we will be faced with a society where our younger generations will feel a sense of deracination and rupture, leading to social disorientation”. Traditionally, elders used to pass down family histories to the children in the community. Keshavjee highlighted that “Diasporic Distractions” draws its stories from such family discourses which he was fortunate enough to have over 4 decades

Today, when children are left with their grandparents, they should be encouraged to relate their life histories to them. This could also be one way to create a closer bonding between generations. Another could be the sharing of recipes or of skills such as embroidery, stitching etc. between them. Given the fact that young people today are so occupied with their daily lives, the recording and preservation of these stories now could be a good way of having them ready when their children are ready to know where they came from. Khojawiki.org could be the venue where such discourses and recordings take place.

He also felt that the endeavor by Khojawiki.org could help produce a cadre of writers in the Ismaili community and encouraged all communities to undertake similar initiatives.

“Diasporic Distractions” is available exclusively from contact@khojawiki.org at a price of $25 (tax included)


Khojawiki was invited to present its project at the 2nd International Ismaili Studies Conference at Carlton University.


VIDEOS OF PAST EVENTS

1. JIVAPUR, JAMNAGAR DISTRICT, KATHIAWAR- December 25th, 2016

2. BHUJ, KUTCH-23rd December 2016

3. PUNE, INDIA - 20th December 2016


OLDER NEWS

1. 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.

Our complete contact:

KHOJAWIKI, 6 Garamond Court, Don Mills, Ontario , Canada, M3C 1Z5

Tel: (647) 428-5890

Email: contact@khojawiki.org

Directions to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre


2. FACE BOOK

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

PAST NEWS

| width = 100% }}

|}


This December & January, 2017, our Director, Mr. Iqbal Dewji, visited several centres in India to speak about the Khojawiki Project and to conduct seminars on how to convert oral family history into permanent records that can be passed down to future generations.

We are pleased to present a few videos and photos of the different venue events. The videos are informative and following each location, we have provided the name and phone number of our local volunteers, who can provide forms and try to assist you on how to use Khojawiki.


1. JIVAPUR, JAMNAGAR DISTRICT, KATHIAWAR- December 25th, 2016

Volunteers:

Zahara Hemnani - +91 98240 12283

Nizar Hemnani - +91 95742 73227



2. BHUJ, KUTCH-23rd December 2016

Volunteers:

Denish Ramani - +919033365147 (Whatsapp)

Nizar Ramani - +919978974484 (Whatsapp)

Sultanbhai Somani - +917698922669 (Whatsapp) (Kera)



3. PUNE, INDIA - 20th December 2016



4. PORBANDAR,KATHIAWAR-27th December 2016

Volunteers:

Dr. Parvez Nathani - +91 98254 09277

Priya Pattni - +91 98254 60196 (Ranawav)

WRITING BIO’S WORKSHOPS

Our 1st day-long workshop attracted 15 participants (on weekday!) of whom 4 are now seriously engaged in writing their own personal bios for publication (?) while the others have become busy been writing narratives of their family elders for uploading on KW website! A edited video will be upload soon and additional workshops are planned for weekends and other cities. In the meantime, we can send you the very helpful workshop materials prepared by our tutor, Zahir Dhalla, if you contact us Contact

Here are some photos as well as a copy of the attendance certificate earned by them!

4. PERSONAL STORY FORMS

We have prepared some “intake” type forms that can be used to easily collect seniors’ personal stories for uploading to KW. Please email us and will forward a bunch to you for distribution in your area. We appreciate any amount of help - no matter how small - that we can get from you for this volunteer effort.Contact


3. “DOWN MEMORY LANE ” SENIORS PROGRAMS

Our signature program for seniors in Toronto and Calgary will begin as soon as the weather improves. Why not enrol you elders so they can share those golden moments whilst sharpening their memories? And you children and grandchildren will appreciate the effort you took to preserve their history. Contact us now to enrol them before the space runs out.

Transportation and snacks will be provided. If you wish to do some sewa to organise a similar program in your city, please contact us Contact