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Around 1900, the largest towns on the Gulf littoral were on the Arab side, with the population of Kuwait about 35,000, Manama 25,000, Muharraq 20,000, and Dubai 10,000. Outside the Gulf proper, Basra had 40,000 and Muscat around 8,000.[1]

Khojas from the Indian subcontinent were travelling to Najaf for religious pilgrimages from around the 1860's, after the arrival of Agakhan I in India and both Agakhan I and Agakhan II were buried in Iraq. From the tombstone records, we know that some elderly Khojas often travelled to Iraq to be buried there.

However, the earliest record we have of Khoja settlement in Basra comes from Ahmedali Nizari Piredina, a Hyderabad Khoja from Muscat, who settled there after a business trip to Iraq and Iran in 1932.

According to the Nizari family oral family history records, there were between 12 to 15 Khoja merchants in Basra at that time, including M/S Pesan Allana Bros. on New Street, Basra with a total number between 50 to 60 persons.

We know that around 1932, Jethabhai Gokul of Karachi also moved to Basra and his son, Abdulhussein Jetha Gokul established a very successful business exporting dates, etc.

References & Notes

  1. Potter,Lawrence G. Society in the Persian Gulf: Before and After Oil.© 2017 Center for International and Regional Studies Georgetown University in Qatar

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