Gulshan Karmali Bhanji

From Khoja Wiki

Gulshan Karmali Bhanji
Place of longest stay
Karmali Bhanji 19061949
Sikina Jetha Karim 19111979

Born in

The extract below is taken from the personal biography & family history of Dr. Alnoor Abdulla, FRCP(Int.Med),FRCP(Cardiology),FACC,FCCP,FACP,ABIM (Int. Med), ABIM(Card.), ABIM (Interventional Card.)


My maternal grandparents came from Jiwapur near Jamnagar in Kathiawar, Gujarat.

My maternal grandfather, Karmali Bhanji Poonja and my grandmother, Sikinabai probably left from the same port – Porbandar around 1920 +/- 2. They came to Bagamoyo, Tanganyika and later moved to Dares-salaam. Their families were poor in Gujarat, They ran a small shop in Dares-salaam. They provided the clear medical evidence of lack of contraception at that time, by having seven daughters and one son, in between the daughters, in rapid succession. Thus, there was extreme poverty in the household.

My grandfather suffered from ill health. He had diabetes and succumbed to TB in middle age – soon after the eight child, the seventh daughter was born. He left behind my grandmother with these 7 little girls and one son. He died around 1948 +/- 1 year, before I was born. I never got a chance to know him. He was supposed to be a very kind, soft hearted, gentle person.

At the time of his death, his oldest daughter, Zera #1 was already married and was living in Kampala, Uganda – essentially being apart from the Karmali Bhanji family most of her life. The next two daughters were Shirin #2 and then by mother, Roshan #3. They had finished high school and were teachers at the time of his death.

My grandmother earned some income by selling roasted peanuts in little newspaper cones.

Shirin and my mother, since they had been in high school were supporting the family giving tuition to younger girls and worked every night sewing and doing embroidery for the older ladies in the community, including the Bohra Shia Muslim community who were supportive of them. They were the main source of income supporting the family.

Next daughter Gulshan #4 and son Fateh #5 stopped at high school and took run the small grocery store in a poor neighbourhood in Daressalaam (across from the Khalid hotel).

The next three daughters, Khatoon #6, Mehroon#7 & Fatma #8 continued studying in elementary school and then high school. The whole family was working extremely hard, essentially no support from anyone in our community and struggling. Both Shirin and my mom, Roshan amazingly had completed grade 12 with very high grades under these struggling circumstances and were working as teachers.

The income from the 2 sisters and gradually improving income from the little grocery store (Gulshan & Fateh ) began to stabilize the family. Shirin married in Dares-salaam to a pleasant man and to me he was my idol as an excellent, champion snooker player and ran a English Football pool gaming business. They moved to Canada and later passed away in Toronto.

Gulshan never married, ran the store till the end and passed away in Dares-salaam of cancer.

Fateh due to political and racial issues, left Tanzania in 1971, moved to Pakistan, ran a store in Islamabad and passed away fairly young of a sudden heart attack in his 40’s.

Khatoon finished her high school and soon after that, she got a job in the newly established Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee investment Trust. Saved her money, went to England on her own, trained as a nurse and then lived on her own until she passed away recently in October 2021 by which time she had moved to Canada. Initially to Vancouver and then moved to Toronto.

Mehroon grew up little easier and after completing high school she went to England, to do secretarial training and returned to Dares-salaam, had a good job in the National Energy corporation. (TANESCO). Married a very nice, resourceful man and then later they moved to Canada. She passed away in 2020 (cardio metabolic disease).

Fatma the youngest got good high school education in Dar es Salaam – Cambridge “O’ Level and Cambridge “A” levels as well, went to University of Nairobi, Kenya. She studied Architecture. After graduation, had to leave Tanzania early in her career due to the political & racial concerns in Tanzania at that time. She has an amazing story. She went off alone to Norway, established herself in that country, working as an architect, married a Norwegian architect (Physically built like a typical Viking – tall, large, blond hair & beard and she was chubby and short, less than 5 feet). She was extremely successful in her career in Norway, won many awards, was involved in designing the Lillehammer winter Olympics site and the Oslo Gardermoen airport. She passed away of complex valvular and coronary cardiac disease.