Habib Haji

From Khoja Wiki
Kamadia Habib Haji
Date of Birth
  • 1929
Place of longest stay
  • Dar es Salaam

Born in 1929

Habib (b.1927)

Habib Haji the younger brother of Fidahussain studied atthe Indian GovernmentSchool in Dar.

In 1940/41 Habib along with other young men, was forced to curtail his studies & return to the Congo to escape conscription into the British army. Habib wentto Kindu to work in the 'Ebrahim Haji' branch there, managed by Mohamedali Alibhai.

Then in 1945, after the break-upofthe partnership with the Rawjis, Habib was sent to Stanleyville to replace Merali Rawji. Hewas barely 18yearsold at the time. Habib remained here for some years. He married Fatma Visram in 1951 in Dar-esSalaam. He was joined here by his younger brother Hassan and later by Anwar Haji, a son of Nazarali; Anwar, a young man, was killed by a stray bullet during the rebellion of 1964.

Habib continued to live and work in Stanleyville even when his wife and children moved to Dar for schooling. After the rebellion of 1964 he finally left Congo and went to settled in Karachi with his family. However, in 1965 he went back to the Congo with his nephew Iqbal Haji, this time to Leopoldville, where they set up a wholesale-retail 'Ebrahim Haji' shop in the town centre. His family remained in Karachi and Habib travelled back and forth.

The Hajis went into partnership with The Habibs and together, in 1948, they set up a cotton-ginning factory in Dhoronaru called Hyderi Cotton which was managed by Fidahussain and Yusuf Habib.

Further Businesses Ventures in Sindh

In 1960 the Hajis partnered with the Habibs to put up a Vegetable Ghee Plant, Hyderi Vanaspati, in Hyderabad; the plant was managed by Sheni.

Four years later in 1964 the Hajis in 50% partnership with the Rawji-Alibhai Group put up The Al-Murtaza Textile Mills, also in Hyderabad. Habib, recently arrived from Dar with his family, lookedafterthesalesofthespunyarn. In 1966 the guar gum factory PGI (Pakistan Gum Industries) was put up in the Site Area in Karachi with Swiss collaboration. It is still a joint family business managed by Shokat Haji and his nephew Shams. The Al MurtazaSpinning Millswere sold in '74-'75.

The 5 Ebrahim Haji brothers also acquired a Tin Container Factory called 'Asiatic' which was managed by 2 sons of Fidahussain, Maqbool and Nazim. The family even now had joint businesses, but they had a good accounting system devised by Juma, based on the need of each family and those who required more funds were debited accordingly. The younger generations gradually started businesses of their own.

Nationalization in Tanzania, Nationalization in Pakistan

Tanzania got its independence in 1962. Nyerere, the new President/Prime Minister had socialist tendencies and the writing was on the wall.

In 1965-66 all the Haji properties in Dar-es-Salaam were nationalized; these included 10-12 buildings downtown with garages and warehouses, all rented out; and also the beautiful bungalow in the resort of Oyster Bay, in which no one ever lived, a few miles outside Dar town centre.

Fazal Haji had built a 3-storeyed building in Muisho Street in which Nazarali and Juma lived; and Shokat Haji lived in Haji Mansions opposite the Mehfil-e- Abbas.

One year later in 1967, 5000 acres of sisal plantations were nationalized. All the remaining Haji families moved to Karachi except Shokat and Pyarali, the son of Nazarali, who stayed behind in Africa for a few years to look after the family¬trading operations that still continued. In 2008 partial compensation was received.

In 1974, the Hajis suffered another blow. Hyderi Vanaspati, the ghee factory, was nationalized by Prime Minister Zulfiqarali Bhutto's regime.

Confidence in Pakistan was undermined and some of the younger families migrated to Canada taking advantage of the opportunity extended to migrants by the Canadian Government. Canada being a vast country with insufficient man-power and skilled workers welcomed these enterprising people to its shores.

Sheni and Farida Haji, Pyarali and Fatma Haji, and many others families from Karachi, East Africa and the Congo migrated to Canada at this time. Some of these families returned to their businesses in Karachi a few years later after obtaining Canadian citizenship. Among them were Habib and Sheni

No significant expansion occurred, and Habib went back to Karachi for 2-3 years after which he immigrated to Canada in 1974. He remained here for 8 years during which time the family obtained Canadian citizenship and the children pursued their education. Habib returned to Karachi in 1984 and worked actively with the Haji Group till his retirement.