- Dar es Salaam
- Senior Cambridge, AK School,Dar
Born in Dar es Salaam
For Khoja WIki
Ya Ali Madad.
My name is HAIDER HASHAM.
Our mother told us that there is a true story behind my birth. One night my grandfather HASHAM BAPA was having a dream like this: "Hey old man, get up. Your daughter-in-law is giving birth now to "HAIDERALI". So that’s how I got my name "HAIDERALI".
We lived in Dar-es-salaam (Tanganyika-Tanzania). We lived in an African area where my dad has his small business and my mom had a sewing machine and she stitched tailored ladies dresses very nicely. The area was called KARIAKOO, where the local African people had their resident houses and we Asians had our small retail businesses, which we called DUKA or DUKAN.
From my young age, I was very friendly and loving. I never had a fight/argument with anyone. In our area, an African woman cooked and sold very tasty "BHARAZI" and "TUMBUA". Every morning there was a line-up of people buying this tasty food. Now, whenever I went to buy the food that woman told everyone that I (Haider) need not stand in "forleni", because I was her BOYFRIEND and everyone enjoyed that kind of talk!
I liked to go to school and never missed school. Our mother wanted us all to do very well at school. She knew exactly what day our exams started. She would wake us up kids, make tea for us and sit for a while so we do not DOZE OFF. We all children NEVER NEVER failed at school. I reached grade 12 where we were ONLY 12 boys because in those days, boys reach grade 10 (TEN) and left school to join their parents businesses.
Because of studying well, we all children found excellent jobs after finishing school. My sister ZARIN became DOMESTIC SCIENCE TEACHER. in AK School, my sister GULSHAN became Principal at Agakhan Boys School, where the previous Principal was JIMMY RAWJI. My sister KHATUN became personal secretary to a police man because of her excellent education and my sister ROSHAN worked for lawyer Alnoor Kassum’s law office - all because of our mothers insistance on our education.
My sister Roshan was very much interested in "GIRL GUIDES MOVEMENT". She trained so many girls on "Girl Guides" activities, took them CAMPING, showed them how to use the Camping Equipment.
After I finished grade 12, I found a good job at STANDARD BANK. I started working in FOREIGN EXCHANGE and FOREIGN BILLS Dept. I did very well and after some period I was selected to go to Nairobi for training. In this banking college, I earned 90/100 marks. My boss was very impressed and I was PROMOTED from Bank Clerk to a post called SUB ACCOUNTANT. At that time, all accountants were British males. I was the only ASIAN sub-accountant. I worked hard, learnt more bank activities and was paid very well.
During those years, when I worked for Standard Bank in Dar-es-salaam, I finished work at 4.30 pm so had plenty of time to do SEVA on various jamaati committees.Soon after work instead of going home I went straight to the DARKHANA area where several offices were located - AK Welfare Society office, AK Young Men’s Helping Society (Decoration committee) office and also our Provincial Council office, where I would check if there was any MAIL for me because during that period, I was also Captain for Gents Volunteers at UPANGA Jamatkhana. I was not married yet and so had lots of time to do SEVA in various positions. I got pleasure and happiness in being able to perform whatever I could for the community.
Later, in Toronto, I formed a DEBATING GROUP and had our first debate in Gujarati at Scarborough Jamatkhana community centre. The topic was "MARRIAGE IS A GOLDEN CAGE". Oh my God, the Jamat laughed and laughed and enjoyed the funny topic.
Later, on we did the same debate in ALL Jamatkhanas. Next topic was "Shadi kari lidha baad husband & wife ABADI ma hoy chhe ke BERBADI ma?” "After marriage, the hunband and wife live in bliss or otherwise? Wow wow the speakers were really good and Jamats enjoyed the debates.
In Toronto, every Wednesday the SENIORS COMMITTEE arranges programs for our seniors who feel LONELY at their homes. From 10am to 11am they serve tea and good breakfast. Then there is half hour for exercise. Then singing Indian old songs, RASDA. After that delicious LUNCH fruit ice-cream etc. There is a minimum charge of $3, $5, $7 depending on what they serve. During summer the committee arranges picnics, outings and our seniors really have a fun time. Some Wednesdays, I get to speak, sing, joke and make the seniors participate and enjoy the day. I always try to keep them SMILING, and HAPPY.
Since my school days, I have always loved to go to KHANE. I used to go with my grandfather who was very religious (bhagat). Later on whenever possible I started going in the morning (Baitul Khyal) also. I knew GINANS, recited TASBI, read FIRMANS and lead the DUA. So I used to get duties (VARO) very often.
Later on I was appointed Mukhi at MARKHAM Jamatkhana (now renamed Scarborough JK). I was happy to perform my duties very HUMBLY. I co-operated with the volunteers very politely and was able to keep the jamat happy. So that is why after some years I was appointed as JAMATI MUKHI during Mawla’s SILVER JUBILEE years 1981/82/83. I am happy to say that we all 4 (Mukhi/ Mukhiani/ Kamadia/ Kamadiani) together with our good volunteers managed the Jamat in excellent manner and kept the Jamati members always UNITED and happy. It was really a BLESSING for me and my family.
Finally let me tell you a couple of TRUE STORIES which happened when the first group of our AFGHANI Jamats started to arrive in Canada. I was on the SETTLEMENT COMMITTEE. So one day my chairman asked me to pick up Afghani bai and take her to the dentist at 5 pm. I phoned the bai Seema and told her to come down at 4.30 (four thirty) and she replied “Why chairman said to come down at HALF PAST FOUR???”
They were four youngsters in this family so they made a good PLAN. Two of them started attending English language classes and the other two did labour (odd) jobs which did not require them to speak English. This way they soon became financially stable.
They all liked to go to KHANE so I was giving them ride every evening. One day they told me our mother would like to see you. So I went up the apartment and they were all sitting on the carpet on the ground and the mother asked me to sit ON THE SOFA as a respect. I said NO WAY and I joined them and we ALL sat on the carpet and had CHAI.