Jaffer Rahimtoola

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Hon. Jaffer Rahimtoola
Jafar Rahimtoola.jpg
Honorary Titles
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Mayor
Town of birth
Country of birth
Date of Birth
  • 1870
Date of Death
  • 1914
Place of Death
Name of institution of highest education achieved
  • Lincolns Inn
  • London
Place of longest stay
Profession or occupation carriedout for the longest period in life
  • Lawyer
  • Politician
Where-City or Country

Born in 1870 Bombay

Jafar Rahimtoola was an Indian Barrister. He also served actively as a Legislator with the Bombay Municipal Corporation and Bombay Legislative Council. Rahimtoola remained Mayor of Bombay from 1909-1910. He was also the Author of ‘Khoja Komno Itihas’ which was published in 1905.

Early Life and Education

Jafar Rahimtoola was born in 1870 to a merchant trading family of Bombay who had origins from Kutch [India]. The early death of his father Rahimtoola Kaderbhoy propelled his elder brothers Mohammadbhoy Rahimtoola and Ibrahim Rahimtoola to push him towards gaining adequate education.

Rahimtoola completed his matriculation in 1888 followed by which he joined the Bombay University to study Philosophy and Logic - Bachelor of Arts [Hon.]. In April 1894 he was called to the Bar at the Lincoln’s Inn,London. His research dissertation work was revolved around Inheritance Laws of the Ismailis for which he spent around 30 months. He was inspired during this time to publish a book with specific reference to Khoja Laws and History.


In 1897 [upon his return to Bombay] he joined the Bombay High Court. He worked regularly as a barrister till his death. One of the prime cases he was involved in was Haji Bibi versus His Highness the Aga Khan III [Bombay High Court] where he was one of the panel and the only local[Indian] counsel to Sultan Mohammad Shah [Aga Khan III].

Jafar Rahimtoola joined the Municipal Corporation for the Mandvi Ward in 1898, thus entering his career in politics. Rahimtoola merited the title Justice of Peace [J.P.] in 1901. He remained associated with the Corporation actively serving on various committees including being General Secretary once. He eventually became the Corporation’s President [the post was renamed later as Mayor] in 1909.

Jafar Rahimtoola was also fellow of the Bombay University – a position he held till his death.

During King George V Imperial visit to British India[1911] he was part of the Municipal Government Team to represent Bombay at the Apollo Bandar.

Literary Front

Jafar was gifted with exceptional literary talent. He was well versed in four languages namely Persian, Gujrati, Hindi, English. In 1904 he became Fellow of the Bombay University. He also served as member of the Standing Committee during the same period. He published his book History of the Khojas in Gujrati on September 30th 1905. The publication was divided into 30 small chapters and spread over 287 pages. The book was dedicated in the name of Sultan Mohammad Shah [Aga Khan III] after getting due gracious permission. The book has been referenced in several research papers, articles, books till date as the first authentic paperback work on Khoja Community and its workings.

Social Welfare

On the social welfare front The Hon. Mr. Rahimtoola served as an auditor for the Anjuman-e-Islam [Bombay] for four years followed by which he became its honorary secretary. He eventually became President of the Trust in 1910. He also served as member Managing Committee of the Khoja Punjibhai Club and eventually became its Chairman.


Few words need to be mentioned about Mr. Rahimtoola’s Family. His elder brother Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola [1862-1942] was a pioneer Indian reformer and legislator. He remained President [Mayor] of the Municipal Corporation in 1899 followed by an active career in Politics. He also served as President of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1931-32. His son Hoosenally Rahimtoola also served the Municipal Corporation actively and eventually became Mayor in 1934. Hoosenally remained active in Bombay Legislative Politics for a long period serving as Minister in the 1937 cabinet for a brief period.

Side Box:

22nd President Bombay Municipal Corporation

In Office 1909-1910

Preceded by Mr. G.O.W. Dunn

Succeeded by Dr. Kawasji Edulji Dadachanji












Compiled by Muhammad S Rahimtoola of Karachi


Jaffer was the first in the family to go in for higher academic education. He studied law and was called to the Bar in England. After returning to Bombay, he started his practice, first in the Small Causes Court and then in the High Court. It was expected that he would be appointed a Judge of the High Court or its reopening after the summer vacation in 1914 but, unfortunately, he died in April 1914.

Jaffer was the President of the Anjuman-Islam in London in 1896, a member of the Bombay Municipal Corporation and its Standing Committee, an examiner for Persian, Roman Law and General Jurisprudence in some examinations conducted by the University of Bombay, and a fellow of the University of Bombay. He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1901.

Jaffar appeared on behalf of some defendants who supported the 48th Imam, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III, in a suit filed in the Bombay High Court against Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III by his cousin Haji Bibi.

Jaffer was one of the founder members and the 1st President of the Khoja Punjabhai Club, the forerunner of the Age Khan Gymkhana and Industrial Home.

Jaffer was a serious-minded, quiet loving person, who, it appears, never got angry or scolded anybody.

Mr. Hooseinally M. Rahimtoola had round about 1940, prepared some Family Notes. He had also kept, prior to his departure for Africa, some rough notes with his younger brother Suleman and, later on, some more notes with his son Jaffar. This paper is an attempt to put together the available data for future generations of the family. It is hoped that the younger members of the family will periodically up-date this paper.'

Sultanali Rahimtoola, Bombay 1988