Mohamed Ebrahim Haji
- Habib Haji 1929
Born in 1920
As a child, Mohamed was adopted by his uncle Juma, who was married to Sakina. The couple had no children of their own. At around 20 years of age in 1940 Mohamed started work in 'Mohamed Bros and Co.' in Dar-es-Salaam. He was joined by his younger brother Fidahussain, who had been sent to work at theshop in Kalemiayear earlier.
Mohamed married Mariam Sharif in 1941 in Bombay during his prolonged stay there for Juma's medical treatment. During those 3 years, the business-minded young man started to trade in textiles, and not only did he make enough money to cover all their expenses, he also had 2 sets of diamond jewellery made---one for his new wife and the other for the marriage of his brother Fidahussain with Gulbanoo to take place the following year. On his return to Dar-es-Salaam Mohamed went to join his uncle Nazarali and his youngest brother, Shokat at the newly acquired Sisal Plantation in Kirungu near Kilosa.
After several years here, Mohamed with his wife and children, Mumtaz, Shams and Marzia went to settle in Karachi in 1965, after the nationalization of many of their businesses.
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