Moloobhai Alarakhia Dossani
Born in 1874 Bhuj
Moloobhai, or Moloo Bapa was born in 1874 in Cutch Bhuj, India. In the year 1884, When he was 10 years old he came to Zanzibar.
Moloobhai left school at age 13 and started a small business in Sokomohogo, Zanzibar. At age 14 Moloobhai went to India for a year.
In 1891 when Moloobhai was 17 years old he started going on board the ships visiting Zanzibar harbour and used to sell goods to sailors and tourists. Initially one Goan gentleman took Moloobhai on board a ship called Man-of-War to sell goods worth about Rs 10-15 and he made a good profit.
This started him off doing business with the sailors and tourists selling food stuff, cigarettes, ready made wears, curios etc. on board the ships. That was the beginning of the hawker business.
In 1894, Moloobhai, then 20, went back to India, bought goods worth Rs.3000/- and sold in Zanzibar for Rs.5000/-. In 1896 Moloobhai started a partnership business of curios, carpets, silk, etc. with a Sindhi named, Hotchand, under the name of "Moloo & Hotchand.
In the year 1900 they rented an old building owned by a Parsee on the Main Street, the rent then was Rs.30/- for the shop and Rs.30/- per month for the flat above the shop. This is where the business of Moloo and Hotchand moved. The partnership lasted until 1903 when Hotchand retired from the business selling his shares to Moloobhai and a new business was established under the name of MOLOO BROTHERS & CO. This is when the younger brother, Mohamedbhai then 16, joined the business.
In 1899 to attend the wedding of Mawlana Sultan Mohamed Shah (first wedding, with cousin Shahzadi Begum) at Bombay, all members of the family went to India, except Moloobhai who stayed behind to manage the business. Passage fare at that time was Rs.22/- per person, via Seychelles. During their absence of five months, Moloobhai did so well in the business that he made a profit of Rs.3,300/-. This shows how shrewd a businessman Moloobhai was, although to us he is known as Moloo Bapa or Moloo Missionary.
In 1904 Mawlana Sultan Mohamed Shah ordered Moloobhai (then 29) and five others (Fazal Mohamed Ebrahim, Hassam Visram Harji, Abdulla Dhalla Visram, Nasser Pradhan and Gulamhusein Jaffer Ramji, to study for missionary -work. These six gentlemen went to Junagadh, India, for Waezeen training. Since themHMoloobhai and Mohamedbhai though equal partners in business, Moloobhai left sole charge of the business in the hands of Mohamedbhai then 17. Of course, father Alarakhia was there with Mohamedbhai for about 14 years till he died in 1918.
Moloobhai on his return from Waezeen training devoted his life to educating the Jamat and continued to go on Missionary/waez tours for a period of almost 40 years till 1945. He used to periodically visit South Africa, Madagascar, Portuguese East Africa, Djibouti, Aden, etc. besides India.
MOLOO BAPA OR MOLOO MISSIONARY died in Zanzibar on February 23, 1956 at the ripe old age of 82 years.
Moloobhai was survived by son Hasanali and four daughters.