- Bhadreswar, Kutch
Born in 1849 Bhadreswar, Kutch
The Alwanis were Ismailis originating from Iranian Baluchistan. In 1841, because of political and religious rivalries in Iran, Agha Hassanli Shah Agakhan l, the Imam of the Ismailis, left Iran for the Indian continent via Afghanistan (Ismaili.net HASSANALI SHAH AGAKHAN I). His followers, the Ismailis in Iran were also harshly persecuted and harassed by the then government of Mohamed Shah Qajar and the Governor of Kerman, brother of Mohamed Shah Qajar. Many Ismaili families, who lived in Iran and Iranian Baluchistan, left to find refuge and safety in Indian Baluchistan, in the area of Lasbela, One of the most prominent families in this group was the Alwanis. The Ismailis of Kutch were well acquainted with the Iranian Ismailis in Lasbela as they not only traded but exchanged culture, religious traditions and even intermarried. The Alwanis later settled in Kutch and some settled in Karachi. (Ismaili.net/heroes 43 page 177)
In late 1870, Ratansi Aloo, seeing no future in Bhadreswar, a small farming village, decided to venture out towards the East African coast via the Arabian Gulf. He stayed in Aden where he had a job prospect to work as a book-keeper for an established business owned by an Ismaili named Haji Lalji.
Ratansi Aloo is recorded in a Gujarati biography of Manji Lalji Nayani, 'Mazmun-e-Manji', (Chapter 1, page 4) as being in Aden in 1881.
Note: Mazmun-e-Manji is referring to Manji Lalji Nayani, brother of Puribai Laji Nayani.
In the same year he left Aden for Zanzibar with his wife where shortly his wife gave birth to his only daughter, Rehematbai Ratansi. (Photo: Travel Permit issued by British passport office)
There is no record of Ratansi Aloo's death but it is quite possible he died in Zanzibar.
Compiled by Nizarali Alidina Abdullah Ratansi