Suleman J. Rahimtoola
Born in 1903
Suleman was good in studies and in sports. In his years at the St. Xavier’s High School, his invariably was amongst the first few in class and was on the School Cricket team and later its Captain for the Inter-School Cricket Tournament. The School authorities awarded the Rippon Prize to him in 1919 adjudging him as the best all-rounder of the year- best in studies, sports and good behaviour. In the matriculation examination of the Bombay University, he was awarded the R.M. Sayani Scholarship for being the first amongst the Khoja students of Bombay Presidency.
Continuing his education, Suleman took up the Arts course in St. Xaiver’s College. In the 1st year’s courses he was awarded the Abdulla Meherali Dharamsi Scholarship for Khojas. In the Intermediate Arts examination of the Bombay University, he was awarded the Sir Ebrahim Rahimtoola Scholarship for standing 1st amongst the Muslim students of Bombay Presidency.
During his years at college, Suleman took up Tennis and Table Tennis and was the College Champion in both the games. He continued playing these games and also cricket for many years after but not on a competitive basis. The last time he played cricket was in 1962 at the age of 59 in a festival match on the occasion of the Centenary Celebration of the Bombay High Court, when he was the highest scorer and the most active fielder.
Suleman, after graduating in Arts and in Law from the Bombay University, proceeded to England where he was called to the Bar. Returning to Bombay, he started his practice in the High Court and was also a part-time lecturer in mercantile law at Sydenham College of Commerce in Bombay.
In 1930, Suleman took up a gazetted post in the Bombay High Court as an Associate, a junior officer’s post. In 10 years he rose to the post of the highest officer, being appointed as the Prothonotary and Senior Master, which office he held till he retired in 1964, after being given 6 annual extensions of service after the age of superannuation, a record in Bombay High Court Service.
On his retirement, the Judges, the Officers and the staff of the High Court held separate functions in Suleman’s honour. The Barristers and Advocates practising on the Original side of the Bombay High Court held a function in his honour. This was the first time in the history of the Bombay High Court that members of the Original Side Bar, led by the Advocate-General of Maharashtra, gave a farewell party to a retiring officer of the Court. The Incorporated Law Society (Society of Solicitors practicing in the High Court) held a conquest in Suleman’s honour.
After retirement, Suleman was given a few assignments by the Company Tribunal of the Government of India. He was also re-employed on a part-time basis, by the Government of Maharashtra for about 3 years.
Sulaman was employed, for some time on part-time and the full-time basis, by the Sir Mohamed Yusuf Trust as its Secretary and Legal Advisor. He ultimately gave up this 1985 at the advanced age of 82.
Suleman is a man of simple habits and a loving and religious person. He has a very keen sense of duty and fairness.
Suleman was a member of the His Highness The Aga Khan’s Bombay Council and later of His Highness The Aga Khan’s Secretary of the Federal Council for about 2 years.
Suleman was a Justice of the Peace and an Hon. Presidency Magistrate of Bombay. He was also a Trustee of the Sir Dinshaw M. Potit Baronetcy Trust, a member of the Managing Council of the Ismailia General Hospital (now known as the Prince Aly Khan Hospital), he was a member of the Managing Committee and later the Vice-President of the Aga Khan Gymkhana and Industrial Home and a member of the Managing Committee of the K.R. Cama Oriental Institute.
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