Why keep these memories?

Our ancestors are easy to forget. As the years pass, and memories become second or third-hand, details fade. I know I’m not alone in wanting to preserve them; this blog is a collection of thoughts and recollections. About a dozen of you have contributed, and I hope many more of you will read and add your own memories and photos.

Hussonally Abdoolally Nasirudin Dholkawalla was an important figure in our family. His story is both universal and epic. He began humbly, struggled in poverty, and eventually became a successful businessman. But his legacy lies in his consideration for others, in the Dholkawalla Trust he created to care for both his descendants and our larger community.

In 2014, Shamoon Doctor, Hussonally’s great-grandson and my father, urged me to research this man. And so I began to compile stories and memories about him. It hasn’t been easy; time has passed, and those who were close to him have passed on. Luckily, they passed on their stories to their children, and their children. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to speak with me or to complete the online survey.

Truth or fiction?

Because memory is fallible, some of the information collected here will likely be incomplete and inaccurate. Some of it even contradicts itself!

Hussonally’s name is spelled differently in a couple of sources. I’ve used the spelling from his will.

If you have images or stories you’d like to add to this project, please contact me.

Another note: In 2016 I began writing SEVEN (Dundurn, 2020). The fictional character Abdoolally Rangwala was inspired by what I learned about Hussonally, but is also a product of the imagination.

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