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Khoja Shias visit Mumbai as part of India tour to trace roots

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Press Trust of India Mumbai
A group of 65 Khoja Shias from different countries are on a 16-day tour of India to trace the origins of their forefathers who migrated in the 19th century.

Between Janauary 14-17, the group, hailing from East Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, toured Mumbai before leaving for Gujarat to visit Bhavnagar, Kutch, Amreli and Ahmedabad, organisers of the tour said.

The tour has been planned by World Federation of KSIMC (Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities), a non-profit body that organises activities for the 1,40,000 strong Khoja community spread across the world.

"Under the Khoja heritage tour, our members had a wonderful Mumbai visit. After touring Gujarat, they will fly to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur before leaving for their respective countries," Assad Virani, manager, World Federation, UK office in India, said.

"The group arrived in Mumbai on January 14 and they first visited Dongri area in south Mumbai, which has been the epicentre for Khoja Shias in the city," said Ali Akbar Shroff, secretary of the council of All-KSI Jamat India Federation.

He added that the group visited the Khoja graveyard in Mazgaon and the Nazarali Imambargha in Kurla.

Describing how the tour began, educationist and the federation's first executive councillor from India, Javed Shroff, said, "The former president of the World Federation of Khoja Shias, US-based Hasnain Walji sparked interest in the community's heritage. After I pioneered in setting up the World Federation in Dongri in 2011, Walji made 'The Khojas: A Journey in Faith', a documentary capturing the story of the Khojas' search for their roots in India, and this started giving shape to the tour."

Sharing his experience, Mohsin Dhalla, a participant from Toronto, said, "It was an unforgettable experience. We connected with out roots in this country that goes back centuries. Walking on the same soil as our ancestors, breathing and feeling the culture, we once again bonded with the umbilical cord that now unites us globally.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 7:30 PM IST

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