Haji Gokool Meah (1847–1939) was an industrialist and philanthropist. He was born in Kashmir, in what was then British India. He was originally named Modhoo. His father died shortly before his birth and his mother remarried.

As a small child, his family left Kashmir and ended up in Calcutta where in 1852 they signed up as indentured labourers bound for the sugar cane fields of Trinidad. On January 25, 1853 they arrived in Trinidad aboard the Benares. They were indentured at the Concord Estate in Pointe-à-Pierre. After three months, his mother died of malaria and his stepfather took little interest in him. He was informally adopted by a Hindu couple who gave him the name Gokool.

Once he was old enough, Gokool secured his own indentureship contract with the Concord Estate. He renewed his contract once it expired, and then went out on his own. He purchased a donkey cart and made a living hauling sugar cane to the factory at Usine Sainte Madeline, then the second largest sugar refinery in the world. After a few years of this trade, he sold his cart and established a shop in Danglade Village on the road to San Fernando (now part of the Petrotrin oil refinery at Pointe-à-Pierre).

He married Rojan Boodhoo, a Muslim in 18781, and had 17 children, 11 of whom survived. From shopkeeping he moved on to cocoa cultivation, establishing one of the early cocoa plantations in the Diego Martin valley. From cocoa he moved on the real estate, becoming one of the major landlords in Port of Spain. He also established himself as a cinema magnate, establishing the Metro cinema in collaboration with MGM. He later split with them and renamed his cinema the Globe Cinema, eventually operating a string of five cinemas in Port of Spain and San Fernando.

In 1922 he performed the Haj (Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca). In his will, he established the Haji Gokool Meah Trust, a trust to continue the charitable works which had earned him the title Meah (benefactor). [Extracted from Wikipedia]  In1923 he joined Kazi Syed Abdul Aziz, Haji Ruknuddin Meah and Abdul Ghany to set up the TIA, and was a generous donor to their projects.   When he died he left $1million in a tust fund to his son Noor to administer to the poor.  Noor passed it on to an institution whic established the Haji Gokool Meah Trust Fund in 1967 for the poor, needy and education in general, then valued at $1.93 million.1

Towards the western end of St. James is the “Haji Gokool Meah Mosque”, one of the oldest in Trinidad and unfortunately not opened to the public. Built in 1927, this mosque is a Muslim place of worship found throughout the island. 2

1. Finding a Place by Kris Rampersad
2. http://www.naturetrektt.com/Trekking/25ThingsNotToMissAtAll/StJames/tabid/513/Default.aspx