Review Of Guyana in the Islamic World, 1948-2008

The Qaid-E-Azam Funds

The Qaid-E-Azam funds was established in 1947 during the turbulent period of division for the wretched and poor who poured into Pakistan, mainly in Karachi and Lahore. The horror of division was known in British Guiana via newspapers from the region and from the Pakistani Ambassadors to the United Nations and London who fed Caribbean Muslims pro-Pakistani news. Not surprising, it was through the jamaat system that Guyanese Muslims became aware of the brutality and wretched poverty that Muslims refugees faced during the process of migrating to Pakistan. Throughout the length and breath of British Guiana, masjids collected 936.62 BG dollars for their destitute brethrens in Pakistan. The sum of about 936.62 BG dollars were collected and delivered in 1948. Mr. Gajraj travelled to Pakistan and met with Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan and this government.

The majority of Muslims were farmers and small shop owners who dug deep into their pockets for Pakistan. The BG dollar back then carried a high value. Donations came from all economic strata, rich and poor, as well, widows like the hazel-eyed Mrs. Bibi Hamidan of Maida Village, Corentyne, and a stern, pious and generous Muslim of Afghan origin. Many fondly called her ama and she was a gem. To educate children Quran, she swiftly allowed the lower flat of her house to be used as a madarsa. My great grandmother Baitullan Khan of Kitty, Georgetown, who single handedly raised her children contributed 96 cents. Batullan lost her husband, Pheer Khan, my great grandfather when she was still in her 20s. Among other women who contributed were Mrs. Abdool Rahman of Kitty, a hefty $50, Mrs. Saheedan, Mrs. Mariam Boodhoo, Mrs. Sakina, and Mrs. Jumnee of Peters Hall, Mrs. Rabbia Khatoon of Versailles, Mrs. Muridan Nowaban of LBI, Mrs. Mariam Hanhi of Triumph, Mrs. S. Razack of Windsor Forest, Mrs. Zainab Alli of Wakenaam, Mrs. Shakeedan and Mrs. Hassanally of Bagotstown. Almost every Muslim family from Maida and Kildonian Villages who were mostly farmers and small shop owners contributed to the Jinnah Refugee Fund. From the Essequibo Coast to, East Bank and West Bank Demerara to West Coast Berbice and to Corentyne Coast to Skeldon Muslim donated (see annex).

President of the Sadr Anjuman Mr. R. B. Gajraj donated a large sum of money to the tune of $240.00, while the Sadr Anjuman contributed $50.64. A Mr. Karamat Khan of Mahaicony contributed $50, Mr. Sardar Mohammed of Essequibo $ 25, Mr. Sultan A. Hamid of Windsor Forest $25, Mr. A. Razack of Windsor Forest $30, Mr. A. Rahaman and the Fyrish Jamaat $13.90 and Moulvi Abdool Hack and the Albion Jamaat $25. Interestingly, a few non-Muslims donated to the Pakistan funds, Mr. Sukhai of Essequibo, Mr. Ram, Aurora, Essequibo, Mr., Boodhan Singh and Mr. S. P. Singh of Stabroek market. The famous Guyanese millionaire today, E. Beharry made a modest donation. The famous Gafoors, millionaires of Guyana today, contributed $1.50.