Rewa MaratheDissertation excerpt May 2010 3
During the colonial rule, Bohras were able to establish special relationship with theBritish due to which they were benefited as a minority group within the majority of Hindu population. They were encouraged to trade and travel to major cities in Indiaand abroad. The total population of Bohras was estimated to be around 5, 60,000 in1980. More than 50% of that population lives in Gujarat. Other cities with significantBohra settlements are Ujjain, Udaipur, Jaipur, etc.The foundation of Ismaili communities in Gujarat is a unique fact in Indian history. Nowhere else in India did these communities come into being in any sizeabledimensions; nowhere else was the penetration of Islam as peaceful or the rise of thenew communities so imperceptible. No other Muslim community in India sufferedmore at hands of the iconoclastic Sunni ruler. And finally, none other have developeda business outlook within Muslim communities. Their only compare in this respect isGujarati community of the memons.
The Bohras are a closely knit community and have remained so over a long period of time. They are peace loving, hardworking and very religious people. Over years theyhave maintained their separate identity even within the sub-sects of Islamic minoritiesin India.The Bohras, as mentioned before, belonged to Shia sect of Islam; i.e. they believe the
-in-law Ali as his heir and reject the three Caliphs, Abu Bakr Sadik,Umar and Usman. They believe in the Quran as the vision of G
Essentially the religion is based on peaceful and voluntary conversion. Despite beingstrictly religious, they have never been categorized as religious fanatics. They areattentive of their religious duties and both men and women know Quran. Theyabstain from music and intoxicating drinks and drugs. Their head priest is known as
. He is representative of imam who is the representative of God on earth. He is
also known as ‘Mullaji’/ ‘Syedna’/ ‘Bava Saheb’, meaning Our Lord. The apparentsuccessor of the Dai is known as ‘Mazoon’; below him are the ‘Mukhasirs’, the‘Shaikhs’ and the ‘Mullahs’.
Religion is omnipresent in the life of the Bohras.