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All Orissa Cutchi Memon Jamat, Orissa, India

Cutchi Memons came to Orissa via Calcutta during the latter part of the 18th century.  They landed by boat in Chandbali, the then port of Orissa.  They were businessmen, and their main source of income was exports of goods to far-away countries such as Ceylon, Mauritius, Burma and Indonesia.  They had cordial relations with the people of Orissa, and very soon became prominent due to their integrity, honesty, and truthfulness, hallmarks of a true Islamic way of life.  They conducted their business activities through the port of Chandbali, and from the coasts of Paradip, Puri and Gopalpur-on-Sea by means of small country boats which plied up to the steamers that were anchored in deep sea.  It is said that the first steam launch which touched the port of Chandbali belonged to the famous Late Haji Mohamed Zakaria Sait of Calcutta, father of Sir Abdul Razzaque Mohamed Kt., a cabinet minister of Mauritius.

Most of the Cutchi Memons, who came to Orissa, settled in the commercial town of Cuttack, and the rest in the port of Chandbali and at Jatni (Khurda Road, the most important railway junction of the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway.)

Among the foremost Cutchi Memon residents of Cuttack was Late Haji Mohammed Attas Sait.  He bought a vast plot of land in Buxi Bazaar (adjacent to the present General Post Office) in the heart of Cuttack, and constructed a double-storied building on it.  This building was named "Nakhoda Kothi" and housed Cutchi Memon families who migrated to Cuttack.

Among the notable Cutchi Memon gentries, who first came to Orissa, were:

Haji Mohammed Attas Sait, Haji Jafar Parta Sait, Joosub Haji Adam Sait Vatao, Hashim Salehmohamed Danidina Sait Vatao, Abdulla Kaderdina Sait Vatao, Haji Macci Patel Sait, Abdul Shakoor Abdul Karim Sait, Abba Allarakha Sait, Kaderdina Allarakha Sait, Ahmed Kassim Sait Vatao, Joonus Haji Moosa Sait Vatao, Mohammed Ayoob Sait, Hashim Alimohamed Sait Patel, Aboobaker Ismail Sait, Salehmohamed Karim Mohammed Sait and Abdul Karim Haji Yusuf Sait. May Allah grant maghfirat to all these eminent persons, and place in Jannat ul Firdous, Ameen.

At present, the descendants of late Hashim Salehmohammed Danidina Sait Vatao and late Abdul Karim Haji Yusuf Sait are settled in Jatni (Khurda Road), and those of late Saleh Mohammed Karim Mohammed Sait and late Aboobaker Ismail Sait in Chandbali. Descendants of the rest are settled in Cuttack.

Orissa came to the attention of the all India-famed Haji Saboo Siddick of Bombay, Haji Mohammed Zakaria Sait of Calcutta, Haji Abdul Rahim Oosman Sait of Calcutta, and Mohammed Jacob Ahmed Sabuani Sait of Calcutta.  Haji Saboo Siddick Sait opened a branch of his business enterprise in Cuttack, and constructed a huge godown there.  The present "Sayeed Seminary", the famous high school of Cuttack, is located there.  Similarly, Haji Mohammed Zakaria Sait and Mohammed Jacob Ahmed Sait of Calcutta opened their trade branches in Cuttack, Jatni, Rahama, Bhutmandi and various other places.

Haji Abdul Rahim Oosman Sait of Calcutta created fame in Orissa by constructing a beautiful Masjid and a Dargah sharif, both in exquisite marble.  The Dargah sharif is of the Muslim saint, Syed Bukhari Sahib, and is based on Mughal style of architecture, and Oosmania Sari of Kaipadar, about 25 kms from Jatni.  This has become an important place of pilgrimage.

Haji Mohammed Attas Sait constructed the Jama Masjid of Jatni, and a Masjid at Rahama, a village near the present port of Paradip.

Abdulla Kaderdina Sait has left some waqf properties in Cuttack.  This  is managed by the Cutchi Memons of Orissa as is the Madrassa Islamia.

The present generation of Cutchi Memons of Orissa has produced some important personalities.  Among them is the young and dynamic Dr. Mohammed Ayoob, PhD, son of my sister, Mrs. Hanifa Abdul Latif Mohammed of Cuttack.  Dr.Mohammed Ayoob is a brilliant scholar of Political Science, and an outstanding orator (winning laurels in his Aligarh Muslim University days).  He stood first in his Senior Cambridge from Stewart School, Cuttack, first in B.A. (Hons) from Utkal University, first in M.A. from Aligarh Muslim University, and Ph. D from the University of Hawaii at Honolulu. In this connection, I must mention the names of Saleh Mohamed A. Karim, B.A. of Chandbali, a prominent social and political figure of Orissa, and Aboobaker Ismail, B.A. of Chandbali, a very sharp and intelligent young man.

Lastly, I will be failing in my duty if I did not mention the name of Abdul Shakoor Mohammed Sait, son of late Mohammed Ayoob of Cuttack, the former Treasurer of All Orissa Cutchi Memon Jamat and uncle of Dr. Mohammed Ayoob, to whom not only I but all Cutchi Memons of Orissa are highly indebted for the social services rendered and sacrifices made for the Orissa Jamat.  He has solitarily taken pains to keep vibrant the Masjid at Rahama, the Abdulla  Kaderdina Wakf Estate, the Madrassa Islamia of Cuttack and several other institutions.  I pray for his long life to guide us and give us continued precious advice.

To quote Ghalib:

"Hai doa yehi ke duniya mein tum raho zindah javedan". Ameen!

-  Noor Mohammed Ahmed, Jatni
   President, All Orissa Cutchi Memon Jamat

{Above report is taken from the Souvenir published in 1993 by the All India Cutchi Memon Federation on the occasion of its World Conference.  We urge Cutchi Memons in Orissa to contact us and update us regarding their activities. Jazak Allah Khair!  - Arif G. Kadwani}

Information courtesy: Arif G. Kadwani, Cutchi Memon Jamat of North America

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