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H. H. The Aga KhanS VISIT TO AUSTRALIA - 1979-10-31

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Event - 1979-10-31
Wednesday, 1979, October 31
Hazar Imam in Australia 1979

Our Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah arrived in Melbourne, Australia, on 31st October, 1979 at 6.00 p.m. as special guests of Victoria Racing Club for the Spring Carnival.
Within the official programme, Hazar Imam had requested that time be made available for Him and Her Highness Begum Salimah to meet members of the Australian Jamat. 7th November, 1979 was set aside and the venue was Sydney.

Wednesday, the 7th day of November, 1979 has gone down in the Ismaili Calendar as the first historic Mulakat between Hazar Imam and His Australian and New Zealand Jamats . Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah stepped off the Gulfstream Jet at Sydney Airport at 12.25 p.m. to be received by Mukhi Ashak Gulamali Nanji Nathwani. Hazar Imam and Begum Salimah were introduced to Kamadiani Zebun Lalani, who garlanded Hazar Imam and Mukhiani Samim Nathwani who presented a bouquet of flowers to Her Highness Begum Salimah. Also present at the Airport were Mukhi, Mukhiani Zaher Alibhai Jaffer of Auckland Jamat, New Zealand, Mukhi Azim Panjwani of Christchurch Jamat, New Zealand, Dr. Fateh Ladhani who had the honour to drive Mowlana Hazar Imam and Begum Salimah in his new Mercedes, Dr. Sultan Adatia and the official photographers, including the main photographer Mr. Bahadur Hirji who had specially travelled from London.

From the Airport, Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah were driven to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron where they attended a private lunch.

At 3.30 p.m. Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah arrived at the Boulevard Hotel where they retired to the Royal Suite. At 4.00 p.m. they entered the Didar Hall which was within the Hotel Complex.

Khilats were presented to Khudavind and Her Highness by Mukhisaheb and Kamadiani respectively. Verses from Holy Ginans were recited by nine children who were between the age of four and eight years. Gifts consisting of opal cufflinks for Hazar Imam and opal pendant to Begum Salimah and an aboriginal bark painting were presented.

While Begum Salimah retired to the Royal Suite, Mowlana Hazar Imam stayed behind to preside over the religious ceremonies of Australia and New Zealand Jamat. Khudawind made a special firman in which He extended congratulations to the jamaat on the arrangements.

A total number of 141 members, 134 from all over Australia and 7 from New Zealand were present for the Holy Didar of Imam-e-Zaman. Special Souvenir Medals were made to mark this auspicious occasion.

Mowlana Hazar Imam left at 5.25 p.m. and arrived with Her Highness Begum Salimah at 5.45 p.m. to attend the Tea-Party arranged in the hall adjacent to the Didar Hall.

Members of the Jamat (except children between the age of 2 and 10) stood along the perimeter of the hall. Hazar Imam and Her Highness met most members of the jamat informally and individually.

At 6.30 p.m. Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah sat at the High table together with Mukhi Ashak Nathwani, Kamadiani Zebun Lalani, Mukhiani Samim Nathwani and Al-waez Abu Ali Aziz. Mukhi Ashak Nathwani then officially welcomed Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah to Australia. Mukhiasaheb congratulated Hazar Imam and Begum Salimah on their 10th Wedding Anniversary and made a very humble request to cut the special cake. Mukhisaheb then said: 'We have a small token to commemorate the 10th Anniversary which we will present but before we do that if Khudavind and Her Highness were wondering where all the children were, they were out buying presents for the children - for Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Prince Hussein. Here they come with their love.' The children entered pushing a trolley full of presents. Her Highness Begum Salimah stood up to receive the gifts and asked the children which gift was for Princess Zahra, Prince Rahim and Prince Hussein, to which the children gave a multitude of answers. Mukhiasaheb then requested the children to sit down on the carpet in front of the high table.

Her Highness Begum Salimah was requested to present tokens of appreciation to 10 Jamati members for their services (monetary and physical). Hazar Imam then requested if He could respond to the speech and replied

My beloved spiritual children,

I had a moment of hesitation because the Mukhi said that Mary Rahemtulla was right in the middle of the catering and I thought he was going to say, in the middle of the cake (applause). I wasn't sure that I was following his speech properly but I want to tell you that it has been a most wonderful afternoon for my wife and myself to be with you and I would like to say how happy we are to be able to cut this cake together. We spent our 10th Wedding Anniversary flying from Paris to Dacca and I think not many men can offer their wives a less inspiring 10th Wedding Anniversary in flying across the world at forty-two thousand feet.

I also would like to take this occasion to tell you how grateful we are for the presents which you have offered to our children. I don't know which of the three has come out better, but there was some confusion as to what was going to whom, but I want to tell you that we are most grateful indeed.

Lastly, but by no means least, congratulations to everyone for making our visit here specially happy and for making me specially proud of my Australian and New Zealand Jamat (applause).

Mowlana Hazaar Imam and Begum Salimah then cut the cake and whilst they were having tea with samosas, kebabs, vadmi, cake, jalebi, gatiya, etc., Mr. Badrudin Merchant and family sang a song specially composed for this occasion.

At 7.00 p.m., Hazar Imam and Her Highness Begum Salimah left for Sydney Airport where they were bid 'au revoir' by Mukhisaheb and Kamadianima.

On 14th November Mukhisaheb received a Holy Talika from Karachi in which Hazar Imam sent His loving blessings to Australian and New Zealand Jamats and added:

Her Highness the Begum and I were most happy with your organisation and all the arrangements you made in Sydney for us Stop We were most touched by your lovely gifts and appreciate your kind thought immensely Stop Your tea-party arrangements were outstanding and my wife and I were very happy thus to meet informally all the members of the Jamat Stop'

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