Pirbhai Thawer

From Khoja Wiki

Pirbhai Thawer
Town of birth
  • Lalpar, Kathiawar
Country of birth
  • India
Date of Birth
  • 1865
Date of Death
  • 1940
Place of Death
  • Dar es Salaam
Name of Cemetery and plot no
  • Khoja Ithna-asheri Kabrastan-Cemetery, Dar es Salaam
Place of longest stay
  • Albertville, Republic of Congo
Profession or occupation carriedout for the longest period in life
  • Business
Where-City or Country
  • Albertville
Alibhai Thawer 18771920
Haji Thawer 18631931

Born in 1865 Lalpar, Kathiawar

Pirbhai, born around 1871, was the second oldest son of Mohamed Thawer. He was the first of the four Thawer brothers to leave India around the 1898 when he was about 27 years old. The eldest son Haji stayed behind to look after the family, as was customary. Pirbhai was the first to leave India soon after his third son Fazal was born in 1897.

He arrived in Mombasa and started working with Sharif Jiwa, a big business man of Kenya, in his large trading and commercial Company. After 2-3 years he left Mombasa to go to Dar-es-Salaam.

Here he started his own textile and general goods business, during the First World War (1914-18) sending money back for the family and returning back to visit them regularly. His wife Kamarbai remained in India all those years. They had seven children altogether—4 sons and 3 daughters.

In Dar-es-Salaam Pirbhai met Popat Rawji, and later Popat married his daughter, Rehmat. This was the first marriage between a member of the Thawer Clan and the Rawjis.

A few years after the war, in 1922, while still in Dar- es-Salaam, Pirbhai sent for his 3 sons to join him. Karmali, the oldest was then 30 and married to Sakina; Fazal and Gulamhussain, the other two boys were still unmarried.

Pirbhai ventured to Albertville in eastern Congo where trading possibilities were opening up and competition was less aggressive. Living conditions however were quite basic compared to Tanganyika.

When Juma Haji arrived in Albertville some time later, he was helped by Pirbhai to start a shop.

The Pirbhai family was at one time very successful and probably the richest amongst the Khoja families. (Their Company name appears in the early local history textbooks of Tanganyika).

They gave many people a helping hand to start their businesses. But being conservative, they did not keep up with the changing times and gradually their business diminished.

Pirbhai returned to Dar and together with Juma and Ebrahim Haji, they built two 2-storey buildings in which many family members stayed.

Pirbhai died in 1941 of diabetes in Dar. He was 70.