Kassam alibhai Paroo
AND ISMAILI COMMUNITY LEADER
- - Late Count Kassamalibhai
Paroo was one of Kenya's pioneer businessmen.
Count Kassam Alibhai Paroo was born in Bagamoyo, Tanzania on October 31,
His family came to Mombasa in 1913.
Besides his early
schooling at the Government School in Mombasa, he was mainly educated
at Gharashia College, Gondoal (Kathiawar), India (1917 - 1920),
Torfield School, Eastboorne, England (1920 - 1922), St. Paulís School,
Darjeeling, India (1922 - 1924).
On completion of his
education, he returned to Mombasa in 1924 and straight away joined his
fatherís business as an apprentice.
His business training
was handled by his father to their old and stern Broker, who treated
him not as a son of his Boss but as an ordinary clerk (Management
Count Parooís first
contact with a Public Institution was with the Social Service League,
Mombasa in 1927.
From 1927 to 1946, he
was a member of Social Service League and was four times elected as
The first appointment on
any of Ismailia Communial Institution was also in 1926, on the
Provincial Education Board, Mombasa, but he soon resigned from it.
Among the offices held
by him in the Public and Ismailia Institutions are as follows:
Chairman of Social
Service League, Mombasa (1932, 1936, 1940, 1946 and again from 1982 to
June 10, 1988);
Secretary, Indian Sports
Club (now United Sports Club), Mombasa (1929 - 1931);
Chairman, India Sports
Club, Mombasa, (1932 - 1933);
Member H.H. Aga Khan Ďs
Provincial Education Board (1933 - 1936);
Chairman H. H. The Aga
Khan Central Education Board of Kenya (1937 - 1945);
Chairman of Indian
Merchants' Chamber Mombasa.
Also the member of
Federation of Indian Merchants' Chamber (1940 - 1945);
Chairman of Ismailia
Pro-vincial Council of Mombasa (1946 - 1954);
member of Indian Association of Mombasa and practically every term he
was also elected on East African Indian National Congress, the then
premier political body of India in East Africa ( 1929 - 1947);
In 1942 he was elected
unopposed on the Legislative Council of Kenya to represent Indians on
the Coastal area.
In 1944 he contested the seat and secured the
In 1945 he resigned his
seat on the Legislative Council to take up the full time
responsibilities as Managing Director of the Diamond Jubilee
Investment Trust Limited and the Jubilee Insurance Company Limited;
Member of East African
Muslims Welfare Society (from 1945);
Chairman of Muslim
Electors' Advisory Board (from 1952);
Chairman Pandya Memorial
Hospital (1964 - 1967).
During the war, between
the years 1942 and 1945, he was appointed on numerous Bodies and
Once in 1944, it was
said that he was on nearly 20 Public and Government bodies.
Among the important Government posts that he held were:
The Copra and Coconut
Oil Controller from 1943 until 1945 when he resigned.
He was the only Indian
who was given such a responsible job and honour during the war time.
He was also s member of
East African Production and Supply Council.
In 1944, he went to
India in a Trade Delegation from East African Governments.
From 1956 a Member of
Local Income Tax Appeal Committee and itís Chairman from 1979 to 1990.
Count Paroo has been one
of the Trustees of Indian Association, Social Service League, United
Sports Club, Daudi Bohra Education Society and Pandya Memorial
Besides his own business
of R. H. Paroo and Sons Limited, and the Jubilee Hardwares Limited, he
was the Founder and Managing Director of two great Ismailia
Institutions, namely The Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust Limited
(Diamond Trust (K) Limited), and The Jubilee Insurance Company
He was also the General
Inspector of numerous Ismailia Corporations, Co-operatives and
Building Societies in East Africa.
After retiring from
Diamond Trust and Jubilee Insurance Company, he took over Man-aging
Directorship of Coastal Bottlers Limited (Coca Cola Factory) from 1962
until he retired on December 31, 1980.
From 1917 to 1992 he
travelled to India and Pakistan (eleven times), Khatmandu (Nepal),
Cairo, Hongkong and Japan, Burma, South Africa, Mada-gascar,
Mauritius, England and Europe (14 times), Belgian Congo, Several
Middle East Countries and Syria, Canada and U.S.A., Kenya, Uganda and
Tanzania (many times)
He held the following
1943 - Alijah;
1946 - Rai; 1948 - Vazier; 1953 - Honorary Missionary,
Delivered lectures in
forty four (44) Jamat Khanas in several countries;
1954 - Count.
Count Paroo first
married in 1929.
His beloved wife died in
He remarried in 1947.
His wife died last year.
He leaves behind five
daughters and one son.
He was one of the
Founder members of the Rotary Club of Mombasa in 1944.
He was made an Honorary
member in 1980.
Only three days before
he passed away on the previous Saturday, he performed a cake cutting
ceremony at the Rotary Club Mombasa.
He was 92 year Old.
Count Paroo served Kenya
and its people in different capacities with remarkable integrity and
devotion, courage zest and zeal.
He had been for many
years a leading and pleasing personality in Mombasa.
He was a resourceful
person with robust, realism wealth of experience and wisdom, sense of
judgement, cheerful attitude, sweet and unfailing courtesy dignified
bearing the arresting qualities of head and heart which endeared him
to one and all who came in contact with him.
His legacy to all of us
was the spirit of Love and service and the fruitful work he left
His final advice was:
"I shall pass through
this world but once,
any good therefore that I can do
or any kindness that I can show to human being
let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again".
I have, therefore, lost
a Guru and real father.
- Natu H. Nathwani, Chairman Social Service League, Mombasa.