June 26 - July  02, 1998


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Count Kassam alibhai Paroo


Coastweek - - Late Count Kassamalibhai Paroo was one of Kenya's pioneer businessmen.

Count Kassam Alibhai Paroo was born in Bagamoyo, Tanzania on October 31, 1906.

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 Trainee).

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 its Chairman.

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);

Continuously active 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 highest votes.

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 Committees.

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 Society.

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 Limited.

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 Communal Titles:

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 1944.

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 behind.

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.




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